John H. Pola
Class of 2012
John H. Pola was born in Alameda, CA, on December 19, 1952, to John and Pat who also raised Bill, Tom, Barry and Stephen.
He married Connie on August 10, 1979, in Redding, CA, and together they have a daughter Katy.
In 1971, he graduated from Alameda High School and went on to earn a B.A. in speech communication from California State University in 1975.
He was President and Owner of Polabear Toys, which sold candy, toys and books, from 1978 to 1985, while also working as a regional representative for Gordon Schewe Confections Brokerage from 1979 to 1985. He became the northern California manager for Gorman Confections Brokerage until 2003, when he joined Jelly Belly Candy Co. as Vice-President of Specialty Sales.
John says he has stayed in the industry because he has a lot of respect for the products he has represented during the years.
He adds the confectionery industry is the best, explaining the people care for one another and every day is enjoyable.
John says his most memorable career moment was becoming part of the senior management team at Jelly Belly. Company Owner and Candy Hall of Famer Herman Rowland has had the greatest impact on John’s career, he says, because he showed him how important every person and every job is.
Although he says he would not do anything differently in his career given the chance, John jokes that he does regret not running for President of the United States.
Having no fear of failure, learning from the past and always looking forward are the biggest factors to his success, John claims.
During his years in the confectionery industry, John has had many association affiliations including serving on the Retail Confectioners International Supplier Advisory Committee from 2005 to 2007.
He also served on the National Confectioners Association Supplier and Broker Advisory Committees from 2007 to 2009, and was Chairman of the Sweets & Snacks Expo Advisory Committee from 2010 to 2012. Industry honors include being named broker of the year at Jelly Belly six times.
In his spare time, John enjoys spending time with family and friends.
John passed away May 12, 2020.