Picture of Judith K. Cooley

Judith K. Cooley

Class of 2012

Judith K. Cooley was born on January 18, 1959, in Peoria, IL, to Betty and Sonny Litwiller, who also raised three sons: Mark, Robert and Eric.

She married Mark Cooley on January 2, 1983, and they have two children: Ryan and Kiersten.

Judy graduated from Olympia High School in Stanford, IL, in 1977, and earned her B.S. in Foods and Nutrition with a minor in chemistry from Illinois State University in 1981. She received her MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management in 1997, and earned a certificate in International Management from Georgetown University in 2010.

Judy’s first industry job was for the Paul F. Beich Co. as QA/R&D Technologist. She became a Product Development Intern for A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co., a QA/R&D Supervisor at Schoolhouse Candies, and a QA Manager for Schrafft Candy Co. Judy was Senior Food Technologist for Brady Enterprises, Inc. till 1986. She then worked for Leaf Candy Co. until 1997 when it was acquired by The Hershey Co., where Judy currently works as a Principal Scientist.

She holds two U.S. patents, one in breath freshening and one in popcorn seasoning.

Judy says her love for the industry and all the surrounding support have been major factors in her success. One of her biggest honors in her 34 years in the industry was in 2009 when she received the American Association of Candy Technologists’ Stroud Jordan award.

Judy has been deeply involved with the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Confectioners Association since 1998 when she began serving as the session official at most conferences, and she still holds this position today. She has been a member of the board since 2004, the nominations committee since 2006 and the student outreach committee since 2008. She was co-chair of the PMCA Conference Program Committee from 2008 until 2010, at which time she became chairwoman.

Judy served the National Confectioners Association as a member of the Technical Committee from 1996 to 2010, chairing the committee from 2002 to 2005. She is also active in the American Association of Candy Technologists.

Judy has been a mentor and mother figure to many foreign and domestic interns at Hershey, and says she regrets not mentoring earlier in her career.