Larry L. Hassler
Class of 2009
For Larry Hassler, maintaining integrity and surrounding himself with the best people have been factors in his success. Larry was born May 21, 1946, in Reading, PA. After graduating from Reading Senior High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam until his honorable discharge in 1967. He then enrolled at Penn State University-Berks and received an accounting certificate before attending the University of Minnesota for a degree in business administration. He and Susan have been married for 43 years. One of his first jobs was auditor for the Bank of Pennsylvania and then for General Battery Corp. He worked as plant controller, division manager cost and inventory control, and controller for Gould Inc. In 1978 he joined Ag-Chem Equipment Co., Inc. as its vice-president of finance. Then in 1980, Larry entered the confectionery business as CFO of Confections Group, a partnership that included Farley’s Candy and Pearson Candy Co. During that time he was also managing the Pearson operation until 1985 when he and business partner Judith Johnston bought the company. This year marks the company’s 100th anniversary and he says turning Pearson around is one of the most memorable achievements of his career. A past member of the NCA board of trustees, Larry has also been involved with the American Wholesale Marketers Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Automatic Merchandising Association. He received the Minnesota Candy and Tobacco Distributors Association’s Friend of the Industry Award in 1988 and 1995. He was also honored for his outstanding service to the industry by the National Candy Brokers Association in 1991 and received the Doc Reed Silver Candy Dish Award from the NCA earlier this year. He notes working hard, letting his passion show and never being afraid to fail have contributed to his success, as well as always being fair and treating people with respect. “All of the good and bad experiences are part of what brought me to where I am today,” he says. Away from the office, he enjoys music, coin collecting and attending dog shows with his wife Susan.