Pierson Bob Clair III
Class of 2012
Pierson Bob Clair III, CEO and President of Brown & Haley, has been in the confectionery industry for 48 years.
He was born in Pasadena, CA, on May 6, 1948, to Ferna and Pierson Jr., and has a sister, Christina. He married Sara in 1983, and they have two children: Pierson IV and Elizabeth.
He graduated from Pasadena High School in 1966, and in 1970 earned a B.A. in political science from Stanford University.
He joined the industry as a 16-year-old high school student working as a batch maker for the Blommer Chocolate Co. in Los Angeles. He later joined Blommer full-time, working his way up from operations, to sales, to Vice-President in 1985. He moved to Brown & Haley as President and COO in 1997, becoming President and CEO in 2003.
Pierson credits Henry Blommer and Candy Hall of Famer Herm Rowland as two key people who influenced him in his career, noting Blommer’s development of systems that led to extraordinary efficiencies and Rowland’s proposition that everything associated with confectionery must be quality.
Some of Pierson’s day-to-day challenges are managing fluctuations in commodity pricing and handling capacity and growth issues.
He says: “There are moments in a career where you look down the throat of the dragon and you learn remarkable lessons from your decisions and actions.”
He has participated in many industry organizations, saying this has helped him form lifelong friendships. He has served on the National Confectioners Association Chocolate Council, and he is also a NCA Political Action Committee member. In 2011, Pierson won the Kettle Award.
Pierson’s industry activity also includes serving as leader of Yes on 1107, a 2010 Washington State initiative to remove the state tax on confection.
Pierson won a World Trade Center Exporter of The Year Award in 2011 for leading Brown & Haley to increase exports to 40 percent.
Serving his community, he is a board member of the University of Washington Urban Waters Research Center and a member of the Public Library Foundation.
Looking back on his career, Pierson says: “I would have celebrated victories more.”