William A. Walker
Class of 2011
William A. Walker was born April 5, 1948, in Ashville, OH, to Jack and Ruby. He has a sister, Brenda. Bill graduated in 1966 from Spotsylvania High School in the Virginia town of the same name before attending the University of Maryland, College Park, graduating from its school of agriculture in 1971.
That same year, Bill began his 40-year career in the confectionery industry initially with Southland Corp. 7-Eleven, which had just built a distribution center in his Virginia hometown. During his 21 years with the company, Bill rose through the ranks from buyer to senior buyer and finally buyer merchandiser handling all retail categories.
In 1992, he began working for McLane Co. Inc, initially as a buyer merchandiser for its Mid-Atlantic office. In his first year with the company he was promoted to vice-president of merchandising for McLane Cumberland, where his responsibilities included the candy category.
He was promoted twice more within the company before 2007, when he became product director, candy and snacks division, a position he still retains.
Bill says the most memorable moment in his career was being promoted to vice-president of merchandising for McLane Cumberland and starting the division from the ground up. Today it is one of the company’s largest sectors.
His biggest day-to-day challenges are understanding the constantly evolving supply chain and the role his company plays in the success of manufacturers and retailers, he says.
He has been involved with the industry as part of NACS, where he has presented at its workshop on product recalls. He is also active as a member of the American Wholesale Marketers Association’s Warehouse Snack Committee as well as the National Confectioners Association, which honored him with a 2011 Confectionery Leadership Award.
Away from the industry, he has been a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Blue Grass, in Lexington, KY, serving on its board of directors from 1996 to 2008. He also helped to organize the Children’s Miracle Network Golf Tournament for McLane Midwest and Cumberland from 1994 to 2008.
Bill is an avid outdoorsman, spending his free time fishing and hunting. Cooking is also a hobby of his. He is the father of three: Brian, Andy and Jennifer.