Monday, November 19, 2018
 Schreiber Foods Executive Bob Bush Honored by Cheese Industry  

Schreiber Foods chairman emeritus Bob Bush received the National Cheese Institute’s Laureate Award during IDFA's 2014 Dairy Forum in Palm Springs, California.

Bush, 87, was the fourth Schreiber Foods executive to receive the award. Schreiber’s Vince Zehren was the first-ever recipient of the honor. Bush will be the 25th.

“Vince Zehren probably knew more about cheese and cheese making than anyone in the world,” Bush said. Other Schreiber recipients included Dave Nusbaum, co-founder of the company with Bush’s father, Merlin, and former CEO Larry Ferguson.

Bush said he’s honored to get the award, and very pleased that 18 family members will accompany him to Palm Springs to receive it.

“He just wanted Schreiber to be the best in the industry. I’m very proud,” said son Terry Bush. 

Bush attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received a degree in dairy science and came within a semester of a degree in engineering. He joked that he had to choose between finishing the second degree and getting married.

It worked out. He’s been married to Carol since 1950 and learned enough engineering to invent the equipment that gave the world individually wrapped processed cheese slices, and to propel Schreiber Foods to one of the world’s largest cheese companies.

Bush joined Schreiber in 1946, became an officer in 1966, a director in 1969, president and chief executive officer in 1978, and chairman and CEO in 1985. He retired as CEO in 1989, but stayed on as chairman for 10 more years.

During Bush’s time at Schreiber, the company grew from one plant and $12 million in sales to 19 plants with $1.5 billion in sales. Schreiber sales were $4.5 billion in 2013, according to an estimate by Forbes.

“I think, in any business, you have to figure out a way to get a leg up on your competition,” Bush said. “In this case, I designed equipment that was better than our competitors had.”

Beyond that, Bush deflects credit to others. He said the philosophy at Schreiber was to hire people smarter than you were. “Some people are afraid to do that,” he said. “They can make you look like a hero.”

Bob and Carol Bush are well known for their community involvement and philanthropy, including with such organizations at Bellin Hospital, Encompass child care, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and St. Norbert College, the YMCA, United Way and many more.

“It’s a great honor,” Bush said of the award. “The National Cheese Institute is internationally known for the things that it does. To me, the award is a very, very high honor, very meaningful.”

Source: Green Bay Press Gazette

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