KANSAS CITY — Theresa Cogswell, vice-president of research and development at Interstate Bakeries Corp., announced she will be leaving the company to pursue other interests, effective May 4. The immediate past chairman of the American Society of Baking, Ms. Cogswell is a well-known figure in the baking industry.
"The decision to leave I.B.C., my dedicated co-workers and the terrific I.B.C. brands was very difficult," Ms. Cogswell said. "The decision required a lot of soul searching and help from my family. At this time, though, it was the right move for me and my family. But I am not leaving the industry. It is only a four month sabbatical, and I will be reviewing all options for the future. Being a baker is part of who I am, right now I just don’t know what that means moving forward. "
Ms. Cogswell, who has been in the industry for the past 27 years, reflected fondly on her tenure at the nation’s largest wholesale baker.
"The last 15 years have seen a lot of changes in the baking industry and I’ve had a front row seat, from extended shelf-life to our latest successful roll-out of 100-calorie packs," she said. Ms. Cogswell added that she has enjoyed mentoring students and new people in the industry.
A graduate of the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University, Ms. Cogswell began her professional career in baking as a research baker with the Olathe, Kas.-based Paniplus Division of Continental Baking Co., now ADM Arkady. She remained with Paniplus until after its acquisition in 1986 by Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill. She then took a position with T.J. Cinnamons, Kansas City, which operates a nationwide chain of franchised retail outlets offering fresh-baked cinnamon rolls.
After her stint with T.J. Cinnamons, which was ended by a round of down-sizing, Ms. Cogswell went into baking ingredient sales. After about a year, she joined Real Food Marketing, Kansas City, a product development group, where she was director of sales and marketing.
In 1992, she joined I.B.C. as manager, research and development. In 1994, she advanced to director of research and development, and in 1995, after I.B.C.’s acquisition of Continental Baking Co., St. Louis, Ms. Cogswell was named vice-president of research and development.
Ms. Cogswell has been an active member of the American Bakers Association’s Food Technical Regulatory Affairs Committee, and in 2006 was elected chairman of the A.S.B., marking the first time a women has led the organization in its 82-year history. She also is president of the Society of Bakery Women, a network where members may share personal and professional stories from their experiences in baking.