A conversation with Rudy Salas, the new Senior Vice President
RS FOR OVE
Issue No. 322 • Summer/Fall 2014
A conversation with Rudy Salas, the new Senior Vice
President, Franchise and Commercial Leadership
Bottler Top to Top
Fall Board Meeting
Bottler Top to Top
How can we grow our business?
…is a question that Rudy Salas asks himself
every day. While he encourages each of us
to do the same, he knows there is no single
answer and that together, we are on a journey to achieve this goal.
Having worked with Coca-Cola across Latin
America, in both Bottling and Company positions, Rudy expressed his genuine excitement
by the opportunity to work with us. He underscored the importance of the U.S. to the CocaCola Company’s overall business health and
shared his desire to continue to learn and
understand the unique and evolving nature
of Coca-Cola’s business here. With a focus on
developing capability system-wide, Mr. Salas
is seeking to balance priorities, governance,
segmentation, contingency planning and a
reconnection to high transactions. He exudes
a blend of System pride and constructive
Some members have had the opportunity
to meet Mr. Salas through local meetings,
however it will take time before he has an
opportunity to get to know everyone. So…
we decided to bring Rudy to you. Below is
an edited excerpt of questions that Mr. Salas
answered for us during his conversation with
“the Bottling Line.” We hope you’ll enjoy.
Tell us a little bit about you, your family and
your background within the Coke System.
I am married with two daughters and three
grandchildren. I was born in Puerto Rico and
was fortunate to grow up in many countries
in the Americas as my father worked for an
Mr. Salas’s pride in representing
the Coca-Cola Company and our brands
is evident and contagious.
international company. At age 11, we moved
to New Jersey where I finished Middle School,
High School and University.
My career with Coca-Cola began 25 years
ago as an operations manager in Puerto Rico.
In 1991 I was able to take a role in our Company Owned Bottler in Argentina, as the head of
Key Customers and then as a Sales Manager.
After it was purchased by Coca-Cola FEMSA
I was able to stay with them in a Commercial
Director role until 1998.
During my time in Argentina, I had the privilege to be part of the group of leaders that
shaped what we today call “modern commercial leadership”. Core processes such as
Segmented Execution, Revenue Growth Management (RGM), Right Execution Daily (RED)
and Incidence Pricing were then and are now
fundamental to the business turnaround there
for both the company and the Bottler.
Having a career that included working on
both the Bottler and Company side of the
business was intentional. I learned early on
continued page 2
A Conversation with Rudy Salas (cont’d)
that we are co-dependent, life with one enables the other
and I needed to know how both sides worked. So as my
career progressed I earned roles that provided me with a
360 degree perspective on the business, most recently as
Vice President, Customer and Commercial Leadership for
How would you describe your leadership style?
My leadership style is best described as networked involved empowerment; it’s an evolution from managing by
I believe in finding the best people, providing the right resources, making them accountable and challenging them
to get the job done. I believe in the power of network organizations collaborating towards a common goal. I believe
in getting involved with the teams as the work is being
shaped and deployed, so I can learn and share experiences along the way. I expect of myself to engage, develop
and inspire my team and the system to be their best.
What about your new job excites you the most?
This is an important time to be working with Franchise
leadership in the U.S... We are building the organization
that will lead our 21st Century Beverage Partnership for all
Bottlers. We have the privilege of establishing the new theater of system strategic collaboration, staging our competitive set in a national yet segmented deployment, raising
the bar in execution standards and building on the passion
all associates have for Coca-Cola.
I am excited to be part of the leadership who will design
and deploy the capability of this great System and that will
take our largest market in the world to the stature of excellence it deserves.
Looking ahead, what is your early read on our biggest
opportunities as a system today?
We must all have many reasons to believe that the CocaCola System is uniquely positioned and very well poised to
capture sustainable growth across the entire non-alcoholic
beverage industry. I see opportunities in spending more
time in the market, improving in-store execution, growing
revenues from price realization and making things simpler
so we can increase our speed and agility.
What are some things you saw or did in Latin America
that you’d like to see done here in the US?
Over the years I have enjoyed the value of sharing experiences across the system. This includes scaling what works,
taking calculated risks and sun-setting what does not work.
We must learn from the good, bad and ugly. I’m looking
forward to learning alongside our Bottlers here while shar-
ing things from Latin America. In particular there are three
things I’d like to import.
• The first has to do with the love for brand Coca-Cola.
The best way to represent the sentiment is by quoting
Jose Octavio “Pacho” Reyes (the former Group President
of the Company’s operations in Latin America) when he
said, “drink it, love it or leave.”
• The second is the shared conviction to win: the unwavering belief that there are no obstacles that can deny us
success; that we have the smarts and the passion to
overcome all challenges and win; thinking big because
we want big growth; unselfishly working as a team that
for our aggregate betterment, above any individual
• The third would be replicating the system profitability
story. It will take hard work to grow the categories we
choose to participate in, remain the leader and improve
profitability but the opportunity to do so is real. If we
decide it is to be our reality, we can make it so.
What is different about the Coke business in the US vs.
What I find powerful is that as a whole we share the conviction that the franchise model is unbeatable when the
System is aligned, the passion and winning attitude in all
System associates, the responsibility of being and behaving as the leader in beverages, the conviction to be part of
the fiber of the community, and the respect for our forefathers who built this business.
The main differences I’ve noticed are that price promotion
is a highly used sales tool in the U.S. while value-add is
the go to in Latin America; sales are concentrated to few
customers in the U.S. while in Latin America 80% of sales
are spread across millions of medium and small customers
and finally, Latin America bases execution on variables
like distribution, availability, look of success compliance,
cold drink equipment penetration and points of connection
sell through vs. an emphasis against cases on display in
What will be your initial priorities? Can you share your
thoughts on how these integrate with and benefit the
independent bottling business community?
My short term priority is to learn by building relationships
with our Bottlers, meeting the sales force, the store owners
and “living the market”; decide what needs to change (and
what does not), and importantly, simplify the way we operate and inspire people.
continued page 3
Congratulations to ODOM Corporation
– 80 Years and Going Strong
In 1933, Milt Odom arrived in Alaska to sell pharmaceuticals.
Being a bright young man and seeing opportunity all around
him, Milt established The Odom Company in Ketchikan and
opened for business in 1934, as Anchorage Cold Storage.
In 1937, Milt decided to take a gamble on the growing popularity of bottled refreshment and legend has it, paid $1 for the
Coca-Cola franchise in Anchorage, AK. Coca-Cola and The
Odom Company grew together, prospering over the years
amid strategic acquisitions and sales, labor strikes and
Congratulations to Bill, John and Jim
…and the extended Odom Company family
on this very special anniversary!
An era ceased when Milt passed away in 1988. Over the
following decade his sons, John, Jim and Bill carried forth his
legacy. The Odom brothers stewarded their organization to
command a leadership position, distributing top beverages in
their markets. On behalf of our Members and the Coca-Cola
System, CCBA congratulates the Odom family on this
A Conversation with Rudy Salas (cont’d)
By nature of my new role I will be looking for opportunities
to embed franchise leadership capability, while providing
the System cohesive integrated execution plans.
I find people are surprised that I am very easy to read. I
let people know what is on my mind and consistently work
from a position of upfront straight talk.
While it’s still too early to affirm my priorities, there are
a number of areas we need to focus on. I look forward to
increasing collaboration and involvement with all our Bottlers. For example, improving market execution, operational efficiency and productivity are key areas of focus.
Do you have a favorite quote…or...words to live by?
I echo our forefather’s edict that we must remain constructively discontent. I do.
Is there an interesting fact about you that most people
would be surprised to know?
“Winning is a habit created by consistent behavior.”
– Vince Lombardi
“Do not confuse success with activity or confuse achievement with progress.”– John Wooden
What’s your favorite (Coca-Cola) beverage?
I delight in the original taste of an ice cold Coca-Cola. I
drink one every day – and often more than once a day!
Fly-In to Win…
Coca-Cola Needs You!
The independent bottling industry can be traced to individuals, small
towns and strong relationships, not to mention our role in local economies across the U.S. Nowhere is this role more significant than during the
American Beverage Association’s Spring “Annual Fly-In.” The signature
event, hosted by the ABA, offers a unique opportunity for members to
speak directly and visit with elected officials and their staff.
The “Fly-In” is an excellent forum to positively inform and influence decisions regarding potential regulation or legislation related to our industry. It
enables our bottling community to illustrate, in person, the local impact of
a bill or tax to your businesses and employees. A full two and a half days
of meetings and receptions provide access and an optimal platform to balance dialogue with the facts.
The Coca-Cola Company office in Washington, DC, collaborates with ABA
to prepare an agenda that focuses on the top policy issues and maps CocaCola bottling participants with their respective legislative representative.
ABA’s Officers and Board of Directors includes an impressive cross-section
of the beverage industry, with the Coca-Cola System well represented.
Claude Nielsen currently serves as an ABA Board Officer with CCBA
members, Kirk Tyler, Larry Lordi, Frank Harrison, Jack Pelo and Sally Hargis serving on ABA’s Board of Directors. The board also includes Company
business associates Katie Bayne, Sandy Douglas and Seth Goldman (Honest Tea.)
Please consider attending and participating in the
2015 ABA “Fly-In” next Spring.
Kirk Tyler, a second generation ABA board
member affirmed the fly-in as one of the
best avenues for ensuring that the “collective voice of America” is heard. Kirk shared
a great example of how we can harness the
positive power of leveraging key connections made at the Annual Fly-In.
“We all have offices, plants and /or sales
centers. By inviting local lawmakers to
our facilities they have an opportunity to
meet our employees, real people and their
constituents, who live and work within their
voting districts. This helps move beyond the
media hype and understand the real lives
of the citizens they represent. As business
owners and leaders, we all wrestle with
demands on our time, and question whether
we can afford to ‘take time’ away from the
business. The Annual Fly-In is not only time
well spent, but time we can’t afford NOT to
take, especially when we consider the long
term impact of a tax or a restrictive policy
on our business.”
E.P. Severns accepts Indiana’s highest honor for
While no surprise to us, on July 1st, at his Rotary Club meeting, our very own E.P. Severns,
President of Coca-Cola Bottling of Kokomo was surprised with a Sagamore of the Wabash
Award. This award is the highest honor Indiana’s governor can bestow and reserved for those
who provide distinguished service to the state or the governor.
Born and raised in Kokomo, E.P. began working at his family’s Coca-Cola franchise in 1947, at
the age of 17 and in 1959, became president of the company.
E.P. has been inducted into the Beverage World Hall of Fame as
well as their Hall of Legends, not to mention, the Kokomo-Howard
County Sports Hall of Fame — in recognition of Kokomo Coca
Cola’s support of youth sports — and the Howard County Hall of
E.P., we know your extended Coca-Cola family joins us in
congratulating you on this well-deserved honor and distinction!
E.P. accepted the Sagamore of the Wabash
award from Indiana State
Karickhoff. Also pictured
are County Commissioner,
Paul Wyman and Kokomo
Mayor, Greg Goodnight.
Continuing the Journey Towards a 21st
Century Beverage Partnership Model
Our system continues to evolve as we see continued progress in The Coca-Cola Company refranchising and the
journey towards a 21st Century Beverage Partnership Model. Four of our Member Bottlers have completed all or
part of their transactions announced in April 2013 to expand their territories. Focus now is on effectively transitioning the acquired territories into each Bottlers’ operations and closing the remaining transactions. Each transition is
being handled with great care and diligence and the learnings are expected to facilitate more successful and rapid
• Coca-Cola Bottling High Country assumed its new, expanded territories on
December 31, 2013. This increased High Country’s presence in Wyoming and
Montana supplementing its existing operations in Wyoming as well as South
Dakota, Northern Colorado and Northeastern Utah.
• Coca-Cola Bottling Company United is completing its transactions in
phases. Two of several transactions with The Coca-Cola Company have
closed: one in the Oxford-Anniston market on March 29, and the other with
Scottsboro Coca-Cola in Scottsboro, AL, on May 27th. These transactions, as
well as the agreements still pending, will ultimately expand Coca-Cola
Bottling Company United’s presence across Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee
and the Florida panhandle.
• On May 28th, Swire Coca-Cola USA assumed its new franchise territories in
the Denver and Colorado Springs markets. These markets border Swire’s
existing territories and increase its franchise population served from 6.2
million to 10.7 million.
• And finally, also in May Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated assumed a
portion of its new territories in Morristown and Johnson City, TN. This
transaction signified the first phase of Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated‘s proposed franchise territory expansion that includes markets in parts
of Tennessee and Kentucky. Further transaction closings are expected in the
ADDITIONAL AGREEMENTS PENDING
• Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Inc. continues its work towards definitive agreements and
eventual closure on its refranchising transaction. Since Corinth’s expansion is a multi-party transaction involving both The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Consolidated, the unique attributes of
their transaction require additional time and staging to complete.
• And as previously reported, The Coca-Cola Company has signed Letters of Intent with two new potential entrants
to the US Bottling System: J. Christopher and M. Jude Reyes of Reyes Holdings, L.L.C. for distribution rights in
greater Chicago and Troy Taylor for Central Florida, including Tampa/St Petersburg. Definitive agreements are
expected by year-end.
Congratulations to our Association Members participating in this process. We look forward to sharing more
news as the balance of these transactions are completed and transitioned.
Best Practices Flow Freely “Under the Trees”
In 1903, few envisioned that a fishing club started on Lake
Waukomis, about 5 miles outside of Corinth, Mississippi would
become the site of a Southeastern Coca-Cola Bottler’s business
conference with legendary status. Like so many System traditions….this is not only a story to share, but an example of best
practices in action by Bottlers who continue to evolve with and
build their business. Lake Waukomis is a Chickasaw Indian
name that is synonymous with “free flowing spring.” It turns
out this name could not be more appropriate, as “the Waukomis
meeting” has become a special one, where ideas flow.
It all started in 1968, when television advertising was becoming
popular but only large markets were transmitter Cities. Corinth
Coca-Cola Bottling Works, as well as many other Coca-Cola Bottlers at the time, did not participate in this advertising. So
the Company put together “Advertising Co-ops” wherein all Bottlers would participate in the cost of TV advertising in proportion to the benefit they received. That’s when a group of bottlers from “Marketing Area 57,” got together in Memphis,
TN to discuss how they would share in the cost of local TV advertising. Bottlers from Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas,
Kentucky, Louisiana and Alabama—both large and small—took part in that first gathering.
At the end of the meeting, everyone agreed they should make it an annual
event. When a volunteer was sought to host the meeting the following year,
Sandy Williams hesitantly raised his hand. Every year since, this annual meeting has been graciously hosted by the Williams brothers, the third generation of
their family to lead Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works.
The original meetings were attended by Bottlers in the immediate vicinity
where they exchanged ideas and shared challenges. It always took place on
Thursday, with an agenda and a menu that’s become another anticipated part
of this get-together. The meeting became so popular that The Coca-Cola Company had to find a way to get involved! They did this by hosting an additional
session on Wednesday afternoon and the Williams added an annual party for that night. The party is hosted by Kenneth
Williams, graciously inviting everyone to his Lake house on nearby Pickwick Lake.
When weather permits, everyone attending the meeting gathers in a circle under a canopy of pine and oak trees and
shares a report on their business. Sandy Williams noted that he wasn’t sure which year they first sat out under the trees,
stating, “We didn’t do it thinking we would be creating any sort of tradition. It was more a matter of necessity—too many
people in too small a place to sit inside—so we moved outside.”
While much has changed over the last 46 years, Sandy credits a core group of Bottlers in their region, “who along with
their families and a great staff, are completely dedicated to the Coca-Cola business. And because of that, this meeting
has always been worthwhile . . . not only to exchange “best practices”, but to continue to see old friends.”
This meeting continues to attract a growing number of participants and representatives from many bottling ownerships,
including CCR, Consolidated, United and Northern New England, as well as most of the original core bottlers—Corinth,
Starkville (Clark) and Meridian, MS., and Huntsville, AL—along with folks from several other
Southeastern region Bottlers, The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association and the Company.
Each year, this unique setting offers a forum that facilitates understanding and discussion of
ways to optimize our business and the realities of a 21st century bottler. It’s about charting
a path to a better future, in spite of today’s challenges. It also underscores our interdependence with each other and with The Coca-Cola Company.
Coca-Cola of Alaska Provides the “Go-To” Refreshments
for Second Oldest Footrace in America
According to folklore, the tradition of the Mount Marathon Race® began
sometime before 1915, when two sourdoughs (an Alaskan term for a longtime resident) argued about the possibility of climbing and descending the
mountain in less than an hour. The argument led to a friendly wager that
would be settled by holding a race, with the loser to furnish drinks for the
crowd. They also proposed the race take place on a holiday – and why not
the 4th of July? Well, the optimistic sourdough lost his bet, as the first winning
racer took one hour and twenty minutes to complete his run up the mountain
and back down again. Of course, the port town of Seward had a steady
stream of arriving ships with fresh challengers who thought they could win
the race. Many believe that is how the race, believed to be the second oldest
footrace in America, evolved.
Sharing samples of Coca-Cola products
with the crowd at the parade
Official records document 1915 as the date when the Mount Marathon
Race® began as an organized run. Since then, the event has become a
regular part of the Independence Day celebration in Seward. The foot
race is a climb– a mile and a half up Mt. Marathon , at 3022 feet above
sea level and a descent, a mile and a half down, complete with cliffs,
scree (rock) fields, waterfalls, and a spectacular view. The race is a
rugged 3.1 miles and in spite of its challenges, attracts a diverse range
of participants including teens, seniors and Olympic athletes.
TEAM ODOM ready to activate Mt. Marathon
Coca-Cola of Alaska has sponsored the race for the last 5 years with
funding and product at the finish line and top of the mountain and
shares samples with the crowd during the parade. Regardless of the
day of the week it falls on, the event always takes place in Seward, AK
on the 4th of July.
And…if you happen to be a runner looking for a new challenge, the website for the race is: http://mmr.seward.com/
Coca-Cola United’s Chattanooga Bottling Company Celebrates
115 Years & Breaks Ground for Innovative New Facility
Coca-Cola Bottling Company United’s Chattanooga division broke ground on July 21st to build a new, state-of-the-art distribution and sales facility at an abandoned, vacant industrial site off W. Shepard Road, in Chattanooga. The ceremony
marked the company’s 115th anniversary of doing business in Chattanooga – the same day it launched the very first
Coca-Cola bottling operation in the world.
Local leaders emphasized the revitalization
and new life the facility will offer to the surrounding communities and added that
this location wasn’t the easiest or most
economical option for Coke to choose.
Coke United’s expressed their confidence in the city’s continued growth
and in a relationship that started
in 1899. “It only seems historically
appropriate, historically right and
frankly commercially right for us to
re-invest in this community,” said Claude
Nielsen, Coca-Cola United’s CEO.
The new facility will handle sales, order
generation, truck loading and distribution, in
addition to its current location on Amnicola
highway. This construction represents
an investment of 62 million dollars as
well as the retention of 270 jobs, that
otherwise, would have been moved
elsewhere. Chattanooga Coca-Cola
also expects to add 43 new jobs at the
new location. The facility is scheduled
to open January 2016.
Sustainability in Action
Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated is educating and reinforcing
sustainable consumer behavior through its “Recycle and Win” program.
“Recycle and Win” promotes awareness of good recycling practices by
rewarding consumers for recycling correctly. Originally introduced in 2011,
the program has increased recycling rates wherever it’s been implemented.
Through partnering with select cities, counties and customers across its
territories, CCBCC offers residents an opportunity to win gift certificates for
groceries, if “caught” recycling the right way. Retail partners include BI-LO,
Harris Teeter, Ingles, Kroger and Piggly Wiggly. Not only is this program
easy to understand and execute, it’s also good for our planet! The program
has been implemented in more than 40 communities, from small towns to
big cities like Charlotte, Raleigh and Nashville.
Recycle and Win is expected to expand to additional cities and towns across
Coke Consolidated’s geography.
Lauren Steele, Senior VP – Corporate Affairs,
CCBCC and Mayor Theresa Tomlinson
of Columbus, GA share a
The official Recycle & Win Patrol team visits neighborhoods
to catch (correct) recycling in action
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated Hosts Local Educators
In late June, a group of approximately 200 math and science teachers were given exclusive access inside a CocaCola bottling plant, the Snyder Production Center in Charlotte, N.C., for a special tour as part of a program called
“Lessons from the Real World”. The program has received excellent media coverage with the Coca-Cola plant tour
adding informative and fun elements!
“Lessons from the Real World” illustrates and helps the participating educators develop their students’ understanding
of how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can be used in real life. The program’s objective is
to share and show educators roles and real jobs where STEM skills actually come into play, and are applied, beyond
the traditional paper and pen. Bob Bedell, CCBCC Senior Director of Corporate Affairs, expressed his endorsement
of the program, sharing how it “empowers teachers to get a better understanding of what’s going on in the business
environment.” Bob then stated how this experience offers benefits and a practical answer to the often heard question
…”why do I need to learn this -- where am I ever gonna use it?”
Living Positively in Action:
Expanding a Fitness Tradition in Corinth
Regional Health Center, helps put the icing on the cake,
while providing complementary activities and educational
materials that support healthy lifestyles.
Kenneth Williams founded the race in 1982, creating an annual tradition that has encouraged and rewarded physical
fitness in the Corinth community for over three decades.
Parents in those early years encouraged their kids to
participate in the local ‘rite of passage’ known as Coke 10k.
Now, those same kids are adults leading their own children
in this annual event. It’s common to see three generations
of families participating.
On Saturday, May 3rd of this year, the Corinth Coca-Cola
Classic 10K Race took place in Corinth, MS. What makes
this unique is that this was the 33rd consecutive year that
this event has been held. It’s a labor of love put on by the
loyal employees of Corinth Coke, when the first race drew
160 runners. This year, like last year, the race maxed out at
1500 runners, demonstrating its amazing popularity. Running Times, one of the sport’s leading magazines, designated it as “One of the 100 Great Short Races” in the U.S.
10K offers a
fitness experience that can
be shared and
used throughout the year.
“Koach Kenneth Williams”
Twitter tips, (twitter.com/marathonkoach), to its ‘Kids Get
Fit’ Initiative, the race has evolved into a proactive community health juggernaut. This year’s event celebrated the
achievements of a few of its most outstanding participants,
ordinary runners who have done extraordinary things,
by designating them as Coke 10k Gold Standard Bearers.
These are runners that have made the biggest contributions to fitness.
The entire community
joins Corinth Coke and
adds greatly to the
tradition of the Coke 10k.
Corinth Coke’s partner
in Coke 10k, Magnolia
An extension of the racing event is the
Coke 10k Kids Get Fit Initiative. This
unique initiative provides classroom
leadership and curriculum for 4th grade
students across the Corinth and Alcorn
School Districts. As the Corinth team
began planning this program, they discovered an existing initiative sponsored by Road Runners Club of America
(RRCA) that coincided with their ideas in serving the needs
of Corinth’s local youth. RRCA’s program is called “Kids
Run America” and was implemented in response to the
growing national concern for the health status of children
across the country. The RRCA program is designed to
meet the physical activity goals outlined by the USDA
for children from kindergarten through sixth grade. Kids
Run America creates materials to help establish fitness
programs that can be implemented through a physical
education or classroom
in a variety of settings
(regular school/afterschool or community
Kids Run America
team can make it
easy to establish
a fitness tradition
in your market or
contact the “Koach”
to learn more.
A Bittersweet Farewell to Farmington Coca-Cola
and Mr. Jim Sweet!
For the last 34 years, Farmington Coca-Cola Bottling & Distribution Company was rarely mentioned without including Jim Sweet.
While Farmington finalized its acquisition by The Coca-Cola
Company in February, we were challenged to develop this article
without also sharing a little about the rich history of this franchise of
Tucked away in the beautiful state of Maine, Farmington Coca-Cola
Bottling & Distribution Company was established after Cassius
Clark acquired bottling franchise rights in 1922. Like most of our
independent bottling community, the family line of management
was strong. Mr. Clark led the franchise for many years before inviting
his son and daughter to help him run the business. Mr. Clark’s
Farmington Coca-Cola Bottling &
daughter, Frances married Ken Trask and ultimately bought out her
Distribution Company in Farmington, Maine
brother to become sole owner. Frances, like her father, also shared
the business with her children, Alan, Paul and Barbara. Alan joined the Company in 1970 and brother Paul in 1974. During this period, their sister Barbara married a gentleman named Jim Sweet, who managed a radio station in Portland. Jim
was building a successful career in broadcast and was regularly offered opportunities and promotions by his Company’s
management. Those opportunities always included relocating to different cities across the country….a tough choice
when you love where you live and have strong family ties. Then another, new opportunity beckoned to Jim with a strong
call. That call was answered when Jim joined Farmington Coca-Cola on New Year’s Day in 1980….and never looked
He started in sales and delivery and over the years has worked in every role that one can imagine necessary to a local
bottling and distribution facility. Over time the business evolved with consistent stewardship from Jim, with his tight team
of 19 employees including his daughter Jennifer who continues to work for the CCR team in Farmington.
As CCBA talked with Jim to congratulate him, he thanked his brother-in-law, Allan Trask, Farmington’s owner and
President and expressed his loyalty and admiration for our System and fellow Bottlers. He is quick to share thanks to
colleagues at Coca-Cola Northern New England, operating in adjacent territories and collaborating on the business for
many years. Jim also complimented the Coca-Cola Refreshments team, who he worked with to facilitate a seamless transition and integration and praises the CCR transition manager Mike Clift.
Congratulations Jim on 34 meaningful years with the Coca-Cola System!
A Changing of the Guard at ‘Fort Smith’
After 38 years of service, Bob Meek retired earlier this year from
The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Fort Smith, passing the
torch to his nephew, Robert R. Hunter. Rob joins the business as
General Partner, working with his cousin, Roger Meek. The Meek
family has owned and operated CCBC of Fort Smith for 111 years!
Rob and Roger are both fourth generation and part of our extended Coca-Coca family of Bottlers.
Congratulations Bob — on a job well done.
We wish you the best
WELCOME Rob to your extended Bottling family.
It’s now official!
The Coca-Cola family lost a longtime friend and leader in May.
We know you join us in sharing condolences with his family.
This obituary is an edited reprint from The San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, TX
E.T. Summers, Jr. went home to be with the Lord and united with his wife,
parents, and many friends on May 13, 2014. He was the oldest child born on July
2, 1918 in New Orleans, Louisiana to E.T. Summers, Sr. and his wife, Albertine
Summers. In 1926 his family moved to Cuero, Texas, where E.T. grew up. After
graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1939, he returned home to join the Coca-Cola
Bottling Company, Cuero, Texas and the family business. He also married the love of his life and
“soul mate” Lou Cretia Morris on July 8, 1941. Not long after that, E.T. was deployed to Europe as a
Captain in the U.S. Army, and after serving, returned to Cuero to make his home. E.T. and Lou
Cretia were married 63 years prior to her death in 2005. The couple was blessed with three children who survive him: Linda Summers Wagner and husband, Ed Wagner of Port Lavaca, Toby
Summers and wife, Lana of San Antonio, and John M. Summers and wife, Nancy of Meridian,
Mississippi. He is also survived by a sister, Elmire S. Cash of Victoria, Texas, seven grandchildren
and two great-grandchildren.
Over his lifetime, in addition to bottling Coca-Cola, E.T. served in the U.S. Army during World
War II, went to Harvard Business School and served as Chairman of the Board of Trust Texas Bank
(formerly Cuero Federal Savings & Loan Association.).
E.T. served and was recognized by his local community for Distinguished Service. He also served
as President of the Texas Soft Drink Association, Board Member of the National Soft Drink Association, and Board Member of the Atlanta based, Coca-Cola Bottlers Association.
Coca-Cola was indeed, in the Summers family blood with sons Toby serving as President of
Coca-Cola Bottling Company of The Southwest from 1988-1998 and John as its Vice-President from
1989-1998. John is also currently General Manager for Meridian and Union City Coca-Cola
E.T. was affectionately known by various terms of endearment such as Pops or Pappa by his
family and as E.T. or “Satch” by his friends. The greatest legacy he leaves his family is his optimism, love, trust, and faith in God. “Pops” never failed to publicly express his love for God,
Family, Coca-Cola, Trust Texas Bank, or his beloved hometown of Cuero, Texas.
E.T. considered himself blessed beyond measure and was humbled by his many blessings.
Protect Your Bottom Line
2014 Annual Loss Control Forum
2014 Spring Financial Management
In our last issue of the Bottling Line we highlighted a key
benefit of participation in CCBA’s Property and Casualty
Program. As Bottlers and Distributors of Coca-Cola, we can
find ourselves in the “eye of the storm” when it comes to risk
management. Understanding your risks and having a plan
that optimizes safety and minimizes loss is a formula for
success that can be easily overlooked….until an accident or
some other unfortunate incident occurs.
Understanding the many influences on our economy and
how market volatility, supply chain, healthcare and the
consumer beverage landscape will impact the business is
essential to our individual and collective success.
It’s easier than you think to take advantage of this formula for
success. It starts with CCBA’s Property & Casualty Program!
In addition to a complete library of safety, training and loss
control materials, participation in your Association’s Captive
program includes an opportunity to attend its Annual Loss
Control Forum. This year’s Forum was held on May 7-8th, in
Chattanooga, TN with participation by both our member
bottling community and beer distributors who participate in
the Association’s property and casualty program. The forum
is where members can share experiences and learn about new
best practices in step with today’s workforce and business
environment. The depth of the information presented and
access to subject matter experts, specializing in the unique
needs of our business make this annual event an exceptional
value. The strong ROI relationship of an organization’s
investment in safety training is the cornerstone of this
program. The agenda included tough subjects, such as how
to deal with an active shooter and emergency evacuation
training, to the influence of standards on pallet wrapping,
equipment use and managing and implementing OSHA
If you haven’t explored
participation in this
program that is designed
and structured specifically for Coca-Cola
Bottlers and beverage
distributors with your
unique protection needs
in mind, it’s time to contact your Association. For more
information, contact Charles Norton at 678-539-2304
([email protected]) or Ann Burton at 678-539-2302
This year’s Financial Management Forum, held in Santa
Fe, featured an informative agenda focusing on subjects
relevant to all Coca-Cola Bottlers. The meeting started
with an update from the ABA focusing on current
political issues impacting our entire beverage industry,
followed by a discussion on the economy from Wells
Fargo. We ended the first day with a robust discussion
on a subject challenging all companies – HEALTH CARE
LEGISLATION! The following two days featured expert
perspectives on the importance of the supply chain
in today’s beverage market, business updates on key
Coca-Cola Company initiatives, and an enlightening
look at the importance of managing your company’s
risk exposure on employment practice and fiduciary
claims. Industry expert, John Faucher, also offered an
interesting perspective on our industry from an analyst’s
The Financial Management Forum is open to all
Bottlers and provides an excellent opportunity to
collaborate with fellow members, industry colleagues and experts. The session is designed to provide insight and access that supports your financial
and business planning.
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All rights reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form without permission.
If you have stories or information about your Bottling organization or employees that you want to include in our next edition
of the Bottling Line, contact Linda Peluso at the Association at 678-539-2309.