​2016 Honorees

The 2016 honorees were inducted on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson
President, CEO
Baldwin Richardson Foods

Eric G. Johnson is the president and Chief Executive Officer of Baldwin Richardson Foods, one of the largest African-American owned businesses in the food industry. With more than 290 employees and $194 million in sales, the company is headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois and has manufacturing facilities located in Macedon and Williamson, New York.

Baldwin Richardson Foods is a leading manufacturer of custom food and beverage ingredients for global brands including McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and PepsiCo. The company serves the industrial, foodservice, private label and retail market segments as well as producing and distributing its own national and regional branded retail products.

Following in his father’s footsteps, in 1989 Mr. Johnson became the Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Products Company, the nation’s first African-American owned publicly traded company. In 1991, the Johnson Products Company was the 7th best performing stock on the American Stock Exchange and earned the American Management Associations’ Turnaround of the Year Award for that year.

A second generation entrepreneur, Mr. Johnson purchased the Baldwin Ice Cream Company in 1992, a small ice cream brand with a longstanding history in Chicago, Illinois dating back to 1921. Over the next several years, he expanded the distribution and sales of the company. Baldwin Richardson Foods was created in 1997 with the acquisition of Richardson Foods from the Quaker Oats Company. The company produces Nance’s Mustard and Condiments, Mrs. Richardson’s dessert toppings and liquid products for the McDonald’s Corporation.

In 2001, Baldwin Richardson Foods became the sole supplier of fillings for the Kellogg Company’s Nutri-Grain cereal bars for North America. The acquisition of the Industrial Products Division of The J.M. Smucker Company occurred in 2005 and expanded the company’s customer base within industrial products.

The company been recognized as a best-in-class supplier over the years by many of its customers such as:

  • Kellogg’s Gold Award 2015
  • Kellogg’s Diamond Supplier Diversity Award 2015
  • Kellogg’s Silver Supplier Award 2014
  • McDonald’s System First Award 2014
  • General Mills Supplier Summit Collaboration Champion Award 2014
  • General Mills Supplier Diversity Grow & Inspire Award 2014

Baldwin Richardson Foods has a strong commitment to supporting the community and organizations that focus on children and education. The company won the Ronald McDonald House Charities’ Loving Hands Award in 2008. In response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the company teamed up with PRODEV to build schools and facility buildings crucial to the country’s educational system. In 2008, the company began the Baldwin Richardson Foods Scholars Programs, an annual full, four-year scholarship award to Babson College, the world leader in entrepreneurship education.

Mr. Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts and Science degree from Babson College in 1972 and attended the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business as a Master’s Degree Candidate. He was awarded the Ronald McDonald House Charities’ Crystal Heart Award in 2011, the McDonald’s National Black Owner Operator Association (NBMOA) Lee Dunham Visionary Award in 2012 and McDonald’s System First Award in 2014.

He serves as a member of the board of directors of SUPERVALU and Lincoln National Corporation, where he chairs the Finance committee. He also serves on the board of trustees for Babson College and the Urban League of Rochester.

Mr. Johnson is the father of four children, one of whom is John E. Johnson, a Babson graduate from the class 2008.

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