“And the recipient of the 68th Kettle Award is…” an educator, candy maker and just a classy guy.

Bernie Pacyniak

Patrick Huffman, president and coo of the Warrell Corp., was not only moved when his name was read by Russell Crosio, vice-chairman of the Kettle Committee and president of Crosio and Associates, but moving in his remarks both at the reception and the exclusive dinner held at the Union League Club of Chicago last night.

Acknowledging his appreciation of the Kettle Committee, particularly in the manner the group selects the nominees, Huffman said he has had the good fortune of working with eight Kettle Award recipients.

As Huffman  pointed out, fellow nominees Jeff and Bill Birnn of Birnn Chocolate of Vermont; Greg McCormack of Kencraft Candy Co.; and Joseph Zanetos of Anthony-Thomas Candy Co., “represent the backbone of our industry…entrepreneurs who mix ideas with hard work; add generous amount of talent and enthusiasm; and make today’s brands and tomorrow’s icons.

“This year, regardless of the flawed Florida counting method that you used, I am honored to be standing here with you,” he deadpanned.

“This evening is never a goal by any awardee,” Huffman continued. “Nomination is a tremendous honor. The friends that I share the dais with this evening are the real reason that I was excited to participate. From the Kettle awardees and all Kettle nominees that I have worked with, the common thread is that working in this industry together provides a simple and durable way to be happy.”

In keeping with the happiness theme, past Kettle recipients Pat Hurley of Spangler and Jim McGovern of JM Consulting Co. reminded Huffman of his ability to persuade, coerce and, at times, “draft” individuals into confectionery organizations for the good of the industry.

Their reflections added a lighthearted note to a truly eventful night for one of the industry’s consummate educators. Congrats Pat!

Read more about Pat Huffman in our news story about his big night!