AlthoughCandy Industry’s65th annual Kettle Award reception was held at a new venue this year -- the prestigious Union League Club of Chicago -- the recipient proved to be an industry veteran familiar to nearly everyone: John Brooks, Sr., president of Los Angeles-based Adams & Brooks, Inc.

More than 200 guests waited in anticipation as Kettle Committee Chairman Chuck Phelan opened the envelope before revealing the news. The room burst into applause as Phelan read the words, “And the recipient of this year’s Kettle Award is John Brooks, Sr. of Adams & Brooks.”

Brooks’ curriculum vitae, while steeped in confectionery, did have one out-of-candy experience. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a masters of science in biology, Brooks opted to work as a bio-technician with Northrop Space Laboratories. But the allure of participating in the family business, which was founded by his father and partner, Paul Adams, in 1932, brought Brooks back to confectionery three years later.

He joined forces with his father at Adams & Brooks in 1964, involving himself in all aspects of production, sales and finance for the next 10 years.

In 1974, Brooks purchased a 50% interest in the company. Upon the death of his father in 1975, he took over as president of the company. In 1990, he established a candy manufacturing company in Mexico, eventually incorporating it as a subsidiary in 2006.

Active in the Western Candy Conference since 1976, Brooks was its chairman in 1978 and received the group’s Distinguished Service Award in 2001. As a member of the National Confectioners Association’s board since 1978, he served twice as the association’s vice president. He was inducted into the NCSA Candy Hall of Fame in 2008.

Brooks acknowledges that what he learned from his father and co-founder, Adams, had the most significant influence on his career. He is dedicated to continuing the Adams & Brooks tradition of producing distinctive, unique, quality candy. Two of his three children, Cynthia Brooks Hoban and John Jr., also are active in the family business, serving as vice presidents.

Candy Industry’s2010 Kettle Award nominees -- Eric Atkinson of Atkinson Candy Co., Michael Rosenberg of Promotion in Motion Cos. Inc. and Ed Seguine of Mars Chocolate North America -- were honored with special plaques during a dinner held following the reception.

For more information about the Kettle Awards,