Ted Cohen, president of Hillside Candy, has been named the recipient of the 74th Kettle Award, presented Tuesday during a ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Rick Brindle, v.p. of industry development, Mondelēz International; Joe Dutra, ceo of Kimmie Candy; and Tony Jacobs, president of Topps Confectionery Brands, were also nominated for the award.

Holding the gleaming copper kettle, a still-shocked Cohen pointed to the confectionery industry’s history of strong leadership and service.

“These are guys that I’ve always looked up to, wishing that I could contribute as much to an industry that’s given me so much,” he said. “You have to participate, you have to be caring and loving for the industry as a whole, and that’s what the Kettle Award means. It means you’ve gone above and beyond.”

Cohen has devoted his entire working career to the candy business, but he originally intended to be part of the third generation of his family’s industrial uniform business, started by his grandfather in 1928. Raised in New Jersey, Cohen spent his summers and vacations driving truck routes and learning the uniform business. He graduated from Boston University with a BS/BA in business management. 

Upon graduation, Cohen joined Myron Fisher as the second full-time employee in a small operation producing a sugar-based hard candy product. And in 1983, he and Fisher developed a sugar-free hard candy that led to the founding of the GoLightly and GoOrganic brands.

Cohen also has lobbied in front of an FDA panel for proper ingredients statements for the sugar-free industry. And he, along with Michael Rainy, founded the Candy Marketing Coalition (CMC). He also helped found the International Steering Committee for the NCA.

Cohen was instrumental in developing the Young Executives Group for the NCWA and served on its board for many years. Cohen also helped found the Broker Advisory Committee for the NCA and served as a mentor for the YPN. Additionally, he has served on the NCA Board for several years. 

Cohen also launched a community service day for Hillside Candy and served as an advisor for the local bank Union Center National Bank.

Cohen enjoys golf, bridge, trap and skeet shooting, cooking and loves to travel the world as often as possible with his wife, Lisa Shapiro. Ted and Lisa are very proud of their two sons, Jordan and Justin.

Candy Industry Magazine’s founder and publisher, Don Gussow, established the Kettle Award in 1946. As he explained to readers then, the Kettle Award was meant as “recognition of the contribution for ‘great or good’ of the industry, not only on the part of the person selected for the distinction, but of every member of the confectionery field who has devoted himself in whatever measure to make the business of candy making and selling a more profitable and happier one.”