Ladd M. Seaberg, former longtime board chairman, president and CEO of MGP Ingredients, Inc., a leading supplier of premium distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches, passed away on Sunday, January 29, following a long illness. He was a highly accomplished and recognized business and community leader, and abundantly devoted to his wife, Karen Seaberg, who currently serves as MGP Board Chair, and their children and grandchildren.
Funeral services for Mr. Seaberg will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Feb. 6, at the First Presbyterian Church, 302 North Fifth St., Atchison, Kan. The family will receive friends during a visitation from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Becker-Dyer-Stanton Funeral Home Chapel, 800 Kansas Ave. in Atchison.
Mr. Seaberg, who retired as chairman of MGP’s board on August 27, 2009, began his first term on the board in 1979. Prior to being named chairman in 2006, he served for 26 years as president of the company and was also chief executive officer for 20 years.
Associated with MGP throughout his entire professional career, Mr. Seaberg, 70, led numerous progressive developments at the company, including several major expansion projects, facility and technological upgrades, product diversifications and an extensive internal restructuring process. He performed an integral role in MGP becoming a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq Exchange in 1988, and in the growth of the company’s product lines that included the addition of several specialty wheat proteins and starches for food applications, along with increased premium distilled spirits capabilities.
Mr. Seaberg joined MGP in 1969 and rose from distillery production manager to vice president and manager of the company’s starch division in 1970. He was made vice president and plant manager in 1972 and was named president in 1980.
Mr. Seaberg was a founding member and past president of the International Wheat Gluten Association. He also served for several years as president of the U.S. Wheat Gluten Industry Council, and was a member of the USDA Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Grains, Feeds and Oilseeds, representing the U.S. grain community at World Trade Organization meetings. Other professional memberships included the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Water Pollution Control Federation, and the Technical Committee of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.
In addition, Mr. Seaberg was a board member of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a member of Kansas Inc., and numerous other state committees under former Kansas Governor Bill Graves. He also served for several years on the boards of Exchange National Bank and Trust Company, Atchison, the former Atchison Leather Products Company, and Benedictine College, and was an advisory director of Commerce Bank of Kansas City.
Mr. Seaberg was one of the original founders of the Atchison Area Economic Development Council and was its chairman until the start of 2009. He also was a longtime member of the board of directors of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, Atchison, and the Atchison County Historical Society, and was former member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and past chairman and president of the board for the Kansas City Presidents’ Organization. He additionally had been a member and chairman of the Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce board, as well as the local Santa Fe Depot Board of Trustees, and served for a time as state vice president of the Kansas Jaycees.
As a founder and charter member of the Amelia Earhart Bridge committee, Mr. Seaberg was instrumental in initiating action leading to the construction of a new bridge over the Missouri River in Atchison in 2012. He additionally spearheaded the funding and purchase of land and a walking bridge at the Independence Creek Lewis and Clark Historical Site in Atchison as part of the nationwide Bicentennial Commemoration of the explorers’ 1804 Corps of Discovery Expedition.
In recognition of his exceptional leadership in business, industry and local community affairs, Mr. Seaberg was honored by the local chamber of commerce in 2008 when he was inducted into the chamber’s prestigious Hall of Fame. Along with his wife, Karen, his father-in-law, Cloud L. “Bud” Cray, MGP chairman emeritus, and other family members, he received the Cray-Seaberg Vision of Excellence Award from Atchison’s Santa Fe Depot Board of Trustees in 2014. This distinguished award was established to honor individuals and families who demonstrate exceptionally outstanding community leadership. Three years prior to that, he and his wife were recognized for their extraordinary service to Benedictine College by being awarded that institution’s highest honor, the Cross of the Order of St. Benedict.
A native of China, Texas, Mr. Seaberg earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Texas Tech University in 1969. He and his wife, Karen, raised two daughters, Mrs. Roy (Lori) Mingus, Lawrence, Kansas, and Mrs. Kyle (Melissa) Huntington, Atchison, and became the grandparents of two girls and four boys.