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The 2002-03 CIRCLE Entrepreneurship series organized by Lafayette students continues with a talk by Reading Bakery Systems owner E. Terry Groff ’68 on “Small Businesses: Good Things Come in Small Packages” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the Oechsle Hall auditorium.

Free and open to the public, CIRCLE events are supported by the Hunsicker Fund, which promotes the study of entrepreneurship at Lafayette. This year’s series began Oct. 22 with a talk by local business consultant Dale F. Falcinelli. Three additional lectures are planned.

In its third year, CIRCLE is organized by senior economics and business majors Shivani Malhotra of Bangalore, India; Kate Dickie of Swampscott, Mass.; Kelly Maiers of Telford, Pa; and Kathy Ferretti of Easton, Pa. They are advised by Rosie Bukics, Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Professor of Economics and Business, and Sheila Handy, assistant professor of economics and business.

Groff and his father purchased Reading Pretzel Machinery Corporation in 1974, developing it into the world’s leader in pretzel production machinery.

Born in Reading, Pa., Groff was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army after graduating from Lafayette with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He served in Germany from 1969-70 and was a company commander in Vietnam from 1970-71, earning two Bronze Stars and the Air Medal. After leaving the military in 1971, Groff began a business career with Chemical Bank, working on Wall Street for the next two and a half years and eventually becoming a lending officer of the bank.

In 1974, he joined his father, E.I. Groff, in the purchase of Reading Pretzel Machinery Corporation. He became president and chief executive officer in 1978. Since then, Reading Pretzel Machinery Corporation has grown to become the world’s leader in high-speed, automatic, pretzel machinery. By 1997, 85 percent of all U.S. manufactured pretzels having a sales value in excess of $1 billion were manufactured on Reading equipment, which also accounts for approximately 73 percent of installed capacity worldwide.

In 1999, Groff changed the company name to Reading Bakery Systems to fully serve the baked snack, pet treat, biscuit, and cookie and cracker industries. Now 65 percent of Reading’s sales are non-pretzel processing systems.

Groff is a contributing member of American Society of Bakery Engineers and American Society of Manufacturing Engineers, a past president of Associates of the Snack Food Association, and a past two-time director of the Snack Food Association

He is the holder of 11 U.S. and foreign patents in food machinery design. He has also lectured on pretzel production at the University of Beijing and the American Institute of Baking. He has addressed many groups and associations on the topic of leadership, entrepreneurship, and “The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.”

Groff is an avid fly fisherman and pilot and holds a commercial, instrument, multi-engine and single-engine pilot’s license with two additional turbo-jet type ratings. He and his wife, Irene, have three children and live in Wernersville, Pa.

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