Mays Business School, November 1st, 2005
Paul W. KruseÂ , CEO and president of Blue Bell, summed it up for his family when he said “We’re very fortunate to work in ice cream. It’s fun!” Along with his father,Â Ed. F. Kruse, chairman of the board, and his uncle, President EmeritusÂ Howard W. Kruse, the trio showed that they did indeed think ice cream was a fun business when they accepted the 2005 Kupfer Distinguished Executive Award at Mays in late October.
Kruse family members have been at the helm of Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham since early in the 20th century. Long ago, Blue Bell sold fireworks to grocery stores during the winter because ice cream sales were not enough. Today, Blue Bell has expanded its operation to 16 states and is currently the No. 3 brand in the country.
All three Kruses are Texas A&M graduates. Ed Kruse ’49 earned his bachelor’s in dairy science. He was a member of the Corps of Cadets, a Distinguished Military Student and a varsity letterman in swimming.
Howard Kruse ’52 also majored in dairy science, and was a Distinguished Student. Howard is the creator of Blue Bell’s top-selling flavor, Homemade Vanilla.
Paul Kruse ’77 earned his degree in accounting and in 1980 graduated from Baylor University School of Law. He practiced law until he joined Blue Bell in 1986 as general counsel and corporate secretary.
During their presentation to a class of Mays’ marketing students, the Kruses emphasized that caring for people is paramount to those students’ success. “Care about the people you work with and you serve. Most of all, make it a lot of fun,” Howard said.
The Kupfer award, established in 1987, is presented annually to an outstanding executive. This is the first time that the award was presented to a family. The award was established by Gerald Ray ’54 and Donald Zale’54, good friends and classmates of Harold Kupfer.
Previous Kupfer Award winners are T. Boone Pickens Jr., Trammell Crow, Herbert D. Kelleher, Richard E. Rainwater, H. Ross Perot, Mary Kay Ash, Roger Staubach, David Glass, Gen. Alexander Haig, Michael S. Dell, Lowry Mays, Colleen Barrett, Gordon M. Bethune and Ray L. Hunt.