Brooks Honored With 2024 Kettle Award


Indianapolis — John Brooks, Jr., president of Adams & Brooks, Inc. was presented with the 2024 Kettle Award during a reception at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis. The evening honored Brooks, along with fellow 2024 nominees Greg Power, CEO of Las Olas Confections and Snacks, and Mark A. Tarner, president of South Bend Chocolate Co. 

In accepting the award, Brooks told the more than 250 guests at the industry reception: “I’m joined here tonight with a very nice contingent of the A&B crew, and I want to take this moment to explain why you’re here. Now, you might think that you’re here because you’re supporting me and you’re supporting the company, and yes, that’s true, but there’s something else — we talk about teamwork and being interconnected and being interdependent; we talk about no one gets their job done unless we all get our job done, and you think I could be effective in what I do without all of you by my side? No way. So, you’re here because you’re just as much a recipient of this award as I am, so thank you for being here.”

(from left) Kettle Award nominees John Brooks, Jr., Adams & Brooks, Inc., Greg Power, Las Olas Confections and Snacks, and Mark Tarner, South Bend Chocolate Co. were all recognized for their contributions to the confectionery industry last night as part of the 2024 Kettle Awards.

Brooks received the honor 14 years after his father, John Brooks Sr., who was in attendance to see his son accept the award, which recognizes notable contributions to the confectionery industry. 

Brooks has more than 30 years of industry experience working in various roles in the company dating back to his first summer job in 1985. He joined the business full time in 1997 and prior to being named president in 2021, he served as COO, involved in all aspects of the company.

The company, which has two BRC-certified manufacturing facilities, produces brands including Whirly Pop, Coffee Rio, P’Nuttles, Big Cherry, and Fairtime Taffy. It also has items under licenses including Jelly Belly, Hawaiian Punch, and Sour Punch. 

Brooks has served the NCA for many years, including terms as treasurer and audit committee chair. He currently chairs the investment committee and has served on the executive committee and board of trustees. 

He is a member of the NCSA Manufacturer Advisory Council and a supporter of the Western Candy Conference, chairing its 2007 event and recently rejoining the board.

“We are thrilled to present John Brooks, Jr. with this Kettle Awards recognition,” said Joseph Melville, NCSA chairman and owner of Melville Candy Co. “With more than three decades of commitment to the confectionery industry, John has made great strides for Adams & Brooks. We are also proud to celebrate the achievements of Greg Power and Mark A. Tarner who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the confectionery industry.”

Also honored during the event, Power was recognized for his long-time commitment to the confectionery industry. With nearly 34 years of experience, Power started his confectionery career in 1990 at Helen Grace Chocolates, working his way up in the warehouse and plant operations. After the company was acquired in 2014 and became BBX Sweet Holdings, Power continued rising in rank. 

Noteworthy is his leadership in consolidating multiple facilities and brands into Las Olas Confections and Snacks, now the Southeast’s premier specialty confectionery manufacturer. Power is active in the industry through various organizations, including Retail Confectioners International, where he currently serves as the first vice-president. He also sat on the Board of the Western Candy Conference, chaired the conference in 2014, and served as president in 2015. 

Tarner was recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and advancements in the confectionery space. He founded South Bend Chocolate Co. in 1993, quickly earning accolades and growing it from a home-run business to a full wholesale operation. Aside from South Bend Chocolate, Tarner is involved in ventures, including South Bend Farms – a farmer’s market retail store. He is currently developing a 90-acre tourist destination in South Bend, IN that will include a new factory, along with a dinosaur museum, cafes, and restaurants.

“Each of tonight’s nominees exemplify all that the Kettle Awards represent — excellence in production and quality advancement, industry service, research and development, financial techniques, and overall commitment to the future strength of the confectionery industry,” said Kathy Koszuta, Cargill, Inc. and chair of the Kettle Committee.

“Thank you to all who joined us in acknowledging the unwavering dedication of John, Greg, and Mark to the confectionery industry. Our sincere appreciation also goes to our incredible sponsors whose generosity made this ceremony possible,” added Mark Lozano, executive director of the Kettle Awards Committee. 

The NCSA assumed guardianship of the Kettle Awards in February 2024.