CLAAS' Recognition Ceremony Announces Keynote Speaker Bob Fairchild

By Noah Wolfenbarger, Student Writer for the Office of External Relations & Communications

Image of Bob Fairchild

The Miami Regionals experience is different for everyone. Some people are looking to find more than just their GED, while others want to use the Regionals as a springboard into grad school. For Bob Fairchild, his experience was very different. With 1970 being at the height of the Vietnam War, many people had to choose between being drafted or attending college, and for Fairchild, it was not a difficult decision.

After graduating from Middletown High School, Fairchild decided to pursue a college education. He came out of high school focused on specific goals that led him to Miami Middletown. With the newly built campus only four years old, and low tuition costs, Miami Middletown provided Fairchild with the opportunity he was looking for during a time of economic depression. Being from a middle-income family, money was hard to come by then.  Miami Regionals gave him the ability to receive a great education at an affordable price, and earn a degree that paved the way to a successful career in business.

After graduating from Miami with an associate degree in Industrial Technology, Fairchild found a job working as a paper mill supervisor. He describes this job as the most difficult position he has ever held, but it proved to be an important stepping stone early in his career. After working in this position, Fairchild became an administrator for multiple paper companies from Ohio to California. His success in these positions was so well known, in fact, that he became widely recognized as the national leader in his field.

The success Fairchild found in his administrative positions would follow him to his new career at Ample Industries, a multi-million dollar company Fairchild co-founded in 1997 that specialized in paperboard products for the fast food industry.  Fairchild developed and patented many of his company’s products including a clamshell sandwich box that would stay closed even when dropped, and a heat sleeve used by many companies including Starbucks.

Ample grew in its success, reaching annual sales of $60 million. It became the second largest fast food product producer in the U.S., growing from four employees to 400.  In 2011, Ample caught the eye of Huhtamaki, an international paper company and worldwide manufacturer of paperboard and plastic products primarily for food packaging, operating globally in 34 countries and employing over 19,000 people. Huhtamaki purchased Ample for $32 million and appointed Fairchild as the Vice President of its National Account Sales division, in which he managed national and international acquisitions. He worked in this position until his recent retirement.

“Miami Regionals provided me with a strong foundation and enabled me to succeed in all of my positions,” Fairchild said. His passion for his work and his drive for success was brought about by his willingness to take risks.

To current and future students at Miami Regionals, that’s Fairchild’s one piece of advice.

“Take risks. That’s how I got to be where I am today. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take those risks,” he said.

Fairchild’s story inspires anyone who hears it. Fairchild now enjoys spending his retirement with his wife Nancy and serves on the boards of several non-profits, including the Miami Regionals Advisory Council.