A reference archive of articles, press releases, news stories, photographs, and other documents reflecting the business and civic accomplishments of Thomas F. Olin


THOMAS F. OLIN




Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Archway Cookies, Incorporated
Clandestine Service, United States Central Intelligence Agency
Major, United States Army / USAR
University of Michigan 1952, Economics
Sigma Chi Fraternity "Significant Sig"
Ashland, Ohio's first "Citizen of the Year"










In Chronological Order

Presented in high resolution 1500 pixel format
(Click on images and documents to enlarge)



BEGINNINGS


Tom was born on April 24, 1928, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Merton and Ann Olin.
His father was an executive with the J.C. Penney Company, opening new stores
for the company in the upper midwest.  Tom lived in North Dakota, Wisconsin, 
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and York, Pennsylvania before finally settling down
 in Grove City, Pennsylvania.  He attended seven different schools before the third grade.




Tom had two siblings; a younger brother (Jim) and sister (Lee).  
His brother had a congenital heart defect, 
complicated by rheumatic fever, and was frequently bed-ridden. 
Tom took much of the responsibility of caring for his brother, 
often carrying him up and down the stairs of their home.  
This experience helped shape Tom's character, as well as 
his mental and physical strength.      












MILITARY AND 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN



1946.  After graduating from Grove City (Pennsylvania) Senior High School,
 Tom joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Japan as part of the post-war occupation.
  He was assigned to Company C, 720th Military Police Battalion, Eighth United States Army,
 where his responsibilities included protection of General Douglas McArthur's Headquarters
 (located in the Dai Ichi Building) in downtown Tokyo.  





1947 Company C, 720th Military Police Battalion, Eighth US Army Roster

Military Police Duty Roster - May 30, 1947 - Downtown Tokyo, Japan









(University of Michigan ROTC brochure: Tom is on the left)


Tom returned from Japan in 1947 and attended the University of Michigan.  
After initially beginning a track in pre-law, Tom graduated (distinguished military graduate) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, and minors in political science and speech.  


 

 

(University of Michigan, Sigma Chi 1950, Tom is in fifth row, third from left)


(University of Michigan, Sigma Chi 1951, Tom is in second row, third from left)






 CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

After graduation, Tom was selected to work in clandestine operations for the 
Central Intelligence Agency.  At the time, the agency was recruiting from elite college campuses, selecting only those with both physical prowess and high intelligence. During its entrance evaluation, the CIA estimated that Tom's Intelligence Quotient exceeded 172.  

Joining the agency in February of 1952, he was given an alias (Tim O'Brien) and began
 covert paramilitary training at Quantico and Camp Peary, Virginia, to be part of
 an insertion team into Albania with the goal of destabilizing and overthrowing
 the Soviet-dominated regime of Enver Hoxha. This would be accomplished
 through the use of propaganda media, infiltration agents, and economic warfare. 
Known as Operation BGFIEND, the program had been part of
 a joint CIA(US)-MI6(British) operation since 1949.


This parachute emergency rip-cord saved Tom's life when his primary chute
 failed to open during CIA low-altitude night jump training.
 Jumps were made from as low as three hundred feet, using the "prop-wash"
 from aircraft such as the Curtiss C-46 Commando to pop the chutes open.


September 1952, Tom married Gloria Skidmore, whom he had met while attending
 the University of Michigan.  She recalls moving to Washington where the newlyweds
 rented an apartment at Ashmead Place, on Dupont Circle.  
Gloria would often drive Tom half-way to work,
 drop him off at a random street corner around the Capital and watch him disappear
 into crowds of pedestrians. She never knew precisely where he worked, but later learned
 that he was stationed in an old Naval barrack somewhere on the periphery of the city.



(Detroit Free Press, September 26, 1952)


Meanwhile, there were developing signs that the Albanian program had been compromised.
 Several CIA insertion teams had been ambushed and killed during their drops
 and more than 200 pro-U.S. Albanian guerrillas had been divulged and executed.
Tom remained in Washington, working with an undercover assessment team to identify
 and evaluate intelligence leaks. Ultimately, several were discovered, including H.A.R. "Kim" Philby,
 a high-ranking member of MI-6 who had worked in Washington for two years, and was acting
 as a double-agent to provide the Soviet-backed Albanian Sigurimi with subversion plans.
 Nearly the entire CIA operation had been undermined from its outset.

These Top Secret CIA documents discussing Albanian operations from 1952 - 1953 
were declassified in 2007 and provide insight into Tom's activities during that time ...






The CIA began to wind down BGFIEND in late 1953, and withdrew from Albania. 
Kim Philby resigned from MI-6 and eventually defected to the Soviet Union. 
Tom Olin left the CIA in late 1953, and he and Gloria returned to Michigan to begin
 a new phase of their lives in her home town of Battle Creek.


CIA Plan For Albania (1949 - Declassified)

The Journal of Intelligence History - Albania 



















FOREIGN POLICY SEMINARS

AMERICAN ASSEMBLY - BROOKINGS INSTITUTION

(Above: Invitation letter to attend the Mid-American Assembly, 1956)


After returning from his service in the CIA, Tom remained involved 
in government activities and attended several foreign policy conferences, sponsored by
 The Brookings Institution and The American Assembly during the late 1950s and 1960s.
  Having extensive knowledge and experience in foreign affairs, 
he was recommended for these seminars by University of Michigan 
Political Science professor, Dr. Russell Fifield.







(Above: Documents from foreign policy conferences. 1956 - 1962)









(Battle Creek Enquirer, February 18, 1962)

By the early 1960s, Tom Olin was beginning to establish himself in the community
 as a unique man of high intellect and solid business acumen.  
This article, "About Folks" introduced Tom Olin to the Battle Creek community and profiled
 his involvement in the CIA and national foreign policy programs.











In 1962, Tom Olin was asked to give his first professional (paid) speech,
 an address to the American Institute of Banking, where he discussed
developing foreign policy issues and their potential impact on financial markets 
in a speech entitled, "American Democracy: Can It Be Exported?"




"AMERICAN DEMOCRACY:
CAN IT BE EXPORTED?"
Address to the American Institute of Banking
September 15, 1962
(Click on each page to enlarge)



















F. J. SKIDMORE AND SON 
CONTRACTORS AND ENGINEERS
OLIN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY


In 1954, after returning from Washington D.C., Tom began working for his in-laws at 
F. J. Skidmore and Son - Contractors and Engineers, in Battle Creek, Michigan.  
There, he was general contractor as well as secretary / treasurer for the company.  

By 1959, he had started his own business, Olin Construction Company, 
specializing in residential design and build.  Although not a licensed architect, 
Tom was gifted in architectural design.  He was an enthusiast of Frank Lloyd Wright 
and Joseph Eichler (Eichler California homes) and often incorporated their approach 
into his efficient and stylish open-plan houses.
Many featured contemporary post and beam, clerestory, and concrete block designs.  
He built more than thirty homes throughout southwest Michigan, from Marshall to Mattawan.  
Several of Tom's homes are still standing today, almost sixty years after construction. 


(Photos courtesy of Google street view)

Two surviving Tom Olin - designed and built homes in Battle Creek, Michigan.











UNITED STATES ARMY RESERVES



 
(Tom is at far left in top photo and third from right in bottom photo)

 
(Military Publicity Photos. Left Photo: Tom (center), Right Photo: Tom (second from left))



Tom remained active in the United States Army Reserves until February 3, 1969.  
He retired a Major (USAR - TC).











ARCHWAY COOKIES OF ASHLAND, OHIO


In 1964, Tom joined the Archway Cookie Company as bakery manager in Ashland, Ohio.  
When he arrived, the bakery was located in a converted Tucker automobile sales showroom,
 with two small pizza ovens for baking cookies. 
Here he is with Betty Smith and Mildred Shaughnessey,
 two of the original employees of the bakery.







Tom once recalled, "When I first arrived in Ashland and took up the reigns at the bakery,
 I was so fired up that I could have walked through a brick wall to go to work every day." 









Archway Cookies publicity photos, circa 1967 and 1970.
(taken inside Tom's Ashland bakery office)







(Ashland Times Gazette, January 22, 1971)








(Ashland Times Gazette, October 4, 1971)


By 1971, seven years after moving to Ashland, Tom had grown the bakery 
into the largest and most prolific Archway facility in the nation ...
 increasing from 50,000 packages a year to more than fifteen million.
As a result, he was promoted to vice president.













Thomas F. Olin
1973 Archway Cookies, Incorporated
Annual Awards Speech
Hueston Woods State Park, Ohio
(25 minute audio presentation)






In this speech, Tom addresses the current state of the food industry in 1973; 
a national recession characterized by spiraling costs of flour, shortening, 
and fuel ... and subsequent consumer boycott of many food products. 




(Mansfield News Journal, February 4, 1973)





CIVIC LEADER AND VOLUNTEER 

IN ASHLAND, OHIO
(Ashland Times Gazette, August 19, 1972)




 (Ashland Times Gazette articles) 

Committed to his community, Tom volunteered his time 
with literally dozens of civic organizations including:
 Ashland University Board of Trustees and Ashland University President's Advisory Council, 
Ashland County Heart Fund, Director of Farmers (Huntington) Bank and Trust, 
Vice President of the Ashland Chamber of CommercePresident of the Ashland Public Library
Board member of First Presbyterian Church, City of Ashland Area Traffic Improvement Committee, 
and Ashland Manufacturer's Council.






By the mid-1970s, Tom had earned tremendous respect throughout the state of Ohio,
 not only as a successful businessman, but as an important civic leader as well.
























MASTER MASON / LIFE MEMBER
SALADIN TEMPLE
TENNESSEE SQUIRE



Tom was a Master Mason-Scottish Rite (Lodge 419), a Life-Member Shriner, 
a member of the Ashland Rotary Club, Ashland University Club, 
and Young Mens Business Club.



(Member: Tennessee Squire Association)










MILITARY HISTORY SCHOLAR





 

Tom was an astute scholar in American history and an outstanding public speaker.
  He was often asked to give motivational speeches at high school and college graduations, 
as well as community and business meetings.
  He was a noted authority on lesser-known aspects of the Civil War, such as the Shenandoah,
 Confederate blockade runners, and the pre-presidential life of Abraham Lincoln.   






"THE CIVIL WAR UPON THE HIGH SEAS
BLOCKADERS: RUNNERS & RAIDERS"
Presentation to the Battle Creek Civil War Roundtable
November 19, 1973
(Click on each page to enlarge)
















"SHENANDOAH: BLOCKADE RUNNER"
Presentation to the Western Reserve Civil War Round Table
February 15, 1977
(Click on each page to enlarge)












"ABRAHAM LINCOLN:
REMARKABLE RAIL-SPLITTER"
Presentation to the Ashland Rotary Club
February 13, 1979
(Click on page to enlarge)






















THOMAS F. OLIN 
CHAIRMAN - ARCHWAY COOKIES, INCORPORATED

(Ashland Times Gazette, March 30, 1983)

In 1983, Tom and his business partner, Gene McKay, purchased Archway Cookies Incorporated.  
Tom was named Chairman of the Board of Directors and Co-Chief Executive Officer.






  




The purchase necessitated Tom's move from Ashland, Ohio
 to the Archway corporate office in Battle Creek, Michigan.

By the time Tom left the Ashland bakery, he had expanded it 
from a six-hundred square foot garage into a 
substantial production facility of more than six acres under roof
 ... that was producing ten million cookies every week. 





(Huntington National Bank Board, Resolution of Appreciation, July 1983)









DELTA MU DELTA
NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY
IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION


In 1986, Ashland University honored Tom with Honorary Membership in Delta Mu Delta,
 National Honor Society in Business Administration.


Press Release Photo:  "Ashland College President and Trustee
 Receive Membership In Business Honorary Delta Mu Delta."
  Pictured (l-r) are:  President Joseph R. Shultz, Nancy Brooker (assistant director BSBA/MBA), 

Trustee Thomas F. Olin and Dr. Fred Rafeld, dean school of business. 











During the 1980s, Tom established himself as an important civic leader in Battle Creek, Michigan.
  He served on the Battle Creek Community Foundation Board of Trustees 
(Grant Review Committee), and Board of Trustees of Michigan National Bank-West.  
He also volunteered on behalf of Junior Achievement of Southwest Michigan, South-Central Michigan Food Bank, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, the University of Michigan, 
and Habitat for Humanity.  









ASHLAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
INDUSTRIAL APPRECIATION DINNER



(Ashland Times Gazette, March 1988)

Tom often returned to Ashland to visit the bakery, family and friends.
  On March 16, 1988, he was invited to be the keynote speaker 
at the 1988 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Industrial Appreciation Dinner, 
where the topic was "Investing in the Eighties."  





"INVESTING IN ASHLAND, OHIO"
Ashland Chamber of Commerce
Industrial Appreciation Dinner
March 16, 1988
(Click on each page to enlarge)





























Certificate of recognition and appreciation presented on behalf of 
the citizens of Ashland, Ohio by Mayor Don Richey.
March 16, 1988. 












THOMAS F. OLIN
ASHLAND, OHIO "CITIZEN OF THE YEAR"
ASHLAND UNIVERSITY ADDRESS
APRIL 6, 1991




 



On April 6, 1991, Tom was invited to give a keynote address at the Ashland University Library,
 where he was asked to speak to university professors and staff, members of the 
Ashland Chamber of Commerce, and other community and civic leaders. 


"THE LIBERAL ARTS:
KEY INGREDIENTS IN A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS"
Ashland University Address
April 6, 1991
(Click on each page to enlarge)










At the close of his address, Tom was honored with two special presentations.
  In recognition of his outstanding achievements in both business and public service, 
the City of Ashland, Ohio, by decree of it's mayor Don Richey, 
declared April 6, 1991 to be 'Thomas F. Olin Day'
 and further named Tom as Ashland, Ohio's first 'Citizen of the Year'.


The Collegian (Ashland University)
March 14, 1991










THOMAS F. OLIN
WELCOMING REMARKS
1993 Archway Cookies Sales Seminar
Saddlebrook, Florida
(6 minute video presentation)



"We will continue to make the finest homestyle cookies that can be baked.  

We will never, never cheapen a product's quality in order to hit a pricepoint."










SIGMA CHI FRATERNITY - "SIGNIFICANT SIG MEDAL"

 



In 1993, at the Sigma Chi fraternity international grand chapter meeting in Toronto, Canada,
 Tom Olin was awarded with the "Significant Sig Medal" for outstanding achievements
 and leadership in both business and public service.

Sigma Chi Fraternity - 'Significant Sig' Website






ARCHWAY COOKIES INC.

NATIONAL ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS



1980s Archway 'Big Cookie Time' Commercial
(Featuring Actor Billy Zane)





1993 Archway Holiday Cookie Commercial
(Click below)










THE SUCCESS OF ARCHWAY COOKIES, INCORPORATED


Tom receives a 30 year Archway anniversary pin from 
his friend and business partner, Gene McKay.


Tom and Archway Vice President Tom Seddon
 present Children's Miracle Network celebrity John Schneider
 with a check for $250,000 during the June 1993 telethon.














(Battle Creek Enquirer, Business Journal, November 1, 1995)

By 1995, Archway Cookies had earned a position as the third largest cookie brand 
in the United States, with national sales exceeding one hundred million units annually.




(Battle Creek Enquirer, March 25, 1995)


By early 1996, the company had begun implementing a succession plan, 
thus enabling Tom to take on a different role.














"JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT 
COMPANY MASTERS PROGRAM ADDRESS" 
Junior Achievement National Leadership Conference
Washington, D.C.
July 28, 1996
(Click on each page to enlarge)





































Tom and his wife, Gloria, at his 50th high school reunion.
Grove City, Pennsylvania. August 1996.




Tom was a member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association,
President's Society (Harry B. Hutchins Society), Victors Club, 
and was a sponsor of Michigan Replay.
















1996 ARCHWAY COOKIES, INCORPORATED
BOARD OF DIRECTORS



(Back Row:  Tom Seddon, Don Keaton, Kermit Darkey, Chris Christ)
(Front Row:  Gene McKay Jr, Tom Olin Jr, Gene McKay III, Tom Olin)












ARCHWAY COOKIES - 1996

3rd LARGEST COOKIE BRAND IN THE UNITED STATES
LARGEST MANUFACTURER OF HOLIDAY COOKIES IN THE WORLD
FASTEST-GROWING FAT FREE COOKIE BRAND IN THE WORLD
ANNUAL PACKAGE SALES: 125,000,000+
ANNUAL RETAIL SALES:  $300,000,000+








THOMAS F. OLIN
PHOTO GALLERY
(Click on each image to enlarge)






















APRIL 24, 1928 - OCTOBER 30, 1996


(Battle Creek Enquirer, Front Page, October 31, 1996)


(Detroit Free Press, October 31, 1996)


(Kalamazoo Gazette, November 5, 1996)


(Battle Creek Enquirer, October 31, 1996)

(Ashland Times Gazette, October 31, 1996)


 
(Memorial Program, First Congregational Church, Battle Creek, Michigan)











TRIBUTES


"Horizons"
Battle Creek Community Foundation Newsletter
December 1996








"Report of the President"
Ashland University Annual Report 
1995 - 1996









Archway News, Special Edition
Thomas F. Olin
April 24, 1928 - October 30, 1996













LEGACY


Detroit Free Press, July 15, 1997


















A memorial stone and tree were planted by the employees
 of the Ashland, Ohio Archway bakery in honor of Thomas F. Olin.







"Stop and smell the roses along the way"







The Olin Family Trilogy: