back                   Distinguished Cornell '79 Classmates Honored at the 35th Reunion                    next
Charles A. Bengochea

Chuck was born in Cuba and raised in South Florida. His family emigrated from Cuba for political reasons in 1959. He attended Cornell where he graduated with a BA in Economics and was selected an Academic All-American Baseball player. He married his wife (Laurie) after his freshman year and they have been blessed with 4 kids – 2 boys and 2 girls, ages 33-21.

After graduation, Chuck went to work in the Financial Management Training program for General Electric. In 1987, after eight years with General Electric he went to work for The Coca-Cola Company, where he rose to Controller of the $2 billion Fountain Division. In 1995, he joined The HoneyBaked Ham Company of Georgia as the Director of Retail Operations. Two years later he was promoted to Vice President of Retail and two years after that was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In 2003, he was named President and Chief Operating Officer, becoming responsible for all of company’s lines of businesses. In February 2006, HoneyBaked appointed Chuck the first CEO outside the family that had founded and managed the business for four decades. He succeeded Linda van Rees, granddaughter of the company founder, who was named Chairman of the Board.

Chuck is on the board of the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (holdings include The Harlem Globetrotters and Dollywood) and a former board member with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Camp Highland and HoneyBaked Ham LTD.

Chuck’s heartbeat and passion is to take the church outside the walls – to the workplace and to our cities. He is heavily involved in moving his church to minister to the “least of these” in neighboring communities.

Still an athlete today, Chuck is a Triathlete and a former member of the US Long Course Triathlon Team. He has competed in six Iron Man competitions and is competing in 2014.