John Heily '67, '12 Hon

President/CEO Continental Mills, Inc.

John Heily

John Heily was the first in his family to earn a college degree, graduating with a business degree from University of Portland in 1967. Soon after graduation, he moved to Seattle to work for Continental Mills, Inc., a flour mix company with brands including Krusteaz and Ghirardelli. At the age of 33, Heily became president and CEO of the company, which was in financial trouble at the time. Overcoming the challenge, today, the company has more than 700 products, which are sold in every major grocery store throughout the U.S. and North America. Heily notes that the company has an icon to describe the “core culture” of the organization, stressing the importance of people and its customers. He adds that he got the idea for the symbol, which he has used for more than 30 years, from a finite math class at the University. 

He is proud of his family’s Heily Foundation, which pays for the entire education of children who otherwise could not afford one. The University of Portland, he says, “gave me a chance that I cannot forget.” Heily commends the business school, noting, “there is a fierce pride throughout the Pamplin School that is very obvious to me.” Reflecting on his addition to the business school’s Hall of Fame, he notes that “it’s an incredible honor to be recognized by a school that gave me so much.”