Former MFA President Bud Frew dies at 77
Standing at the lectern during the kickoff meeting in 1997 just months before he retired, B.L. Frew told those assembled that honesty and integrity are the keystones of MFA Incorporated. “I don’t want this organization to ever lose that,” he said. “Remember who owns you,” he boomed into the microphone to the assembled group for the final time as president and CEO.
“It’s been a real ride,” he said. “But I’ve gotten more from the organization than it’s gotten from me. The quality of the employees, the quality of the managers, the support, dedication and the hard work. Never in my whole time have I asked anything that you haven’t done and done well.
“Always remember,” he said, “what’s good for the company, not what’s good for me, for my division, for my area. It’s what’s good for the company. I’ve always tried to search out what is right, to do what is right and try to make a difference. If you’ll continue to do that, the organization will continue to shine.”
He died Sept. 25, 2011, at the age of 77. B.L. (always known as Bud) Frew was president and CEO of MFA Incorporated from 1985 to Jan. 31, 1998. He leaves behind his wife, Kit, and children, Scott Frew and Suzette Marsch in addition to his grandchildren.
Current MFA President and CEO Bill Streeter said
Bud Frew’s contribution to MFA is a legacy of a professionally managed business organization focused on serving farmers and ranchers. “He was the force behind employee training at all levels. He constantly sought improvement. He wanted updated, modern locations, an informed and well-trained workforce, and professionalism at all levels. Bud Frew instilled pride and financial responsibility. People wanted to live up to his standards. People wanted to be associated with him and his efforts. He made you believe.”
Bud Frew began his career at MFA in 1970 when he was hired as director of exchange operations. Within a year, he was selected to manage the Exchange Division (later called Retail Distribution). He came to MFA from FS Services Inc. (now Growmark) where he had worked since 1960 after having graduated from Bradley University with an engineering degree.
By 1981, he had become MFA’s chief operating officer. Within four years, MFA Incorporated’s board of directors hired Frew as president and CEO. He proceeded to strengthen the financial position of MFA by instituting a series of financial measurements with specific emphasis on strategic planning as well as streamlining the cooperative by closing non-profitable locations and investing money into profitable locations and ventures.
He retired after having presided over 12 straight years of profitability.
Frew focused first and foremost on the people and company’s image, from managers at locations to people throughout the organization. Before retiring he listed as his three most important accomplishments at MFA: 1) the people who do their jobs and do them well; 2) the culture of the organization that is built around mission, strategy, honesty and integrity; and 3) a focus on business decisions that advance the mission and profitability of the cooperative.
His legacy is one of accomplishment.