Skip to main content

Robert D. "Bob" Planck ('71)

CEO of Interconnect Enterprises, Retired CEO of Independent Marketing Alliance & Retired VP of Marketing for SYSCO Corporation

Past Chair of Eric's Club

Lectured April 7, 2011

Bob Planck graduated with the very first class of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1971. While a student at the College, he worked in numerous restaurants and clubs in Houston. He was the founding president of the Hotel and Restaurant Management Society (today called the Hotel Management Society) and served on the Student Senate representing Hilton College. He also served in leadership roles in numerous student groups. Bob was named to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities by the UH selection board his senior year. In 1969, Bob wed his college sweetheart Sharron Brieger, and in December 2010 they celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary.

After graduation, he served as an Army captain during the Vietnam War, working stateside in management positions in Army hospitals and in food-systems development on assignment to the Quarter Master Corp. Bob was awarded two Army Commendation Medals for his service and also was advisor to the Quarter Master Center Army Chef's team and served on the Valley Forge Officer's Club Board.

After completing his military service, Bob became the corporate director of foodservice and housekeeping for Humana Hospitals Corporation, working in their corporate offices in Louisville, Kentucky. He worked in the field in the USA and overseas.  

In 1978, he joined Sysco Corporation in Houston as director of training and development and over an 18-year period was subsequently the company's director of quality assurance, director of merchandising, director of marketing services, a divisional vice president in two different operations, and finally a corporate officer and vice president of marketing.

In 1995, he left Sysco and relocated to Australia to direct John Lewis Foodservice of Australia, the first national foodservice distribution company in that country. Over his term, the company acquired and integrated 17 operations, becoming the largest foodservice distribution operation there.

After returning to the USA in 1997, Bob taught full time for a year at Hilton College as a visiting professor and executive in residence. He also consulted with numerous firms in the USA and Australia during this time.

Subsequently, Bob became senior vice president of Ameriserve, an $8 billion revenue firm and the nation's leading limited menu restaurant distributor. He also was a founding partner of Food Service Associates of Australia, the first national foodservice brokerage firm in Australia, and managed and developed a Northeast-based USA foodservice brokerage firm while employed by Damon and Associates. 

For the past 10 years, Bob has served as president of the Independent Marketing Alliance (IMA), a supply chain management and marketing firm whose principals boast sales of $15 billion through 65 distribution facilities in the USA. In addition, he is chairman of Customer Advantage Network, a firm that develops customer loyalty programs for thousands of operators through the same distribution system's IMA member/owners.

Bob has served as national president of the Society for the Advancement of Foodservice Research, serves on the editorial advisory board for several industry magazines and has been awarded the Doctorate of the Foodservice Industry and the National Seafood Service Leader awards.

Bob has served as international president of Tau Kappa Epsilon (the world's largest social fraternity), chairman of a national political action committee, president of the Hilton College Alumni Association, a board of directors member and vice president of the UH Alumni Association, has been a member of The UH Athletic Foundation Board, the Honors College and the Conrad N. Hilton College Dean's Advisory councils and has led the Hilton College portion of the most recent UH development campaign. He is a member of the UH Presidents Club and of the 1927 Society. He is a life member of the UH Alumni Association and the Frontier Fiesta Foundation and is an active supporter of our athletics programs through Cougar Pride.  

Bob has been recognized as the Hilton College Alumni of the Year, UH Volunteer of the Year and UH Parent of the Year with wife Sharron. Most recently he was named the 2010 Distinguished Service Honoree by the UH Alumni Association.