In 1937, Milt Odom acquired
We sat down with Bill Odom, Milt’s son and the company’s Executive Vice President, to discuss what
What’s your earliest
Coca-Cola has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up on the
What does it mean to be part of the
Coca-Cola family, particularly as a family-run business?
I’m honored to be a member of the
Coca-Cola Odom special?
Odom is unique due to the communities it serves: Alaska and Hawaii. Though opposites in many ways, both climates present unique challenges and hard-to-reach customers. Much of these territories are not accessible by road—so product must be flown. To the more remote areas in Alaska, products are barged just once or twice a year. Many of Alaska’s more remote regions have very poor water supplies: laden with heavy metal, ill-tasting and brown in color. Odom has a unique mission in these areas as Coke products, particularly SmartWater, are often the primary if not the sole source of refreshment for these communities.
Looking back over your family’s time running
Coca-Cola Odom, what are you proudest of?
The Odom Company and the Odom family have both faced adversity over the years. Building and growing a company isn’t easy. One my personal mottos is: “The best grapes come from the rockiest soil.” I remember, at one point, we lost several of our supplies all at once and were navigating challenges with our workforce and supply chain. But we rallied. My brother and I worked together to get our father’s company back on track. We acquired 32 lines, bought out our biggest competitor and eventually rose to Alaska’s #1 distributor. I’d say I’m proudest of that—how we’ve consistently turned challenges into opportunity.
How are you and
Coca-Cola Odom connected the communities you serve?
Given where I am now in life, I sit on various boards—and maintain an active connection with the Boys and Girls Clubs. I enjoy forging connections within organizations, carving out a role for my business, and then handing off the opportunity for continued involvement to local employees who demonstrate passion and interest for the project. Service means a lot to me and I also encourage my employees to participate in the community and support their doing so. But, after all these years, I’d have to say what I value most is just being on the ground and spending time with local people whose lives have been positively impacted by my family’s business.
To give a more concrete example of our community involvement,