President, CEO, Ly Brothers Corporation
Andrew Ly (B.S., Accounting, ’86) wasn’t the most rested SF State student. Between classes, he operated a doughnut shop he owned with his four brothers. “It was tough,” he says. “I studied all day and worked all night, rolling and firing doughnuts before delivering them to coffee shops.”
Today he heads the Ly Brothers Corporation, the $42 million parent company of Sugar Bowl Bakery. One of the largest and most successful family-owned and operated bakeries in Northern California, Sugar Bowl delivers treats to Bay Area retail stores, restaurants and coffee shops, and to warehouse clubs across the country.
Andrew calls his customers “the real bosses” and takes their suggestions seriously. Suggestions like removing trans fat from his entire product line—which he did before the removal was mandated by the Food and Drug Administration. “Do you know how hard it is to make a doughnut without any trans fat?” he says.
Although the operation has expanded from its humble beginnings, Ly still dons a hair net daily to chat with some of his 375 employees at plants in San Francisco and Hayward. And he still draws from his business degree. “My education at SF State helped me a lot,” Ly says. “Good professors and classes. Environmental Law and Accounting helped me set long-term and short-term objectives and understand how to deal with strengths and weaknesses of a company.” Ly’s attention to his employees’ needs as well as those of his community helped earn him the Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO award, presented by the San Francisco Business Times in November 2007.