Contact: Sally Hargis, Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company
417-865-9900 ext. 256
For Immediate Release
Ozarks Coca-Cola Board of Directors Elects Bruce Long as CEO
Springfield, Mo. (May 10, 2023) – The Board of Directors of Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company has elected Bruce Long as its next Chief Executive Officer.
Long, who currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Edwin C. Rice, who has been elected CEO Emeritus. Elected to the Board of Directors in December of 2022, Long will officially be CEO and President of the company, the fifth to lead since the Company was founded in 1921.
Long graduated with a BS and MS in Education from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO. A dedicated employee of Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company for more than two decades, he and his wife Sandra have one daughter, Sydney.
“Bruce’s career with us spans 23 years, and through that time he has been involved in almost every aspect of the company. He’s become an integral member of Ozarks Coca-Cola’s leadership team, and the commitment and invigoration he’s brought us has been inspiring,” said Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company Chairwoman and Vice President Sally Hargis. “He’s served as our President and COO since 2015, and in that time his integrity, strategy, and leadership have been invaluable to the continued growth and success of our company.”
“The last 20 years have been some of our most celebrated and most successful,” said Edwin C. Rice. “In 2020, we celebrated 100 years as a family-owned business. In the decade before that, we expanded into Joplin, West Plains, and Northwest Arkansas. I am incredibly proud of the growth this company has achieved, and I have no doubt that this company’s future will be in great hands for years to come.”
“I am honored to assume the role of CEO and follow in the footsteps of Mr. Rice,” said Long. “We have an amazing group of people led by a passionate leadership team, and I look forward to continuing our tradition of outstanding service to the communities and associates who have been the foundation of the Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company for over a century.”
Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company is a fourth-generation, family-owned Bottler operating in Missouri for over 100 years. Founded by the Rice family in 1920, Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper products are manufactured in Springfield, with sales and distribution branches in Springfield, Bolivar, Rolla, Joplin, and West Plains, MO, and Northwest Arkansas. Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company employs over 800 associates and serves more than 2.3 million consumers through local, regional, and national outlets. More information about Ozarks Coca-Cola Company is available at www.cocacolaozarks.com.