Member Profile

1960 Horatio Alger Award Recipient

Frank Armour, Jr.*


H.J. Heinz Company

“Excel at every job. Your diligence can take you from washing dishes to heading a major company.”

Frank Armour was the son of a Pittsburgh metals worker. As a young teenager, Armour washed dishes in an ice cream parlor from 5 p.m. until midnight for 50 cents. When he was 14, he heard about a better-paying job at the local drugstore soda fountain, but one requirement was that he be 16. Armour borrowed a pair of long pants that made him look older and secured the job.

Upon graduating from high school, he was employed by H. J. Heinz Company to guide tourists through its food processing plants. In his first year and a half at Heinz, he worked in 18 departments including traffic, bookkeeping, and sales. His talent in sales planning and promotion led to his being made manager of the Heinz Pier at Atlantic City and the Heinz exhibit at the New York World's Fair.

In 1942, he became general manager of the company's aircraft division, which built glider parts. Promotion followed promotion, and successively he held positions as head of all manufacturing and then head of sales and advertising. In 1959, he became the first nonfamily president of the Heinz, the huge food company with factories in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Venezuela, and the Netherlands. He later became chairman and CEO of Ore-Ida Foods, Inc., a Heinz subsidiary.