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John Paterakis Sr.

Baltimore Sun's Business and Civic Hall of Fame honoree: John Paterakis Sr.

Baltimore Sun's Business and Civic Hall of Fame honoree: John Paterakis Sr.

Baltimore may not have a more successful risk-taker than John Paterakis Sr. After taking over the family bakery following his father’s death, he started investing in equipment to automate the process of churning out breads, muffins and rolls, building a small empire as other mom-and-pop bakeries went under. In the 1960s, he poured money into equipment to make buns for McDonald’s before he had a contract to bake the first one. His lawyer at the time thought it was financial suicide. Now just one of his company’s plants churns out as many as 2 million McDonald’s buns in a day.

But it was a favor Mr. Paterakis did for his...

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