Herbert E. Schilling II has been chosen as a laureate in Junior Achievement of Acadiana's 21st annual Business Hall of Fame.
"Herbie," as he is known to friends, was born Oct. 12, 1949, and is the only child of Herbert and Olga Richard Schilling.
Herbie's mother, Olga Richard Schilling of Jeanerette, was a 1932 graduate of Southwestern Louisiana Institute and received her Master’s degree from LSU. She was a professor at SLI/University of Southwestern Louisiana for 34 years.
His father, Herbert Schilling —who came to Lafayette in the late 1920’s to play baseball — by 1932 was co-owner of the Lafayette White Sox, and then co-founder of the Evangeline League.
After serving in World War II, Herbert returned to Lafayette to discover that the Evangeline League and his team were no longer viable. In 1949, he became a wholesaler for Anheuser-Busch, which brewed only Budweiser and Michelob beers at that time. Schilling Distributing opened its doors Jan. 1, 1950.
Herbie graduated in 1972 with a degree in business management from USL, where he was a four-year letterman on the USL Golf Team. The team won the Gulf State Conference Championship in 1971, and played in the NCAA II Championship in Chico, California. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.
Upon graduation, Herbie enlisted in the Army Reserves and, upon return from active duty, went to work in the family beer business — at which his father had required him to work in every position and division during high school summers and college.
Upon his father's death in 1981, Herbie assumed leadership of the company — where his education and company experience served him well as he moved from sales manager to general manager, vice president and president.
Under Herbie's leadership, Schilling Distributing won the inaugural Ambassador of Excellence Award from Anheuser-Busch in 1981. Only six of 1,470 distributors nationwide received the company's highest honor, which recognizes top-performing wholesalers for their commitment to excellence. August Busch III came to Lafayette to present the award at the grand opening of the new Schilling facility on Pinhook Road on April 9, 1983.
In 1983, Herbie was selected to serve on the prestigious AB Wholesale Advisory Panel, one only 15 wholesaler principals chosen at that time. He was then elected chairman of the panel in 1985 by his fellow panel members. He was and still is, the youngest chairman elected.
This position required meeting with Mr. Busch and his management team every three months. The education from that one year rivaled four years of college, Herbie says.
Herbie has grown Schilling Distributing from a one million case annual volume in 1981 to more than four million today. He opened the present office and warehouse at 2901 Moss Street in 2003. (It is the site of his father’s farm, which was purchased in 1933.)
A recent 42,000-square-foot warehouse addition brings the controlled-environment warehouse to 104,000 square feet and 180,000 overall, including office and mechanic shop.
Herbie has expanded from distributing only AB beers to more than 200 brands of beer, non-alcoholic products, water, and a varied selection of wine and spirits.
Herbie is also an active entrepreneur, launching many businesses. The first was Pelican Park in Carencro, which opened in 1987 as the premier softball complex in the United States. His development of that facility lead to his induction into the United States Specialty Sports Association Hall of Fame.
He then purchased two local radio stations — now known as “The Dawg” and “Planet Radio” — changing their formats and personnel. He is part owner of various other businesses on whose boards he serves: Louisiana Rice Mill, Fairway Logistics, Acadiana Waste Services, iTA Truck Sales and Service/Idealease with locations in Houma, New Orleans, Lake Charles and Lafayette.
Herbie has also been involved in various non-profit organizations. In 1980, he resurrected the Louisiana Open State golf tournament, then founded The Louisiana Open Inc., a non-profit organization that runs the Chitimacha Louisiana Open’s Web.Com Tour, a pathway to the PGA Tour.
More than $4 million for charity
Since 1986, the Chitimacha tournament has donated more than $4 million to Acadiana charities including Boys & Girls Club, Hospice of Acadiana, Children’s Museum, Hearts of Hope and Louisiana CASA.
Herbie also started the Recycling Foundation, which provided curbside recycling to residents of the City of Lafayette.
Community has a strong influence on Herbie, a lifelong resident of Lafayette, and his decision to become involved in community organizations that positively affect Lafayette and Acadiana.
He was a founder of the Upper Lafayette Economic Develop Foundation and a founding board member of One Acadiana. He is a member of Blueprints Louisiana, for which he serves on the CEO advisory board. Herbie is also a member of Mystic Krewe of Louisianians and Krewe of Gabriel.
Herbie is a member of the Oakbourne Country Club, where he served as Greens Committee chairman in 1984, as president in 1985, and was responsible for the construction of the redesigned course that exists today.
Herbie is also a member of The Olympic Golf Club in San Francisco, Edgewood Tahoe golf club on Lake Tahoe, and Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, SC.
He is also a member of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, Beer Industry League of Louisiana and Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association.
Herbie is married to Renee Vidrine Schilling of Galliano., a graduate of LSU. They are members of St. John’s Cathedral Catholic Church, and have a blended family of 8 children, 21 grandchildren and 3 step-grandchildren.
Those who know Renee credit her for Herbie’s success, and you will receive no argument from Herbie.