Outside the box
With an eye toward innovation and a focus on the future, the American Bakers Association prepares for its annual convention.
BakingBusiness.com, Feb. 1, 2014
by Mari Rydings

When it comes to sharing the latest trends, ideas and issues, the baking industry never rests. Hot on the heels of a successful International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in October, bakers and suppliers will gather at the Phoenician Hotel, Scottsdale, AZ, March 15-19, for the 2014 American Bakers Association (ABA)’s convention.

“Coming off the heels of IBIE, this year’s theme, Thinking Outside the Box to Shape the Future, is aptly named as we experienced first-hand the incredible number of new and innovative products and ideas this industry has to offer to keep up with the constantly changing retail and consumer trends and demands,” said Robb Mackie, ABA’s president and CEO. “This year’s convention will focus on innovation, and sessions will focus on answering three specific questions: How is innovation changing the industry? How are consumers influencing our business? And risk and profit — what is the right balance?”

Several invitation-only pre-convention meetings are scheduled for March 15-16, and the All Membership meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. March 16, signaling the ¬≠official start of the convention. Two evening events, the New Attendees Reception and the Miller’s Welcome Reception, will bring the first day to a close.

Join your colleagues from 7:30-9:15 a.m. on March 17 for the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry Breakfast. This not-to-miss event will feature speaker Chris Wallace, the host of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Mr. Wallace has anchored this public affairs program since 2003 and covered most of the major political events since then. 

 Also on March 17, prominent businessman Steve Forbes, chairman and editorial chief of Forbes Media, will be the keynote speaker for the ABA PAC Dinner, which will be held from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Mr. Forbes publishes Forbes, the leading business magazine, with a circulation of more than 900,000 subscribers. His media company also publishes www.forbes.com, which attracts more than 18 million visitors each month, and a variety of lifestyle and international business magazines. This is a ticketed event.

In between the speakers, be sure to attend the morning and afternoon business sessions as well as socialize at the barbecue luncheon and evening cocktail reception.

Networking plays a significant role in the success of a business, and the ABA convention offers plenty of ¬≠opportunities to engage with your colleagues. Join your peers for the Sports Breakfast on March 18 at 7:30 a.m. This event kicks off a day of friendly competition that begins with the 21st annual PEC Golf Tournament, followed by the first-ever Gameapalooza and the ABA Tennis Tournament. After a day of activity, wind down and relax at the “March Mayhem” Farewell reception, which includes food, drinks and the NCAA basketball tournament. Show your support for your favorite team by dressing in your team’s colors. Before packing your bags to head home, fill up at the Get Away Breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on March 19.

For more information about the convention or to ­register, visit www.americanbakers.org.