Slideshow: B.&C.M.A. annual technical conference

by Joanie Spencer
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ATLANTA — Amidst the excitement of the recent announcement that the American Bakers Association and the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association are exploring a possible merger in 2017, tradition was alive and well at B.&C.M.A.’s annual technical conference, held May 1-4 in Atlanta.

“The tech conference is sacred,” said David Van Laar, president of the B.&C.M.A. “The biscuit boy is a brand,” he said, referring to the association’s iconic logo.

From the opening golf tournament, to the social event, to the technical sessions that covered topics such as collaborative robotics, non-p.h.o. formulating, gluten-free product development and more, the technical conference delivered on all it’s known for. In addition, the conference introduced a new element, the sold-out, hands-on training workshop, where attendees learned first-hand the results of — and how to troubleshoot — basic formulation variations. Participants who also were enrolled in the B.&C.M.A. Correspondence Course received course credit.

As for the change that’s appearing on the horizon, it was met with excitement and collaboration when Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A., delivered the opening session’s keynote address to speak on the state of the baking industry.

“One thing that has encouraged me through this process is that Robb MacKie is a man of integrity,” Mr. Van Laar said. “He’s forthright. He’s open. He’s listening to the needs of the B.&C.M.A.”

During his keynote address, Mr. MacKie echoed the excitement.

“We have two organizations that are vibrant and strong,” he said. “The B.&C.M.A. has done a fantastic job with reenergizing the organization, and I think the attendance at this conference really speaks to that.”

According to the preliminary timetable, the boards of both organizations will vote to approve the merger early next year with an official merger date tentatively set for June 2017.  
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