Elevated importance of safety stressed by Ardent Mills c.e.o.

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Dan Dye, Ardent Mills
Dan Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent Mills
 

NEW ORLEANS — The milling industry’s emphasis on product safety as well as the safety of the employees who work in flour mills has never been greater.

At the 2017 International Association of Operative Millers (I.A.O.M.) Conference and Expo in New Orleans, a powerful message about this topic was delivered by Dan Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent Mills, the United States’ largest flour milling company, in his keynote address to the hundreds of millers gathered at the event, held April 10-14.

“It’s great to see safety is an industry issue,” Mr. Dye said. “It’s important to all of us. Everyone wins when you have a safe workplace and safe products. It’s our obligation to share and learn from each other when it comes to safety.”

Mr. Dye said when Denver-based Ardent Mills was formed four years ago, the company established four values: trust, service, simplicity and safety.

“I’ve heard some people say that safety is a priority, but I want to take it further and challenge each of us to say it’s more than a priority — it’s a value,” he said. “There is a difference. I believe values bring us together, while priorities often times divide. A priority for one group may be profit and the other group may be productivity, and those are very different things.”

Mr. Dye said earlier in his career, before he joined Ardent Mills, he received a phone call, ironically after getting out of a safety meeting, that forever changed the way he looks at safety.

“It was 12 or 13 years ago when I got the call none of us want to get,” he said. “I was told that one of our employees at one of our facilities died in a grain engulfment incident. It was a very hard and difficult time for me. As a company leader I said to myself, ‘What can I do to make a difference?’ What could I have done different to have prevented that?

“I took it as a personal challenge to make safety more than a priority. I came to the conclusion that day that safety must be a value to the very core of who we are as leaders, fellow team members and workers.”

In closing, Mr. Dye challenged the milling industry to do the following in an effort to improve product and employee safety:

• Take ownership for personal and food safety. “If you each do that, you will make your facilities safer I guarantee it,” he said.

• Take advantage of continuous education. “We have to continue to talk about and educate and train and discuss safety issues,” he said. “We have to train people so they understand the risks in the workplace and risk in products if they don’t follow key operators’ policies and principles.”

• Thoroughly examine the best process and practice policies in your everyday operations. “While you can’t just boil down safety to policies and procedures, we should constantly be reviewing and updating our manufacturing practices and policies to make sure they make sense and are easy to understand and can be executed flawlessly in the plant.”

• Embrace innovation and technology. “A lot of our facilities are older, but that doesn’t mean we can’t innovate and use newer technology within them. We need to look at technology as it continues to advance and create a safer workplace and safer products.”

New leadership unveiled

Officers who will lead the I.A.O.M. for the next year were elected during the association’s annual conference and exposition in New Orleans.

Stephen Doyle, vice-president of King Milling Co., Lowell, Mich., was named the 113th president while Jeff Hole, director of milling at Grain Craft, Chattanooga, Tenn., was elected vice-president. He is in line to serve as president in 2018-19. David Jansen, plant manager at Siemer Milling Co., Teutopolis, Ill., was elected treasurer and is in line to serve as president in 2019-20.

Mr. Doyle, who has been an active member of the I.A.O.M. since 1987, said the theme for his presidency is “Education is the key.” He stressed the importance of the development and training of a new generation of millers to replace the anticipated 50% of the workforce that will retire within the next decade.

He served on the I.A.O.M. board of directors from 1997-2002, representing the Wolverine District. He also served on the district’s executive committee for two terms. Mr. Doyle is the third member of his family and fourth employee from King Milling to be elected to the I.A.O.M. executive committee: his father, Roland M. Doyle, served as president from 1978-79; his brother, Jim, was president from 2005-06; and superintendent and head miller Oscar J. Nelson served as president from 1954-55.

Mr. Doyle is a native of Lowell. He received a bachelor’s degree in milling science at Kansas State University in Manhattan. Following graduation, he returned to Lowell to work at his family’s mill, King Milling Co., where he has worked for 30 years. In the past decade, he was actively involved in two major expansion and modernization projects at King Milling Co. Mr. Doyle is a past president and member of the Michigan State Millers Association. He also serves as chairman of the Lowell Historic District Commission and is past president of the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, Lowell Lions Club and Lowell Area Historical Museum.

Mr. Hole, an active member of the I.A.O.M. since 1994, will be responsible for overseeing preparations for the association’s 2018 conference in Atlanta.

While serving as I.A.O.M. vice-president, he also will be president of the International Milling Education Foundation (I.M.E.F.), a philanthropic partner of the I.A.O.M. that funds a variety of educational programs related to the grain milling industry. Mr. Hole has served as the chairperson for the Central District and on the I.A.O.M. board of directors from 2006-12, representing the Central District. He has been on the Employee Relations Committee since 2011.

Mr. Hole is a native of Wichita, Kas. He received a bachelor’s degree in milling science and a master’s degree in agribusiness at Kansas State University. Following graduation in 1994, he joined Cereal Food Processors, Inc., where he has held positions of head miller, milling superintendent, plant manager and director of plant administration while working at the company’s U.S. facilities in Portland, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Kas., and Overland Park, Kas. In 1997, he was milling superintendent at Grain Millers, Inc. in St. Ansgar, Iowa, for one year. Since the acquisition and formation of Grain Craft in 2014, he has held the position of director of milling.

Mr. Jansen, who has been an active member of the I.A.O.M. since 1995, will be responsible for overseeing preparations for the association’s 2018 and 2019 conferences in Atlanta and Denver, respectively.

While serving as I.A.O.M. treasurer, he also will be vice-president of the I.M.E.F. Mr. Jansen was the Ohio Valley District director from 2010-16 and served as the district’s chairperson from 2006-09. He was a district officer from 2005-06.

Mr. Jansen is a native of Effingham, Ill. He has an associate’s degree in electronic engineering technology from Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill. He is a 2016 graduate of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program and received a certificate in 1996 from Kansas State University and I.A.O.M. for the Advanced Operative Millers Short Course. Mr. Jansen has been with Siemer Milling Co. since 1994, when he started in the maintenance department upon graduation. He became packing and loading supervisor in 1995, assistant production manager in 2001 and production manager in 2006. He has been the plant manager since 2008.

Mr. Jansen is a past-president of the Teutopolis Fire Protection District and has been a volunteer firefighter in the district since 2006.

Educational sessions

The I.A.O.M. educational program included 22 presentations related to facility management, product protection, technical operations, employee management and specialty milling.

John Putnam, Radio Frequency Co. Inc., discussed the functionality and advantages of Radio Frequency (RF) thermal processing for the milling industry in the area of pasteurization and disinfestation. He said this includes achieving a FSMA-compliant kill step with a verifiable HACCP system using energy-efficient RF Macrowave technology.

Eduardo Pimentel of Danisco Brazil gave a presentation on wheat processing enzymes for enhanced milling efficiency. He said two new enzyme products have been developed to be added to the water pipeline during the conditioning phase of wheat processing.

The conditioning process may take from 8 to 40 hours depending on wheat type and process, before the wheat is then milled and extracted to flour and bran. Mr. Pimentel said the enzyme enables smoother milling by opening up and softening the kernel faster and thereby easing the pressure on the rolls. He said this can give more flour output, increase the extraction rate and produce an even more premium flour.

Industrial global trials at wheat mills have demonstrated extraction rate improvements from 0.5% to 2%, energy savings of 5% to 10% and a reduction in conditioning time by 30% to 50%, Mr. Pimentel said.

Another well attended session was a presentation on Star of the West Milling Co.’s new 10,000-cwt flour mill in Willard, Ohio. Gary Pickelmann, corporate milling superintendent for Star of the West, said the mill, which began operating in August 2016, includes the latest milling equipment supplied by Bühler. The mill produces soft wheat flour.

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