TIA goes all in

by Shane Whitaker
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Beware the ides of September because if it passes, then you will have missed the Tortilla Industry Association’s (TIA) 22nd Annual Convention and Trade Exposition, which will be held Sept. 11-13 at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV.

“One of the highlights of this year’s show is the location,” said Jim Kabbani, the association’s executive director. Initially planned for this past spring, the annual conference was moved back to its traditional September timeframe, and as a result, the organization received reduced room rates and upgraded accommodations at Caesars Palace compared with those of Bally’s Las Vegas, where the convention was originally planned. This year, TIA can offer attendees a discounted room rate of $89 per night for reservations. Also, Caesars’ larger exposition hall accommodates a greater number of exhibitors.

With its theme, “A World of Tortillas,” the event focuses on attracting tortilla and flatbread producers from around the globe, and Mr. Kabbani noted an increase in international registrations from as far away as New Zealand.

This year’s event kicks off with a golf outing at noon on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the renowned Rio Seco golf club. A welcome reception and raffle follow from 7 to 9:30 that night.

General and educational sessions Monday and Tuesday mornings will focus on business topics of importance to tortilla and flatbread manufacturers. Presentations on commodities and how to price products are slated as well as a motivational speaker.

Also, TIA’s annual meeting will convene at 11 a.m. Monday, during which TIA will induct at least two individuals into the TIA Hall of Fame, which recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the tortilla industry.

Participants can enjoy a luncheon on the sold-out show floor, which will feature more than 60 exhibitors, showcasing a wide variety of wares and services for the industry. “We sold out the show floor twice,” Mr. Kabbani said. “After selling out space initially, we reconfigured the show floor and gained additional space to accommodate more exhibitors.”

The expo will run from noon until 5 p.m. Monday and till 4 p.m. Tuesday. Several new companies will be exhibiting, and others have returned following several years of not taking part in the expo, he said.

A Monday evening reception starts at 6:30, followed at 7:30 by the TIA Entertainment Banquet, which will include a singer performing traditional Mexican songs and three comedians, including Johnny Sanchez, who appeared on Fox’s MADtv; Matt Iseman, whom some will recognize from Style Network’s Clean House; and Monique Mavez, who appeared in The Original Latin Divas of Comedy.

All TIA-related activities will take place in the Forum Ballroom area on the pool level. Registration for the conference is available online. For more information or to register, visit www.tortilla-info.com.
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