OVERLAND PARK, KAS. – The addition of several new educational sessions, described as a major change to the winter summit of BEMA, has been announced by the group. The launch of the 4th Track, educational sessions on a range of subjects BEMA members encounter, has been announced for the 2013 Winter Summit to be held March 2-3 at the Chicago downtown Marriott hotel.

BEMA said the name 4th track refers to a fourth set of sessions, to be held Saturday morning when BEMA committee meetings traditionally are held. With the new programming, members will be encouraged to attend two committee meetings of interest and then select a 4th Track session.

“This is the biggest change to meeting content we’ve made since we introduced Business IQ,” said Kerwin Brown, BEMA president and chief executive officer. “The best news is that 4th Track was born from suggestions from our members and the board. Attendance at BEMA’s committee meetings has grown at the same time that members were requesting education on new and varied topics.

“We felt that 4th Track would help us create another valuable session for attendees and reduce attendance at committee meetings making them more productive as well.”

Topics for the 4th Track sessions deal with protecting intellectual property, maximizing research and development tax credits and safety solutions that enhance efficiency.

The 2013 summit program also will feature a baker panel on vendor relations on March 3. Participants include Dave Watson, vice-president of engineering, Pepperidge Farm, Inc.; Joe Turano, Turano Baking Co.; and Mike Alagna, chief operating officer, Nation Pizza and Foods.  Scott Fischer, director of sales and marketing at Shick USA, will lead the panel discussing mutually beneficial relationships between vendors and bakers, baker expectations and internal pressures on the baker/vendor relationship.

Sunday, March 3, educational sessions also will include a Baking Industry Forum presentation focused on one potential solution for creating a skilled workforce – the hiring of veterans.  Marady Leary, director of strategic programs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Scott Dearduff, retired Chief Master Sargeant, U.S. Air Force, will be the speakers for this panel.