Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix
The Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association (B.&C.M.A.) Annual Convention was held at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

PHOENIX — From Oct. 18-21, the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association (B.&C.M.A.) Annual Convention was held at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. The convention saw 112 in attendance, comprising the highest number of baker members in recent years.

Several officer changes were announced at the event. Todd Wallin, president of Ellison Bakery, Fort Wayne, Ind., took over as chairman of the board, replacing Bill Quigg, chief executive officer of Richmond Baking, Richmond, Ind. Mike Hopp, vice-president of Newly Weds Foods, Chicago, was elected treasurer.

The board of directors also announced the expansion of on-line training courses to non- B.&C.M.A. members, stating their desire to more effectively serve the industry at large. The “Entry Level Training” course will guide students through the fundamental elements of the baking process. Process-specific training for wire cut and rotary operations also will be available with the goal of explaining the function and operation of various machines, reducing operational errors. Dave Van Laar, president of the B.&C.M.A., expressed his enthusiasm for opening these courses up to nonmembers.

“We are pleased to open enrollment in these courses to companies who may not be members of the B.&C.M.A.,” he said. “We will be rolling out these courses in the near future.”

Several presentations were given over the course of the convention, including a keynote address by Jim Leighton, chief operating officer of Boulder Brands, Inc., Boulder, Colo., and author of “Getting FIT,” a book on team leadership. Matt Beeson, president of Beeson & Associates, Inc., Crestwood, Ky., presented a commodities update, and Carola Grebitus, Ph.D., assistant professor of Food Industry Management at the Morrison School of Agribusiness, Arizona State University, spoke on making sustainable food choices.

Other presentations included an inspirational piece on the importance of risk taking by Allan Karl, billed as a “world traveler, adventurer, photographer, philosopher, author and entrepreneur,” and a panel of A.S.U. staff leading a discussion on attracting young talent to the food industry. The panel was moderated by Mr. Van Laar and included Alan Fisher, director of executive and industry relations, Morrison School of Agribusiness; Joel Dupuis, assistant director, WP Carey School of Business Executive Education; and Rose van Loben Sels, associate director of employer relations, WP Carey School of Business.