In an era of tremendous transformation, as now, why do some organizations prosper while others go down to defeat? The successful ones learn how to improvise, adapt and overcome; the others don’t. That reality shaped the program for BakingTech 2014, the technical conference to be held by the American Society of Baking March 2-4.

“This past year, we have all seen the changes brought to the baking industry,” said Dave Hipenbecker, ASB chairman and director, network strategy and project engineering for Cincinnati-based Kroger. “Change is coming at us faster every day; it is not always an easy thing to understand and accept, and at times, it can be painful, but it is part of the reality we live in today.”

Taking its theme to be “Change: Improvise, Adapt, Overcome,” BakingTech convenes at the Marriott Downtown Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel. This event comprises part of what’s now known as “the Best Week in Baking,” with the BEMA spring summit taking place March 1-2 in the same hotel.

Tributes to industry excellence open ASB’s meeting when it inducts the newest members of the Baking Hall of Fame: Donald R. Shaffer, Shaffer Manufacturing Corp., Urbana, OH; Mariano, Eugenio, Renato, Umberto and Giancarlo Turano, Turano Baking Co., Berwyn, IL; and John J. Watson, Watson, Inc., West Haven, CT.

Program planners kept to a schedule of technical breakout sessions as at previous conferences.

Planning for the 2014 program began 18 months ago. “We started with the discussion on how there has been and continues to be so much change in our industry that plagues the thoughts and personnel resources of ­bakers,” said program committee co-chair Steve Berne, associate publisher, Baking & Snack. He and co-chair Scott Fischer, director of sales and marketing, Shick USA, Kansas City, MO, share program responsibilities.

“We reached out to bakers and other knowledgeable industry sources before we set up the sessions,” Mr. Fischer said. “We wanted to add value to the program to attract more attendance from bakers.”

Key among the differences this year is recognition that attendees want actionable information. Mr. Berne explained, “We insisted that each speaker/presenter provide a take-away for attendees, so the knowledge of the session literally goes with attendees.”

Session chairs drew on the baking industry for expertise, inviting speakers from Bimbo Bakeries USA, Flowers Foods, Pepperidge Farm, Rudi’s Bakery and Cookiehead Snacks. Plant inspection matters will be considered by a Food and Drug Administration speaker and an American Bakers Association executive, and an audit expert from AIB International will represent the industry view on pending food safety rules.

To encourage wide participation from the baking industry, ASB is repeating its sponsored partnership program that offers first-time baker attendees a special “scholarship” covering membership, conference and hotel fees. In 2013, this program enabled 16 new baker members to come to BakingTech.

Attendees signing up before Jan. 17 qualify for ­considerable savings in meeting fees. For registration and housing forms, plus full program details, visit ASB’s website