Mario Somoza, president of Pan Pepin, Bayamon, PR, and 2017 chairman of the American Society of Baking (ASB) delivered on his promise to bring a program full of diversity to BakingTech 2017. With sessions designed for young professionals as well as experienced hands, the conference examined the workforce gap, engineering skills development, motivation and training, US work visas, food safety and a host of technical topics.

The result, according to Clay Miller, sales engineer at Burford Corp. and 2017 program chairman, was “an industry and a family connection that is truly unique.”

Diversity also characterized the many affiliated groups who met during this year’s Best Week in Baking. These included the BEMA Summit, a breakfast by the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry, the annual dinner meeting of the Society of Bakery Women and an alumni breakfast held jointly for Florida State University and Kansas State University students and graduates.

On the meeting’s final day, Mr. Somoza handed the gavel to Bill Zimmerman Jr., president of Pacific Northwest Baking, Sumner, WA, to become the 2018 chairman. Mr. Zimmerman announced Theresa Cogswell, director of innovation, bakery, Corbion, as next year’s program chairman. He also selected sustainability as the program theme.
ASB’s BakingTech 2017 took place Feb. 26-28 at the Downtown Hilton in Chicago. The 2018 event will return to the same location on Feb. 25-27. For more information,