BEMA, Anniversary
BEMA will celebrate its 100th anniversary during its convention and summit.

OVERLAND PARK, KAS. — The 100th anniversary of BEMA will bring a variety of congratulatory events in 2018. Special displays, awards and festivities are planned for the BEMA Summit, Feb. 24-25 in Chicago, and new scholarship opportunities will be announced at the BEMA Convention, June 19-23 in Los Cabos, Mexico. “A century of commitment, innovation, and connections” will be a central theme during the celebrations.

The 100th anniversary committee and archivist Laurie Gorton, retired executive editor of
Baking & Snack, spent much of 2017 researching its history, said Kerwin Brown, president and chief executive officer of BEMA.

“We’ve discovered that BEMA’s story is one based on members’ innovation and passion for giving back to the industry and their community,” Mr. Brown said. “We are proud to say that we still pursue the goals our founders set for the organization.”

In September 1918, BEMA was organized by George Dean, president and general manager of Union Steel Products, in part to support the efforts during World War I. BEMA’s founding companies include: American Bakers Machinery Co., Champion Machinery Co., Haller Oven Co., Read Machinery Co., Micro-Westco, Inc., Peerless Bread Machinery Corp., The J.H. Day Co., Doughnut Corp. of America, Hobart MFG Co. and Union Machinery Co. 

In 1979, BEMA began donating funds to allied organizations such as the American Institute of Baking.   The group has continued to provide support to many others, including contributing more than $1.5 million to the Grain Foods Foundation and providing more than $100,000 in scholarships to help members improve their skills and earn advanced degrees.

“As BEMA enters our 100th year, we are poised, because of the work of dedicated leaders, to continue the tradition of investing in and giving back to our members, the industry and our communities,” said Don Osborne, 2018 BEMA chairman and food business team leader at Intralox.