The new year represents a new beginning as goals are set, changes are made and minds move to forward-thinking. With the arrival of 2020, self-reflection and transformation are even more important because it is also the dawn of a whole new decade. The American Society of Baking (ASB) had this in mind in planning its annual BakingTECH event, which will be held March 1-3 at the Hilton Chicago. The theme is “Looking Beyond the Horizon — Vision 2020” to celebrate a new beginning with attention on the latest technologies, ingredients and processes in the industry.

“Every year, BakingTECH provides the kind of compelling experience that has earned ASB the reputation as the wholesale baking industry’s most important trade event: The Best Week In Baking,” said Kent Van Amburg, ASB executive director. “This year, it’s even more exciting, engaging and entertaining.”

More than 1,000 attendees will have the chance to learn about methods for boosting their business, discover trends in today’s marketplace and meet with more than 180 exhibitors. Individuals returning to BakingTECH will recognize many regular events such as the Baking Hall of Fame award ceremony, the MarketPlace, educational sessions and the opening keynote speaker.

“From customer experience to millennial myths to everyday business relationships, best-selling business author Scott Stratton will inspire and motivate the baking community with brilliant advice that just earned him a spot in the National Speakers Hall of Fame,” Mr. Van Amburg said about the opening speech.

Transformation is also on the horizon to commemorate the new decade. “Expect some significant surprises,” Mr. Van Amburg said. And these surprises require attendees to prepare a little differently. First, don’t worry about packing suits and ties or fancy dresses. This year, the attire is “smart casual,” or casual wear with professional components.

Second, don’t be driven by the past years’ clockwork. The MarketPlace will start and end earlier to open up time for networking and more sessions. Twenty-one technical presentations will help ASB members navigate the industry. A series called Outside the ASB Breadbox is also new to the lineup. It will feature presentations from a variety of industry assiciations.

And finally, keep Tuesday afternoon’s agenda open for some entertainment and networking at MarketPlace Casino Night. “Get ready to roll,” Mr. Van Amburg warned. “Try your luck at one of the many gaming tables while enjoying an evening of food and cocktails.” Attendees can also earn Baker Bucks, which can be cashed in for prizes after Casino Night, by attending various sessions.

Many of the newest features at BakingTECH reflect a partnership change between ASB and BEMA. The Best Week in Baking originally combined BEMA’s annual Summit and ASB’s BakingTECH; however, this year, the Summit has been removed from the program and some components have been integrated into BakingTECH to provide more value to members.

With a set vision, exciting changes and forward-thinking, BakingTECH is starting off on the right foot in this new decade. And it’s encouraging the industry to do the same: Look beyond the horizon.