The American Society of Baking (ASB) took a gamble this year with BakingTech 2020, famously known as the “Best Week in Baking,” and won, thanks to some well-received changes.

In lieu of BEMA’s annual Summit, which was previously co-located with BakingTech, ASB and BEMA consolidated their schedules this year by creating a BEMA-U Retensa Retention track in the BakingTech educational lineup. These sessions focused on training and employee retention. BEMA also sponsored ASB’s welcome reception.

John Mulloy, director of operations, 151 Foods, Ballmawr, NJ, and 2020 ASB chairman, along with Jay Hardy, national sales director, J&K Ingredients, 2020 program chair and a planning committee featuring Cindy Chananie, Erika Record; Samantha DelGhingaro, Brolite; Kayla Dinkel, Hostess Brands, Kansas City, Mo.; Linda Dunning, DuPont Nutrition & Health; Delia Justable, Forbo Siegling; and Rebecca Miller-Regan, PhD, Kansas State University, revamped the schedule of events and education sessions.

The conference’s highlights included an energetic opening keynote speaker, Scott Stratten, on disruptive marketing and branding. There were 21 technical education sessions, and panel discussions, including engineering sustainability and a sit-down with Baking Hall of Fame inductees.

The final day of Marketplace was transformed into a baker-led Marketplace Casino Night, where the industry networked and played traditional casino games like roulette. Each baker-hosted gaming table filled up quickly as bakers and equipment and ingredient suppliers used “Baker Bucks” for chances to win several big prizes.

“This year, a new element was added to BakingTech: fun,” said Kent Van Amberg, executive director of ASB. “Fun started during the Sunday evening Game Night Opening Reception, continued throughout the meeting with Baker Bucks that gave members chances to win great prices and concluded with Casino Night, which was a smashing success.”

Rich Berger, vice president of engineering, food supply, for Clif Bar & Company, Emeryville, Calif., rounded out the speaker lineup.

Mr. Mulloy passed the gavel to incoming chairman Jorge Zarate, vice president of global operations, Grupo Bimbo. Rod Harris, executive sales manager, Shick Esteve, was named BakingTech’s 2021 program chair. The theme of next year’s conference will be “Innovating for a Competitive Future.”