Joe Turano is president of Turano Baking Co. in Berwyn, Ill, and serves on the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) 2022 committee. He has worked in the baking industry for more than 25 years and has been involved with seven Expos, serving as chairman in 2019.
You served as IBIE chairman in 2019. What will be different this year?
This is going to be a different show coming out of the pandemic, and I think Dennis Gunnell has done a fabulous job of leading the committee and the planning efforts of the show. The Expo is going to be just as great as it always has been because of the leadership we have in place, and all the support from the American Bakers Association (ABA) and BEMA. I think people are very anxious and excited to come out and get back together to network and view anything that can be presented as new or different when it comes to equipment, supplies and services. We’re expecting a very good show overall.
What are you hoping that people take away from this year's show?
I think what they're going to take away from this year's show is reiterating and reinforcing any current needs their bakeries and facilities may have put on delay for the past couple of years. Also, they are coming to the Expo to view anything new and exciting that our suppliers are going to offer.
What new features should people check out at this year's event?
I think the thing that most people will be talking about will be the new West Hall, which is extremely modern and very interactive. Having a new hall is a joy because the meeting rooms, classrooms and concourses are that much better.
What's your favorite part of the show?
The education sessions have been around for many years, but we really ramped it up with the previous show and branded it IBIEducate. That's my favorite part of the show because it is so important training our future people as well as our current management. I take a personal interest in making sure that we're covering the range of topics that are important to most of us wholesale and retail bakers. I'm very excited to see how our education portion is implemented this year, and I'm expecting almost every session to be sold out. There really haven't been in-person education seminars in more than two years anywhere in the industry, so this alone is a great reason to attend IBIE.
What themes will IBIEducate explore and how has that evolved from 2019?
In addition to classes on the most relevant topics of today, it also provides courses with increasing levels of difficulty. For example, if someone took a decorating basics class in 2019, they’d be ready to continue their development into more detailed instruction and advance their learning. The program allows attendees to dive deeper into professional development in areas of interest from one IBIE to the next.
How will education sessions help bakers meet today's challenges of supply chain labor issues and a changing marketplace?
We have relevant classes and topics on each of those categories. We have classes around raw material procurement, educating attendees on how to creatively procure ingredients or raw materials, and classes on robotic learning and robotic technology and other automation within the bakery.
Are you seeing any trends in investment in automation?
I think the automation in our industry will continue to improve. Any type of automatic guided vehicles or robotic automation, sensory data that is automated — those are the types of exciting exhibits that people are looking forward to seeing. Of course, we have some product components at the show as well.
How do you anticipate the current industry challenges will impact people’s goals for IBIE?
Very specifically, I think a lot of the attendees will focus on meeting with raw material suppliers to see which have reliability because many of us are dealing with supply challenges for raw materials. And then the second thing is obviously with the national labor crunch, which I know is a question today, too. I'm sure almost every attendee is going to look at what type of automation might make sense for their facilities.
How can the baking industry attract more workers, and how can IBIE provide more tools to help with recruitment?
We've been a big proponent of bringing students into IBIE from different universities and trade schools, and we'll continue that this year. So certainly, that does spread the word around the university population about relevant strong career tracks in our industry.
What are the top reasons people come to IBIE?
The No. 1 reason is to have a forum to view almost every single relevant equipment and raw material supplier. No. 2 is to see new technology and new process equipment and any new type of ingredient materials. No. 3 is to network with the industry. No. 4 is always the education sessions.