Brad Alexander, chief operating officer of Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga., has more than 40 years of experience in the baking industry. He has attended six International Baking Industry Expositions (IBIE).

In this final installment of IBIE Point of View, Mr. Alexander reflects on his last IBIE before retirement.

Looking at IBIE 2022, what were your biggest takeaways from the show? 

I previously shared that I am retiring from Flowers at the end of the year, and I do so with the utmost confidence that this industry is in great hands. I truly enjoyed meeting and getting to know the newest generation of industry professionals at this year’s event.

What was the most valuable aspect of the show for you? 

I depart every IBIE with even more enthusiasm and excitement for the work we do every day at Flowers. Seeing the many advancements in equipment and technology, making new connections, and networking with colleagues continues to inspire my day-to-day activities long after IBIE concludes.

Do you feel like you met your goals? Why or why not? 

Yes. This year I was looking forward to seeing the latest technologies, trends, and innovations, and I definitely feel like I’ve walked away with some new ideas for our team to consider. 

What was critical to ensuring those goals were met? 

Planning and preparation is the key. In advance of attending, our team spends time researching what we want to see and who we need to speak to so we can be efficient with our time.

How did you support your team while onsite in Las Vegas? 

This year marked my seventh IBIE. As a seasoned attendee, I’m always happy to be a guide for and advise our first timers so they can make the most of their attendance.

How will your findings and takeaways from IBIE be influencing your company for the next three years? 

Quality, safety, and efficiency are all top of mind as we keep an eye on continuous improvement and exceeding customer expectations. Information gleaned from the event and technology of interest will be considered and trialed, then implemented more broadly if successful.