Countdown To Our Convention
By Roberto Quiñones
Executive Director
Tortilla Industry Association
Efforts are well under way to put the finishing touches on what promises to be a great 17th Annual Convention & Trade Expo, which runs Sept. 15-17 at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
This year’s board has been examining all aspects of what members want from the Tortilla Industry Association and has been open to trying new things.
In past years, there has been a separate “technical seminar” in the spring and the usual convention in the fall.
This year, we are holding both programs during our convention in Las Vegas! Not only does this expand the educational opportunities for attendees, but it also allows for greater participation from the membership and industry partners to meet and network. Our supplier partners look forward to the wider mix of participants who will be visiting the exhibit floor.
Some attendees are arriving early to play in the Friday golf scramble at the Silverstone Golf Club before the opening reception that evening. The general sessions on Saturday include keynote speakers Roberto Salazar, administrator for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and marketing guru Maite Quilez D’Amico, president and chief creative officer of cruz/kravetz: IDEAS, who will provide her insights on marketing effectiveness. Saturday evening’s entertainment will feature the Latin Divas with the Sue McDonald Band after our TIA Hall of Fame presentations are made. Nominations were sought from the membership and our Web site, and the committee is planning a heart-warming presentation.
 A special motivational speaker also is invited for Sunday morning to start the day’s activities. This is the new TIA! The technical sessions that follow will cover a wide range of topics, from allergens to a super tortilla formulation from the Pea and Lentil Board. Information on the agenda and topics is being kept up to date on the TIA Web site,
As is the case in most membership organizations, those who are involved and participate also feel they get the most out of being a member. Realizing that this has been a transitional year for TIA in terms of a new management organization and new outlook from the Executive Board, we are looking forward to the convention so we can directly discuss the future with our membership in person.
We want to hear opinions of what worked in the past and what needs to be done to be more effective in the future. What is the best way to reach all the members and industry partners who look forward to news and educational sessions that we can develop? While change often is difficult to accept for those with private motives, our board is committed to making changes that will move TIA toward an open and fully involved member organization.
I look forward to seeing all the members I have not yet met. Board members also will be participating in each of the seminars to greet you and get your feedback. Please walk up and let us know your ideas.
We are looking to develop more board committees next year, and membership participation will be crucial. Our hope is that members who may not have been involved in recent years will take the opportunity to visit us in Las Vegas, jump into all the educational seminars, connect with all the exhibitors and sponsors and experience the passion that we are working to showcase. TIA
Talk to TIA
Have a great idea for the Tortilla Industry Association? Here’s who to contact:
• Ricardo Baez — Chairman-Elect, 1-503-370-9710 (Don Pancho Foods)
• Gus Gutierrez — Convention Chair, 1-702-399-3300 (Tortillas, Inc.)
• Mark Rice — Education Chair, 1-630-778-6372 (Clabber Girl)
• Jon Heussner — Technical Chair, 1-402-339-7740 (Casa de Oro Foods)
• Brian Ridgeway — Strategic Planning Chair, +44.1327.701415 (Sonora Foods)