The Tortilla Industry Association (TIA), Arlington, Va., has announced that Judith Canales, rural development acting deputy under secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will be keynote speaker at its 23rd Annual Convention & Trade Exposition. The event will be held Sept. 10-11 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Canales was appointed to her current position on April 30, 2012, by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. She also has served as administrator for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service at USDA Rural Development; as executive director of the Maverick County Development Corporation in Eagle Pass, Texas; as deputy state director for Texas Rural Development; and as executive director of the International Hispanic Network, a national membership organization of Hispanic city managers that promotes professional excellence among Hispanic executives and public managers in local government. In addition, for the past seven years, she has been an adjunct faculty member for Southwest Texas Junior College.

“The fact we are able to attract a speaker of the caliber of the U.S. under secretary of agriculture Judith Canales is an indication of the growth and importance of our industry within the U.S. economy—the tortilla sales contributed over $11 billion last year” says TIA CEO Jim Kabbani.

TIA’s annual convention is recognized as the most important event for tortilla, flatbread, wrap and chip producers, suppliers and anyone involved in the industry. According to Kabbani, the benefits of attending the event include making new key business contacts; seeing the latest in equipment, ingredients, packaging and systems; learning about advances in tortilla production technology and supplies; finding out about the latest regulations; and gaining business and personal knowledge through training sessions and exhibits.

For more information about TIA and the convention, visit