The BEMA 2015 Winter Summit and ASB BakingTech 2015 return to Chicago with a new venue and programs packed with educational and social opportunities for attendees.

BEMA conventionBaking industry professionals will be able to experience two notable industry events in Chicago in a few weeks: BEMA’s 2015 Winter Summit, Feb. 28 to March 1, and the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech 2015, the Best Week in Baking, March 1 to 3. Both events will convene at a new venue this year, the Hilton Chicago.

The BEMA Winter Summit begins on Saturday, Feb. 28, with committee and board of directors meetings; the BEMA-U luncheon (11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.); and the BEMA welcome reception (5:30–7 p.m.). The latter event is complimentary for American Society of Baking members. 

On Sunday, March 1, the summit continues with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The general membership meeting begins at 8 a.m. and will be followed by the Baking Industry Forum (BIF) presentation “Controls for Everyone,” a look at standardizing control panel instructions for a diverse workforce, and the BEMA Baker Panel, “Hearing from Our Customers.” The agenda will conclude with a luncheon and awards. 

BakingTech 2015, themed “Engage the Future: People, Products, Processes,” also kicks off on Sunday, March 1. Committee meetings will run from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., Kim Lear, a generational expert and content manager at BridgeWorks LLC, Minneapolis, will speak at the Young Professionals Ask the Expert Session. 

From 4–6 p.m. daily, attendees will be able to check out the latest products and services in the grain-food industry at the ASB MarketPlace. Showcased during the MarketPlace this year will be two new ASB programs. Finalists in the association’s Product Development Competition will be featured in a poster session, while products honored in ASB’s inaugural Innovation Awards Program will be on display in the Innovation Zone.

Sunday’s agenda concludes with three social events: an invitation-only new members reception (6–6:30 p.m.), an opening reception (6:30–8 p.m.) and a Young Professionals networking function (8–10 p.m.).

A full day of events and sessions will keep BakingTech attendees busy on Monday, March 2. The day will begin with the annual Baking Hall of Fame Reception at 7:30 a.m. This year’s inductees are George Deese, executive chairman of the board, Flowers Foods, Thomasville, GA; Don Dubois, a former instructor at the American Institute of Baking, Manhattan, KS; Kermit “Kit” and Pete Murphy, founders, Mother Murphy’s Laboratories, Greensboro, NC; Gary Prince, executive vice president of Grupo Bimbo, Mexico City, and former president of Bimbo Bakeries USA, Horsham, PA; and Jonathan, Bret and Ross Warburton, chairman and executive directors, respectively, Warburtons Ltd., Bolton, England.

The opening general session will begin at 8:30 a.m. with an annual ASB business meeting, the Baking Hall of Fame ceremony and the 50-plus member recognition. Monica Kline, operations manager, The EnSol Group, Erwinna, PA, then will moderate a training and education panel discussion. The keynote address, titled “When Generations Connect: Communicating Across Generational Divides,” will be presented by three BridgeWorks keynote speakers: Lynne Lancaster, co-founder; Scott Zimmer, generational expert; and Lear.

Following a networking lunch from 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m., BakingTech attendees will be able to participate in breakout sessions from 1:30–3:30 p.m. on innovative products, sustainability and management.

The Allied Trades of the Baking Industry (ATBI) will hold its early bird breakfast on Tuesday, March 3, from 7:30–9 a.m. This year’s guest speaker will be retired U.S. Air Force Major General John Borling, a Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war, recipient of numerous military decorations and a published author. Tickets for the event can be purchased when registering for BakingTech online or via mail.

Tuesday’s general session will begin at 9:15 a.m. with a panel discussion titled “Crisis Planning: Face Your Future.” Joanie Spencer, managing editor, Sosland Publishing, Kansas City, MO, will be the moderator. Technical breakout sessions will run from 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., with a networking lunch from 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m. The breakout sessions will focus on ingredients, the baking line of the future today, workforce development and manufacturing.

The closing general session will begin at 2:45 p.m. and feature a panel discussion titled “GMO Wheat: Both Sides of the Debate.” Panelists will include Michael Hansen, Ph.D., senior staff scientist, Consumers Union, Yonkers, NY; Glen Weaver, Ardent Mills, Denver; and individuals from the National Association of Wheat Growers/Wheat Innovation Alliance. 

For more information about BEMA’s 2015 Winter Summit and ASB BakingTech 2015, visit and, respectively.