The Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association will hold its 90th Technical Conference May 3-6 at The Hilton Tampa Downtown in Tampa, FL.

The annual event kicks off on Sunday, May 3, with two networking sessions: the B&CMA Annual Golf Outing at Tournaments Players Club of Tampa Bay in Lutz, FL, and The Florida Aquarium Downtown Tampa Tour, which features a guided behind-the-scene tour of the aquarium and a Tampa Bay cruise aboard the Bay Spirit II. A welcome reception will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the hotel.

Monday, May 4, begins with a general session featuring the presentation of the Vander Heide Award and Chairman’s Award for Safety Excellence, followed by two keynote speakers. Chris Wilkins of ConAgra Foods will present “The State of the Industry: Consumer Insights for the Cookie & Cracker Industry.” Wade Hanson of Technomic will discuss on food service trends.

A luncheon featuring Charlie Weatherbie, director of Coaches for the Fellowship of Christians in Central Florida will follow the general session.

Attendees can choose from five break-out educational sessions on Monday afternoon. Sessions will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. and be repeated 3-4:30 p.m. Topics and speakers are as follows:

  • “Dough Piece Weight Control on Wire Cut & Deposited Cookies” by Claus Abrahamsen, Franz Machinery of America Inc.
  • “Increasing Wire Cut Productivity: The Importance of Correct Machine Set-Up and Die Design” by Sam Pallottini, Baker Perkins
  • “Plant Administration of B&CMA Programs by T.J. Nelson, Oak State Products
  • “B&CMA Education Programs NEW Learning Management System” by Rich Loalbo, Communications Delivery Solutions
  • “All About Ovens” by John Guy, Thermal Systematics; Jeff McLean, Spooner Vicars Bakery; Mihaelos Mihalos, Mondelez International; and Richard Starke, Reading Thermal

Attendees can also check out product displays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.

Following a full day of educational sessions, attendees can relax, network, bowl and compete in a bowling shirt contest at the retro-inspired Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Tampa.

Attendees can choose from six educational sessions and a panel discussion on Tuesday. Morning sessions will be held from 8-9:30 a.m. and be repeated 9:45-11:45 a.m.; the afternoon panel discussion will be held from 1:45-3:15 p.m. Topics and speakers are as follows:

  • “Food Safety—New Regulations Demands” by Paul Clark, Tyson Foods
  • “Achieve Results or Lower Expectations” by Jim Connolly, Connolly & Phelps Inc.
  • “Creating a Versatile Packaging Solution for Variety Packs & Retail-Ready Packaging” by Rocco Fucetola, BluePrint Automation
  • “Innovative Flexible Material Packaging concepts for Ease of Opening and Recloseability” by Dennis Gunnell, Formost Fuji Corp.
  • “Fundamental Bakery Production Metrics Explained” by Dave Van Laar, B&CMA
  • “The Science and Art of Baking—Learning Through Experimentation” by Dave Busken, Oak State Products
  • Ask the Experts Production Panel with Gary Goessel, Kellogg Co.; Dennis Loalbo, B&CMA; Marlene Stauffer, Blommer Chocolate; and Jeff Pickard, Oak State Products

This year’s Women in the Industry Reception, held on Tuesday evening from 4-5 p.m., will enable professional women of the cookie and cracker industry to meet and network with colleagues in a casual setting.

The Technical Conference concludes on Wednesday, May 6, with a tour of Toufayan Bakeries from 8-11 a.m. in Plant City, FL.

For more information, visit or download the Technical Conference program.