BEMA, Overland Park, KS, will launch BEMA Connect, a new way for attendees at its 2015 Annual Meeting to connect with the more than 20 bakers in attendance at the event, which will be held June 23-27 at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Lahaina, HI. BEMA Connect will allow BEMA members to meet one-on-one in 15-minute sessions with two to three different baker guests. In the online sign-up for this event, members were asked to provide information on their latest innovations and general equipment, ingredient or service offering. Baker guests were asked to state their upcoming needs. BEMA used this information to match the two groups.

The BEMA Connect concept was created by members of BEMA’s Executive Committee, including chairman Kurt Miller. “BEMA Connect is a new, exciting way for suppliers and bakers to discuss opportunities in a fun, fast-paced environment,” says Miller. “Suppliers benefit because they can quickly get down to business with customers on new ideas or technology they have to present. Bakers benefit by being able to quickly meet suppliers for upcoming projects. This is a new offering for introducing new technology and will serve to move the entire industry forward.”

BEMA will continue to connect the industry at its annual meeting in traditional ways, such as hosting baker-producer Q&A sessions and industry updates. The 2015 meeting also features a Non-Traditional Products Panel and a panel of bakers from the Asia Pacific region. Members of the Non-Traditional Products Panel are Rich Berger, vice president of engineering, food supply, Clif Bar; Mike Hopp, vice president, manufacturing and engineering, Newly Weds Foods; and Dan Raatjes, vice president of operations, Kings Hawaiian. The Asia Pacific Panel includes Desmond Teh, general manager, manufacturing, engineering and projects, Gardenia; Dan Bailey, senior vice president, McDonald’s Business Unit, Aryzta; and Laurence Halvy, managing director, Asia, Aryzta.

For more information and to register for the event, visit