In just a few short weeks, we say goodbye to 2015, make a few resolutions (and hopefully keep a few of them) and usher in an exciting and eventful 2016. As everyone in the baking industry probably knows by now, the global baking industry will gather Oct. 8–11 in Las Vegas for the triennial International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE).

There will be a number of new features to IBIE 2016, including a completely revamped education program and new, on-the-floor offerings known as “Fresh Take Talks” that will focus key industry topics. As part of the revamped education offerings, the American Bakers Association (ABA) is sponsoring content designed to enhance the commercial baker’s learning and show experience.

ABA will follow up its highly successful convention trends outlook sessions by having retail insights thought leader Todd Hale provide a midyear update. Also on tap are sessions addressing the growing industry workforce gap, energy sustainability and future leaders in the baking industry. All of these sessions will be led by top industry experts who will share their experience with IBIE attendees. One can’t-miss event will be a how-to session by ABA and AIB International on implementing the industrywide kill-step validation as required by FSMA.

Also, no ABA education program, especially in a presidential election year, would be complete without a thorough review of the baking industry’s top policy priorities. ABA will seek input from the industry on a more-proactive, positive agenda pending a more favorable post-election political environment. In addition, ABA will look into its crystal ball to try to provide insight on potential presidential and congressional election outcomes that would impact the industry. Given how radically different the 2016 election cycle is already, this outlook should prove both educational and entertaining.

As 2015 draws to a close, and we ponder resolutions for the new year, it is my hope that everyone will put two very achievable resolutions on their list: to attend the most educational IBIE ever and to be an informed and engaged voter next November. Happy holidays and happy new year!