Baking industry professionals will once again be able to experience the “Best Week in Baking,” as the American Society of Baking (ASB) BakingTech 2016 convenes in Chicago Feb. 28 to March 1. The annual event will be held at the renowned Hilton Chicago, which overlooks Grant Park and Lake Michigan.

“Growth Through Innovation”—this year’s conference theme—will challenge attendees to question the innovations they can incorporate into their business to create growth in production, sales and profitability. Numerous educational, business-development and networking opportunities will offer show-goers industry insight and practical information as they prepare for the coming year.

BakingTech 2016 kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 28, with multiple events: ASB committee meetings will run from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The Young Professional Educational Session will be held from 2:30–4 p.m. From 4–6 p.m., attendees will be able to check out the latest equipment, products and services in the grain-based snack and bakery industry at the ASB BakingTech MarketPlace, held in a single, 40,000-square-foot space this year.

The MarketPlace will also feature the Innovation Showcase, which will display the winners of ASB’s Innovation Awards Program. Launched in 2015, the program honors designs and innovations in the grain-based foods industry. Winners will be announced in three categories during the show: Health, Nutrition and Wellness; Eco Design; and Sustainable Technologies and Operational Excellence.

Sunday concludes with three social events: an invitations-only reception for new members from 6–6:30 p.m., an opening reception from 6:30–8 p.m. and a Young Professionals social event from 8–10 p.m.

A full day of events and sessions will greet BakingTech attendees on Monday, Feb. 29. The day will begin with ASB’s Baking Hall of Fame Reception at 7:30 a.m. This year’s inductees are M. Robert “Bob” Albers, CEO of Franz Bakery, Portland, OR; Joseph Baker and Jacob Perkins (both deceased), founders of Baker Perkins Ltd., Peterborough, England; Pat Callaghan, retired president of Pepperidge Farm, Norwalk, CT; and John Shellenberger, Ph.D. (deceased), former department head of Kansas State University’s School of Grain Science and Technology, Manhattan.

The opening general session will begin at 8:30 a.m. with ASB’s annual business meeting, followed by the 50+ member recognition, the Baking Hall of Fame ceremony and the presentation of the Robert A. Fisher Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service and leadership by an individual to the society. Next, Bill Toler, president and CEO of Hostess Brands, LLC, Kansas City, MO, will give the keynote presentation, “Successful Growth Through Innovation.” He will be followed by Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader, IRI, Chicago, who will discuss industry trends. The session will conclude with a presentation on virtual reality training by Matthew Wallace, president and CEO, VRSim, East Hartford, CT.

Monday’s afternoon general session will begin at 2 p.m., following an hour-long networking lunch. Chris Miller, Ph.D., senior director of research for Engrain, Manhattan, KS, will moderate a panel discussion titled “GMO Feed the Future.” The panel discussion will be followed by a presentation by Charles “Chaz” Campbell, retired brigadier general with the U.S. Air Force, titled “Leadership A Fighter Pilot’s Secret to Business Success.”

BakingTech attendees can check out the ASB MarketPlace from 4–6:30 p.m., which will include a networking reception at 5:30 p.m.

The Allied Trades of the Baking Industry (ATBI) will hold its breakfast on Tuesday, March 1, from 7:30–9 a.m. Certified speaking professional Rob Bell will present “‘How to WOW’ Leadership.”

Tuesday’s general session will begin at 9:30 a.m. with keynote speaker Kat Cole, group president, FOCUS Brands Inc., Atlanta, and former president of Cinnabon. Technical paper presentations will be given from 10:45–11:30 a.m. and 1:30–3 p.m. Attendees can network from 12:15–1:30 p.m. during lunch.

Tuesday’s closing general session, which will begin at 3:15 p.m., will feature a presentation on virtual reality training systems by the Lincoln Electric Co. and the announcement of the winners of ASB’s Product Development Competition. ASB launched the competition in 2015 to facilitate the development of innovative bakery products for the wholesale manufacturing industry. This year’s entries focused on breakfast pastry products. First, second and third place awards will be presented to three student teams and three professionals.

Attendees can wrap up their BakingTech 2016 experience with a final visit to the ASB MarketPlace from 4–6:30 p.m. A networking reception will be held at 5:30 p.m.

For more information about ASB BakingTech 2016, visit