The American Bakers Association (ABA) will again highlight “The Power of Baking” during the 2016 ABA Convention, taking place at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix from March 20–23. Guest speakers will take a deep dive into bakery product categories, providing insight and strategies into what it takes to keep baked goods along a growth trajectory. Attendees will also gain valuable lessons on “The Power of Leadership.” The role of technology in today’s bakery industry will also take the spotlight, with clear examples of how technology can open new business potential and opportunities.

Sunday, March 20, will kick off the convention with an Independent Bakers Association (IBA) meeting, open to all attendees, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The invitation-only ABA Board of Directors Meeting & Lunch will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Then, from 1:30–4 p.m., the ABA All Membership Meeting will cover:

“State of ABA,” led by Chairman Rich Scalise, chairman, CEO and co-founder, Hearthside Food Solutions

“Changing of the Guard,” with Scalise welcoming incoming chairman, Fred Penny, president, Bimbo Bakeries USA

“Harnessing the Power of Research: What’s Next for the Grains Industry,” a Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) dialogue with Robb MacKie, president and CEO, ABA, and Christine Cochran, executive director, GFF, and featuring members of the GFF scientific advisory board

Following the meeting, all attendees can mingle at the NextGenBaker Networking Reception from 4:15–5:15 p.m. An invitation-only New Attendee Reception will run from 5:30–6 p.m. The day’s events will conclude with the Millers’ Welcome Reception from 6–7:30 p.m.

Events on Monday, March 21, will begin with the invitation-only All Trades of the Baking Industry (ATBI) board of directors meeting from 6:45–7:30 a.m., followed by the ATBI Leadership Breakfast from 7:30–9:15 a.m. The breakfast’s featured speaker is Ken Adelman, former director of the U.S. Arms Control Agency for President Ronald Reagan. He is also a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and served as assistant to the U.S. secretary of defense. He is the author of “Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours that Ended the Cold War.” He will share his experiences, while providing insights into the power of leadership.

The Morning Business Session, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., will feature a customer panel on “Maximizing the Relevancy of Baking to Power Growth.” The panel will consist of:

Kerry Robinson, vice president of bakery and deli, Walmart

Joe Schechinger, vice president of nonprotein foods, Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Co-op

Kevin Davis, president and CEO, Bristol Farms

Leslie Sarasin, president, Food Marketing Institute (FMI), will moderate.

During the session, Todd Hale, principal, Todd Hale LLC and former senior vice president of consumer and shopper insights at Nielsen, will present, “What’s In-Store for 2016 and Beyond,” taking a deep dive into the importance of wellness claims to baked goods, along with an examination of which categories, including private label and brands, are driving the greatest growth. A spouse and guest event will run concurrently, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. A barbecue luncheon will follow the morning session, from 12:15–1:30 p.m.

The Afternoon Business Session, from 1:30–3 p.m., will feature Jonathan Perelman, head of digital initiatives, ICM Partners; former vice president, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures; and former global lead for industry relations at Google. His presentation is on “Growing Your Business with Shareable Content,” and he will be available for an informal dialogue afterwards.

Monday’s events will continue with the invitation-only PAC High Donors Roundtable from 4–5 p.m., and then a Cocktail Reception from 6–7:30 p.m. The evening’s American Bakers PAC Dinner, by invitation only and running from 7:30–9:30 p.m., will feature a discussion on the “2016 Presidential Election: What’s at Stake for American Business.”

Tuesday, March 22, is a day of ABA Convention tournaments, with the 23rd Annual Paul Abenante PEC Golf Tournament running from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the Tennis Tournament from 2:30–4:30 p.m. A breakfast from 6:45–7:15 a.m. will precede the golf tournament, and a Sports & Networking Lunch will run from 12:30–2:30 p.m. The farewell reception will be from 6:30–8:30 p.m.

The ABA Convention will conclude on Wednesday, March 23, with a Get-Away Breakfast from 7:30–9 a.m.

For complete details, updates, hotel information and to register for the ABA Convention, visit