BEMA has announced the addition of seven new members to BIF, the Baking Industry Forum, expanding this team to 18 members. The expanded BIF team met in New Orleans, prior to the BEMA fall board of directors meeting, in a half-day working session to plan their projects for the current term.

Bakers and suppliers work together on BIF to explore issues common to everyone in the baking industry. New members joining this year include bakers:  John Mulloy (151 Foods), Audrey St. Onge (SK Foods), and Luis Vargas (Bimbo Bakeries, USA). Joining as new suppliers are: Rowdy Brixey (Brixey Engineering, Inc.), Sergio Caballero (FoodTools, Inc.), Delia Justable (Forbo Siegling, LLC), and Jeff Dearduff (The Austin Company),

Jeff Dearduff and Rowdy Brixey have both served previously on BIF as bakers and are now continuing their commitment on the supplier side. “The Baking Industry Forum is unique,” says Dearduff. “The opportunity for interaction between customers and the suppliers who support them provides a forum that leads to solving industry-wide issues. This is something no other industry has.”

“BIF provides a competitive advantage for all involved,” adds Rowdy Brixey. “The Baking Industry Forum publishes the group learning and recommendations that benefit our industry. Now as a service provider and BEMA member company, I’m proud to continue my involvement with the BIF team.”

Returning for another term to serve on BIF and representing the baker segment are Brandon Heiser (Roskam Baking), Mike Porter (Genesis Baking Company), Mario Somoza (Pan Pepin), Karl Thorson (General Mills), Pat Wilkens (Highland Bakeries), and Robert Benton (Flowers Foods) in an advisory role. Mike LaValle (Intralox), Nick Magistrelli (Rademaker USA, Inc.), Vince Tamberello (ProMach), Brandon Woods (LeMatic), and Matt Ungashick (Shick Esteve) will continue to serve representing suppliers.

In New Orleans, the group identified key topics of relevance that they will expand on in their 2018 including analytics, lean manufacturing and the GMA checklist for sanitary design. Additionally, they are currently working to update the list of certification and association acronyms knows as “alphabet soup.” This list is an important resource for newcomers to the industry.

Intralox hosted the BIF planning meeting which also included a mini session with their owner, Jay Lapeyre, speaking on corporate culture, and a tour of the Intralox plant.