The American Bakers Association (ABA) honored the 2019 recipients of the Vander Heide Award and the Phelps Award on October 27, 2020, at TechCon Beyond: A Virtual Experience.

“Especially during these challenging times, it’s important to recognize the hard work and dedication of our industry’s essential employees. The value of ongoing education and training for the skilled professionals in our industry cannot be understated,” said Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the American Bakers Association. “ABA is honored to present the Vander Heide Award to Lauren Clark, product development specialist at Dare Foods and the Phelps Award to Grant Wilson, quality coordinator at Arnott's Biscuit. These awards recognize their dedication to the baking industry and their technical expertise in cookie and cracker manufacturing.

Lauren Clark, the 2019 Vander Heide Award winner, is a product development specialist, Dare Foods in Cambridge, Canada. At Dare Foods, Lauren has worked on innovation, renovation, and productivity projects in the cracker, cookie, and fine bread categories, including brands such as Bear Paws, Breton, and Boulangerie Grissol. She has also spent time working with the operations team to help optimize and troubleshoot formulations to increase efficiencies.

The 2019 Phelps Award recipient, Grant Wilson is a Quality Coordinator, Arnott's Biscuit in Marleston, Australia. Grant has been the Quality Coordinator for 12 years. Leading his team with passion, hard work, and humor, Grant is dedicated to continuous learning and is engaged in Arnott’s team events, activities, and programs.

The Vander Heide Award was established in 1940 and is presented every year at the Technical Conference. The Award is presented to the Cookie and Cracker Manufacturing Course graduate who receives the highest score (or grade point average) for the graduating year. The Phelps Award is awarded to the graduating student with the second-highest grade point average in the course. It was presented for the first time in 2016 and was established in honor of the course’s dedicated pioneer Kathy Kinter Phelps.

The Cookie and Cracker Manufacturing Course from ABA’s Bakers Manufacturing Academy is the advanced training program for the industry. In the course, students master the principles, science, and theory of effective cookie and cracker manufacturing. Following the completion of the course, graduates possess the technical information necessary to manage or supervise a bakery shift, department, or facility. The two-year course has approximately 100 students enrolled at any given time.

Watch the presentation of the Phelps Award

Watch the presentation of the Vander Heide Award