“From the dawn of the 2019’s Tech conference, one could quickly recognize the close-knit connections. Team ABA and the member attendees are indeed ‘One Big Family’.
Cool crisp air in the atrium blended with a faint aroma of freshly baked cookies, the conference’s reception welcomed us with a buzz of eager chatter. I was amazed by the diversity of the crowd. There were suppliers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, marketing personnel, culinary and artisan bakers and I couldn’t wait to pick their brains. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this community.
The power of flour, a registered hands-on workshop proved to be a great example of the quote ‘Teach me, I remember; Involve me, I learn’. In the overview lecture presented by Rich and Brian, the four main ingredients in a cookie formula were examined – flour, sugar, shortening and leavening along with the basics of bakery operation. Through a series of iterations, teams exhibited the changes in the physical and textural properties of a cookie. The hands-on training provided a strong foundation and knowledge that is transferable to real time manufacturing environment, Research and Development and Supply teams.
One couldn’t ask for a better motivational Monday morning, with the crowning of the winners of the Cookie and Cracker two-year correspondence manufacturing course’s Vander Heide and Phelps award in the opening remarks by Robb MacKie, President and CEO, ABA and Dave Van Laar, Senior Advisor, ABA. The level of recognition and a whisper from my mentor, VP of Quality, James McBride, member educational committee, ABA, kindled me to set my goals high. Following the welcome note was a humbling speech by the CEO of The Bakery Cos., Cordia Harrington. She passed on the message of awareness, humility, and agility and stressed the importance of asking ‘why not’, urged to think differently and break new grounds in the industry. The People magazine’s video was such an inspiration to all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
The topics discussed in the breakout sessions were focused on the current industrial trends, requirements and amendments, which are indispensable for participants from the manufacturing industry. Participants who attended select sessions received continuing education credits from the Kansas State University after answering a short quiz on the ABA Tech Conference App.
What is a Tech conference without a hackathon session? ABA did not fail to amaze the audience with its very own version of hackathon, IncuBAKER. The session exhibited improved agility of a multi-faceted team, in a way that, the ideas brought up to the panel, could even be successfully utilized in organizations to meet the customers’ needs, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.
The Bakery Cos. strives to live out its mission of creating opportunities, making a difference and impacting lives, which has shaped the Masada Operations in Atlanta. A tour of their facility provided a better insight into their management and operations of nearly 300 SKUs of artisan buns, making them a prominent supplier for the southeast zone.
In this crazy busy world, we often forget how important it is to connect with people, share ideas and learn about the industry. This conference proved to be a great start with an array of high-impacted learning sessions, hackathon and hands-on workshop. Being a learning professional at the ABA Tech conference was rewarding and fun. I look forward to attending the 2020 Tech conference.”