Attendees make new connections and listen to fresh ideas at ASB's 2010 conference.
2010 got off to a bang for the American Society of Baking (ASB), as a record number of attendees and exhibitors gathered to “harvest the past to fortify the future” at this year's BakingTech expo.
More than 1,100 baking industry professionals descended on the Chicago Marriot Downtown for the four-day event, held February 28 to March 3, with 205 exhibitors hosting table tops at the MarketPlace.
Sunday consisted of a range of meetings, followed by ASB's first of three MarketPlace exhibitor table top sessions. The first day's festivities closed with a new member reception and a general welcome reception.
During Monday's morning events, Sterrett Campbell, Rella Dwyer, Charles Burford, Jack Lewis Sr. and Jack Lewis Jr. were inducted into the Baking Hall of Fame, and John Foley of the Blue Angels precision flying team gave the keynote address. Dr. Lowell Catlett roused the afternoon crowd with his predictions of a bright economic future, earning rave reviews for his colorful anecdotes and unorthodox presentation style.
Tuesday saw bakers learning how to get the most out of their bakery, with session speakers introducing new ways to streamline business and speed up production. After “A Taste of Chicago” luncheon, attendees listened to breakout sessions on the topics of engineering, green business practices, ingredient technology and human resources. BakingTech wound down on Wednesday with a town hall meeting and wrap-up.
Tammi Matthias, operations manager for ASB, expressed delight at the turnout.
“Some of our breakout sessions were standing room only, and [attendance for] our Monday opening session was at an all-time high,” she said. “We also had the highest attendance ever at our Sunday welcome reception. We were sold out on table tops in the MarketPlace and opened up the foyer to allow more companies to exhibit. Even with that we still had a waiting list.”
Chris Clemens, marketing manager for FoodTools Inc., was a first-time attendee at the show and said the week was great for the equipment company.
“As a young member of the baking industry, the ‘Best Week In Baking’ was the perfect place to be,” Clemens said. “I met people from all aspects of the baking world with various backgrounds and companies. The week gave me the opportunity to take a step back and see the baking industry as a whole and how my company fits into it.”
Planning is already underway for BakingTech 2011, Matthias said.