Leadership, sustainability and capitalizing on opportunities were key topics at ASB’s 85th annaul BakingTech.
Attendance was up from 820 participants in 2008, a sign more bakers are reaching out for ideas and networking in this difficult economy. The conference included more than 24 technical sessions that covered topics such as ingredient labeling, enzymes, purchasing strategies, alternative energy sources, flexible equipment, vision systems and achieving a greener bakery. Other events included a new member welcome reception and an executive panel on consumer trends in baking.
ASB welcomed new Hall of Fame inductees:
Dale Lecrone, founder, LeMatic., Jackson, Mich, a company that has been providing innovative solutions for packaging and automated systems to the worldwide baking industry since 1973.
Louis Kuchuris, baker who founded East Balt Commissary, Chicago, to supply McDonald's® first franchise with buns and muffins. Kuchuris and Ray Kroc, founder and chairman, McDonald's Corp. 1955-1984, sealed the deal on the customer-supplier relationship with only a “gentleman,s handshake,” which lead to a successful worldwide operation.
Dr. Louys Rumsey, educator who started the Baking Science and Management department at Florida State University; inventor; visionary marketer for the baking industry.
Dora Schwebel, started Schwebel Baking Co. with her husband in 1906. By 1923, they were producing 1,000 loaves a day. After her husband died in 1928, Schwebel steered the company through the Great Depression, often donating bread to those in need, while building the company's success. Schwebel Baking Co. went on to expand and continues to flourish today. Schwebel died in 1964.
Keynote speaker, Tom Flick, author of “Leading People to Excellence,” encouraged bakers to strive for excellence, providing inspiring words about leadership. “Leadership has always been about concern for the people who work with you,” he says. “Leadership is movement, taking action, risk and not expecting anything in return.” He also urged bakers not to pass up new ideas and opportunities. “We're wired two-thirds stop and one-half go, which causes us to stop going after our dreams and goals.” He says people see themselves as they've always been instead of what they could be. “How many times do we ignore opportunities because we do things the way we've always done them,” he adds.
Flint encouraged bakers to think outside the box, as well as give 100 percent of their attention to the people they come into contact with and the tasks at hand, in order to relate more effectively. Good advice as bakers navigate the obstacles and opportunities ahead in 2009.