Our Conference and Society have undergone a major evolution over the last few years. From themes like Harvest the Past through Change, we have focused on this evolution and on the industry traditions that have helped us weather these challenges. I’m sure, though, that we’ve all begun to grow more than a little tired of the uncertainty that comes with the continuous waves of industry consolidation, government regulations and ever changing consumer opinions. It seems that these forces have been battering our industry over the last five years creating a need to constantly improvise, adapt and overcome adversity. Who among us in this room has not had to use at least one of these tools this winter with ice in Atlanta, snow in the Northeast, bitter cold in the Midwest, and drought in the West? We applaud Dave, Scott, Steve, and the entire Planning Committee, not to mention the tireless efforts of the ASB staff, for putting together a great educational program with fantastic presentations. The information and tools that you take from Chicago will help you effectively and efficiently manage change in your organization and allow you to put more focus on the future and planning for success.
As we move into a new year and plan our move to a new venue, we present our theme for twenty-fourteen/twenty-fifteen: Engage the Future: People-Products-Processes.
It is time that we embrace the opportunities that lie in our future, and make it a priority to engage our People, Products, and Processes. Our Society and our industry have many headwinds, but studying, preparing and executing plans to advance these pillars of our organization will propel us into the future. Our people need more training, development, and attention than ever before…and we need more people. Our products must continually evolve to meet changing trends, tastes, and regulations. And our processes must improve to keep us competitive and relevant in an ever-shrinking world where an encyclopedia’s worth of new information is generated every moment and the latest technology is obsolete within 2 years. We have a real opportunity to capitalize on the skills of a multi-generational workforce. Consider the power of the baby boomers’ experience combined with the technological prowess of generations X and Y. Combine these and we could have information overload at our fingertips. Future generations of bakers, engineers, and professionals of the Baking Industry need this Society more than ever to pass on our knowledge, emphasize our traditions, and embrace new thoughts. Topics such as Sustainability, Talent Management, Product Labeling, Process Innovation, Work-Life Balance, and Information Technology would never have been considered so vital to Baking 15 years ago; but Baking cannot do without them in the future.
Throughout twenty-fourteen and beyond, we must engage our people, products, and processes to shape our future. The American Society of Baking continues to be our industry resource for technical knowledge through our library of technical papers and the vast experience of your peers; utilize these resources throughout the next year. And in twelve months, when we meet again at a new venue for the first time in 30 years, we will provide additional resources to help you in the future.
We will be at a new hotel, but the value and quality of BakingTech will remain and continue to improve as our Society demands it. Our new venue will provide tremendous future opportunity, and we are very excited for our coming years at the Hilton Chicago.
Thank you for being members of the American Society of Baking!
I would also like to extend an incredible amount of thanks to our gracious hosts for the last 35 Years. The Marriott Magnificent Mile hosted BakingTech since 1979, and provided a wonderful venue for our conference. The food provided over the years was excellent, the accommodations comfortable, and the meeting venue served our Society well. We move to a new venue not out of choice but out of necessity as our conference has grown and our space needs with it. If the Marriott could add space, we would not be leaving! Thank you, Marriott Magnificent Mile, for being our host for the last 35 years!