Robin Blakely is the CEO of Creative Center of America, a business development company that leverages publicity to increase business growth for brands. Robin offers a multitude of highly specialized services that include planned coaching and publicity management. She also designs and builds work infrastructures for business teams and creates the communications collateral to support them.
Robin develops comprehensive Social Media Campaigns that include set-up, strategy, and branded content. She provides full video production and frequently creates ghosted articles, press kits, bios, newsletters, and scripts. Robin has an extensive background with retail events at places that include Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Wal-Mart, and Barnes and Noble.
Robin Blakely is the author of four business books. Her favorite national clients include the American Society of Baking.
Emily’s professional career began teaching elementary school, then continued as an instructional designer at the post-secondary level. As a performance consultant, Emily specialized in project management, program facilitation, train-the-trainer, and performance improvement in a variety of business sectors including education, manufacturing, and non-profit. Prior to joining BEMA, Emily managed the learning and organizational development function for MeadWestvaco, a global leader in the manufacturing of packaging solutions. She has earned several professional certifications, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Northwest Missouri State University and a Master’s degree in Curriculum Development from Baker University.
Brent Bradshaw is vice president of marketing for Flowers Foods’ cake brands — Mrs. Freshley’s, sold nationally through warehouse distribution, and Tastykake, sold through fresh direct-store-delivery distribution. His responsibilities include advertising, consumer research, new product development, and packaging design.
Bradshaw joined Flowers in 2003 and held positions within the company’s warehouse business, including product manager for Mrs. Freshley’s. In 2005, he was named brand manager for Flowers’ top specialty bread, bun, and roll and cake brands. He was named to his current position in 2011. Under his guidance, Mrs. Freshley’s and Tastykake have won numerous industry awards for innovation. He also helped manage the successful expansion of Tastykake into new markets across the country.
Bradshaw holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Georgia in Athens and a master of business administration in marketing from Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Headquartered in Thomasville, Ga., Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO) is one of the largest producers of fresh packaged bakery foods in the United States with 2015 sales of $3.8 billion. Flowers operates bakeries across the country that produce a wide range of bakery products. Among the company's top brands are Nature's Own, Wonder, Tastykake, and Dave’s Killer Bread. Learn more at www.flowersfoods.com.
Robert Burgh is president of Nexcor Technologies, Inc., a software provider for food manufacturing plants worldwide. He first learned the baking business in his family's wholesale hearth plant in Trenton, NJ. He has held engineer positions in several bakeries after attending K-State and AIB BME #3. He founded Nexcor in 1983 to develop a CMMS for bakeries. In 2000, the AIB contacted him to develop sanitation management software. He is a member of ANSI Z50.2 committee to update standard sanitary design of bakery equipment. He has spoken previously at ASB.
Arturo has 27 years of experience in the baking industry. He has worked in Operations, Environmental, Sanitation, Food Safety, Quality, Operations and Crisis Management.
He is currently Director of Quality and Food Safety for Bimbo Bakeries USA. Bimbo Bakeries operates 59 facilities in the United States and is producing fine baked goods under well known brands like Bimbo, Marinela, Thomas’, Oroweat, Sara Lee, Earthgrains, Arnolds, Entenmann’s, Stroehmann’s, Freihofer’s, Boboli, Brownberry and others.
He is responsible for developing and implementing standard Quality and Food Safety systems across the Organization as well as developing best practices, building capabilities, providing technical support and assuring compliance. Before moving to the US, Arturo was responsible for the Food Safety and Crisis Management area in Bimbo Mexico and Central America.
After graduating from the Ohio State University in 1994 with a bachelors of science in Food Science and Nutrition, Dr. Lin Carson headed over to the Grain Science Department at Kansas State University, where she focused her graduate curricula on baking, bread and grain product texture. She graduated from the Department of Grain Science with a master's degree in 1998 and a PhD in 2002.
During her term as the Treasurer on the Board of Directors at ASB, Lin led the launch of the Product Development Competition for the Society. She is passionate about the commercial baking industry and has mentored many young professionals and women in this industry.
In 2007, she started the R&D program and baking lab at Wendy's New Bakery Company in Ohio. In 2013, she moved to Portland, OR, to fill the position of Director of Technical Services at Dave's Killer Bread (DKB), where she was in charge of food safety, quality, co-manufacturing and R&D procedures. In 2014, Lin left DKB to start BAKERpedia to fill this gap. Today, BAKERpedia is the world's only on-line technical resource and platform for the commercial baking industry.
Hope Frahm is the Executive Chef of Love's Oven located in Denver, Colorado. She came to her position in August of 2013. Before Love's Oven, Hope expanded her knowledge by working in several fields before discovering her passion for baking. One of these fields included working as a mechanic when an unfortunate accident burned thirty-five percent of her body, including the inside of her mouth and numbing her sense of taste. Enjoying challenges and hard work, Hope enrolled in the Art Institute of Las Vegas International Culinary School baking and pastry program. During culinary school, she began working for Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bistro as a chef de partie. She strengthened her pastry skills futher by working at Wolfgang Puck's Postrio before moving to Denver, CO. At Love's Oven, Hope is responsible for developing retail and medical marijuana infused products, as well as managing a staff of classically trained chefs. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her boyfriend Walter and her dog and cate, Potato and Mr. Eko.
Marjorie Hellmer is President and co-founder of Cypress Research Associates, LLC. Marjorie is a seasoned research professional with 20 years of experience in business-to-business and consumer research. Cypress Research Associates focuses on issues affecting the grain-based foods and broader food processing industries, including brand positioning, b2b customer experience, and industry trends. Clients include ingredient and equipment manufacturers, industry trade publications, and associations.
Ms. Hellmer holds a Master of Arts degree in psychology with a specialization in applied research methodology from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She is a long-time member of the American Marketing Association. In her free time, Marjorie is an avid runner, scuba diver and fan of living fully in each moment.
Dave has served in the baking industry for the last 37 years. He has held multiple engineering and manufacturing leadership positions with companies such as General Mills, President Baking, Nabisco and Kroger. He currently is the Senior Director of Engineering for Hostess Brands. Dave was the Chairman of ASB in 2014, and was also the Baking and Snack Operations Executive of the year for 2010. Dave has served as a Baker Representative with BEMA on the Baking Industry Forum, and has worked closely with both the safety and sanitation ANSI standards.
While there’s little grey in Paul’s sideburns, Paul has years of experience in the Baking Industry growing up going to work with his grandfather when he oversaw operations of Campbell Taggart Bakeries. His experience includes Field Service, Merchandising, Route Accounting and is now North American Lead for Field Mobility with Zebra Technologies.
Stuart Hunt is President of SG Systems LLC & Co Founder / Director of SG Systems Europe Ltd.
As one of the industry's most in demand, bona fide manufacturing traceability experts, he has helped many companies achieve practical solutions to their traceability requirements (including Fortune 500's - Sysco, PPG, ConAgra, Kroger, as well as hundreds of multinational businesses).
With more than 18 years of executive experience, he has a wealth of knowledge building winning teams and leading managers at organizations in North America and Western Europe.
He is a frequently requested speaker at conferences and exhibitions on the subject of traceability, particularly concerning complex manufacturing & legislative requirements. He is well experienced, knowledgeable & intuitive in the field of Systems Integration - operating teams that engineer solutions to link different systems together to eliminate data handling errors.
John Khoury’s baking industry career spans over 33 years from the time he first started at Penny Curtiss Baking Company in Syracuse NY when he was 18 years old. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1990 with his degree in Bakery Science and Management and is also a graduate of the American Institute of Baking.
His industry experience is wide spread having worked in both fresh bakery operations as well as frozen dough operations and has held positions in: bakery production, R&D / QA management, plant management, sales, and general management. He also has experience with large organizations and smaller privately owned companies having worked for: Penny Curtiss Baking Company, Heinz Bakery Products, Sara Lee, ADM, and Custom Foods Inc. He is currently CEO / President of Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery located in Three Forks, Montana.
John has been active supporting the industry as a 20+ year member of ASB as well as past ASB Chairman (2009 – 2010) and a multi-year ASB board member. In addition, he has served on the AIB Board of Directors and is currently on the Bakers National Education Foundation Board supporting KSU’s bakery science program. He received Baking and Snack Magazines 2009 Leadership Award, as well as the Outstanding Alumni Service Award from Kansas State University’s Department of Grain Science and Industry. John has spoken to classes at both AIB and KSU many times over the years.
John resides in Bozeman Montana where he enjoys frequent visits from sportsman friends, customers and vendors to fish, kayak, ski, and hike. His favorite pass-time is enjoying a great Montana adventure with his two children, Elena (20) and Nick (17).
Jesse Leal is Quality Manager of Food Safety Services Training for AIB International. He has held this position since April 1, 2014. He is originally from Arizona and now lives in Los Angeles.
Prior to coming to AIB, Jesse worked at Frito Lay and Mission Foods for a combined 10 years in various positions. He joined AIB in 1996 as a food safety auditor, and later became a food defense specialist, conducting more than 1700 food safety audits related to GMPs, agricultural practices, food defense, and FSMA in 11 countries and for some of the largest multinational food manufacturers. Jesse has also served as a consultant to help El Salvador implement their country’s Good Agricultural Practices and has authored several trade press articles.
Currently Jesse travels globally providing food safety training in both English and Spanish for AIB employees, as well as food industry audiences. He leads public and private training for employees at all career levels.
Peggy is the Chief Executive Officer and an owner of Love's Oven, a cannabis infused products manufacturer based in Denver, Colorado. Peggy became a partner at Love's Oven in 2011 and retired from her 33 year mergers and acquisitions career at United Health Group in 2014.
Since joining Love's Oven Peggy has been instrumental in creating a operating model that has supported a 1200% increase in sales since 2013. That operating model reflects Love's Overn's unyeilding belief in food safety and quality in an industry that is not yet federally regulated. Peggy has direct oversight for the bakery operation and as CEO ultimate responsbility for all facets of the company.
Gilles Mur is currently Global Marketing Director of Food Enzymes business in DuPont Industrial Biosciences.
After more than 10 years of various global business management responsibilities in the food ingredients business in Danisco, Gilles joined Genencor, the Biotechnology division of Danisco in 2007 to take over a global business development position in the feed and food markets.
Further to the acquisition of Danisco by DuPont in 2011, he took over the responsibility of director of strategic marketing and business development for the Home and Personal Care business within the new strategic business unit, Industrial BioSciences, in DuPont.
Gilles is graduated from "Industrial Physics and Chemistry School of Paris" and has a MSc in Science of materials, and an executive MBA from INSEAD.
Dr. Kirk O'Donnell has been a member of ASB for over 25 years. He has earned Bachelor's degrees in Milling Science and Management as well as Bakery Science and Management from Kansas State University. He went on to earn an MBA from Texas A&M at Corpus Christi and then a Doctor of Education degree from Kansas State. Kirk has worked as a production supervisor, technical troubleshooter, superintendent, plant manager, instructor, school leader, consultant, and author over the course of his professional career. He has had opportunities to travel throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America in his role as an instructor and consultant. He currently is Principal of Bakers Growth LLC, which provides educational products and services to the baking industry.
David is Director of Consumer Insights at Ardent Mills LLC, the nation's largest provider of flour and grains. Prior to joining Ardent Mills in June 2014, David had been Director Consumer Insights for the Commercial Foods Division of ConAgra Foods in Omaha NE. David is a career CPG foods market researcher. He was previously at Quaker Oats and Keebler Company and The NPD Group, Inc., all in Chicago. David has a PhD in Consumer Psychology from Purdue University. He applies his training and curiosity about social values, emotions and decision making to further enhance his insights about consumers and the marketplace.
Ryan joined Kerry in 2012 and currently holds the position of VP & General Manager responsible for developing the Dairy & Bakery end use markets. Additional responsibilities include the technology owner for Kerry's complete emulsifier and texture system portfolio. Prior to joining Kerry, Ryan worked for Associated British Foods in a similar leadership capacity. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in Print Journalism. Ryan and his wife Melissa live in Sycamore, IL with their two children Louise (4) and Charlie (2).
Ashin (Ash) Soti hails from a small town in India and has been in the US since 2009. He is currently the Corporate Maintenance Manager with Bimbo Bakeries USA and has been with the company for 5 years. He is on H1-B work visa which is the most common type. He has been a student, volunteer worker, a trainee and an employee so he is very knowledgeable and aware of the subject matter. He is a passionate baker!
Richard J. Starke, Director of Reading Thermal, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY) and a Master of Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia, PA). Richard has more than 35 years of professional experience, covering a broad range of leadership positions, with demonstrated expertise in electrical engineering, bakery production, business management, and marketing. Before joining Reading Thermal in 2002 Richard held positions as Member of Technical Staff for AT&T Bell Laboratories, and Business Manager for Unique Pretzel Bakery. He also served as President / Owner of Uncle Ernie’s Cookie Company. Richard’s responsibility is to direct the company’s operations and communicate technology associated with commercial oven profiling.
Over 30 years of active membership at ASB. Chairman of the Z50 Safety and Sanitation Committee.
Mary is the Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance Director for AB Mauri North America. She leads the Quality Assurance team at their North America Headquarters office in St. Louis, MO and has functional responsibilities for quality control, quality assurance and regulatory compliance within all 5 manufacturing plants in the region.
Prior to joining AB Mauri, she most recently held the role of Corporate Regulatory Compliance Manager at Kraft Foods where she had spent 11 years at various roles of increasing responsibilities. Prior to her career with Kraft Foods she held the role of Quality Assurance Manager for Five Star Food Base Company, St. Paul, MN and Quality Specialist for Guinness Packaging, Runcorn, England.
Mary is an AIB Certified Baker. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Food Science and Technology and a Master's of Science degree in Food Safety and Quality Management from the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside, UK. She has a second Master’s degree in Software Information Systems from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN.
Todd was attending Hanover College when he was offered a position with Ellison Bakery. He began his career with Ellison Bakery in 1982 and has served in various positions of increasing responsibility including distribution director, plant manager, sales & marketing as well as vice president/general manager. His current role with Ellison Bakery is president. Ellison Bakery, owned by the Ellis family, manufactures cookie products for the food service industry, private label grocery trade, and ice cream and confection industries.
Todd completed the AIB Certified Baker Program in 1990 and has worked in the baking industry for more than 34 years. He has been a member of the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers Association and has served as treasurer, is on the board of directors and the executive committee, and currently serving as chairman of the board. He is also involved in his community and serves as president of a local non-profit organization. He is married and has five children, two of which are married, and has three grandchildren.