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 Waste to Energy
Harvey Abouelata, ARiES Energy


Harvey Abouelata, President of ARiES Energy, has extensive experience in business management, business planning, strategy, sales, marketing, promotions, public relations, implementation, and new technology brand identity with concentration in the renewable energy field.

Since graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1984, Harvey has been helping businesses launch, reorganize, and bring new technology to market. Harvey excels at setting up successful sales, marketing, business plans and economic development strategies for companies, as well as executing public outreach and education.

At ARiES, he oversees business operations and management, marketing strategy, and overall customer satisfaction. In recent history, Harvey was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at a privately owned Knoxville company where he oversaw the sales, product development, and marketing of residential and commercial products and services for Solar PV and thermal design. Prior to this position, he was the Director of Sales and Marketing for another renewable energy company launch.

While being involved in the solar industry, he has succeeded in bringing millions of dollars in grants to local companies and the state of Tennessee. He is very active in the community and has a strong sense of social and environmental responsibility both in and outside of the work environment. Harvey also enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristin, a top producing loan officer with Mortgage Investors Group. Together they have two teenage daughters, supporting the youngest child’s passion for hunter jumper equestrian sport and the eldest’s love for guitar and field hockey.

 Workforce Engagement: Culture Change at the Operator Level
Jeremy Bowen, Snyder's-Lance

Jeremy Bowen is the director of operations for the Snyder's-Lance Charlotte, NC manufacturing facility, where he is currently leading a major change effort that includes more than $80 million of capital investment combined with significant cultural transformation.  Bowen is leveraging an intentional leadership model to support his vision, creating a high-performing team in the midst of change.  Prior to his current role, he served in various manufacturing leadership positions at General Mills and Procter & Gamble.  He received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

 Training/Education Panel Discussion
Rowdy Brixey, Bimbo Bakeries USA

rbrixeyRowdy started swinging a tool pouch at age 16 with Interstate Brands Corp and spent five years as their VP of Engineering and a total of 28 years with the company.

Currently as Director of Engineering and Maintenance Optimization for Bimbo Bakeries, USA, he is responsible for all US BBU maintenance systems, maintenance training, storeroom inventory and critical inspections.  He's been with BBU almost 7 years.

In 2004 he was named "Rising Star" by Baking & Snack Magazine.  

Rowdy served as Co-Chairman of ABA's Executive Leadership Development Conference from 2006 - 2008, as well as an advisory board member for four years on ABA's Bakery Industry Forum.  

Rowdy obtained his Professional Bakery Engineer (ASBPBE) certification in 2002 from the American Society of Baking and served as ASB's 2010-2011 Chairman.  Rowdy is currently a member of the ASB Hall of Fame Committee.

Rowdy is married to Tracy, his wonderful wife of 30 years and has three kids, two are married and his oldest, his daughter, gave him his first and only grandchild, London.

 From Smart Phones to Smart Plants
Robert Burgh, Nexcor Technologies, Inc.

Burgh_RobertRobert 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 santitation management software.  He is a member of ANSI Z50.2 committee to update standard sanitary design of bakery equipment.



 Validation of Baking as a Kill Step to Reduce Salmonella in a Hamburger Bun
Laksmikantha Channaiah, AIB International

Kantha_11Lakshmikantha (Kantha) Channaiah obtained his Ph.D from Kansas State University (KSU) with a specialization in food-safety microbiology.  He has over 14 years of experience in food safety microbiology areas.  He has been credited with various food-safety microbiology research grants worth more than $6.5 million.  He has published articles in peer reviewed journals and food magazines.  He has worked for US FDA sponsored resech projects and developed food safety training modules specially designed to train FDA food inspectors based on the new FSMA act.  At AIB International, Kantha is responsible for developing microbiology course materials, teaching, consulting, and execution of kill-step validation research projects. 



 Microalgae: A new Way to Combine Texture and Nutrition in Baking
Kristen Coad, Roquette America, Inc.

Coad_KristenKristen Coad is an Application Senior Specialist in the Food Applications group at Roquette America.  She is responsible for new product development, technical assistance to the Human Nutrition Business Unit, and new project development within the Bakery and Frozen Dessert market segments.  She has over three years experience within the food industry in research and development in whipped icing and toppings, bakery, gluten free applications, and frozen desserts.  She holds a B.S. from Iowa State University in Food Science and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Food Science from the University of Illinois.






 Baker's Dilemma: PHO Free Fundamentals to achieve Nutritional Improvement and Functionality
Roger Daniels, Stratas Foods, LLC

DanielsRoger L. Daniels was named Vice President, Research & Development and Innovation for Stratas Foods in October 2011.  Mr. Daniels is charged with delivering industry leading innovation and technology support to yield a broad portfolio of edible oils based solutions that fully meet Stratas' customer evolving needs.

Prior to joining Stratas, Roger led the R&D team for Bunge Oils, a division of Bunge North America.  During his eleven year tenure with Bunge, his team was recognized with innovation awards from Frost & Sullivan, American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS), and the Institute of Food Technology (IFT) for product development.

In addition to positions with Stratas and Bunge, Roger Daniels held positions of increasing responsibility with Campbell Suup Company, American Home Foods, and Karishams.

Mr. Daniels is an inventor, author and edible oils industry expert.  He holds numerous patents in edible oil products and processing, has presented papers at AOCS, IFT, and Nutracon national technical meetings, published papers in peer reviewed journals and contributed to food industry publications with fats and oils perspectives.  Roger holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Biological Sciences, a Master of Science Degree in Food Science, Chemistry, and Nutrition both from the Ohio State University and a Master of Business Administration from Bloomberg University.


 The Art of Steam Use in Bread and Roll Ovens
Mike Day, Banner-Day

Day_MikeMike Day is President of Banner-Day located in Saginaw, Michigan.  Banner-Day specializes in custom combustion, automation and temperature control system solutions for large scale commercial bakery ovens and electric impedance pipe heating systems for commercial and industrial process piping system applications.

Mike joined Banner-Day in 1993 and during his 21 years with the company he has served in numerous roles throughout the organization including Field Service Technician, Assistant Field Service Manager, and new Equipment and After Market Sales and Service Manager.  He has served as President of the company since 2011.  Active in bakery industry associations, he is a current member of the Board of Directors for BEMA and has contributed to the Bakery Industry Forum as a committee member.  He is also a 15 year American Society of Baking member.  Mike earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1989.

 Crisis Planning: Face Your Future Panel Discussion
Gini Dietrich, Arment Dietrich, Inc.

Dietrich_GGini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm.  She is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.  She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR.  Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.



 Individual Impact of Baking Automation
Jim Ervin, Natural Ovens Bakery

Ervin_JimJim Ervin is currently the General Manager of Natural Ovens Bakery, a division of Alpha Baking, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  His baking career began in 1995 with Schwebel Baking in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and included experience working for Interstate Brands Corporation in Henderson, Nevada; Sara Lee in Paris, Texas; and J&J Snack Foods in Moscow Mills, Missouri.  He was among the first to receive the Professional Baker status from ASB and has been both a presenter and Session Chair at previous ASB conventions.  Ervin's formal education includes work in a dissertation to complete a Ph.D in Organizational Leadership from Northcentral University as well as a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and an Associate of Arts from Prairie State College. 




 Oven Waste Heat Recycling & Energy Balancing
Scott Houtz, Air Management Technologies, Inc.

Houtz_ScottScott Houtz has been a Certified Energy Manager for over 25 years and has been involved in providing innovative energy and heat transfer solutions to the baking industry for over 20 years.  He is the President of Air Management Technologies, Inc. located in Lewisburg, PA, which has provided guaranteed turnkey solutions to the baking industry throughout North America, and Worldwide through strategic alliances.


 GMO Wheat: Both Sides of the Debate
Robbin Johnson, University of Minnesota


Robbin Johnson retired from Cargill, Incorporated effective January 1, 2007.  He now is Senior Adviser, Global Policy Studies, at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. 

Johnson joined Cargill in 1971. He was named an assistant vice president in 1976, vice president, Administrative Division, in 1982 and was elected Corporate Vice President, Public Affairs, in 1993. In June 2000 he was elected Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, in which role he worked with Cargill’s senior leadership team on public policy and communications strategies and served on the Corporate Center and the Corporate Affairs Committee.

 Johnson graduated from Yale University in 1968 with a bachelor's degree, did graduate study as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England from 1968 to 1970 and attended Yale Law School from 1970 to 1971.

 Johnson currently serves on the boards of Parent Aware for School Readiness and Second Harvest Heartland and on the Board of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences.  He is a past chair of the Cargill Foundation, the U.S. Feed Grains Council and the Canada-Minnesota Business Council.  Johnson also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is married to B. Kristine Johnson, and they have two daughters, Kelsey and Berit.

 Training and Education Panel Discussion
Monica Kline, The EnSol Group

Kline_MonicaMonica Kline is the Director of Business Operations and Education at The EnSol Group, an engineering, design, and project management consulting firm for the baking & snack food industries.

Monica’s career started with a background in foreign languages and education. She completed her undergraduate degree in Japanese Language & Literature and East Asian Studies, and holds an M.A. in Japanese Literature from Columbia University and an M.A. in Education from Hunter College in New York City.

Monica has contributed to BEMA-U’s educational workshops and AIB’s educational programs, and is a member of the ASB Young Professionals Committee and the Society of Bakery Women.

Recognizing there is an opportunity for more effective training methods in the industry, she brings her passion for teaching and education to this program, and is delighted to have been able to organize and moderate this panel discussion.


 Recreating Texture when Gluten is Removed
Janae Kuc, Gum Technology a Business Unit of Penford Products

Kuc_JanaeJanae Kuc is the R&D Manager at Gum Technology, a business unit of Penford Food Ingredients.  She manages the Gum Technology R&D team and offers R&D development and problem solving for customer projects involving beverages, functional foods, baked goods, gluten-free product development, dressings and sauces and other food based categories.  Ms. Kuc has a keen interest in the food industry and attended the University of Arizona where she received a BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.


 LEED Certification
Sonrisa Lucero, Susta Innovations

SonrisaSonrisa is the Sustainability Strategist in the Office of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.  A Sustainability Engineer with eight years of experience, she brings with her a deep knowledge of energy resources and all facets of sustainabile buildings and their impact on the natural and built environment. Sonrisa has guided over eleven buildings to LEED Certification, including the highest benchmark a building can achieve: LEED Platinum.  She has executed complex Energy Savings Performance Contracts, led diverse teams in understanding, articulating and meeting sustainability goals, and being a successful entrepreneur.  A self-described environmentalist and socioeconomic activist, Sonrisa has for years been an enthusiastic Support of Groundwork Denver.  Sonrisa is a graduate of Stanford University and is fluent in English and Spanish.  She is a Denver native.


 Training and Education Panel DIscussion
Holly Mockus, Alchemy Systems

MockusWith over 30 years of experience in the food industry at companies like ConAgra, Kellogg, and Sara Lee, Holly has recently joined the Alchemy Systems team where she currently helps the firm to create world class workforce development solutions for the food industry. Holly has held positions in food safety, quality assurance, sanitation, and plant regulatory affairs. She has authored several chapters related to the importance of record keeping and documentation in the food industry. She was honored to become the 2013 recipient of the Safe Quality Food Institutes Outstanding Achievement Award, and is passionate about the importance of training in the food industry including the cultivation of successful safety cultures.

 Key Stategies to a Successful Vertical Start-Up
Rob Rainholt, Burns & McDonnell

Rainbolt_RobRob Rainbolt has over 20 years of experience in food and consumer products manufacturing.  He serves as the manager of engineering for Burns & McDonnell's Food & Consumer Group.  Before joining Burns & McDonnell, Rob served as both a start-up and manufacturing operations leader at a Fortune 50 consumer products company.  He managed strategic and daily planning functions for total supply chain costs, inventory, productivity, and organizational capability development.  Rob led start-up activities for that company's largest production site where he managed 30 project start-ups over a three year period.  At Burns & McDonnell, Rob manages multi-disciplined engineers and coaches project teams as they plan for successful start-up execution.




 Sprouted Grains
Peter Reinhart, Johnson & Wales University

Peter Reinhart is the author of ten books, including the best selling American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza.  He is also the winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (as well as James Beard Foundation) Book of the Year Award (2002) for The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  His books have also won two other James Beard Awards; Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor (James Beard Award, 2008), and Crust & Crumb (1997).  Another book, Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday, was nominated for yet another James Beard Award.  His most recent book was published in August 2012, entitled, The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking, and his most recent book, The Bread Revolution was released in October 2014.

Peter is the full-time Chef on Assignment at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC, where he teaches courses on baking, as well as on food and culture.  In addition to writing and teaching, as the owner of Reinhart Culinary Development, Peter is also a consultant and product developer and consultant for eight major food companies, has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, a culinary and keynote presenter at conferences around the world, and the host of the popular video website,  He is also the consulting partner at Pure Pizza, Charlotte's first organic, farm to table pizzeria, and serves on a number of non-profit boards. 

 A Case for Mentoring
Renee Rouwhorst, Ryke's Bakery, Catering, and Cafe


Renée Rouwhorst has worked in several business settings managing operations, budgets, and employee turnover and performance teams.  She earned her degree in education, and worked as an educator, school administrator and business consultant.  She currently owns Ryke’s Bakery, Catering and Café in Muskegon, Michigan. She sits on the Retail Bakers of America (RBA) Board of Directors as the Education Chair, is an active member of the RBA Roadshow Planning and Training Team and BEMA’s education task force.  

Renée is certified with Inscape on the DiSC Personal Profiling System, Diversity Analysis, and Time Management Evaluation. 



 Baking Line of the Future Today: Mixing
Ken Schwenger, Bakery Concepts International, LLC


Ken Schwenger is the founder and President of Bakery Concepts International.  His 29 year career in our industry started with a great bakery ingredient distributor in Reading, PA and then exposed him to all aspects the trade. From technical baking and sales for a few of the best ingredient manufacturers, to the trade pubs to industrial equipment providers such as AZO and Fritsch, Ken is conversant with the entire baking process.  Ken’s company is the exclusive manufacturer and representative for the radically disruptive Rapidojet technology for North, Central and South America as well as Israel, China and India.

Rapidojet is a winner of the inaugural 2015 ASB Innovation Award.

Ken is the current Z50.2 Leader of the robotics working group within ASB and also serves on the Membership Committee. 

 Advanced VOC Abatement Catalysts: A Path to Lower Operating Costs and Emissions
Matthew Seabaugh, Nexceris


Dr. Matthew M. Seabaugh is the Director of Product Development at Nexceris, and manages the company's efforts in catalysts and coatings.  Dr. Seabaugh completed is Ph.D. in Materials Science at The Pennsylvania State University after receiving his B.S. in Ceramic Engineering at University of Missouri-Rolla in 1994.  He joined Nexceris in 1998, where his technical career has focused on materials manufacturing, development of catalytic coating processes, power generation, and energy storage.  Since 2008, Dr. Seabaugh has led Nexceris Product Development group, which provides process technology and materials solutions to commercial customers.  Dr. Seabaugh's research and development efforts have resulted in nine issued and nine pending patents.

 Crisis Planning: Face Your Future Panel Discussion
Scott Skifstad, Lockton Companies

SkifstadScott Skifstad is Vice Presdient, Risk Control Manager for Lockton Companies.  He is responsible for risk control services, Claim and Loss Control for the Chicago series.  He is also a member of the National Claim Advisory Group.

Scott has more than 28 years of experience in the insurance industry.  Prior to joing Lockton, Scott held various claim management positions at both a regional and national level with St. Paul Cos and Travelers Insurance Companies.

Scott holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin.  Scott's career has enabled him to relocate several times to take on additional leadership duties.  He and his family currently reside in St. Charles, Illinois.


 Unique Use of Flavors in Fresh Bakery Products
Ryan Smith, Kerry

Ryan joined Kerry in November of 2012 as Vice President of Commercial Sales for the Sweet and Cereal Technology groups.

He was responsible for the successful formation of a Baking Industry sales team, which encompasses the wholesale baking industry in North America.

Ryan is an active member is the ASB, IBIE, ABA and numerous other baking industry groups.

Prior to joining Kerry, he was a Regional Vice President with AB Mauri Company.

 Crisis Planning: Face Your Future Panel Discussion
Joanie Spencer, Sosland Publishing


Joanie Spencer is the managing editor for Baking & Snack magazine.  She has worked at Sosland Publishing since 2008, covering both the retail and wholesale sides of the baking industry.  She's had her hands in almost every aspect of journalism, from daily news to public relations to trade press.  In her previous life on the PR side, she helped develop crisis plans at agencies including Arment Dietrich in Chicago.  Ms. Spencer has a bachelor's degree in communication for Rockhurst University in Kansas City and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.  When she's not running or playing soccer in a "soccer moms" league, she spends her free time with her husband and 5-year old son.




 GMO Wheat: Both Sides of the Debate
Gordon Stoner, National Association of Wheat Growers

Gordon Stoner manages a fourth-generation farm near Outlook, Montana, in the northeast part of the state.  Stoner Farms is a 100 percent no-till, continuous cropping operation raising durum, peas and lentils along with a commercial cow/calf operation.  Gordon's farm celebrated its centennial in 2009.

Gordon has served in leadership positions of his church, local grain merchandising cooperative, Montana Grain Growers Association and, most recently, as director of the National Association of Wheat Growers.  He also served as chairman of the NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates Joint International Trade Policy Committee.

Prior to returning to the family farm in 1980, Gordon received a bachelor's degree in business adminstration and economics, obtained his CPA and continued working winters with a local accounting firm through 2002.

Gordon and his high school sweetheart, Bonnie, have four adult children pursuing careers in the Chicago area and on the East Coast. 

 Bakery of the Future -Today
Jason Stricker, Shick USA


Jason Stricker, National Accounts Manager at Shick USA, has 18 years of experience in process automation.  For the past 10 years, he has worked at Shick in regional sales and account management with a focus on ingredient automation and process integration.  Jason also has experience in project management, field engineering and sales engineering.  In those roles, he assisted customers with increasing throughput in existing facilities, managing large capital projects both brown and green field and maintaining regulatory compliance.

Recently, he was promoted to his current role.  As Shick's National Accounts Manager, Jason manages specific accounts and serves as a technical and strategic adviser on customers and opportunities for his fellow sales team members.  He also assists in market strategy development.  Jason graduated from Baker University in Kansas City, MO with a degree in biology


 Future Perspectives for Preservatives used to Extend Mold-Free Shelf Life of Bread and Other Baked Goods
Jan Van Eijk, Lallemand Baking Solutions

vanEijk_JanJan van Eijk holds a M.Sc in Biochemistry, Microbiology & Food Science from the Agricultural University of Wageningen, The Netherlands and a Ph.D in Biochemistry from the State University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.  He has 30 years experience in the baking industry.  From 1984 to 1993, he worked as R&D project manager in the development of new baking enzymes.  Since 1995, Jan van Eijk is the research director for Lallemand Baking Solutions, where he manages a team involved in the development of enzyme based dough conditioners and yeast related products for the US and Canadian markets. 





 Training/Education Panel Discussion
Jerry Van Oort, Russell Associates, Inc.

VanOort_JerryJerry Van Oort had over twenty-five years experience in the fields of sales  and marketing management, operations and general management, employee training and development management with Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 agriculture and food industry companies prior to becoming VP Sales and Marketing at Russell Associates, Inc. in 2003.  Jerry became an owner and was named CEO of Russell Associates in 2008.  He has real life management experience in dealing with demands and requirements of complying with government regulations, the challenges of creating a safe work envirnment, managing risk and exposure to direct and indirect costs of employee accidents, workers compensation premiums, and product quality and performance liability claims.

 Crisis Planning: Face Your Future Panel Discussion
Sandy Whann, Leidenheimer Baking Company

Sandy Whann is President of Leidenheimer Baking Company and the fourth generation of his family to operate the bakery that was founded in 1896 by his great-grandfather.  Leidenheimer services primarily restaurants and po-boy shops with traditional New Oreleans French bread products.

A New Orleans native, in 1986 Sandy graduated Cum Laude from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA, where he was a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, with a degree in Business Administration.  He joined his father in the family business after internships with Sunbeam Bakery and Mrs. Baird's Bakeries.  In 2002, Sandy received the "Rising Star" award from Baking and Snack Magazine.

Leidenheimer's reputation for excellence in baking has led to distribution in over two dozen states and the opportunity to work on customized baking projects with a number of mult-unit restaurant concepts.  In 2000 he launched Wild Flour Breads, which specializes in artisan breads with local chef Susan Spicer.

Sandy recently served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Independent Bakers Association, for which he is a past Vice Chair and Treasurer.  He is a board member of the Bureau of Governmental Research; he is former Chairman of the Board of the Trustees of the Episcopal School; he has been active in the Young Presidents' Organization: Idea Village and he is a past Board member of the Louisiana Restaurant Association and St. Francis of Assisi Church.  In 2010, Sandy was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame and in 2013 he was recognized by the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation with the Bryan Klotz Outstanding Philanthropy Award.  He lives in New Orelans with his wife Leah and their children Katie and William. 

 GMO Wheat: Both Sides of the Debate
Glen Weaver, Ardent Mills

Glen Weaver is Research Fellow for Ardent Mills.  Glen's academic background is in food science.  He has spent the past 40 plus years working for ConAgra and Ardent Mills in various capacities focusing on quality management, technical support and new technology development.  He is active in AACCI, IFT, IAOM, Wheat Quality Council and the American Baker's Association (FTRAC/food technical regulatory advisory committee) for example.  His primary interest is developing genetics/IP systems, etc. to yield solutions for grain based ingredients/processes and the importance of effective communication and linkages in the supply chain including Universities, Government and Private Technology Providers. 

 Mimic Egg-cellent Functionality
Sarah Wood, Penford Food Ingredients


Wood_SarahSarah Wood, Ph.D has 7 years industry experience in product development, working on small emerging and large national retail brands as well as ingredient supplier.  She currently holds the Senior Application Scientist position at Penford Food Ingredients and works on developing new products and applications as well as technical support for customers.  She holds MS and Ph.D degrees in food science from Cornell University and a BS in food science for the University of Kentucky.




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