ABA and B&CMA present a united front

by Nico Roesler
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The 2017 ABA Convention will be held March 26-29 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, FL.
 
Change is coming in 2017. A new administration is now in the White House, and new policy priorities are becoming clearer. Leading the way in adapting and anticipating those changes for the baking industry is the American Bakers Association (ABA), which happens to be also undergoing a major period of transition this year. The merger of ABA and the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association (B&CMA) stands to increase the influence of both associations into the future.

Robb MacKie, ABA’s president and CEO, said many policy priorities will be addressed this year that could benefit not only the baking industry but also food and beverage as a whole. With the B&CMA merger coming soon, ABA aptly gave this year’s convention the theme “Stronger Together.”

“I am very excited about it, from the talent of the professional team to the energy and enthusiasm from the respective members, I think the value proposition and the relevancy that each of our organizations brings to the table together will be much greater than the two parts,” Mr. MacKie said.

The 2017 ABA Convention will be held March 26-29 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, FL.

ABA’s meeting will be co-located with and preceded by the B&CMA Annual Convention, taking place on March 24 and 25. Both meetings will focus on building relationships, collaborating, learning and sharing ideas to advance the baking industry. And with more than 500 of the baking industry’s leaders expected to attend, the co-located events provide new ways to expand ABA’s mission of providing the voice of a cohesive industry.

“We really wanted to build on that because, ­whether it’s the policy side or the marketplace, we believe the industry is much stronger when we’re united,” Mr. MacKie said. “And that includes bakers, suppliers and the entire supply chain, including customers.”

More details about the merger will be released in the days leading up to the convention. Mr. MacKie is confident that with all of the changes ahead, there will be a new level of excitement from everyone involved.

“Coming out of the convention, the goal is to have a completely unified industry in support of not only our policy priorities but also in terms of the industry initiatives that we want to undertake,” Mr. MacKie said.

Since the November election, ABA has been considering policy priorities for 2017 and beyond. In March, the ABA Executive Committee and ABA Policy Chairs will meet to finalize the official policy recommendations for the Trump administration and the 115th Congress. Those efforts will be one of several key focuses at the convention, according to Mr. MacKie.

The ABA Convention speaker lineup includes high-profile leaders, customers and business experts ready to share their knowledge with the attendees. Retired US Marine Corps Gen. John Allen will kick off the March 27 morning events by discussing high-risk ­decision-making under pressure. Later that day, Jason Dorsey of the Center for Generational Kinetics will address the unprecedented challenge of how to manage four generations in the workforce and five generations in the marketplace. Rabobank, which conducts food and agribusiness research, will moderate a panel on retail and foodservice market disruptions and how the industry can use them to develop new and innovative marketing initiatives.

“I always measure the success of an event by the energy level that comes out of it,” Mr. MacKie said. “Even during some of the difficult economic times, I’ve always been impressed when we get everybody in a room together at the same location for a couple of days. The sharing, collaboration and positive energy that comes out of that is enormously invigorating to see. Our expectation is that we’re going to be able to increase that level of positive energy to an even higher level coming out of this meeting.”

For more event information and to register, visit www.americanbakers.org/2017ABAConvention.
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