CEO Insights: BEMA Convention 2023 Reflection

kerwin brown

Convention 2023 just wrapped, and I can’t believe how much there was to take in during the whirlwind event. Throughout the week, there were so many great moments, from the scheduled to the spontaneous and unscripted. It was great to be back in touch with so many in the industry, seeing familiar faces and learning new ones in an incredible environment.

I believe these encounters, chance or not, create a spark where good things can and will happen. Throughout the week, I witnessed the spirit of collaboration in action where friendships were renewed, and new ones were forged. I loved to see the heads leaning together in conversation and there was a positive energy felt throughout the week.

When Jeff Havens brought the tables together to share their ideas during the keynote, I remembered how important it is to ask the “simple” questions and then listen. Later, during the Ask-A-Baker panel, I saw how much bakers rely on their suppliers to assist with everything from ingredient sourcing to finding the right equipment to fit into a limited footprint. The presentation on Smart Manufacturing also brought home how identifying common needs could accelerate the adoption of smart manufacturing within the industry. It was good reminder that no one is alone in this process, and we cannot underestimate how much we can benefit from asking for help.


Becoming a Champion

Content presented during Workforce Wednesday clarified the importance of having champions within the organization. Without these people, good ideas like workforce training and sustainability measures may end up getting shelved or underutilized. BEMA’s partnership with Arizona State University is an incredible reminder of the benefits of having the right people in your corner when and where you need them.

This includes the ability to train using new technologies like RealWear, better understand how to implement and champion Industry 4.0 processes in our organizations and find ways to incorporate sustainability that make sense to the organization. These are all incredible tools for the industry to maximize. Even better is having BEMA members who are a direct conduit to these varied and important services. Who better to ask than someone who has already been through the process? This is the incredible power of partnership in action.

kerwin brown

Seen and Heard

One of the many comments received during Convention was in regard to the caliber of networking and connections available with baking industry leaders. One attendee shared that they found Convention to be “by far the best for interacting/sharing with peers on topics that will make a difference for our future in food manufacturing.” Another person shared that, “The networking of equipment and ingredient suppliers and bakers speaks volumes when attending and seeing everyone joining together to make this industry better for all involved.”

This is BEMA’s mission of connecting, educating and providing resources for our members and the industries they serve in action. Now, in less than three months, we’ll have the opportunity to gather again at NEXUS. This meeting is the perfect place to take a deeper dive into some of the many concepts discussed at Convention alongside likeminded individuals. Until then, we hope you’ll keep the Convention buzz going and let us know what’s on your mind.

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