AOM Review

by Emily Wilson
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As always, those in attendance at the annual Association of Operative Miller’s Technical Conference and Trade Show found new and familiar suppliers and numerous educational and social opportunities at this year’s function, held in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S., May 4-7.

There was a strong international attendance at the conference, as more than 35 different countries were represented. Registered attendees totaled more than 880, in addition to 107 one-day passes that were purchased at the trade show. Those in attendance were eager to take advantage of the educational sessions and the opportunity to visit with vendors. Trade show exhibitors numbered more than 100.

Educational sessions focused on a wide variety of themes, including maintenance training; integrating automation; fumigation management plans; crisis management and product safety; and mill improvement strategies.

At the conference’s concluding banquet on Tuesday, May 7, 2001-2002 AOM president, Brad Hover, passed the symbolic gavel to this year’s president, Richard Ferrell. Hover will assume the role of AOM Chairman of the Board and Ferrell will lead the AOM under his theme, "Developing a conservative path for continued growth of the AOM," with a focus on building and strengthening the AOM membership.

Ferrell hopes his slogan will remind members of the AOM’s tradition of growth and expanded educational opportunities.

"The AOM has given priority service for over 100 years to members in the United States and Canada, and attempted to serve members in the rest of the world by means of the annual conference, millers’ tours and occasional visits by AOM executives," Ferrell said in his acceptance speech. "… But we need to grow our international membership."

"Our path, if we are to grow as an organization, will no doubt lead us to the development of translated educational materials and the use of electronic mail to deliver them to international members throughout the world," he said.

Ferrell said he was prepared to look at many aspects of the organization to keep it flourishing. "It has never been more appropriate than it is now to foster change in order to keep us in step with the times," he added.

In an interview with World Grain, Hover was also looking forward to the future of the AOM. "The AOM gives the opportunity for people to come in and see all the equipment at one stop; you would have to spend a lot more money going around and visiting each one individually," he said. "The educational part of the organization is also very important for our millers."

To further AOM’s educational services, Hover said the association will continue its strong relationships with Kansas State University and the Northern Crops Institute, as well as look to form other close relationships with organizations in Canada, Mexico and South America that will prove mutually beneficial.

Hover said that one of his most memorable moments as AOM president was, as for so many people, September 11. "We were having three joint committee meetings and three district joint meetings that day," he said. "Although we were trying to cancel the meetings, the vendor support during that time was just amazing. …There is just huge [vendor] support for this organization."

Hover said he is also pleased at the smooth transition from one executive staff to another. In December, Gary Anderson took over as executive vice-president after Harvey McCray retired. "We’re doing things a little different than we have in the past," Hover said. "We’ll continue to look at different ways to do things to help our vendors, help our members, and make it a more efficient organization."

Doehring named Miller of the Year

Kevin L. Doehring, director of milling operations and quality assurance for American Italian Pasta Co., Excelsior Springs, Missouri, U.S., was awarded the 2002 Milling Operative of the Year award at the AOM’s closing banquet.

The award — presented by Charles Sosland, chief executive officer, Sosland Publishing Company, on behalf of Milling and Baking News, World Grain’s sister publication — has been given for the past 17 years to recognize an active milling operative who has made significant contributions to the progress of his plant, his company and the milling industry. In addition to the honor, Sosland Publishing Co. establishes a $1,500 scholarship in the recipient’s name at Kansas State University at Manhattan.

Doehring said that receiving the award was "a shock."

"It is with a great deal of pride that I accept this award because to be associated with those who have received the award before me is extremely special," he said.

Doehring began his milling career in 1984 at ConAgra, working as a head miller in several locations. He joined AIPC in 1994 as a milling superintendent. Three years later, he was named director of milling and in 1999 was named director of quality assurance.

Doehring’s high standards to function as a team player at his company as well as an active member of the industry in helping prepare students for their milling careers, are just a few of the reasons listed in Doehring’s nomination letters.

"During his tenure with the company, he has proven that he is not only a leader in the milling industry today, but is well-positioned to be an industry leader in the future," said David E. Watson, executive vice-president, manufacturing and corporate development at AIPC, who nominated Doehring for the award.

Watson noted some of Doehring’s many accomplishments:

• Building a self-directed team of results-oriented mill operators who consistently deliver superior performance against all the key indicators: quality, run efficiency, extraction rates, safety performance, schedule compliance and operating costs.

• Establishing and maintaining high sanitation and housekeeping standards at both mill locations.

• Actively participanting in wheat procurement and expanding grain sourcing creativity to ensure consistent, high-quality raw materials for end product manufacturing.

• Establishing a highly effective planned maintenance program that has resulted in record-setting run efficiencies, extraction rates and quality at all mill operations.

One of Doehring’s greater achievements was realized in August, 1998. After months of preparation, teamwork and collaboration, American Italian Pasta launched the world’s first "lights out" durum mill. His leadership remains instrumental in the operation of this mill, which has run in lights-out mode for 12 hours a day.

Doehring also developed a very effective summer intern program with the School of Milling Science at Kansas State University, Watson said. "Every summer, a sophomore intern has had the opportunity to work in a modern, state-of-the-art durum milling operation," he said. "This program has been very beneficial to both his company and students."

Awards and recognition

Other awards presented at the AOM banquet included the George B. Wagner Award, presented to Donald Wilbur Jr, chairman and chief executive officer of The Industrial Fumigant Company, Olathe, Kansas. The award recognizes Wilbur’s outstanding contributions to the milling industry in the area of food plant sanitation and food product safety.

Allied Trades Technology Awards were presented to Dieter Flick, president of Fawema Packaging Machinery, Inc., Sarasota, Florida, U.S., and E.B. Greenway, chairman of Greenway Electric, Inc., Wichita, Kansas, U.S.

In a special award presentation, Harvey McCray was honored for his dedicated service as AOM executive vice-president for the previous 12 years.

At the AOM’s annual business meeting, AOM members recognized Ted Bownik’s 25 years of service as AOM’s treasurer by approving a board resolution to rename the association’s special service awards to the Thaddeus B. Bownik Special Service Award. Although no special service awards were presented this year, the renamed award will take effect for next year.

Bownik, who last year retired as plant manager for ADM Milling Company’s flour mill in North Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., announced also at the meeting that he would retire as AOM treasurer next year.