2014 Conference & Expo

by Meyer Sosland
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The International Association of Operative Millers’ (IAOM) Annual Conference & Expo brought together hundreds of milling industry professionals from around the globe May 19-23 to learn about the latest technologies and to network. The event took place at the Omaha Hilton Hotel and CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. Just over 800 delegates from 27 countries attended the event and the expo featured 121 exhibitors. The educational presentations made during the IAOM Conference were segmented into four categories: product protection, technical operations, employee management and facility management. Experts from the milling operations, allied trades and academic fields gave presentations on a wide range of topics.

Presentations during the product protection section included information on the Food Safety Modernization Act, insect and pest management and allergy risks. The technical operations unit included presentations on avoiding catastrophic failure in grain bins and silos, food safety, NIR technology and a special presentation by Steve Doyle of King Milling Co. about the company’s new 5,000-cwt flour mill. The employee management section included presentations on determining employee’s sobriety and attracting new young talent. The facility management section addressed topics related to OSHA, NFPA and lifecycle planning.

In taking the gavel from Joel Hoffa, milling engineer at The Mennel Milling Company, Fostoria, Ohio, U.S., Damon Sidles, plant manager at Miller Milling Company, in Fresno, California, U.S., became the 110th president of IAOM.

Sidles has been an active member of IAOM since 1993. He served as treasurer of the association from 2012-13, and vice-president from 2013-14, during which time he was also president of the International Milling Education Foundation (IMEF), a philanthropic partner of IAOM. Sidles has served as a trustee of the IMEF since it was established in 2003.

“I am the son of a flour miller. My father was in the milling industry for twenty years at such companies as Nebraska Consolidated Mills, ConAgra and Bartlett Milling Co,” Sidles said at the annual IAOM Banquet and Awards Ceremony. “I remember having sifter balls in my school supplies that I used for erasers. I remember my dad dealt with his employees with honesty and respect.”

He graduated from Kansas State University in 1991, with a degree in milling science and management. Upon graduation, he joined ConAgra Mills and moved with the company from plants in Decatur, Alabama, U.S., Wabasha, Minnesota, U.S., Alton, Illinois, U.S., Blackwell, Oklahoma, U.S., and Oakland, California, U.S. In 1997, he started working at Miller Milling in Fresno, and took over as the facility’s plant manager in 2000. Sidles also serves on the board of the California Wheat Commission.

“I started with Miller Milling Company in 1997, and I have had the opportunity to work with some great people there. I am truly indebted to Kevin Ball and John Miller for their role in helping me get where I am today. Without their support and trust, I would not be standing here before you today.”

In his speech, Sidles addressed the major changes and consolidation in the North American milling industry. “You can’t have a stagnant industry and expect to survive. There has to be growth potential. So, I look forward to exciting times in the milling industry ahead. That said, IAOM as an organization will have changes within its own membership. I hope those changes are positive for an organization about to celebrate its 119th year.

“That is why my theme for this next year is appropriately titled, ‘Building and sustaining our organization.’ I reach out now to the newly formed organizations and the companies who recently experienced growth opportunities, which now includes my company. I reach out to you now and ask that you continue to support the IAOM in membership. You are the future for building our growth and sustaining our fraternity of milling professionals.”

‘Power of flour’

The Keynote Address at the IMEF Breakfast was given by Jim McCarthy, president and chief executive officer of the North American Millers’ Association, who discussed “The Power of Flour,” NAMA’s new grassroots advocacy effort to shape policy. “The Power of Flour” focuses on three pillars: food safety, nutrition and the supply chain.

McCarthy called for the millers and their companies to become more involved in advocating for the industry in public policy debates. He asserted that there are currently many important public policy debates that will have long-term impact on the milling industry — Food Safety Modernization Act, GMO labeling, CODEX DON, School Lunch and Meal Programs and rail supply issues — and the industry needs its millers working at the grassroots level to advocate for the policies and legislation that will help the milling industry.

The IMEF launched its endowment campaign in 2004, and it has recently reached almost $800,000. At this year’s IAOM Conference, the IMEF raised around $52,000. Just under $30,000 was raised at the auction and the rest was pledges from companies, districts and individuals.

“IMEF priorities include the IAOM Correspondents course, offering scholarships to those who would like to enhance their skills and add to their knowledge of grain processing, designing an industry curriculum that will help attract a richer more diverse generations to the profession, providing grants for professional management speakers to address IAOM conferences worldwide, updating educational and training DVD’s, and developing senior milling executive workshops,” Sidles said at the IMEF breakfast “These are all viable goals. There is already significant evidence that many people are looking ahead to the future of the milling industry,”

During the IMEF breakfast, it was announced that Jodi Roberts, a junior at Kansas State University (KSU), is the first recipient of the IMEF Christian F. Kongsore Scholarship. The $2,500 scholarship will assist in covering her tuition expenses for the 2014-15 academic year. Roberts was also the recipient of the $2,500 IMEF Scholarship. She is working toward a degree in milling science and management and is also the treasurer of the Milling Science Club.

The Christian F. Kongsore Scholarship was established in 2013, with a donation from Grain Millers, Inc., a company that Kongsore co-founded. Born in Oslo, Norway in 1927, Kongsore worked at his family’s flour mill as a second generation miller and later moved to the U.S. He graduated from KSU with a degree in milling science in 1954. He not only dedicated his life to the milling profession, but also to its people. Kongsore said he was honored to be able to lend his name to such a wonderful cause — providing education to future grain science and milling students.

Expo and product showcase

The IAOM Expo featured 121 exhibitors with suppliers from all over the world showcasing their products and services. This year the exhibitors took up the largest amount of booth floor space since 2000.

The presentations for the “Product Showcase” portion of the expo were made in the individual booths of the presenting companies. This is the second year that the presentations have been made in the booths on the expo floor. IAOM received positive feedback on this move.

Bühler Inc. introduced its new Twin Sifter Azurit MPAU, which delivers high-capacity sifting, 12-tph control sifting. The machine’s range of benefits includes optimal space, high flexibility, low maintenance, with wide access doors for ease of maintenance and cleaning.

Magnetic Products, Inc. gave a presentation on its Pro-Tector, which it said combines the simplicity of a magnetic separator with the reliability of a metal detector in one unit. The Pro-Tector was designed to monitor for metal contaminants in continuous flowing granules or powders.

CMC Industrial Electronics demonstrated its Millguard-Pro, which was designed to continuously monitor temperature on the main bearings and roll surfaces of all types of roll stands commonly utilized in the flour milling industry.

Industrial Magnetics gave a presentation on the Bullet and LTH Magnetic Housings, which was designed with an aerodynamic shape and flow-thru to maintain uniform velocity and flow, allowing it to be used anywhere in pneumatic systems. The machine is most commonly placed ahead of processing equipment and bulk load-out to assure product purity and protect machinery from tramp metal damage.

Kice Industries presented information on its new VJH Rotary Airlock, which was designed for high pressure pneumatic conveying systems (up to 15 PSIG of continuous pressure differential). The valves feature a proprietary bearing and seal cartridge that allows replacement of vital components without disassembling the entire unit.

Haver Filling Systems showcased its Valve Bag Packaging system. With the decrease in cost differences, the use of valve bags is a viable replacement for open mouth bags. Advancements in valve bags and valve back packaging machine technology have made this alternative a feasible choice.

Milling operative

Domenico Santoianni from ADM Milling Company’s Montreal, Quebec, Canada, facility was named the 2014 Milling Operative of the Year during the IAOM Banquet and Awards Ceremony.

Established in 1986 by Sosland Publishing’s Milling & Baking News (sister publication to World Grain), the award is given to the practicing milling operative who has made the most significant contribution to the progress of a plant, a company and the industry from an operating point of view.

Paul Campbell of ADM Milling presented the award to Santoianni.

“He led his team consistently to the best milling efficiencies in North America,” Campbell said while making the presentation.

Santoianni received an inscribed plaque, and a $1,500 scholarship will be established in his name at Kansas State University.

Santoianni has been a member of ADM for nine years and is currently the plant superintendent of the Montreal Mill location. He received his Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.

Santoianni was a co-project leader who, along with the Montreal management team, managed the $20 million B-Mill installation at the ADM Montreal Mill. The project entailed a complete demolition of a vintage 40s Simon/Sprout Waldron Milling unit and an install of a new Bühler unit.

Ron Durham also received the George B. Wagner Memorial Award. The award was created to honor IAOM members for their outstanding contributions to mill sanitation and food safety.

IAOM elects officers

Roy Loepp, director of quality with Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, U.S., was unanimously elected IAOM vice-president during the conference

As vice-president, Loepp will be responsible for overseeing preparations for the IAOM’s 2015 conference in Palm Springs, California, U.S. He is in line to serve as the association’s president from 2015-2016. Loepp has been an active member of IAOM since 1990.

Loepp has served as a member of the IAOM Education Committee since 2000. While serving as IAOM vice-president, Loepp will also be president of the IMEF.

Brad Allen, vice-president and operations lead with Ardent Mills, Denver, Colorado, U.S., was unanimously elected 2014-15 treasurer of the IAOM at the conference.

As treasurer, Allen will be responsible for overseeing preparations for the association’s 2015 and 2016 conferences in Palm Springs, and Columbus, Ohio, U.S., respectively. He is also in line to serve as the IAOM’s president from 2016-17. Allen has been an active member of IAOM since 1996.

Allen has served as a member of the IAOM Employee Relations Committee since 2002. While serving as IAOM treasurer, he will also be vice-president of the IMEF.

Next year: Palm Springs

The IAOM’s annual conference and expo in 2015 will be held May 4-8 at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel and Palm Springs Convention Center, Palm Springs, California, U.S..

In 2016, the 120th Annual IAOM Conference & Expo will take place April 4-8 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.

For more information, visit www.iaom.info.