After taking its annual conference and expo out of the grain belt to Florida in 2008, the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) returns to wheat and flour milling country in 2009. This year’s event will be held in Central Michigan, a region known for its soft wheat production.
The 113th IAOM Conference & Expo, to be held April 27-May 1 at the DeVos Place Convention Center and Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S., is expected to attract more than 850 grain milling professionals and allied trade representatives from across North America and around the world.
"Grand Rapids is a great site for our annual meeting with the conference venue located in the downtown area," IAOM Executive Vice-President Melinda Farris said. "In addition to the two days of educational programming, exhibition and networking, attendees will have the opportunity to tour King Milling Company in nearby Lowell. There is also a centuries-old Dutch windmill located within a 30-minute drive from Grand Rapids that is still used to mill flour today. I’m sure many of our attendees will be interested in seeing that as well."
The tour of the King Milling complex, which has been operated by the Doyle family for nearly 110 years, will be from 8 to 11 a.m. on Friday, May 1. The mill’s production capacity is 8,000 cwts per day, and it produces soft wheat, hard wheat, organic and whole wheat flours. According to the King Milling website, its flour mill is one of only five currently operating in Michigan, a state that had 700 flour mills when King Milling began its operations in 1890.
This will mark the second straight year that the conference will be a threeday event held in the middle of the week. Prior to the 2008 event in Orlando, it was held over four days. Farris said most of the millers who attended last year’s conference responded favorably to the new format.
On April 28, meetings of the board of directors and various IAOM committees will be held as well as the annual Buhler Reception that evening.
The keynote speech will be delivered by Kansas State University Department of Grain Science and Industry Head Dirk Maier, who will discuss "The State of Milling Science at K-State" during the IMEF breakfast on April 29.
Later that day, the Product Showcase will feature presenters who have a new product or service or are adapting a product or service from another industry to use in the milling industry.
The education program begins immediately following the Product Showcase with presentations on four general topics: facility management, quality control, technical operations and employee management (see complete schedule on page 50).
More educational sessions are scheduled for April 30, the final day of the conference, as well as a special message from Gregory Smith of Chart Your Course International Inc., whose speech is entitled, "Transforming Workers to Winners — What Great Companies Do to Achieve Extraordinary Results."
The conference wraps up with the annual IAOM Banquet and Awards Ceremony that evening, which is preceded by the Satake Reception.
The latest products and services offered to the milling industry will be on display at the IAOM Expo, a trade show that is expected to include more than 150 display booths.
Expo hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29 and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 30. No educational programming is between 10 a.m. and noon on Wednesday and 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday so that the Expo can take center stage during those times.
LATIN AMERICAN MEETING MOVED
Representatives from the Latin America District will hold an important planning session in Grand Rapids on April 28 to prepare for its fall 2009 conference and expo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In past years, the Latin American District held its annual meeting in conjunction with the IAOM conference in North America, but the district’s leadership announced in January that this year’s meeting will be held in South America in an effort to boost attendance and save on travel expenses.
The meeting will take place in Buenos Aires along with Latin American Millers Association’s (ALIM) Annual meeting in November. The district’s leadership said they will be joining the ALIM meeting, but their annual district meeting will take place one day before.
"I would like to stress the importance of this our first event in Latin America and the fact that it will take place together with the annual ALIM meeting, and that we are joining the technical and administrative management perspectives so that in one forum we can provide across the board educational growth to a milling company," Marco Fava, Latin American district director, said. "With this step we have eliminated the impediment that many members had in attending a meeting in the U.S."
Although many IAOM members from North America seemed to like the conference’s new midweek format, Fava said the change from the weekend format wasn’t well received by the Latin American contingent. "Those who came up from Latin America had to miss a whole week of work," he said. "When it was on the weekend, they only had to miss three or four days of production."
Registration forms are available online at www.iaom.info. IAOM members who register by March 31 receive a discounted rate of $275. After that date, the cost for members is $325.
The IAOM website also features updated information on hotel reservations, exhibitions and scheduled speakers.