It was crystal clear to those attending this year’s International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., that the milling industry is taking the issue of safety — both for its products and personnel — very seriously.
About one-third of the educational portion of the conference, which was held April 19-23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, was devoted to plant safety, including the keynote address at the International Milling Education Foundation (IMEF) breakfast from Cargill’s Troy Anderson entitled, "Safety — Common Challenges in the Milling Industry" (see article, page 50). Another special presentation, delivered by Ricardo Carvajal of Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, focused on "The FDA’s Direction and Management’s Responsibility in Food Safety."
"This year, food safety has been brought back to the forefront in terms of how much the bar has been raised and what our responsibilities are to our customers, our companies and to our industry," said newly elected IAOM President Bart Hahlweg during his incoming remarks. "Although we are fierce competitors in the marketplace, we have a common goal of making sure we protect the food supply from food-borne illnesses."
There is evidence that the milling industry is improving its plant safety performance based on the number of facilities that received safety awards at this year’s conference. One-hundred-seven facilities were recognized for their safety record in 2009, compared to 70 facilities in 2008.
"That is great news for the milling industry as it shows we are making progress in delivering on the promise of protecting employees by building better safety programs," Hahlweg said.
He added, "The IAOM is in a great position to carry the message to members both in the U.S. and abroad about how important plant safety and food safety are to our industry and that we need to collaborate and share our best practices," he said. "This is a message that I will continue to share during my term."
Hahlweg, plant manager, ConAgra Mills, Oakland, California, U.S., who said his theme for his presidency is "Building for the Future," outlined four other goals that he would like to achieve during his one-year term:
• completing the online correspondence course and starting the process of translating the materials into several different languages;
• continuing the growth of the IMEF to promote professional development efforts in the interest of flour milling for future members;
• keeping membership informed of any government regulations that might have an impact on the association and the industry; and
• engaging members to participate in the shared best practices for a stronger IAOM and flour milling industry.
The conference in Las Vegas drew more than 100 suppliers from all over the world who showcased their products and services during the expo.
Companies making presentations during the "Product Showcase" portion of the expo program included:
• Ocrim S.p.A., which gave a presentation on its "Perfect Sieve." Made of plastic, the sieve is designed for maximum sanitation, while providing an effective seal and excellent fluidity of the finished product.
• Buhler AG, which discussed food safety challenges, separation and treatment of specific raw material streams, sanitary design of equipment and final treatment of the finished product before shipping to the end user.
• Great Western Manufacturing Co., which introduced a series of new, gravity flow, stainless steel sifters intended primarily for quality assurance applications.
• Premier Tech Systems, which featured its Intelligent Packer, a bagging system that combines bag placing, filling, sealing and conveying into a single controller.
• Sefar Inc., which introduced its V-PET MF sieve screen, a polyester product that is an alternative to nylon, offering little to no elongation under relaxation or moisture absorption.
• SaatiTech, which gave a presentation on its Color Coded Inventory Management System, which allows millers to easily identify sifter clothing materials and connectors, eliminating the guesswork when pulling inventory and ordering product.
• Kice Industries Inc., which discussed its CR Filters that are capable of handling large air volumes from 20,000 to 50,000 CFM.
MILLING OPERATIVE OF THE YEAR AWARD
Emil Kolb, global technical milling expert for Cargill, was named the 2010 Milling Operative of the Year on April 22 during the annual IAOM banquet.
The award, sponsored by Milling & Baking News and World Grain, and presented by Charles Sosland, chairman of Sosland Publishing Company, is presented annually to the practicing milling operative who has made the most significant contributions to the progress of his plant, his company and the industry from an operations standpoint.
A 40-year-veteran of the milling industry, Kolb was recognized for his commitment to drive continuous improvement in the industry as well as his patience and nurturing attitude in training aspiring millers. Kolb began his career in milling as an apprentice at a small flour mill in Switzerland and later joined Buhler as head miller, a position he held for 20 years.
He joined Cargill in 1993 and has since had a hand in nearly every reflow and acquisition project at the company.
"If there is a demand for it, he will certainly discover a way to grind, size, temper, mix, mill or process it to deliver a product the customer is seeking," said Jule Taylor, Cargill’s vice-president of worldwide dry milling, in her nomination letter. "What makes him special in this world of very good technical millers is his commitment to drive continuous improvement for our industry. After decades of working in this business, he never settles for ‘good enough.’ He is a very smart, technical, out-of-the-box thinker and pushes our assumptions of what we consider normal and correct in our mills."
Another colleague from Cargill said of Kolb, "His mind moves swiftly from technical to operational and back to maximize every possible resource of an operation. He thinks of things that no one else does. His sharp mind is a human calculator, or equivalent to an Excel spreadsheet. His patience in training his pupils is one of caring and nurturing to help them rise to meet their own ambitions and goals."
Kolb expressed gratitude to his family and the many friends he has made during his four decades in the milling industry.
"I thank all my friends at Cargill and Horizon Milling and all my friends who live in other countries," said Kolb. "Thank you for this award. I am very honored."
A $2,500 scholarship from Sosland Publishing will be established in Kolb’s name at Kansas State University (KSU) in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., and be given to a deserving student in the Department of Grain Science and Industry.
OTHER AWARD WINNERS
Three other members of the IAOM were honored during the banquet.
Jeff Gwirtz, a longtime milling science professor at KSU, received the Thaddeus Bownik Award for outstanding service to the association. In addition to teaching generations of KSU milling students, he has conducted hundreds of short courses for milling industry employees and delivered numerous presentations at IAOM conferences all over the world.
"His knowledge-packed, energetic presentations have become a highlight of technical conferences, and he can be counted on to approach the subject from a variety of different directions," said former IAOM President Steve Curran in presenting the award to Gwirtz, who has been in the milling industry for more than 30 years.
The IAOM Allied Trades Technology Award was presented to Darryl Tateishi, a longtime employee of Jaymark Inc./ Spomax, and his company for their research and development efforts over the years in milling technology.
Past IAOM President Royal Denning, who presented the award to Tateishi, said the company’s development of cleaner, more energy-efficient bearings for roller mills in the mid-1970s, was a monumental breakthrough for millers.
"Darryl has spent many long days working with bearing manufacturers, millers and machinists to solve all of their problems, and we would like to recognize him for that," Denning said.
In accepting the award, Tateishi remarked: "This is a big surprise and I am very honored. It is inspiring to work with millers that are so dedicated to their profession and to their industry." The final award of the evening, the Gold Medal award, was presented to Bruce Hoshor of General Mills in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., a 35-year veteran of the milling industry. Hoshor is only the 17th person in the 114-year history of the organization to receive the prestigious award.
Prior to presenting the award to Hoshor, former IAOM President Gary Pickelmann described him as a colleague "with a passion for milling and the milling industry."
"He has always taken full advantage of every technical conference that he has attended," noted Pickelmann. "He will attend as many technical presentations as possible and visits nearly every booth at trade shows. He then transfers that knowledge by readily sharing it with other colleagues within his company."
"It’s going to take a while for this to sink in," Hoshor said. "It’s a wonderful privilege. A lot of people in this room are deserving of the award, so this is really a great honor."
Aaron Black, director of operations at Wilkins-Rogers, Inc., in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, U.S., was unanimously elected 2010-11 treasurer of the IAOM at the association’s annual business meeting on April 22. As treasurer, Black will be responsible for overseeing preparations for the Association’s 2011 and 2012 conferences and is in line to serve as the association’s president in 2012-13.
Black replaces Joseph Woodard, general manager for ADM Milling Co. in Arkansas City, Kansas, U.S., who was unanimously elected 2010-11 vice-president of IAOM. Woodard is in line to serve as president during the 2011-12 term.
Black has been an active member of IAOM since 1996. He was director of IAOM’s Niagara District from 2005 and served as that district’s chairman in 2004. He has served in all offices of the Niagara District (2000-05) and as vice-chairman (1997-98) and first committeeman (1996-97) of IAOM’s Southeastern District. While serving as IAOM treasurer, Black will also be vice-president of the International Milling Education Foundation (IMEF), a philanthropic partner of IAOM that funds a variety of educational programs related to the grain milling industry.
IMEF grants a $2,500 scholarship each year to a deserving student in KSU’s milling science program. In the scholarship’s second year, Drew Pettijohn was once again selected as the recipient.