Feel good event

by Eric Schroeder and Meyer Sosland
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During the 115th annual International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Conference and Expo held May 2-6, the strength and positive outlook of the North American and global flour milling industry were on display at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center near the famous river walk in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. Over 800 attendees from 24 nations came to the show to see the newest milling technology, hear from experts on the most important topics of the day and to develop and rekindle relationships with colleagues and friends.

Safety, sanitation and government regulatory matters were main topics addressed in the educational sessions during the conference. Among other specific topics, presentations were given on rail safety, sanitary design and health care reform in the U.S. and its affect on plant operations.

In taking the gavel from outgoing IAOM president Bart Hahlweg, Joe Woodard, general manager for ADM Milling Co. in Arkansas City, Kansas, U.S., set as his theme for his presidency: “Nurture, Look Forward and Grow to Give Back.”

“Help the industry move ahead, while giving back and sharing your knowledge and expertise with your colleagues, peers and mentees,” Woodard said.

He urged veteran millers to share their knowledge — whether it be through distance learning, webinars or streaming sessions — with the new generation of millers. Doing so will allow the new generation to learn from the veteran millers’ experience, mistakes and challenges, he said.

“Building upon the foundation that already exists, we need to move forward and make sure that those in the industry continue to grow,” he said. “We need to give back to the industry and to continue the cycle and vision that started with AOM in 1896.”

Woodard, who became the 107th president of the IAOM, has been an active member of the IAOM since 1980. He was director of IAOM’s Wheat State District from 2003-09 and served as that district’s chairman in 1999-2000. While serving as IAOM vice-president in 2010-11, Woodward also was president of the International Milling Education Foundation (IMEF). He has been an IMEF trustee since it was founded in 2003. Woodard joined the milling division of ADM in 1979.

Expo and product showcase

The IAOM Expo featured 107 exhibits by suppliers from all over the world showcasing their products and services.

Making presentations during the “Product Showcase” portion of the expo program were:

• Henrik Andrén, Unity Scientific, who discussed the BoMill, which is a top-end, diode array system for measuring flour and grains;
• Tom Byrnes Jr., Blower Engineering, who presented information on the Wheat Heater, which utilizes a direct contact steam generator, features a system that is instant on/off, and requires no boiler insurance, boiler room, operating engineer or clean air permits;
• Andrew Frei, Fortress Technology, who offered information on the Phantom ICON, which is the newest addition to the Fortress Phantom line of metal;
• Greg Vander Vorste, Premier Tech Chronos, who introduced the Robotic Full Bag Transfer “ANDY,” a bag packaging automation system;
• Nate Neufeld, Inovair, who presented information on Inovair’s Complete Blower System, a centrifugal blower for pneumatic conveying;
• Tim McDougall, Buhler Inc., who introduced the MTVA Grain Cleaner, which gives more flexibility in regards to the varying amount and variety of impurities in grain ; and
• Charlie Kauffman, Perten Instruments, who discussed the doughLAB, which established flour/dough rheological testing to new uses.

Milling Operative of the Year

Scott Martin of ConAgra Mills was named the 2011 Milling Operative of the Year on May 5 during the annual IAOM banquet.

The 26th annual award, presented by Milling & Baking News and World Grain, is given to a practicing milling operative who has made the most significant contributions to the progress of his plant, his company and the industry from an operating point of view. A $1,500 scholarship is established in the winner’s name at Kansas State University (KSU), Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., and will be given to a deserving student in the Department of Grain Science and Industry. The award was presented to Martin by Charles Sosland, chairman of Sosland Publishing.

“This year’s winner received many nomination letters not only from within his own company, but also a few from others in the industry who described him as a ‘miller, teacher, innovator and collaborator,’” Sosland said in presenting the award.

Martin’s milling career started 25 years ago as an associate miller at ConAgra Mills. He had larger head miller roles throughout his career in such locations as Martins Creek, Pennsylvania, U.S..; Tampa, Florida, U.S.; New Prague, Minnesota, U.S.; Alton, Illinois, U.S.; and Hastings, Minnesota, U.S.

In 1997, he was promoted to technical miller in Omaha, and in 2006 to director of technical milling. In addition to overseeing major consolidation and expansion projects throughout his career, Martin also was instrumental in refurbishing and installing a 90-year-old Nordyke roller mill to increase the first break roll surface at a mill in Loudonville, Ohio, U.S.

“His desire to push the limits and create new approaches to maximize the (profit) of each milling unit is a driving force for the company success,” said a regional manager.

Martin has been active in supporting the milling industry and its organizations. He has served on the IAOM Education Committee since 2003 and as moderator for a number of the IAOM Milling Maintenance short courses. He is a member of the KSU advisory board for the North American Millers’ Association.

Other award winners

For only the 18th time in the 115-year history of the association, the Gold Medal Award was presented. The recipient, Steve Curran, was described by presenter Royal Denning as having “served the association and the industry with an undying passion for flour milling — serving every single day of those 35 years with integrity and character that is beyond reproach.”

Curran has been a member of the IAOM since he was a milling science student at KSU. He has served in leadership positions on the district and international levels as a board member, committee chairman, committee member, and district officer. He has presented technical papers at both the district and international levels and is always willing to help in any way that he can at conferences.

A colleague noted that Curran has always been very passionate about milling and the milling industry, and that he is always learning, taking full advantage of every technical conference he has attended.

Also during the annual banquet, the George B. Wagner award was presented to Bill Pursley. The award was created to honor IAOM members for their outstanding contributions to mill sanitation and food safety.

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Pursley was described as a much sought after educator who emphasizes practical solutions to the most challenging industry problems. A colleague said of him, “One thing honorable about the recipient is that he took a need for an industry (sanitation/ food safety education) and made it a lifelong passion. He loves what he does. Most people have the opportunity to impact a set of workers or possibly a corporation, but he has helped shape and define acceptable standards for an industry that in turn touches everyday lives (food).”

Pursley has been a member of IAOM for almost 30 years and was instrumental in the development of a HACCP Workshop for grain milling.

Officers elected

Aaron Black, director of operations at Wilkins-Rogers, Inc., in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, U.S., unanimously was elected 2010-11 IAOM vice-president.

Black has been an active member of the IAOM since 1996. He was director of IAOM’s Niagara District from 2005 and was 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 vice-president, he also will be president of the IMEF. Black was an IMEF trustee from 2005-10.

Black began his career with ADM Milling Co. After a pair of two-year stints in the company’s Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., and Hudson, New York, U.S., facilities, he joined Wilkins-Rogers, Inc. He has been with Wilkins-Rogers, Inc. since 2000.

Joel Hoffa, corporate milling engineer at The Mennel Milling Co., Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., unanimously was elected 2011-12 treasurer of the IAOM. He also will serve as vice-president of the IMEF, of which he has been a trustee since 2003.

Hoffa has been an active member of the IAOM since 1981. He began his career with ADM in 1975 and worked at the Atkinson Mill in Minneapolis until 1978, when he left to pursue a degree in milling science operations at Kansas State University. Upon graduation in 1980, he joined The Pillsbury Co. in Ogden, Utah, and worked at different plants for the company until 1992. He rejoined ADM in 1993 before joining Cereal Food Processors in Wichita, Kansas as plant superintendent. In 1995, he joined Mennel as plant manager in Fostoria, Ohio, and in 2008 he was promoted to his current position.