ATLANTA, GEORGIA, US — Art Hibbs, an influential figure in the global milling industry over many decades, celebrated his 100th birthday on Oct. 23 with family and friends in Atlanta.
Known for his expertise as a technical miller, Hibbs co-authored both editions of the book, “Wheat Flour Milling,” which is referred to by millers worldwide.
His work as a member of the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) spanned decades and influenced the careers of many flour millers.
Paul Brennan, a retired Canadian miller and former IAOM president, said he had the privilege of working with Hibbs on the IAOM Technical Committee.
“Upon becoming a member of that committee after my term on the board ended, I gradually got to know Art better and to realize his substantial contribution to the technical committee’s activities, always with the interest of the practical miller in mind,” Brennan said. “He was always approachable and willing to share his vast knowledge with all who cared to discuss the many aspects of our industry’s operations. Art always was, and yet remains, a shining example of a ‘gentleman’s gentleman.’”
A Kansas native, Hibbs worked at his family’s grain elevator and feed store before attending Kansas State University, where he received a degree in milling technology in 1943.
He fought in World War II as a captain in the corps of combat engineers in Europe, and also provided flour milling capacity and capability intelligence to the Allies.
After the war, he returned to Kansas State and received a master’s degree in milling science in 1947.
During the next four years, he worked on developing and promoting impact milling while employed by Safety Car Heating and Lighting, owners of the Entoletor.
He joined the International Milling Co. in 1951 and was named its eastern division milling superintendent four years later.
In 1965, Hibbs was transferred to the corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, and was promoted to director of corporate grain processing technology for International Milling’s mills in the United States, Canada and South America.
He provided technical assistance to the US Wheat Associates when a wheat shipment to London, England, was held up due to ergot contamination. The solution — a cleaning system that removes ergot — saved the shipment from being rejected.
After officially retiring from the milling industry in 1988, he formed his own international consulting business providing technical services for milling operations in the Americas, the Caribbean, the Pacific Rim, Eastern Europe and North Africa.
During this time, he worked on assignment for the World Bank in Albania, assessing and advising on the country’s wheat flour milling capabilities and capacities.
His work with the IAOM spanned many decades and he held many different positions within the association. He was a long-serving member of the technical and education committees and was the driving force in getting the IAOM correspondence courses translated into Spanish.
Hibbs, who was IAOM president in 1968, received the organization’s highest honor in 1986 when he received the Gold Medal award for exemplary service.
He is one of only 22 IAOM members to receive the award during the association’s 125-year history.