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The event is April 9-13 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Based on feedback from previous years’ meetings, the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) has updated the schedule for its Annual Conference & Expo so that the expo is the focus in the morning with afternoons dedicated to educational programming.

On the second day, the usual concurrent sessions will be replaced with two, one-hour presentations. The event is April 9-13 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

“Some of our members have said that they missed the chance to attend the same session with all of the other conference goers, so we’re going to reintroduce that programming in Atlanta,” said Melinda Farris, executive vice-president of the IAOM. “This change is based on feedback from previous years’ meetings.”

Milling professionals from around the world will have an opportunity to learn through comprehensive education programs, connect with industry peers at several networking events and see the latest products and services from multiple vendors in the Expo hall.

Educational and technical programs presented at the conference assist millers in improving yields, productivity, customer satisfaction and safety. The programs are presented by seasoned professionals in the field who have experienced the issues affecting millers first-hand.

Farris anticipates Atlanta will be a good location for the event. She also noted that being in Atlanta made it possible to have Karen Neil, epidemic intelligence service officer in the enteric diseases epidemiology branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the keynote speaker at the IMEF Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 11.

“Had we not been in Atlanta, it would have been more difficult for us to secure someone like that,” Farris said. “I think IAOM members will be interested to hear about food safety from the perspective of the CDC.”

Conference schedule

The conference begins on Monday, April 9, with the IAOM board of directors meeting and a Food Protection Committee meeting. Committee meetings continue on Tuesday, April 10, along with pre-conference registration from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The opening reception is that evening from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel.

The Expo opens at 9:05 a.m. Wednesday with a ribbon cutting. There is unopposed expo time until noon, and the silent auction also begins.

Product Showcases begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday in the Cobb Galleria and continue in the morning on Thursday. Eligible products include new products and existing products that have new applications. The Product Showcase allows selected exhibiting companies to promote their products directly from their booths in the Expo hall. Those selected are given 10 minutes to discuss their product while showing the product, a slideshow presentation, or anything else they can show within their booth space.

Like last year, a Best of Show prize will be awarded based on the votes of product showcase attendees. Farris noted that this year there was triple the number of applications for the product showcase.

“We’ll have the product showcase passport again,” she said. “In order to be eligible for a chance to win a prize, attendees have to get all stamps on the passport from the product showcase presenters.”

Educational sessions begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and include employee management, facility management, product protection (including sanitation, food protection, food safety, finished product testing, storage and transportation) and technical operations (including technical aspects of raw product evaluation, testing, storage and processing). Educational programming continues in the afternoon on Thursday, April 12, with two, one-hour presentations: one focused on how to manage regulatory inspections and the other featuring a miller/allied trades panel.

The Allied Trades event is planned from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday at Sports & Social, located in the new Live! at the Battery area in Atlanta. The sports bar includes a gaming parlor, 30-foot diagonal high-definition LED screen and social games and activities that include skeeball, table tennis, shuffle puck, air hockey and a golf simulator.

Thursday begins with the Annual Meeting and Safety Award Breakfast at 7:30 a.m., which is open to all attendees. IAOM Safety Award recipients will be honored for their hard work and dedication. To be eligible for a safety award this year, the recordable injury/illness rate must be 0 and the facility must not have had a work-related fatality during 2017. Applications for the awards were taken through Feb. 1.

The final product showcase and educational sessions are scheduled for the rest of the day, followed by district and leader meetings. The awards ceremony is planned during the closing banquet at the Renaissance Waverly.

On Friday, April 13, the conference concludes with the Annual Golf Tournament at the Fox Creek Golf Club in Smyrna. The shotgun start is 8 a.m., followed by lunch, awards and hole prizes.

IMEF Auction

The International Milling Education Foundation’s (IMEF) Silent Auction will open on the Expo floor on Wednesday, April 11. The auction will close at the Annual Banquet & Awards Ceremony on April 12. This year, the silent auction will be conducted entirely online through a bidding app, Farris said.

“We’re really excited to see how that will work,” she said. “It will allow anyone, anywhere in the world the opportunity to bid on some of the great items that our members’ companies and partners have donated.”

Donations to the auction are made by milling companies, individuals, partner organizations, equipment and service suppliers, and others. Proceeds from the auction support the learning, knowledge and resources provided by the IMEF.

Last year, the auction raised $81,000, pushing the endowment past the $1 million mark.

“We are so excited to have reached our goal of $1 million during the conference,” said Stephen Doyle, IMEF president at the conference. “The funds raised have been used to help Kansas State students and professionals further their education, as well as to develop content for a vocational training program and a website to help promote the milling industry as a great place to make a career.”

One of the recent projects funded by the IMEF endowment was the development of a Milling Technician certificate program, which is currently under way at Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas, U.S. The Milling Technician certificate program is a fully-online college credit program, which allows anyone in the world to enroll in the program. The program is completed with a 250-hour internship at a flour mill.

In addition, IMEF funds a scholarship program for milling science students at Kansas State University (KSU), as well as professionals in the industry to take the IAOM Correspondence Course in Flour Milling and resident milling courses. One $3,000 scholarship and one $2,500 scholarship were presented to KSU students during the IMEF Breakfast at the IAOM Conference for the 2017-18 academic year.

Special events

The IAOM Annual Banquet & Awards Ceremony on April 12 will honor and pay tribute to its award recipients. The event will be at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel. The evening starts at 6 p.m. with a reception, which will include the close of the IMEF Silent Auction.

The event will feature a program that includes the passing of the gavel and presentation of IAOM awards. Tickets are $85.

The 2018 Milling Operative of the Year award will be presented during the ceremony. Nominations for the award were accepted through Jan. 31.

Established in 1986 by Milling & Baking News, sister publication of World Grain, the award is presented 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.

The winner will receive an inscribed plaque, and a scholarship will be established in the winner’s name at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S.

Kelly O’Brien, Rogers Foods Ltd., Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, was the recipient of the 2017 award.

Registration, hotel information

Registration is available online at A copy of the registration form can also be printed from the website.

Cost for the full conference is $550 for IAOM members and $625 for non-members.

A block of rooms has been reserved for IAOM participants at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel at a special rate of $185. A limited number of rooms are available, and March 15 is the last day for the special rate.