The American Society of Baking (ASB)’s first-ever virtual BakingTech leans into forward-thinking with its theme, “Innovating for a Competitive Future.” The conference will take place Feb. 16-18 entirely online and feature keynote speakers Ross Shafer, Alan Beaulieu and Javier Gonzalez.

As the opening keynote speaker, Shafer, an award-winning comedian and seminar leader, will highlight the importance of passion, work ethic and high-performance standards. Shafer graduated from the University of Puget Sound where he studied business management.

Day two will host Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics and a leading economics expert. Beaulieu will discuss the 2021 economic forecast and how it applies to the wholesale baking industry. He has been chief economist for numerous US and international trade associations and has provided workshops and economic analysis seminars all over the world for the last 30 years.

Giving the closing keynote, Gonzalez, executive vice president, Grupo Bimbo, will discuss how Grupo Bimbo is innovating for a competitive future by facing challenges head-on. Gonzalez holds a degree in chemical engineering from Autonomous National University of Mexico and a master’s degree in business administration from Diego Portales University in Chile. He has more than 40 years of experience with Grupo Bimbo and oversees operations for Mexico, Canada and the new business unit, Bimbo QSR.

In addition to its keynote speakers, the conference will hold panel discussions, technical breakout sessions and MarketPlace exhibits. Experts in the industry will share best practices and discuss baking industry trends.

The event also will offer the American Bakers Association Presidents’ Panel, which will feature lessons learned during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and explore how the baking industry will emerge. The session will go over tactical ways to build momentum with consumers, how to lead a team in a crisis and important operational shifts for the industry.

This conference will focus primarily on supply chain, economics, current events, consumer trends, ingredients and shelf life and technology and food safety. Through the general and breakout sessions attendees will be able to discuss the best ways to innovate within the wholesale baking industry.

BakingTech will have multiple networking receptions, Engineering Ask-The-Expert Lunch & Learns and Baker Braindates creating many ways to connect with colleagues and strengthen business relationships.

The ASB also will use this time to highlight its annual product development competition and recognize this year’s Baking Hall of Fame inductees.

Registration for BakingTech remains open through Feb. 10.