Top executives from The Bama Companies, Bimbo Bakeries USA (B.B.U.), Dawn Food Products and McKee Foods Corp. participated in the American Bakers Association’s “Executive Leadership Development Committee (E.L.D.C.) Baking Industry Leadership Forum,” on Oct. 8 in Las Vegas.

The executives included Paula Marshall, chief executive officer of Bama; Fred Penny, president of B.B.U.; Miles Jones, co-chairman of Dawn; and Mike McKee, president and c.e.o. of McKee Foods. The panel shared their knowledge on the industry, current trends and the leadership skills needed to successfully navigate their companies in these challenging times.

As co-chairman of Dawn Food Products, Mr. Jones is the second generation of his family to lead the Jackson, Mich.-based company. Dawn Foods currently supplies a complete range of products, including Dawn mixes, bases, icings, glazes, fillings, frozen dough, par-baked and fully baked products and equipment to bakeries and the food industry.

During the panel, Mr. Jones urged young executives to become active in the A.B.A. and the E.L.D.C. and take advantage of the networking opportunities.

“It’s important to talk to leaders in the industry who have succeeded and pick their brains to see how they have succeeded, how they solved their problems and how they decided to grow and how they managed that growth,” he said.

Noting that “the baking industry has always been near and dear to the Jones family’s heart,” he emphasized the positive aspects of the baking industry.

“We literally make things that make people smile,” he said.

However, the baking industry faces economic and political threats. As a result, Mr. Jones encouraged bakers to become involved in A.B.A.’s political activities and advocacy effort to make sure that the industry’s concerns are heard on Capitol Hill.

“The voice that Congress hears most often and the voice they hear most loudly will, in most cases, have the greatest impact in their decision making,” he said.