“I joined IAOM because of the value of the educational sessions and networking. I have enjoyed the experiences from trade shows and expos at district meetings and the annual international meetings.
“I have been in the milling industry for 46 years but continue to learn from my IAOM colleagues. That’s part of what makes the milling industry so special. We are a very tight-knit group – everyone is willing to share ideas and help educate each other, not only at the meetings but also over the phone or through email. Seeing equipment at expos, trade shows, or at suppliers’ facilities has been a tremendous learning experience for me.
“I have had the humble honor of being active in IAOM. I have served as district vice chairman, district chairman, and member of a district board of directors. I also have had the privilege of being a part of the executive officer team for four years, which included serving as president for the 1993-94 term. Presently, I am a member of the IAOM Technical Committee and have been for many years and was chair of it for 10 years.
“The thing I like best about IAOM is our membership. By that, I mean we all have the opportunity to share with each other, which leads to the development of close ties and friendships that will last a lifetime, even after we are retired and no longer active in the industry. IAOM certainly provides a great way to learn from fellow members and also grow those friendships. That, to me, is the strength of our organization, and I hope that continues for many years to come.”
“My first boss got me involved in IAOM in 1982. We would attend the local district meetings, and my first annual conference was in San Antonio, TX in 1986. The annual conferences have been great learning experiences. After all these years, I still always get a lot out of them. Every year you learn something new.
“As far as participation, I’ve been a member of district committees and a district chairman numerous times. I’ve served on the board of directors for two terms. Service to IAOM is one of those things where the more you do, the more you get out of it. Sitting on the board helped me a lot, because I got to know people better and made more personal connections. I haven’t been as involved recently, as I’m nearing the end of my career and am encouraging the younger guys to get in there and get involved.
“To me, the educational component of membership is a big benefit. When I first started, we were a small company in British Columbia, and there were no other mills around, nobody to talk to and learn from. Going to the meetings and events helped me get to know other people in the industry and do some networking, which was really valuable. I was then able to phone people and asks questions and exchange ideas.
“Being a part of IAOM has helped me a lot through the years, so I recommend membership to every miller at Rogers Foods. I try to send as many people as possible to the meetings – first to the district meetings to meet a few people where it’s smaller and more intimate. You meet a few people, and then when you go to the annual conference, you know a few people who you can seek out and continue to grow your network of connections.”
“I became a member my first year out of Kansas State University when working for Cargill in Wichita, KS. I attended my first district meeting with the plant manager and maintenance supervisor.
“I relocated numerous times in my first few years in the industry, so the district meetings were a great way for a young miller to network and make connections with the allied trades representatives and other peers in the milling industry.
“In 1997, my position with Cargill allowed me to join the Food Protection Committee. Again, this committee offered me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with experts in the field of safety, food safety, and pest control. With the exception of three years serving on the Environmental Health and Safety committee, I have served on the Food Protection Committee every year since 1997 and had the privilege of serving as chairman of that committee from 2013-19. At the 2019 annual conference, I was elected IAOM treasurer and now serve on the Executive Board of Directors.
“Aside from the benefits of education and fellowship, there are many challenges in our industry that we face regarding safety and food safety. As a relatively small industry, it will take industry collaboration and cooperation to conquer them. The quality/food safety and sanitation professionals on the Food Protection Committee demonstrate this at every committee meeting. This committee recently published a best practices manual on sanitary transportation of bulk truck flour to help the industry comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for delivering safe food to our customers.
“I highly recommend membership to anyone in the milling industry. And I like to point out that IAOM is not limited to operations personnel or millers. There also is a huge benefit for related functions such as EHS, quality, food safety, and project engineers. The biggest benefit to me has been the relationships I’ve made over the years with suppliers and other millers.”
“I was a Kansas State University milling science student and graduated in 1992, and through the university I became an associate member of IAOM in 1991. There’s a significant partnership between Kansas State and IAOM, and for those of us who went through the milling science program, it was a natural connection to become involved with IAOM. For me, it has carried on to be a long career experience.
“I currently serve on the Employee Relations Committee. We focus primarily on the people side of our industry related to recruiting, retaining, and developing team members both in production and management roles, as well as the human resources and legal aspects of operating our respective businesses. Over the past few years, we’ve worked with Tom Sargent at IAOM to create a careers website called www.grainmillingcareers.com, where we are doing our best to help with recruiting, since one of our biggest struggles in the industry is getting talent in the door and helping them understand that they can have a great career in milling. With training and development, we want to help them be as successful as possible to make it a lifelong career.
“As far as benefits of membership, I’ll start with the networking side, because I have made relationships that have continued over the last 27 years. Believe it or not, we can be fierce competitors 99% of the time, but if there’s a dire need that one of us has and we know one of our competitors can help, we won’t hesitate to reach out for help. It’s just a great network both personally and professionally.
“On the more formal side, IAOM provides a lot of great education opportunities, starting with the Correspondence Course, which is updated to keep it relevant with all the changes in our industry. There are lots of short courses around skills development, whether that’s technical milling, maintenance skills development, or even some leadership opportunities. There are many different avenues in the education space.
“I absolutely recommend IAOM membership to people without hesitation. In fact, our young folks who join our company, IAOM is one of the first things I talk to them about.”
Reprinted from Milling Journal 4Q 2019 Issue
View this case study and more in the Milling Journal 4Q 2019 magazine.