Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference speakers and award winners announced

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Kraft Heinz, Maple Leaf Foods and Dairy Farmers of America among the companies to present at the food industry’s premiere operation and manufacturing event.

Food Engineering Magazine’s 2018 Food Automation and Manufacturing Conference agenda has been finalized.

Top-level executives from leading food and beverage companies will be presenting key insights and best practices solutions that will benefit companies of all sizes. Among the themes to be addressed are the digital transformation of food and beverage processing, tools for tackling modern manufacturing challenges and how to promote an inclusive and diverse food and beverage workplace.

This year, the Automation Keynote Speaker is Vicente Olivo-Espinosa, director of information solutions for Maple Leaf Foods. He will discuss how Maple Leaf has improved operational excellence and line performance with new systems that provide greater visibility and control across the company’s operations.

The Engineering Keynote Address will be delivered by Tracy Walker, plant engineer for West Liberty Foods. She will discuss how West Liberty leverages cloud technology to get actionable data that drives key improvements.

New this year will be a special breakfast to honor women in engineering and manufacturing, followed by a panel discussion, which will feature Women in Manufacturing Founder and President Allison Grealis.

Other sessions include an FSMA discussion panel, a presentation about how Campbell’s Fresh Division uses its entire network to improve quality and efficiency, and the story of one startup company that turned to HPP (high-pressure processing) equipment to produce the healthier, more nutritional foods consumers want.

Also to be presented at the conference is Food Engineering’s 2018 Food Plant of the Year award, which goes to Kraft Heinz for its Oscar Mayer deli meat facility in Davenport, Iowa. This 382,157-sq.-ft. plant, built by Gray Construction, is the first greenfield construction project to be completed by Kraft Heinz since undergoing the merger. The plant is being awarded for employing the highest levels of food safety and state-of-the-art automation.

“Food Engineering magazine is very pleased to honor Kraft Heinz’s Davenport, Iowa facility as the 2018 Food Plant of the Year. Due to the level of automation employed, as well as hygienic design elements and the innovation present in the processing and packaging lines, the Kraft Heinz plant truly is an example of the future food factory built today,” says Debra Schug, editor in chief, Food Engineering.

Additionally, Food Engineering will present Dairy Farmers of America with the award for Sustainable Food Plant of the Year for its milk drying facility in Garden City, KS. This award recognizes a company that has gone above and beyond to build a food plant focused on reducing, reusing and recycling. Shambaugh & Son constructed the 267,000-sq.-ft. facility on a 165-acre site.

Both awards will be given in special sessions at Food Engineering’s Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, FL. held April 8-11, 2018. Representatives of both Kraft Heinz and Dairy Farmers of America will be there to accept the awards and deliver presentations detailing their exceptional plants.

To see the current agenda, please go to the FA&M website:

About Food Engineering
For more than 85 years, Food Engineering has been serving the information needs of manufacturing and operations executives in the North American food and beverage industry. The Food Engineering Network offers an integrated and innovative portfolio of the magazine, annual catalog/directory, conferences, e-newsletters and digital products designed to reach key operations and engineering executives at the $680 billion food and beverage manufacturing market.

About Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference
Now in its 19th year, FA&M is the food industry’s premier event, presenting leading-edge solutions for automation, food safety and sustainability challenges for operations, engineering and manufacturing executives. FA&M will be held April 8-11, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in Bonita Springs, FL.

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Debra Schug
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