More Than 500 Attend 125th Annual IAOM Conference and Expo in Little Rock, AR

Little Rock AR — Millers from 10 countries gathered in Little Rock, AR, Aug. 29-Sept. 2, for the 125th International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Conference and Expo.

Attendance was more than 500, and there were 116 trade show exhibitors. Like past conferences, this year’s conference format offered attendees ample time to focus on the expo during the morning and then attend educational sessions in the afternoon.

Cordia Harrington, CEO and founder of Crown Bakeries, presented the conference keynote address, “A Baker’s Dozen: Just One More.”

Crown Bakeries, based in Nashville, TN, is a highly automated, high-speed baking company that bakes more than 10 million baked goods daily and employs more than 800 people.

Harrington is past chair of the Chief Executives Organization’s board of directors and a member of the American Bakers Association’s board of directors.

IMEF Silent/Live Auctions. The International Milling Education Foundation (IMEF) Silent and Live Auctions were held during the conference and expo and raised nearly $60,000, which included winning bids and pledged donations from the industry. The IMEF is a philanthropic partner of IAOM that funds a variety of educational programs related to the grain milling industry.

These silent and live auctions held during IAOM’s evening banquet and awards ceremony are helping the IMEF edge ever closer to its goal of $3 million. (See page 10 for more details.)

Award Winners

Milling Operative of the Year

Because there wasn’t a conference in 2020, two Milling Operative of the Year awards were presented, sponsored by Milling & Baking News.

The 35th annual winner, for 2020, was Daisuke Ito, head of the overseas production group for Nisshin Flour Milling Inc., Tokyo, Japan, the parent company for Miller Milling Co. Ito, who joined Nisshin in 1998, served as director of engineering for Miller Milling from March 2017 until returning to Japan in May 2021. He is a 2004 graduate of the Swiss Milling School.

The 36th annual winner, for 2021, was Scott Freebern, vice president, milling and engineering, PHM Brands, Denver, CO.

Freebern, who has been with the company since 2016 and a member of IAOM since 2006, has helped PHM Brands grow from one flour mill in Texas to seven grain processing and storage facilities in the Midwest.

Aspiring Miller Award

Nelson Aviles-Martinez, assistant head miller, Ardent Mills, Pocono Summit, PA, received the first-ever Aspiring Miller Award, which recognizes exceptional under 30-year-old milling professionals who have already made important contributions to their companies.

Gold Medal Award

Jeff Gwirtz, Ph.D., president, JAG Services, Lawrence, KS, was awarded IAOM’s highest and most prestigious award in recognition for his exemplary service to the milling industry and IAOM.

Gwirtz, who is a 38-year member of IAOM, has served as chairman of the IAOM technical committee and assisted in updating the association’s correspondence course.

J. George Kerr Award

Gerald Richardson, president, CETEC, Elkridge, MD, was presented this award, which goes to individuals who make outstanding contributions in membership recruitment and district development.

Richardson, who has been an IAOM member since 2010, has helped develop and grow IAOM’s Latin American district.

Thaddeus B. Bownik

Outstanding Service Award

Two milling industry veterans were recognized for their outstanding service to the milling industry and IAOM.

• Heinz Baecker, former president of Codema, Inc., Maple Grove, MN.

Anthony Yount, director, environmental, health and safety, Ardent Mills, LaVista, NE.

2021-22 Officers


Randy Garvert, senior director, operations, Ardent Mills, Denver, CO, was elected president.

Garvert has been an active member of IAOM since 1990. He served as a member of the Flour City District’s executive committee from 1998-2003, and on the IAOM international board, representing the Texoma District from 2007-2013.

David Jansen, vice president of production, Siemer Milling Company, Teutopolis, IL, who served as IAOM president for two terms, 2019-20 and 2020-21 becomes immediate past president.

Vice President

Ron Galle, corporate director-food safety, Miller Milling Co., Minneapolis, MN was elected vice president.

In that position, Galle will be responsible for overseeing preparations for the association’s 2022 conference in Richmond, VA, and will serve as president of the IMEF.

Galle also is in line to serve as the association’s president in 2022-23.


Steve Matson, director of manufacturing, milling operations, Bay State Milling Co., Minneapolis, MN, was elected treasurer.

As treasurer, Matson will work with Garvert overseeing preparations for the association’s 2022 and 2023 conferences. Matson also will serve as vice president of the IMEF.

Product Showcase

Six companies participated in the Product Showcase at the expo, which included:

• PTK Advanced Motion Control, Premier Tech.

•SalmoFresh Targeting Salmonella dn EcoShield PX, LeSaffre/Intrlytix.

• Explosion Isolation Valve EV-VF VigiFlap, Boss Products.

• Innovative Moisture Management System, Swisca. Swisca was voted Best of Show based on those who attended all of the Product Showcase presentations.

• EB Series Agitator, Great Western Manufacturing.

• Arrius grinding system, Bühler.

Conference Sponsors


• Bühler.


•Haver & Boecker USA.


• Corbion.

• The Industrial Fumigant Company.



• Blower Engineering.

• Boss Products LLC.

• Henry Simon.

• Kice Industries.

• Lesaffre Corporation.

• Norvell Company, Inc.

• Premier Tech.

• Sefar, Inc.

• Vortex.

Golf Outing

• AGI.


• BinMaster.

• Bratney Companies.

• Bühler.

• Central Life Sciences.

• Columbia/Okura.

• Corbion.

• FSS, Inc.

• Grain Craft.

• Great Western Manufacturing.

• The Industrial Fumigant Company.


• Rogers Foods.


• Vortex.

Upcoming Conferences

• May 2-6, 2022, Richmond, VA.

• April 12-16, 2023, Minneapolis, MN.

From Third Quarter 2021 Milling Journal Issue