New Skills Gap Data To Be Unveiled At ABA Convention

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Bakers Association (ABA) and the American Society of Baking are laser-focused on addressing the need for skilled employees in the baking industry workforce. During the March 20 All Membership Meeting at the ABA Convention, workforce gap experts and ABA’s NextGenBaker co-chairs will discuss new data from the Workforce Gap Project detailing the extent of the skills gap in the industry and real world solutions to fill the void.

The panel, “The Future of the Baking Industry Workforce,” features Laurie Graves, Director, People Systems of The Bama Companies; Don Thriffiley, Principal of KAT Management Group; and Marjorie Hellmer, President and Co-Founder of Cypress Research Associates; with NextGenBaker moderators Jesse Amoroso, Vice President of Amoroso’s Baking Company and Morgan Murphy, Sales – Southwest Division of Mother Murphy’s Flavors.

“This is the number one topic for the baking industry and a conversation in which all attendees should be engaging,” said ABA President and CEO Robb MacKie. “The new research the panel will discuss will provide needed insights in the challenges facing the industry and most importantly, solutions the industry can pursue.”  

Ms. Graves oversees all of the traditional HR functions including employee relations, compliance, organizational development, compensation and benefits as well as The Bama Company’s Health Management System which includes a comprehensive system of resources, including a medical clinic and multiple fitness centers with professional staff. She’s been with Bama for 12 years and was previously with TV Guide Inc. for 10 years doing employee benefits, compensation and risk management.

Mr. Thriffiley is a principal at KAT Management Group, a management consulting company providing solutions in organizational effectiveness with bottom-line results. He is an experienced executive advisor working with senior leaders and board members providing assistance and counseling on business and personal outcomes. Mr. Thriffiley has over 40 years of extensive experience in manufacturing, sales, finance, distribution, human resources, communications and service-related fields most recently as the top human resources/operations executive for Flowers Foods Inc., the second largest baking company in North America.


Ms. Hellmer is a seasoned research professional with more than 20 years of experience in business-to-business and consumer research. She is President and co-founder of Cypress Research Associates, a full service market research firm specializing in research for the U.S. food processing industry since 2002. Clients include suppliers to the food processing industry, professional associations, and media companies.

Mr. Amoroso joined Amoroso’s Baking Company in January 2010. He has worked in various areas of the bakery as well as in administration, sales and marketing, and currently oversees business development. Prior to joining Amoroso’s, he began his career as an investment banker in New York City, with Financo Inc.

Mr. Murphy joined Mother Murphy’s in August 2006. After working various positions in the company ranging from the lab, production, and marketing he then moved to Texas to lead the Southwest division of sales for Mother Murphy’s.

The 2016 ABA Convention is taking place March 20 – March 23, at the Arizona Biltmore. As the premier annual gathering of the baking industry, top industry leaders will attend to hear from business and political speakers, learn about the latest trends, connect with industry colleagues, share ideas, and develop solutions on baking issues. More information and registration can be found at Follow the convention with #PowerofBaking  


About the American Bakers Association:

The American Bakers Association (ABA) is the Washington D.C.-based voice of the wholesale baking industry. Since 1897, ABA has represented the interests of bakers before the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, and international regulatory authorities. ABA advocates on behalf of more than 700 baking facilities and baking company suppliers. ABA members produce bread, rolls, crackers, bagels, sweet goods, tortillas and many other wholesome, nutritious, baked products for America’s families. The baking industry generates more than $102 billion in economic activity annually and employs more than 706,000 highly skilled people.

Source: American Bakers Association