Food Engineering’s 2017 Food Automation and Manufacturing Conference agenda has been finalized. The theme for this year is The Future of Food Manufacturing. All of the speakers have been asked to provide different takes on their vision of tomorrow’s food facility. What level of automation will be employed to keep up with production needs? Where will the future food plant be located? How will transparency and sustainability issues play into food manufacturing? Top-level food and beverage executives will be addressing these questions and more.

The Automation Keynote Speaker is LiDestri Food and Drink’s Vice President of Manufacturing Phil Viruso. Phil oversees the operations in the company’s five manufacturing plants. He also directs LiDestri’s strategic manufacturing plan, ensuring the company remains competitive by the quality of its facilities and products while providing customers innovative manufacturing capabilities that reflect their evolving needs.

Also on the first day of the conference, Land O’ Lakes Senior Vice President of Operations Su Rankin will share insights on manufacturing challenges. Su is responsible for the oversight of 80-plus facilities that manufacture products delivered under the Land O’ Lakes Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField brands.

The Engineering Keynote Address will be delivered by Chad Williams, Corporate Maintenance Manager of West Liberty Foods. He’ll be discussing how West Liberty has leveraged cloud technology to get actionable data that empowered the company to drive key improvements.

As always, the Food Engineering Plant of the Year Award winner will be honored at a special session and reception to follow.

New this year, the Closing Keynote address will be given by Jerry Stokely, president of Axium Foods, on how his company uses collaborative robots to meet today’s food production needs.

To see the current agenda, please go to the FA&M website: And be sure to register to attend by January 31 to receive the super early discount registration price.