Educators describe internal training sessions as “learning so we can teach.” The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) version for its staff dives a few rungs deeper than that.
“The goal is to learn and do so we can, in turn, teach our customers around the world,” is how Miguel Galdos, Regional Director of the USW South American Region Office, puts it.
USW recently hosted – and participated in – the 2023 Core Competency Training, held this year in Santiago, Chile. Much more than a simple training session, the USW workshop brought together USW technical staff, board members and partners for a series of reviews and refreshers on wheat research, product development, market updates and strategy building. Meeting the needs of U.S. wheat buyers, end-users and consumers around the globe was the mission.
At this year’s Core Competency Training, USW was able to take advantage of the new flour milling, cereal chemistry and baking laboratory it opened two years ago in partnership with Universidad Mayor. Built on the university’s Santiago campus, the lab is equipped with a test flour mill, wheat and flour analysis instruments and bread ovens.
“It was an unbeatable opportunity to bring together USW colleagues and be able to review relevant issues regarding many things, including our U.S. wheat crop quality analysis methods,” said Galdos. “Participants also had the opportunity to compare baking results with different origins of wheat, as well as share success experiences in each of the international markets. Additionally, we had the opportunity to evaluate future instances of collaboration with partner organizations that provide support to USW.”
Experiences during the Core Competency Training is fundamental: U.S. wheat is the most reliable choice, and its quality is unmatched. So information provided during the workshop is designed to help USW staff share information about U.S. wheat’s advantages when it comes to end-products, such as noodles, crackers, biscuits, tortillas, breads, and other baked products.
There is also a chance to meet with staff from other offices to share information.
Oregon wheat farmer and USW Past Chairman Darren Padget, Minnesota wheat farmer and USW Chair Rhonda Larson, and North Dakota wheat farmer Jim Pellman participated in this year’s training. The noted that the opportunity for USW colleagues to train together is very valuable.
“The format is very focused and was a great way to make sure the technical and marketing teams are pulling on the same oar in every market,” Padget said.
USW staff took time to memorialize the late Mark Fowler, USW’s Vice President of Global Technical Services, who passed away Feb, 20. Fowler was instrumental in creating the USW Core Competency Training program. He also played a major role in the development of the new laboratory in Santiago where USW has now placed a plaque in his memory.