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Randy Hofberger - Lead Instructor
Consultant, R&D Candy Consultants, LLC
Randy Hofberger has been in the chocolate industry for more than 40 years. His responsibilities began at Nestlé Confections in various aspects of quality assurance such as sanitation, HACCP, GMP, labeling, weight control and audits. It then shifted to technical applications and formulations. For 12 years he was the technical manager for the Peter’s Chocolate Division. Responsibilities included customer technical service, assisting in industry courses and industrial product development. Randy completed his career with Nestlé in various areas of technical applications for retail confections, including plant operations, cost savings and product development from concept to industrialization, specializing in chocolate and caramels. Currently Randy consults for the industry as R&D Candy Consultants, LLC, assisting with various challenges including product development, line start-ups, formulations, quality control and improving efficiencies. Randy has been involved with RCI and AACT, serving as an instructor for various seminars and courses and is a past recipient of the RCI Henry Bornhofft award and a member of the Candy Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
President, Hilliard’s Chocolate System
Jim Bourne has been in the confectionery industry for 39 years. He started out working for Hilliard’s Chocolate System in 1976. After working under Alan Hilliard for 10 years, Jim bought the business. The chocolate melting, tempering, coating and cooling equipment manufactured by Hilliard’s is used worldwide by over 5,000 customers. Jim has been very involved with RCI. He is a past recipient of the RCI Henry Bornhofft award and has served on the RCI Board of Directors. In 2007 he received the RCI President’s Award from then-President of the Board, Jay King, and in 2012 he was inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame. Jim enjoys sharing his knowledge, serving as an instructor for Chocolate Boot Camp and other seminars and courses.
Senior Manager - Corporate Relationships (R&D), Barry Callebaut
Kim is responsible for managing the technology/R&D relationships with Barry Callebaut’s corporate customers. Kim received a B.S. degree in Microbiology from Montana State University-Bozeman. For the past 16 years she has dedicated herself to the cocoa and chocolate industry. She joined Cargill in 1997 and held many roles spanning across applications, product development, quality, and technical services. In February 2016, she joined Barry Callebaut and continues to utilize her knowledge of the industry to help meet the challenges of her customers. Kim is a member of the Professional Manufacturing Confectioners Association (PMCA) Education Committee, had served as an instructor for many short courses, and sits on the Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, American Association of Candy Technologists, and the National Confectioners Association.
Chocolate Specialist, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate
Joe Sofia graduated from Cornell University and spent 10 years working for Nestlé USA in engineering, R&D and manufacturing before joining Peter’s Chocolate as a district sales manager in 1995. He spent several years as Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate’s chocolate specialist and is currently Senior Regional Account Manager. Joe has hosted seminars and demonstrations at the Philadelphia Candy Show and Sweets & Snacks Expo and has previously served on the instruction team for the RCI Chocolate Boot Camp. Joe is also a current member of the RCI Board of Directors.
Consultant, Dennis Witzel Sales & Consulting
Dennis has been in the chocolate business in some form since 1972. Starting with the Nestlé Chocolate Division in 1972 as a retail sales representative, he worked his way into key account sales and sales management. In 1985, he transferred to the Bulk Chocolate Division as Western Sales Manager where he built his candy making skills. When Nestlé sold Peter’s Chocolate to Cargill in 2002, he continued in the same capacity. In 2009, Dennis left Cargill (semi-retired) to pursue other interests and that September became associated with Linnea’s Cake & Candy Supplies as an independent contractor. Dennis is an active member of RCI and has been associated with the Western Candy Conference and west coast chapter of the AACT. He has attended the French Pastry School, was awarded RCI’s Henry Bornhofft Award and is a member of the Candy Hall of Fame Class of 2013.