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2016 Chocolate Boot Camp Instructors
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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 35 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. 

Jim Bourne 
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. 

Thalia Hohenthal 
Senior Scientist of Research & Development, Guittard Chocolate Company 

Thalia Hohenthal received her Bachelor of Science in Food Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. She has been with Guittard Chocolate Company since 1983 and considers herself a “practitioner” of chocolate manufacturing and use. Her experience includes chocolate use in confectionery, bakery, beverage, snacks, functional foods, artisan confections and fine chocolate. She has a patent in viscosity control of chocolate syrup and holds the honor of Master Confectioner Emeritus through RCI. She also lectures for several technical schools including RCI, American Institute of Baking and Richardson Researches. 

Joe Sofia 
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 is currently Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate’s chocolate specialist in Lititz, Pennsylvania. 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. 

Dennis Witzel
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.