WiM Leadership Conference

Friday October 27, 2023 | 9:00am – 3:00pm
The Williamsburg Lodge
310 South England Street, Williamsburg, VA

Registration (includes lunch)
$200.00 VMA Members
$250.00 Non-VMA Members


Morning Keynote Speaker:

Unlike some other food celebrities,
Little Debbie is a real person.



Speaker:  Debbie McKee-Fowler, Chairman of the Board, McKee Foods Corp.

Session Description: Debbie McKee-Fowler is the original inspiration for the Little Debbie logo and still very much a part of the family business which was created by her grandfather in 1934.  She currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for McKee Foods.  Join Little Debbie herself to hear about how her name became an icon in the snack world, what it takes to manage a brand that is so recognizable, the challenges of running a family business and why we just can’t get enough of our favorite comfort food.

Since 1934, McKee Foods operates based on the principles left by O.D. and Ruth which emphasize family values and integrate those values into daily operations.  In 1960, the company introduced the Little Debbie brand and ever since, Little Debbie snacks have remained a value leader. McKee Foods was the first bakery to sell individually-wrapped cakes in a multipack carton.  More than 75 varieties are available. Little Debbie snacks are available in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as on U.S. military bases throughout the world.  The top-selling Little Debbie varieties are Oatmeal Creme Pies, Swiss Cake Rolls and Nutty Buddy Wafer Bars. McKee Foods sells more than 200 million cartons of these three products every year.  McKee Foods has a manufacturing facility in Stuarts Draft, Virginia.


Lunch Keynote: Virginia’s MFG Competitiveness State Ranking
Presented by Ted Abernathy

Ted Abernathy is the Managing Partner of Economic Leadership LLC, a consultancy that is currently working in more than a dozen states to develop economic and workforce strategies. Ted has 35 years of experience in directing economic development and workforce development programs.

Ted will unveil the 2023 VA MFG Competitiveness Index results as well as compare and contrast Virginia to southern and northeastern/Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states.


Sponsorship opportunities are available, please contact Kimberly Noonan at knoonan@vamanufacturers.com.


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