Educational sessions help attract Southern Exposure show-goers

02/18/2013 04:21:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Timely topics of interest to the industry are helping drive attendance for this year’s Southern Exposure educational sessions.

Scheduled for the morning of March 2, the Southern Exposure 2013 retail and foodservice conference and exposition sessions plan to cover labor and packaging design.

The council also added a meeting with food bloggers.

More than 320 people are signed up to attend the “Maintaining the Labor Force: Immigration Reform and How it Affects the Produce Industry” workshop.

Nearly 300 are registered to participate in the second session, “Designing Packaging That Sells,” said Terry Vorhees, the East Ellijay, Ga.-based council’s executive director.

Panelists scheduled to offer insights in the packaging session:

* Bryant Ambelang, chief executive officer and president of NatureSweet Ltd. San Antonio;

* Jim Burt, national vice president of sales for Monterey Mushrooms Inc., Watsonville, Calif.; and

* Kori Tuggle, director of marketing and business development at Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, Calif.

Heidi McIntyre, managing partner in Full Tilt Marketing LLC, Orlando, Fla., and one of the show’s organizers, said she and Full Tilt partner Melinda Goodman, who is scheduled to moderate the session, worked to assemble a different type of session that seeks to inform attendees on effective packaging design.

“We’re talking about how to define really good packaging and how packaging helps the consumer find the product,” McIntyre said. “We plan to discuss design insights, packaging do’s and don’ts. We’ve never really done a packaging seminar. As packaging has really evolved so much in the industry, we felt it’s time to really focus on it.”

The labor session plans to tackle the touchy issue that’s long bedeviled the produce industry, Vorhees said.

Labor attorney David Stefany, a partner in Allen, Norton and Blue PA, Tampa, Fla., is scheduled to moderate the session. The panelists:

* Craig Regelbrugge, vice president of government relations and research for the American Nursery & Landscape Association, Washington, D.C.;

* Michael Carlton, director of the labor relations division of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Maitland; and

* Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

“On labor, there’s always something in the news about immigration and the challenges that this industry’s faced with,” Vorhees said. “I think it will be a great topic, and from the registrations we’re seeing it will probably be one of the largest attended sessions we have ever had.”


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