Growing at Fresh Summit PMA’s big event offers opportunities for members to thrive.
by Cynthia L. McGowan
Sporting a new logo and a “Let’s Grow” attitude, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) was host to more than 18,000 industry professionals at its 2011 Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition in Atlanta, Ga., in October.
The event, from Oct. 14-17, offered numerous opportunities for attendees to network, see the latest industry innovations and hear experts talk about important issues. Highlights included:
• The trade show, which featured more than 1,000 exhibitors and sub-exhibitors showcasing their hottest products and services.
• PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann’s annual “State of the Industry” address, in which he urged the audience to consider how industry members can grow together.
• Speakers, including Susan O’Malley, former president of the NBA’s Washington Wizards; former Starbucks CEO Jim Donald; and Travelocity.com founder and former CEO Terry Jones.
• The launch of PMA Xchange, a social networking space that is open to the entire produce and floral industry. PMA Xchange aims to help members raise their profiles in the industry, make new connections, be the first to know about industry issues and grow their businesses. Learn more about it at http://xchange.pma.com.
Fresh Summit offered several events to appeal to floral attendees. Among the highlights were:
• The presentation of the Floral Marketer of the Year award to Dr. Terril Nell, professor and chairman of the University of Florida’s Environmental Horticulture Department. Remarks Meg Miller, PMA’s public relations manager, “He’s a star leader regarding floral care and handling, and we were pleased to recognize him.”
• A floral workshop on the topic “The Floral Squeeze: Doing More With Less.” “We received great feedback from attendees regarding the floral workshop,” Ms. Miller reports.
• The Floral Networking Reception, which “was well attended by both buyers and suppliers, with more than 200 guests,” she reveals.
Ms. Miller also reported on the work of PMA’s Floral Task Force, which began meeting in fall 2010 with the goal of investigating ways to engage and serve the association’s floral members. “The Floral Task Force completed their mission, resulting in the creation of a Floral Council,” Ms. Miller says. Michael Schrader, floral director of Schnuck Markets, will serve as chairman, “At this time, we’re finalizing who will join him on the council.” sfr
terril nell receives
Dr. Terril Nell, professor and chairman of the University of Florida’s Environmental Horticulture Department, was named the 2011 Floral Marketer of the Year during the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition.
The 2010 award winner, Bill Byland, business manager of Micky’s Minis Flora Express, a division of N.G. Heimos Greenhouse, presented the award to Dr. Nell and remarked on his tireless dedication to the growth of the floral industry.
“He has turned no project or challenge away if its ultimate outcome would benefit our industry,” Mr. Byland told attendees. “In this same vein, he’s the perfect gentleman, always willing to share his vast knowledge with anyone seeking information or assistance.”
The award also recognized Dr. Nell for helping key suppliers with problem-solving quality issues and handling procedures while never losing sight of the realities industry members work with each day. Effectively pioneering research work in the area of postharvest physiology and knowing how to communicate research findings to members in the supply chain has been a key component in helping the industry meet and exceed customers’ expectations, Mr. Byland said.
Dr. Nell was surprised and humbled to receive the award. “It’s nice to know that the industry appreciates and respects what’s been done at UF in postharvest,” he remarked.
He attributed his willingness to share his research knowledge to the encouragement he received from mentors throughout his career to get needed information to the industry. Those mentors included one of his professors at North Carolina State University, Dr. Roy A. Larson; as well as Dr. H. Marc Cathey, former director of the U.S. National Arboretum; and poinsettia pioneer Paul Ecke Jr.
“If, through research, we can provide a solution to a problem or identify a new approach to production or care and handling that the industry can use to make more money and, at the same time, provide a better flower, we’ve achieved our goal in research,” he said.
“Anything that just sits in the file cabinet or on a book shelf and never makes it into everyday production and care and handling really has a limited value. So that’s been my theme since I joined the faculty at the University of Florida.”
Dr. Nell has been at UF for 35 years and is retiring from his post at the end of 2011, but he intends to stay active in the floriculture industry. He plans to work with trade organizations and private companies, offering problem-solving, training and education skills that draw on his 35 years of experience. He also plans to continue to attend trade shows and remain active in professional organizations. “I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge base and range of experiences, and to applying my scientific background to address the floriculture industry’s continuing challenges.”
fresh summit 2012
The Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) 2012 Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition will be Oct. 26-29 in Anaheim, Calif. As of early November, 92 percent of the exhibition space already had been sold.