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President’s Message – March 2018

“Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come.”
Diane Helbig

Our 2018 Annual Conference is nearly upon us and I know that all of us are looking forward to gathering soon in warm and sunny Tucson, AZ. Our conference this year will once again bring the leaders of our industry together and provides outstanding networking activities. As the above quote reminds us, networking not only allows us to renew acquaintances and friendships but also provides us with opportunities to make new connections. This year, 33% of the attendance at the conference will be coming for the first time. I hope that you will take advantage to expand your professional network and both welcome and get to meet additional colleagues.

Likewise, this year's conference schedule has been modified to allow for more continuous educational and networking opportunities. Two full days are dedicated to a new schedule and format. We have secured a variety of outstanding speakers that provide you with a vast array of the latest and most important aspects of our industry.

We are excited to hear from Captain Scott O'Grady who will recount how he survived for six days in war-torn Bosnia before being rescued by the U.S. Marines, a heroic tale which O'Grady captured in his book, Return with Honor. Captain O'Grady's story is an inspirational tale of courage, faith, and patriotism by an American hero.

Our Friday morning keynote speaker will be Larry Winget. After talking to Larry, I can tell you, this is a session that you will not want to miss. Larry, “the pitbull of personal development” will bring all of us back to the basics with plain honest talk. He believes that hard work and excellence are the keys to success and communicates that like most of us have rarely or never encountered. He will make you think and possibly make you uncomfortable at times, but most of all he offers common sense solutions that are impossible to argue with, all while including a good dose of humor.

We start this year's educational schedule with Council breakfast meetings which all conference participants are encouraged to attend. Following those great networking sessions we are holding an interactive “Food Safety & Sanitary Design Panel Discussion” where subject matter experts from across all major industry segments and the retail sector will be presenting. Likewise, new this year will be a “speaker/member” roundtable session where attendees will be able to choose which topics they would like to engage in more critical follow-up and discussion.

As for the Council Breakout sessions, each of the Councils has secured unique and outstanding speakers for the many education/networking sessions between processors and suppliers. There will be representatives from businesses including: Campbell Soup Company, Kraft, Agri Beef, Califia Farms, Bonduelle Amerique, Palermo Villa, New Edge Systems, and more. This is an excellent opportunity for you to make new connections with those companies you currently know and/or would like to do business with.

And, for those coming to Annual Conference it is not too late to make a donation to the MISA auction that is being held on Thursday night. The funds raised from this event have allowed us so far to contribute $440,000 to 54 students — with many of the past MISA scholarship winners currently working in our industry (click here to learn more about the auction from our entertaining auctioneer James Cunningham).

There is still time to register but rooms are nearly sold out (click here for a full schedule of events, registration form, and to make hotel reservations). I look forward to seeing you soon in Arizona. As always, please feel free to call me at 703-663-1200, or email me at [email protected] regarding any questions on our upcoming Annual Conference and on how we can better serve you.


David Seckman