At the Southeast Produce Council fall conference, the council will recognize the members of the 2014 graduating class of its STEP-UPP program, which is co-chaired by SEPC board member Faye Westfall (front row, third from right) of DiMare Fresh Tampa and by Tom Page (left), who is retired from Supervalu and who is a former president of the council.The Southeast Produce Council has an exciting and varied lineup of events planned for its annual fall conference, set this year to take place Sept. 25-27 at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris, GA. This year’s theme is The Hoedown Touchdown Throwdown in Brasstown.
Last year’s fall conference in Myrtle Beach, SC, drew 287 registrants, and David Sherrod, the council’s assistant executive director, told The Produce News at the end of August that around 255 people had registered for this year’s conference so far. “When it’s all said and done, I think we’ll be right about the same number,” he estimated.
The council, which was founded in 1999 and thus is celebrating its 15th anniversary, held its fall conference at Brasstown Valley back in 2008. “It’s a beautiful place to take in nature,” said Sherrod. “And we’ve got the whole resort to ourselves this time. We’re excited about that.”
Following meetings for committees and directors Thursday morning and afternoon, Sept. 25, the conference officially kicks off that evening with the Get Acquainted Hoedown at Brasstown with the Shoal Creek Bluegrass Band, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
On Friday, Sept. 26, two workshops will be held. Workshop I: Defining Locally Grown, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., will feature speakers Teri Miller of Delhaize America, Joe Watson of Rouse’s Supermarkets, Mike Tipton of K-VA-T, Darvel Kirby of United Supermarkets and Matthew Roy of US Foods. Workshop II: The Future of Online Grocers, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., will be moderated by Jonna Parker of Nielsen Perishables Group and will feature speakers Kenneth Todd of Delhaize America, Lucinda Clark of Space Girl Organics and Tony Stallone of Peapod.
The general session and luncheon will follow, beginning at 11:30 a.m. John Smoltz, a former Major League Baseball pitcher and current MLB network analyst, will deliver the keynote address. In his playing career, Smoltz was a World Series champion in 1995 for the Atlanta Braves, was an eight-time MLB All-Star, was Most Valuable Player of the 1992 National League Championship Series, and is one of 16 pitchers in MLB history to record 3,000 strikeouts during his career.
Also at the general session, Lucy Klausner, senior development officer of corporate partnerships at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, will speak about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables in the fight against childhood obesity. In her work at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta,
Outgoing SEPC President Andrew Scott of The Nickey Gregory Co. LLC then will deliver the State-of-the-Council address, and the committee chairs will give brief reports on their respective committees’ programs.
The council will officially launch its new leadership program for women called Southern Roots with a reception from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Teri Miller, a member of the SEPC board of directors and chairperson of this year’s fall conference, is also chairing the new Southern Roots program. It is “designed to make meaningful connections among women working in the produce industry through events, education and mentoring,” according to the council’s website.
Friday’s event will conclude with the always popular President’s Dinner Dance, which will begin at 7 p.m. Andrew Scott will be honored for his two years’ service as SEPC president, and the new slate of officers and directors will be introduced to attendees.
Also at the President’s Dinner Dance, the council will recognize the members of the 2014 graduating class of its Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Produce Professionals, which is co-chaired by SEPC board member Faye Westfall of DiMare Fresh Tampa and by Tom Page, who is retired from Supervalu and who is a former president of the council.
On Saturday, Sept. 27, the council will hold its 15th annual Ken Lanhardt Memorial Golf Tournament at the Brasstown Valley’s golf course. Registration will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m, and the tournament will start at 8:30 a.m. The golf awards reception will follow, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For non-golfers, the council will hold a Sporting Clays Tournament. Check-in will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., and the tournament, at Noontootla Creek Farms in Blue Ridge, GA, about 30 minutes from the resort, will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Spouses may sign up for a tour of the Eagle Fork Vineyards. Check-in will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the tour will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Transportation will be provided.
As always, the fall conference will conclude Saturday with the Ultimate Tailgate Party, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.