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March Travel Schedule

From time to time we try to provide an update on where we have been and what we are doing. In the past we’ve defined our purpose in doing so this way:

A lot of the work we undertake to help the industry is not actually represented on the Pundit. In fact sometimes all the travel and time interferes with producing as many Pundits as we might like. We have, however, found that there are many ways to serve. We’ve been asked to provide an update from time to time on some of our activities outside writing the Pundit.

This time, though, we thought it would behoove us to list some of the things we have upcoming for the rest of March. This way those who would still like to register can do so. We only list public, association or educational events. Corporate events are disclosed only by the sponsor. The date we show is the start date of the event.

March 8, 2009 — Our first upcoming event is the United Fresh/Cornell University Fresh Produce Executive Development Program in Ithaca, New York. This is a great program and we are honored to be a founding member of the faculty, even if we are but a slave to academic superstar Ed McLaughlin. This year the program will be boosted by the appearance of both Bruce Peterson and Bruce Knobeloch. Our role will be wrestling with an event such as the financial crisis and analyzing how the various demands for a tactical response can be fit into a strategic framework. We are flying up this Sunday, so time is very short. If you want to squeeze into one of the few slots left, please call Victoria Backer at United Fresh or e-mail her here.

March 17, 2009Dave Weatherspoon at Michigan State University is having us up to speak with his class. In the past we’ve worked with MSU frequent-flyer king Tom Reardon, who has contributed to the Pundit here, and here. We also have done work via e-mail and teleconference for the classes of the pater familias of the Ag Econ program at Michigan State, Jack Allen. This is a student-only event.

March 19, 2009 — We will be feted at the fabled Rainbow Room perched high above Rockefeller Center in the center of The City of New York when we fly in to accept The Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity. As we mentioned here and here, we were previously honored with the Jesse H. Neal award, but this year we are nominated again for our work on the Salmonella Saintpaul crisis this past summer. Will lightning strike twice? Pundit Investigator and Special Projects Editor Mira Slott will be there, as will many Pundit family members and other members of the Pundit and PRODUCE BUSINESS teams. In addition, Myra Gordon, Executive Administrative Director, Hunts Point Terminal Cooperative Association, and Pundit pal Matthew D’Arrigo, principal of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York and co-president of the Hunts Point Cooperative Market, will be providing moral support.

March 19, 2009 —We will be making our first visit to Nashville since PMA held its convention there in 1989. We remember Dole treated the whole industry to a Kenny Rogers concert as he was Dole’s spokesperson at the time. Although the award ceremony means we arrive a little late, we hope to make up for it with a great close as the Pundit and industry guru Steve Lutz, Executive Vice President of the Perishables Group, based in West Dundee, Illinois, will share our assessments of how business can seize opportunities even in a challenging economic environment. Our moderator for the panel is consultant Kevin E. O’Conner, which is a good thing as the Pundit purchased a day with him at the silent auction held as part of the PMA Fit Fresh Perspective Women’s Leadership Event at PMA this past October. We are going to bring our certificate and set up a date. If you haven’t made a date to be in Nashville, please do so; the whole conference is themed around marketing disruptions and couldn’t be more timely. Here is what is going on. Here is why to attend. Here is the place to register.

March 23, 2009 —Ranch Bernardo Inn in San Diego is the site of the 73rd Annual Meeting of the California Grape & Tree Fruit League, and we’ll be presenting on the topic of sustainability — although a group that can hold 73 annual meetings must know a bit about being sustainable all by itself. The Pundit used to export a fair amount of grapes and so we are looking forward to meeting friends old and new. If you are a League member and haven’t yet registered, we would like a chance to meet you, so please contact Gabrielle Kirkland at the League and she will set you up.

March 24, 2009 —This year is the first year for a new Fresh Produce Marketing Strategies Short Course at UC Davis. We’ve written about this great new program before. However, as time has gone by, Dr. Roberta Cook, who simply exudes enthusiasm as she has been working on this premiere year, keeps making it better and better. Check out the updated brochure here. The Pundit will be playing several roles focusing in on all the dynamics that surround marketing and will have a terrific interactive session with Bruce Peterson. This is a real opportunity to do a marketing-focused short course on the UC Davis campus, conveniently located to so many in the industry. Help us make this first UC Davis Marketing Short Course a sell out by registering here.

March 26, 2009 —We next zip up to Seattle for the 63rd Annual Conference of the National Association of Produce Market Managers. Having cut our eye teeth on the Hunts Point Market, this one will be a special treat as is any opportunity to visit the Pike Place market. We’ll be speaking on traceability, the local vs. organic controversy, the roles that farmers markets, wholesale markets and large supermarket chains can play in the industry and lay out a vision for the future of the global food distribution system. Any members who haven’t registered yet can still do so right here.

So we’ll be writing Pundits in March from all across the country. If you can attend one of these great industry events, do so. There is no time like the present to increase your own value through study and networking.

If you are able to make any of the events, please don’t be shy and introduce yourself. The best part about a travel schedule such as we maintain is the people we meet. We hope to meet you at one of these March events.

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