Industry News | June 15, 2010

Foodservice Conference Offers Words of Wisdom

Produce Marketing Association’s Foundation for Industry Talent (PMA FIT) will be part of the PMA’s 2010 Foodservice Conference & Exposition – to be held July 30 through August 1, in Monterey, California.

Helping attendees develop and hone their professional skills will be part of the conference agenda in the workshop session “Networking: More Than a Business Card.” Rob Jolles, sales expert, motivational speaker, and author of the No. 1-business bestseller, Customer Centered Selling, will instruct attendees on how to create real trust by using proven techniques using a well-documented, repeatable, and predictable process.

To help industry women build their personal networks by meeting and mingling with other industry movers and shakers, FIT will sponsor the annual Fresh Perspective: Women’s Networking Event on Saturday, July 31, at the Monterey Maritime and History Museum. As this year’s event’s charity fundraiser, attendees are encouraged to bring new or gently worn pairs of shoes to donate to Soles4Souls, a charity that distributes shoes free of charge to people in need all over the world.

With attendance capped at 100, the Fresh Perspective event is by invitation only. Contact PMA event manager Shara Stewart for an invitation, via telephone at 1-302-738-7100 or via e-mail at [email protected]

To increase produce share of plate in foodservice tomorrow, it is important to reach and teach today’s culinary students, and FIT’s Nucci Scholarship for Culinary Innovation does just that. This year, 10 students and four faculty members from the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales University will attend the conference on Nucci scholarships. They will also participate in customized events, including assisting the conference’s celebrity chefs during their cooking demonstrations. The scholarship program posthumously honors industry leader Joe Nucci and his contributions to the produce and foodservice industries.

“All of these talent-building occasions mixed in to the foodservice conference program help make it more than just educational and fun. There’s also an underlying theme of developing produce foodservice expertise at a time when produce is one of the hottest items on the plate,” says Mary Wright-Rana, co-chair of PMA’s planning committee for this event and director of marketing for national fresh produce distributor PRO*ACT, headquartered in Monterey. “The conference just keeps getting more relevant every year.”

To support FIT’s work, conference attendees and industry members from the Monterey area have the opportunity to tee off for the fifth annual golf tournament on Friday, July 30. Proceeds of this year’s fundraising tournament will benefit the Nucci Scholarship for Culinary Innovation. Last year, the tournament raised $26,000.

This year’s event, to be held at The Bayonet & Blackhorse Golf Courses, will feature world-renowned golf instructor Dean Reinmuth. He will be available for swing critiques during a pre-tournament clinic, and will bring two of his South African students to participate in the golf round.

New to the foodservice conference this year is the Live FIT 5K Run/Walk, which was successfully introduced at PMA’s Fresh Summit last fall. Attendees are encouraged to put on their athletic shoes and run the seaside course on Saturday morning, July 31. Medals will be given to the top male and female finishers as well as the top three winners in each age group. Proceeds will benefit FIT, furthering its mission to attract, develop and retain talent for the produce industry.

“These athletic events really create win-win opportunities all the way around. Besides providing great exercise in beautiful surroundings, they are also a terrific way to put participants on a level playing field for the best networking prospects, and participation helps to support the building of industry talent through FIT. More attendees should consider participating,” says Margi Prueitt, FIT’s new executive director.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for companies who are interested in supporting these events. To find out more, contact PMA’s Dot Siegfried at 1-302-738-7100 or via e-mail at [email protected]

For more conference information and to register online, or to learn more about the FIT golf tournament, Live FIT 5K Run/Walk or the Fresh Perspective: Women’s Networking Event, visit

The deadline to book discounted housing is June 24. To register early and save, register online by July 2. Advance registration ends July 16.

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