If you’ve been wondering just how Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods will impact the retailer’s operations, here’s your chance to find out firsthand.

John Mackey

There’s more news to come on what will be happening in Tampa at the Southeast Produce Council Southern Exposure 2018 expo and tradeshow March 1-3 (we’ve heard whispers about some amazing entertainment possibilities) but for now this much is sure: John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, will be presenting the keynote address March 3.

Said SEPC President and CEO David Sherrod, “We are honored this year to have John Mackey share his insights on how the landscape will change and remain the same with the Whole Foods and Amazon merger. This exciting keynote session should provide relevant information for all of our attendees, no matter what sector they represent.”

The show returns to the Tampa Convention Center (seen above) after a several-years absence. The city is clearly excited about SEPC coming back to town — they’ve already set up a Southern Exposure welcome page with information about the show and the city that you can access here.

John Mackey has taken the natural and organic grocer from a single store in Austin, TX in 1978, to a $14 billion Fortune 500 company and a top U.S. supermarket with more than 400 stores and 87,000 team members in three countries. In 1981, Austin’s worst flood in history almost bankrupted the original store, and community efforts to save it shaped Mackey’s leadership philosophy to “do right by your stakeholders and they’ll do right by you.”

While devoting his entire career to providing shoppers with high quality natural and organic foods, Mackey has also focused on building a more conscious way of doing business. He led the company through more than 20 acquisitions, took Whole Foods Market public in 1992 and plans to grow to the company to 1,200 stores.

Check out the above highlight reel from SEPC 2017, courtesy of the Southeast Produce Council

For 18 consecutive years, Fortune magazine has included Whole Foods Market on its “100 Best Companies to Work For” list.  The company was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health Magazine, the top retailer for seafood sustainability by Greenpeace and one of “America’s 25 Most Inspiring Companies” by Forbes. Fortune also ranked Whole Foods Market first in the food and drug store industry and No. 20 overall for the magazine’s “Most Admired Companies” list.

Most recently, Mackey has focused on returning to the company’s roots around healthy eating and lifestyle choices. A staunch advocate of healthy eating education, he laid the foundation for health and wellness programs for team members and customers.

Out of his respect for equity among Team Members, Mackey implemented a salary cap for all executives. He cut his own salary to $1 annually in 2006, and forgoes stock options and bonuses. He continues to work for Whole Foods Market out of a passion to see the business realize the potential for deeper purpose, for the joy of leading a great company, and to answer the call to service he feels in his heart.

Registration numbers for Southern Exposure 2018 are climbing quickly, so if you haven’t already done so, go register now at

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