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Five weeks from today the 2018 Southeast Produce Council Southern Exposure Expo will be underway in Tampa, March 1-3 at the Tampa Convention Center. Between now and then, SPW will be doing a weekly “Countdown to Southern Exposure”. Here’s what we know so far:

We can’t resist a good pun – especially when it’s Elvis-related — and apparently our friends at SEPC can’t either. Here’s their pitch for Southern Exposure, this year themed Where Produce Is King:

“C’mon Everybody! The Southeast Produce Council is getting All Shook Up over Southern Exposure 2018: Where Produce Is King!

Register today because It’s Now or Never!

Southern Exposure is the premier produce networking event in the industry. It provides the most intimate setting with one of the largest retail and foodservice audience attendance in the industry today. This 3-day event includes networking, innovative, community, and educational opportunities which promote the produce industry in the Southeast.”

Here’s a short video from SEPC about the goings-on:

Here’s a look at the complete conference agenda. Our countdown will continue next week with interviews with principals and the latest information on the industry’s most successful regional tradeshow.

Conference Agenda

Wednesday, 2/28

1:00pm-4:00pm: SEPC Board of Directors Meeting

6:30pm – 10:00pm: VIP Dinner (invitation only)

Thursday, 3/1

5:45am: Golf Shuttle Pickup, Tampa Convention Center

6:30am – 7:45am: Golf Breakfast, Saddlebrook Country Club

8:00am – 5:00pm: Committee Meetings Marriott Meeting Room 1

8:00am – 1:00pm: Tom Page Golf Classic, Saddlebrook Country Club

1:00pm – 2:30pm: Golf Awards Reception

1:00pm – 6:00pm: Registration Open, Tampa Convention Center West Hall Registration Area

6:00pm – 10:00pm: STARS/STEP-UPP Dinner (invitation only)

Friday, 3/2

7:00am – 8:00am: STARS Breakfast (invitation only). Guest Speaker: Dan’l Mackey Almy, President and CEO of DMA Solutions, Inc.

7:00am – 9:00pm: Registration Desk Open, Tampa Convention Center West Hall Registration Area

8:00am – 5:00pm: Exhibitor Booth Setup

8:00am – 5:00pm: Committee Meetings

8:00am – 9:15am: Fresh from the Farm Field Trips — Virtual visit to the farms of B&W Quality Growers, Florida Classic Growers, Nickey Gregory Company, LLC., and Robinson Fresh, Tampa Convention Center Rooms 18 & 19; Guest Speakers: Michael Jenks (ReedTMS) as our Elvis tour guide, Todd Gosule (B&W Quality Growers), Al Finch (Florida Classic Growers), Andrew Scott (Nickey Gregory Company), and Michael Castagnetto (Robinson Fresh)

9:15am – 11:00am: Educational Workshops Refreshment Area

9:30am – 10:45am: The Power of Produce — SEPC provides the platform for the presentation of FMI’s The Power of Produce, Tampa Convention Center Rooms 20 & 21; Guest Speakers: Rick Stein (FMI) & Anne-Marie Roerink (210 Analytics, LLC); Panelists: Monica Garnes (Kroger), Jacob Krempel (HelloFresh), & John Ruane (Ahold)

11:00am – 12:15pm: Connecting the Dots: Traceability & Transparency Through Blockchain Technology — Industry panelists will discuss trends in blockchain technology; Tampa Convention Center Rooms 18 & 19; Guest Speakers: Brendan Solan (Driscoll’s), Brigid McDermot (IBM),  Frank Yiannas (Walmart), & Melanie Nuce (GS1)

12:30pm – 2:30pm: Southern Roots Luncheon — Yacht StarShip Cruise (boarding at 12:00pm); Guest Speaker: Grace Killelea

3:00pm – 5:00pm: LINKS Summit (invitation only), Tampa Convention Center Rooms 36, 37, 38, & 39

3:30pm – 5:00pm: STARS Cocktails & Careers (invitation only), Marriott Il Terrazzo

5:00pm – 6:00pm: Produce for Kids Reception (invitation only), The Landing at the Tampa Convention Center

6:00pm – 7:00pm: Retail/Foodservice Reception (invitation only), Tampa Convention Center Ballroom A-D

7:00pm – 11:30pm: Opening Gala (wristband required),Tampa Convention Center Ballroom A-D

Saturday, 3/3

6:00am – 11:00am: Exhibitor Booth Setup, Tampa Convention Center West Hall

8:00am – 4:00pm: Registration Desk Open, Tampa Convention Center West Hall Registration Area

8:00am – 5:00pm: Committee Meetings, Marriott Meeting Room 1

10:00am – 12:15pm: Keynote Luncheon (ticketed event), Tampa Convention Center Ballroom A-D; Keynote Speaker: John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, Moderator: Alison Kosik, Business and General Assignments Correspondent for CNN

12:30pm – 6:00pm: Exposition, Tampa Convention Center West Hall, Ribbon Cutting at 12:30pm

6:00pm – 8:00pm: Exhibitor Moveout

6:00pm – 10:00pm: Gator Rock Closing Reception (ticketed event), Tampa Convention Center Riverwalk 3 & 4

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