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Education program solidifies United Fresh event


United Fresh’s BB #:145458 last event in Chicago should have a different feel next week with all the changes to the program, but the same great education opportunities will still be there.

The June 10-12 event at Chicago’s McCormick Place kicks off with a Produce Outlook session June 10, featuring a panel who will talk about where the produce industry is headed:
• Paul Lightfoot, CEO, BrightFarms
• Mary Thompson, CEO, Bonduelle Fresh Americas/Ready Pac Foods
• James Rogers, CEO, Apeel Sciences
• Jose Antonio Gomez, CEO, Camposol Fresh USA, Inc.
• Melissa Melshenker Ackerman, President, Produce Alliance
• Rich Gonzales, Vice President, Global Produce Sourcing, Walmart Stores, Inc.

After this general session, the event features workshops on marketing, technology, business management, and food safety.

While the 300-plus exhibitors visit with attendees during the expo hours – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 11 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 12 – education continues on the Main Stage and Stage Next on the expo floor.

Most of the features associated with the June even remain, from the Women in Produce celebration to networking events to the innovation awards to the celebration of the 25 Retail Produce Manager Awards winners and eight Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards winners, but they’re in a different part of the program than before.

As usual, Blue Book Services exhibits at the expo, in booth 8018. I will attend, along with Retail Editor Pamela Riemenschneider; Jim Carr, CEO; executive vice president Mark Erickson; vice president Bill Zentner; Taryn Pfalzgraf and Richard Smoley of the publishing group; and Eloy Cortes, Tim Hickey, Jeff Lair, Leticia Lima, and Tim Reardon from the sales group.

United Fresh moves its annual convention to San Diego in 2020.


Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services and only misses the United convention for births, funerals and weddings.