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Education sessions return to Viva Fresh

Viva Fresh Educational Sessions – Final Banner

Mission, Texas – With under two weeks until the 2022 Viva Fresh Expo opens the doors, the excitement is palpable as the industry prepares to gather with friends and colleagues to showcase their newest products and share ideas.

And with that, this week TIPA BB #:162361 has announced the lineup of education sessions.

Education Sessions:

The Friday education sessions will kick off with The Clean Eating Challenge: Can it Be a Health Revolution for the Produce Industry? Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, president and CEO of Produce for Better Health will visit with past and present participants and explore what Clean Eating means, how it’s a tool to change consumption of fruits and vegetables and what our industry needs to know about changing behaviors to support eating healthy.

Next up expect to be led into the dark world of cybercrime. Greg Gatzke, president of Zag Technical Services will talk Cybersecurity: The Real Threat of Malicious Attacks. As an industry that prides itself on being ‘out in the fields,’ we often forget about the importance – and vulnerability – of the digital platforms we run our systems on. In September 2021, a cyberattack shut down 60 grain elevators in Iowa, responsible for feeding more than 11 million animals in the Midwest. In June, meatpacker JBS was hit, and it cost a reported $11 million to regain access to their systems. It’s not a matter of if, these hackers will come for fresh produce, they have, and they will continue to do so. This session will shed light on how these attacks happen, and how companies can take proactive steps to prevent these costly and business alternating events.

On the heels of the release of this year’s infamous Dirty Dozen, we all know the reality of bad press. So does Richard Kottmeyer from FTI Consulting who will lead The Power of Reputation Management: Understanding the Language That Keeps You from Being the Headline. FTI Consulting has handled reputation management for all kinds of companies and industries including Monsanto. Agriculture has been under attack for years around topics related to GMO’s, pesticide use, food safety, sustainability, climate change, and social responsibility. The industry is prone to ignore the role of reputation management in brand building and engaging in consumer conversations until there is a crisis to be managed. At this session, attendees will learn how to speak to consumers in their language and how to make information easier to understand in order to get to the heart of the facts. Everything from food safety to the dirty dozen will be on the table. Attendees should expect to laugh, but also feel a little or a lot uncomfortable as he talks about the risks we face, the problems we create and how we can manage them all.

“In person education has always been a catalyst to learn and engage in challenging conversations and we are so happy to bring back a full education schedule and tackle compelling topics,” said Dante Galeazzi, CEO and president of TIPA. “Finding the right topics is always a process and we are proud of the lineup we have created and excited for our attendees to explore new ideas that can better themselves, their businesses and our industry.”

Admission to the educational sessions is included with registration for Viva Fresh. Visit for more information on the 2022 Viva Fresh Produce Expo educational sessions, schedule, registration details, or general questions about the event.

In Bloom –  Speak Easy: Real Women, Real Talk 

Mission, Texas – The TIPA In Bloom Women’s Committee proudly announces it is hosting Speak Easy: Real Women, Real Talk at Viva Fresh on Friday, April 22 from 11 am to 1 pm. Sponsored by Pure Flavor, the session will feature three female produce professionals who have each navigated their way to success within the industry:

  • Dan’l Almy, founder, DMA Solutions
  • Tiffany Sabelli, director of sales, Pure Flavor
  • Suhanra Conradie, CEO, Summer Citrus of South Africa

These women will discuss the common pitfalls and challenges that professional produce women frequently encounter, as well as the strategies they’ve found helpful in building their networks, expanding their resources and amplifying their voices.

Michelle Cortez, In Bloom Committee chairwoman and sales director at Babia, commented, “this session is more than a panel discussion. It’s a genuine conversation with women who have created their own paths forward. Their experiences and wisdom stand to benefit all of us.”

April Flowers, In Bloom Committee past chairwoman and marketing director at Lone Star Citrus continued, “we believe that when one woman wins, we all win. It absolutely makes sense to sit down and discuss the recurring issues that produce women tend to encounter throughout their careers. We have a responsibility to one another to share our success strategies and help push each other forward.”

While the event will tackle the serious issues produce women face, it will also celebrate the lighter side of produce life and the many roles women fill in their daily lives. Following the discussion, attendees will have time to network while nibbling on delicious food and sipping on signature cocktails.

In Bloom was conceived at the 2019 Viva Fresh and was built to be an organization to empower and advance women in produce through sharing opportunities, networking, mentorship, advocacy, and professional development while also offering a supportive environment of women committed to helping each other. Its vision is to develop a community of female leaders who are advocates for fresh produce consumption, committed to helping one another, and prepared to lead our industry through opportunities and challenges in a dynamic Texas and International produce landscape.

The event is free to Viva Fresh attendees but requires prior registration. Preference will be given to women attendees, but gentlemen are welcome to join the waitlist on site.

This event also receives sponsorship support from London Fruit, Lone Star Citrus, Summer Citrus of South Africa, Bagley Produce, Pratt Industries, Coast Tropical, Santos International, Harvest Best and Fox Packaging.

For more information, please contact April Flowers at or Michelle Cortez at

About the Viva Fresh Produce Expo

The Viva Fresh Produce Expo was established in 2015 by the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) in order to create meaningful networking and educational opportunities for its members while shining a light on the importance of the Rio Grande Valley as an emerging trade corridor and production zone for healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables available all year long. For more information, please visit

About the Texas International Produce Association

Founded in 1942, the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) promotes, advocates, educates and represents the nearly $10 billion in fresh produce that is either grown in the state or calls Texas the first point of US-arrival for North American distribution. For more information about TIPA, visit or call 956-581-8632.