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LAS VEGAS, NV -- An increased number of educational programs, a night of industry luminaries and a groundbreaking webcast from the trade show floor sent United Fresh 2010 out with a bang Friday, April 23.

With educational and development programs focused on each of the association's four market segment boards, the United Fresh Produce Association's annual convention and expo offered attendees more opportunities for business development.

"We wanted to ensure that attendees to this year's show were provided with education and development offerings that truly benefitted their particular businesses," Victoria Backer, United’s senior vice president of member services, said in an April 23 press release. "The customized, market segment- specific programming that we've had this week has pointed each attendee to multiple events and sessions that will help his or her business grow in both the short and long terms."

From the Market Segment Super Sessions in the morning to segmented Learning Centers on the show floor all day, United Fresh 2010 was seemingly never at a loss for programming.

Ten winners in United's Retail Produce Manager Awards Program took part in the produce industry's first-ever live webcast from a trade show floor. Winning Retail Strategies: Secrets of the Retail Manager Award Winners featured a panel moderated by Perishables Group Executive Vice President Steve Lutz and broadcast live to the Web on United's latest multimedia offering, UnitedFresh.TV.

"This broadcast represents an unprecedented leap for United Fresh," Ray Gilmer, the association's vice president of communications, said in the release. "No longer is the trade show confined to the conference room and expo hall; it's beamed directly to the desktop. UnitedFresh.TV allows the association to extend the value of events like the annual convention far beyond show floor."

The final day of United Fresh 2010 concluded with the association's annual Chairman's Reception and Awards Banquet, which recognized honorees in United's Retail Produce Manager Awards and Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards programs, as well as other produce industry dignitaries.

The annual banquet ushered in the tenure of new United Fresh Chairman Steffanie Smith of Hermiston, OR-based River Point Farms, and gave United the opportunity to announce that next year's convention and expo will be held May 2-5 in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.