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QPMA to spotlight the distribution chain at annual convention

by Joel Gebet | August 04, 2010
The Quebec Produce Marketing Association will spotlight the various links involved in the produce distribution chain Aug. 19-21 at its 63rd annual convention at the Fairmount Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.

Sophie Perreault, executive director of the association, told The Produce News that the convention's theme, "From the Earth to the Table," came about in part because its outgoing president, Stephan Dolbec, is a grower, and its convention chairman, Pascal Primiano, works for Quebec retailer Metro Inc.

However, Ms. Perreault said that the convention’s theme is not just about growers and retailers, and she wanted every one of its members, who are involved in 11 business sectors in the produce supply chain, to feel included. “We chose this theme because everyone has to work closely so the consumer ends up with a good product,” she said. “That is what the theme is about — working together to deliver a product from earth to the table.”

She continued, “We too often forget that produce comes from the earth and that there is a [grower] out there that takes care of these products, nourishes them and has the knowledge to make them grow. They have to know everything from technology, business, marketing for their products — they work hard, especially with the short season they have. It’s amazing what they accomplish, and it was important for Stephan to highlight this.”

In addition to taking advantage of numerous networking and educational opportunities, convention attendees will be able to partake in the many historical, cultural and outdoor activities that the cosmopolitan city has to offer.

The convention will kick off 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, with the Presidents’ Reception at Le Bistro VU in the city’s historic district of Old Montreal.

“We chose a really nice little bistro that has a terrace in Old Montreal that has a stunning view of a nearby marina,” she said. “It will have a good ambiance for people who haven’t seen each other in a while. It’s really going to be like you’re going out in Montreal.”

The association normally has two or three optional activities on Friday morning, but this year, attendees will have four choices: a stroll through the Montreal Botanical Garden; a visit to the Montreal Biodome; a white water rafting trip on the St. Lawrence River’s Lachine Rapids; or a round of golf at Club de Golf La Prairie.

On Friday evening, attendees will be able to go on a “getaway adventure through the delights and attractions of Polynesia” at the Bora Bora Beach Party, Ms. Perreault said.

Saturday’s events begin at 8:30 a.m. with the QPMA’s annual general meeting, which will be followed by a conference presented by Carol Allain, who will speak about “The Clash of Generations.”

Mr. Allain will present a humorous talk that takes a comparative look at different generations as a way of spotlighting the differences that arise between them and ways they might be able to adapt to each other.

The annual industry brunch will follow the workshops and will relive the highlights of the industry from 2009-10 and will welcome the association’s nearly 50 new members.

The “I Love” contest, which is now in its fifth year, congratulates the QPMA members who have best utilized the association’s popular “I Love 5 to 10 a Day” promotional campaign logo and theme in their businesses. The winner will be announced at the brunch by the campaign’s spokesperson, Julie DesGroseilliers.

Ms. DesGroseilliers will also test attendees’ knowledge of the produce distribution chain.

Richard Beliveau, a prominent and internationally renowned figure in the field of cancer treatment and research, will close the brunch with a talk about good health through diet and preventive medicine.

Marcel Lapointe, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Metro Inc., will be toasted at Saturday night’s closing banquet, where he will receive the QPMA’s Pillar of the Industry award for 2010.

Following the banquet, attendees can visit the president’s suite where they can meet and congratulate outgoing President Stephan Dolbec and the QPMA’s new president for 2010-11, George Pitsikoulis, president of Canadawide Fruit Distributors Inc.