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Four reasons Fresh Summit is a hot ticket for floral

The floral community is gearing up to gather in the Sunshine State Oct. 18-20 at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo. Why is this a must-attend event for mass-market floral buyers, sellers, breeders, service providers and the like? Here are my top-four reasons:

1. Seeing Green

This year, floral is a destination location all our own. If you check out the Fresh Summit floor plan at, you can’t miss the green color coding that denotes the all-new Floral Marketplace, which occupies 50,000-square-feet of dedicated floral space on the right side of the show floor.

2017-ENTERING-SHOW More than 130 floral companies will exhibit in the Floral Marketplace at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, including 35 newcomers. More than 80 floral buyers are already registered to attend.

Fresh Summit is a record setter this year in terms of total number of exhibiting companies, and floral has certainly contributed to that record. The expo is open Friday, Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The floral community also will enjoy use of a dedicated lounge space at the center of the Marketplace for conducting business meetings, planning booth visits, or taking a break.

Put simply, Fresh Summit is the one of the larger gatherings of big thinkers, innovators, and trendsetters across the mass-market floral supply chain. Don’t miss your chance to see and be seen. Make the most of the time you have on the floor; plan ahead with PMA’s MyExpo tool.

2. “Flamingle” in Florida

Let’s face it, we all love a good party, especially floral folks. And this year, with the support of several key sponsors, PMA has upped the game.

Our Fresh Summit Floral “Flamingle” Reception is scheduled from 6:15-7:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19. Think food, fun, musical entertainment, and, of course, our much-anticipated Floral Marketer of the Year award presentation.

The Flamingle theme is a nod to our core reason for gathering in Orlando — and that’s to network, mingle and cultivate ways to collaborate. Fresh Summit is also our place to celebrate the floral industry and ourselves.

So, pencil the Fresh Summit floral reception in now on your planner.

3. Four “big voices”

Three speakers on Thursday, one on Friday -— There’s a lot new about Fresh Summit this year, including our approach to education, which features four big topics and four big voices in four Forums for the Future.

We have much to learn from both inside and outside our industry — and Fresh Summit will feature icons in sports, entertainment and the media who will tell their personal stories about seizing opportunities and overcoming obstacles.

They’ve each performed to world-class standards and have cultivated chops in their respective fields, whether athletes, retail, theater or media mavens.

Three “big voices” will engage, inspire and motivate audiences on Thursday, Oct. 18.

PMA’s CEO Cathy Burns will open the convention with her State of the Industry address at 8:45 a.m. Oct. 18. Prior to joining PMA, Burns earned multiple accolades in the fresh produce industry, including Top Woman in Grocery, Produce Marketer of the Year, and she was named one of the Most Influential Women in Mass Market Retailing. Breakfast will be served before the opening forum.

Wired magazine editor in chief Greg Williams — a leading global voice on transformative trends and how they impact business and society — will moderate a conversation with innovators around the theme “Today’s Disruptions, Tomorrow’s Opportunities.” Williams’ forum starts at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 18. Lunch is included.

At 2:15 p.m. Oct. 18, plan to join us for an unusual, provocative, and highly original session with Tony Award-winning American actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr., who has performed on Broadway, in television and films. Odom is perhaps best known for his breakout role as Aaron Burr in the landmark musical Hamilton. Through conversation — and even a little music — Odom will share business lessons learned from theater and popular culture, including the importance of storytelling and creativity.

Rounding out our “big voices” forums will be Peyton Manning on Friday, Oct. 19 from 8:15-9:45 a.m. Manning, two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, five-time Most Valuable Player of the National Football League, and 14-time Pro Bowl selection, will share how he has motivated, inspired and lead others through adversity. Breakfast is included. The expo will open following Manning’s forum.

Lastly, for those attending the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Leadership Breakfast before the expo opens on Saturday, Oct. 20 (separate registration required), prepare to meet athlete, best-selling author and presenter Lindsey Vonn.

Vonn is the most successful female alpine skier in the history of the sport and is on her way to becoming the most successful ski racer ever. She has captured a world-record 82 World Cup wins en route to 20 FIS Alpine World Cup titles (surpassing Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark), including four overall crystal globes and two World Championship titles.

In February 2015, Lindsey launched the Lindsey Vonn Foundation. LVF is a nonprofit with the goal of empowering young girls to grow as athletes and individuals through opportunities and experiences that build self-esteem and create positive self-image.

4. Experience Extensions

At this year’s Fresh Summit, we have something new planned following our first two speaker forums on Thursday, Oct. 18. Instead of workshops, attendees can participate in a topical conversation of their choosing, speak to subject matter experts, or simply take a break in our networking lounge in the West Building.

Following the State of the Industry address with Cathy Burns on Oct. 18, any registrant can participate in an Experience Extension to gain insights and share perspectives.

Join your floral colleagues in Room W414A of the Orange County Convention Center from 10:30-11:30 a.m. to discuss challenges and opportunities around “Transportation in Floral,” or choose from additional sessions taking place at the same time — industry experts will be discussing produce safety, blockchain, and how to retain top talent.

Following the second big voice Forum for the Future on disruptive innovation led by Wired’s Greg Williams, registrants can choose to attend an Experience Extensions offered from 1:15-2:15 p.m.

The second block of Experience Extensions includes conversations on seismic shifts in global trade, transportation in produce, blockchain, and retaining top talent. Join a session, or simply take a break in the networking lounge before Thursday’s final forum featuring Odom.

So much is in store at the 2018 Fresh Summit. Visit for more details or to register.

On-site registration will also be available. Don’t miss this new experience, our big voices, and the opportunity to celebrate the industry, connect with colleagues, and gain insights to grow your business. We hope to see you there!

Becky Roberts is director of floral and new initiatives at Produce Marketing Association. She can be contacted at