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Anaheim: North American Association of Food Equipment Mfg. – NAFEM

NAFEM is the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturing, a trade association of 500+ foodservice equipment and supplies manufacturers providing products for food preparation, cooking, storage and table service.  Over 60 years and more, NAFEM has established itself as a foodservice industry leader, equipping members to succeed with a variety of products and services, representing the industry in Washington and supporting programs and organizations that move the industry forward. NAFEM offers educational opportunities to ensure that the next generation of young professionals is prepared for the foodservice industry’s future direction,  staying on the cutting edge of current trends and emerging issues to provide the industry with leadership and expertise.  The organizers have been moving ahead to develop messaging around “Why the foodservice industry?” Interesting question… though most people here would’ve said “What’s not to like?”

Anaheim: Automation Fair – Rockwell Automation

The Rockwell Automation Fair is, we heard, about “how The Connected Enterprise can help achieve faster time to market, optimize assets, lower the total cost of ownership, and improve enterprise risk management”.  Clear?  Okay, if I tell you it’s a show that homes in on “how flexible, scalable automation solutions can lower costs and improve overall performance”, better?  And how sustainable production practices can increase your competitiveness and help you better manage energy and materials costs,… you’re getting this, right?  Well, okay, fine, let’s just say it’s a Rockwell thing.  With over 100 exhibits, you could take advantage of automation expertise from Rockwell Automation, providing comprehensive solutions from industry leaders in distribution, systems integration, machine building, and complementary technologies.  There were industry forums, user group meetings, hands-on labs, technical sessions and demonstrations to expand knowledge and use of the latest control, power and information technologies.  Rock(well)’n’Roll!!  #AutoFair

Anaheim: Produce Marketing Association – Fresh Summit – PMA

PMA is the Fresh Summit of the Produce Marketing Association, and it brought together 20,000 attendees (typically retail buyers, food safety experts etc.) and 900 exhibitors from over 60 countries.  PMA CEO Bryan Silbermann and President Cathy Burns reflected in their keynoter on initiatives to Inspire the Fresh Revolution. Consumers increasingly want fresh products, we heard, and technology is combining with innovative marketing to change the game.  Another keynote speaker, Gary Vayerchuk, pointed out that while communication is still key on social media platforms, context matters more than ever. It’s not just about developing high-quality content, we were told, but developing high-quality content perfectly adapted to specific social media platforms and mobile devices.  That would be content tailor-made for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr.  Sort of like having a tweet tooth….  #pmafsc

Long Beach: Intermodal Expo

Anaheim: APEX – Airline Passenger Experience Association

APEX is the Airline Passenger Experience Association, and this “flight of fancy” was co-hosted with IFSA, the International Flight Services Association, represented more than 120 airlines and 250-odd vendors from in-flight entertainment to catering.  The APEX/IFSA Expo, we heard, is an event exclusive to experts and decision-makers “committed to elevating the level of the airline passenger experience around the world”.  Well, no problem there:  the passenger is “elevated” every time a flight takes off, typically to over 30,000 feet. Beyond that obvious fact, things can get complicated, given the flying public’s ceaseless quest for cheaper tickets and the airlines’ grim determination to keep turning a profit if they can.  These mutually inimical aims have been “resolved” by de-bulking seats and putting them closer together, which has recently created “war-zones” between passengers who recline their seats and passengers who don’t like the seat in front squishing their knees….

Anaheim: California HR Conference – Professionals in Human Resources Association – PIHRA

PIHRA is the California HR Conference.  The acronym stands for the Professionals in Human Resources Association.  As a delegate, you could join more than 2,200 practitioners, providers and presenters at the conference, and maybe earn HR Certification Institute Strategic Business Management, Global, and General certification credits. Concurrent sessions were presented by experienced speakers in Employment Law & Legislation, Business Management & Strategy, Talent Management, International HR, Diversity & Inclusion, Benefits & Compensation, and Personal & Leadership Development, as well as General HR.  Wait, if you’re working in Human Resources, and husbanding all those “human resources”, doesn’t that make you a “human resource” yourself?  In which case… um… how exactly does a resource husband a resource?  Just asking…  #PIHRA

Anaheim: Expo Comida Latina

Expo Comida Latina, we heard, is North America’s only trade event focused on bringing “authentic, specialty gourmet and mainstream products from around the globe to retail and foodservice buyers who are looking to meet the demands of today’s Hispanic American U.S. population”.  Expo Comida Latina is paired with the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo.  What kind of food and drink are we talking here?  Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Dairy, Breadstuffs, Meat, Dry Foods, Canned Goods, plus Bakery and Frozen, among others.  A few visitors were surprised to find that the kinds of chili-peppers that bring tears to grown men’s eyes were not necessarily a given, since much of Latin America likes its dishes tasty but mild — think rice and beans.  Who was there?  Well:  Product Manufacturers, Distributors: Regional, Brokers, Suppliers, Service-providers,  Importers and  Wholesalers,… that was just for starters.  And talking of starters, try this amazing guacamole….