WMU News

Event aims to better position food industry for future

April 1, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Members of America's food industry will incorporate hard-won lessons of the past to help position their organizations for the future when they gather next month at Western Michigan University for the 40th annual Food Marketing Conference.

More than 500 people are expected to attend the national event, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, April 4-5, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo. The full conference will begin at 4 p.m. Monday and conclude at 3 p.m. the following day.

This year, the conference will offer special sessions, high-profile speakers and informational workshops that revolve around the theme "Building on Our Past, but Clearly Focused on the Future." Among the headline speakers will be representatives from Meijer Stores, the Food Marketing Institute, ACNielsen and NBC's "Today Show."

For a second straight year, conference organizers are partnering with the Network of Executive Women, a national advocacy and professional organization, to provide early-bird programming on Monday, April 4. The NEW events will focus on up-and-coming trends in the areas of leadership guidance, diversity initiatives and business development. They will feature a luncheon at noon followed by two talks and a panel discussion from 1 to 4 p.m.

The first talk, "People-Centric Cultures Pay Big Dividends: Lessons From Great Companies," will be given by Ann Rhoades, president and chief executive officer of People Ink. Rhoades has spent her career building people-centric organizations with companies such as Jet Blue, Southwest Airlines and Doubletree Hotels. She will share her creative approach to developing cultures around fun and her firsthand experiences with launching successful startup companies, blending post-merger cultures and creating a legacy of people-centric organizations.

The second talk, "Corporate Culture: Then and Now," will be given by author Maxie Carpenter, a senior partner with the management advisory firm Diversified Retail Solutions and a former senior vice president at Wal-Mart Stores. He will discuss how corporations have ransomed their cultures for the sake of political correctness and explore why changing the corporate culture inevitably is perceived as unhealthy and non-supportive.

The full 2005 Food Marketing Conference will begin Monday afternoon with registration from 2 to 6 p.m. and a Super Session presentation by Todd Hale from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Hale, senior vice president of ACNielsen, will speak on "Shopping for Food: The New Consumer." He will report on the landmark study of the same name conducted by ACNielsen for the national Food Marketing Institute, which researched shopping behaviors in U.S. households.

The remaining activities on Monday include a welcome reception and dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. and an awards ceremony and speaker from 8:15 to 9:15 p.m.

The brief awards program will honor the two WMU alumni who are this year's inductees into the WMU Department of Marketing Alumni Hall of Fame: Dominic Buccellato, president of Royal Pet L.L.P. and partner and executive vice president of Pet Supplies "Plus," and Martin J. Miller, vice president and general manager of the Tri-State Division of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.

Afterward, Phil Lempert, "supermarket guru," food editor and consumer advisor for NBC's the "Today Show," will present "New Tools to Better Serve the Consumer," an entertaining and interactive visual profile of the latest consumer-directed technology.

On Tuesday, April 5, the conference will feature three main speakers.

From 8 to 9:15 a.m., Charles A. Coonradt, chairman and CEO of the Game of Work, LLC will speak on the "The Game of Work." Coonradt is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of goal setting and profit improvement and has written several books that have been labeled management "must reads." He will examine the phenomenon that people often work harder at sports and recreation than they do on the job and help attendees learn how to foster a "winning" work environment with self-motivated people.

From 9:15 to 10 a.m., Michael Sansolo, senior vice president of the Food Marketing Institute, will lead a panel discussion on "America's Best Companies to Work For." The discussion will focus on what makes a company fit for Fortune Magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For--even in slow economic times rife with cutbacks and layoffs. The panel will include representatives from some of Fortune's Top-100 List, including this year's No. 1 company, Wegman's Food & Drugs of Rochester, NY, and Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson Co., and Valassis Communications.

From 1:45 to 2:30 p.m., Larry Zigerelli, incoming president and chief operating officer of Meijer Stores, will speak on "Transforming an Organization to Compete in a Land of Retail Giants." Zigerelli, who will become Meijer president and COO in April, will share his insights on the company's transformational restructuring of its operation, which is positioning the Midwestern retailer to grow within a highly competitive retail environment.

Tuesday's activities also will include 10 one-hour workshops, five beginning at 10:15 a.m. and five beginning at 11:30 a.m. These sessions will feature the following topics and presenters:

"Effectively Managing In-store Merchandising Chaos" by Steve Frenda, executive vice president of sales and business development at Mosiac InfoForce.

"Generations: Confronting Industry Issues From Different Perspectives" by Kevin Coupe, founder and editor of MorningNewsBeat.com.

"Extreme Value Retailing Stores" by Steve Dillard, vice president of corporate sales at Associated Wholesale Grocers.

"Examining the Technology Landscape" by Thomas D. Murphy, president of Peak Tech Consulting, LLC.

"Marketing Health From the Food Perspective" by Elizabeth Pivonka, president of the Produce for Better Health Foundation.

"How Thriving Companies Make the Leap From Survivor to Thriver by Focusing on Execution" by Fred Martels, president of People Solution Strategies.

"Biometrics in a Retail Setting" by Peter A. Espinosa, vice president of sales at Pay by Touch, and Brian Goedlan, director of information technology services at Roundys Inc.

"Category Management: Making It Work for Independent Retailers" by Alan Hartline, vice president for center store merchandising at Spartan Stores.

"Event Marketing: Creating Consumer Excitement Through Merchandising and Promotion" by Leo Braido, director of sales and marketing at Riesbeck Food Markets Inc.

"Ten Success Strategies" by Steve Dillard, vice president of corporate sales at Associated Wholesale Grocers.

The annual Food Marketing Conference is sponsored by WMU's Food and Consumer Packaged Goods Marketing Program in the Haworth College of Business. All proceeds from its conference support food and CPG marketing scholarships and program operations. For more conference information, including cost and registration details, call the event hotline at (269) 387-2132 or visit the conference Web site at <www.hcob.wmich.edu/fmc>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400