2023 Agenda

Saturday, September 9

12:30 pm - 5:00 pm - Exhibitor Registration Open


Sunday, September 10

8:00 am – 5:00 pm – Attendee Registration Open
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm – IFDA Safety & Risk Management Committee Meeting
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm – Attendee Orientation (at Omni)
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm – Welcome Reception (at Omni)
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm – Executive Leadership Summit Dinner (by invitation)

Monday, September 11

7:00 am – 7:45 am – Attendee Breakfast
7:00 am – 5:00 pm – Registration Open
8:00 am – 9:00 amGeneral Session:Warehouse Innovation & The Future of Automation in Distribution


Workshop Sessions – 9:15 am – 10:00 am

Lithium-Ion Batteries: A New Ingredient to Boost Material Handling Efficiency in the Food Industry
Room 201 A/ Session Track: Warehouse, Innovation
Material handling is no different from the EV industry in its fast paced transition to electrification and adoption of lithium-ion batteries. Discover how the evolution from lead-acid to lithium-ion batteries affects the food industry. Industry professionals from battery and forklift OEMs will present a comprehensive lithium 101 introduction, then cover subjects such as temperature control, safety, data utilization possibilities and vehicle integration. Learn how these changes influence asset lifespan, maintenance, ESG implications and ROI. Explore a neutral, data-driven perspective on optimizing performance and cost-efficiency in demanding food industry applications.
Jinger McPeak, Vice President, Ethium
Martin Boyd, Vice President, Product Planning and Solutions, Hyster-Yale Group
Jean-Francois Marchand, Marketing Director, UgoWork

Elevate Your Hiring and Retention
Room 201 B-C/ Session Track: Talent, Management
Recruiting and retaining productive employees has never been more challenging, but thinking outside the box can help you see surprising results. Join our panel for a thought-provoking discussion on fresh approaches to building your workforce, from flexible schedules and pay periods to career mapping redesigned for the digital era.
Moderator: Jim Hoss, Senior Vice President of Transportation & Operartions, Cash-Wa Distribution
Speakers: Gia Dowling, Corporate Vice President, Nicholas & Company
Lindsey Anthony, HR Director, Wood Fruitticher Food Service

Building a Proactive Safety Culture
Room 202 A-B/ Session Tracks: Warehouse, New Attendee
In facilities filled with new employees and constant activity, putting time and creativity into safety training development is an investment that will keep your operation humming. This session will explore ideas for crafting memorable and easy-to-learn safety programs that stick with employees long after orientation.
Speaker: Ken Cosby, Dir., Safety and Compliance, Performance Food Group

Decrypting Innovation: A Practical Approach
Room 202 C-D/ Session Tracks: Management, Supply Chain
As organizations face constant change and disruption, investing in innovation is no longer a strategic choice – it’s a necessity. It is imperative that organizations look beyond the conventions of their business by seeking bold new offerings to create differentiation and new sources of value.  Join Matt Josephson, a principal in Deloitte Digital’s Applied Design & Innovation practice, as he talks through a more expansive view on innovation and how to apply practical innovation when transforming elements of your organization.
Speaker: Matt Josephson, Principal, Deloitte Consulting

Driving Success: Establishing In-House Driving Schools for Efficient Fleet Management
Room 203 A-B/ Session Track: Transportation
Learn from industry peers how to build best practices within your community to find more drivers. Learn from President and CEO from Next Gen Trucking, Lindsey Trent what they have rolling out in the coming weeks to help all foodservice distributors find and train more truckers. Learn from Aaron Kerkhoff (Director of Operations, Kohl Wholesale) and Mike Card (Director of Transportation, Ginsberg’s) on the benefits of having an in house truck driver training program that could benefit your business. Also learn some best practices and be sure to come ready with questions for this open format presentation.
Mike Card, Director of Transportation, Ginsberg Foods
Aaron Kerkhoff, Director of Operations, Kohl Wholesale
Lindsey Trent, President and Co-Founder, Next Gen Trucking

9:30 am – 3:30 pmExecutive Leadership Summit (at Omni, by invitation)

10:00 am – 10:15 am – Break


Workshop Sessions –10:15 – 11:00 AM

Produce Supply Chain Solutions
Room 201 A/Session Tracks: Supply Chain, New Attendee
With the ever-increasing challenges with the produce supply chain, this discussion will focus around finding solutions on three key areas: direct source buying, product consolidation, and expanding freight solutions.  The panelists will discuss the benefits of consolidation of products to allow for direct buying from key growers and creating more efficient logistical solutions by aligning the three key areas of the supply chain to stabilize pricing and make it easier to do business.
Moderator:Brian Kane, PRO*ACT, COO
Mike Gorczyca, PRO*ACT, Director of Procurement
Robert Rossi, PRO*FRESH Sourcing, Managing Director
Thomas Riddle, PRO*FRESH Logistics, Freight Manager

Using Seoul Korea as a Model for Supply Chain
Room 201 B-C/Session Tracks: Warehouse, Supply Chain
Smaller, more frequent deliveries and what that means for the warehouse and operations. Chain and convenience distributor will be part of the discussion.
Charles Fallon, Partner, Principal, LIDD
Shawn Lee, VP of Supply Chain, Southwest Traders

Simple Fixes, Big Wins: Enhancing Safety & Performance through Behavior Change
Room 202 A-B/ Session Track: Transportation, Talent
Learn how to coach camera events, performance, and bad behavior without causing resentment or bad feelings. Using a behavior change process will allow you to focus on the behavior, not the person and get them to solve the issue for you.
Johnny Mullins, Driver Education Network/Founder, Synergy
Cindy Simpson, Driver Education Network

Not All Heroes Wear Capes; Sometimes They Use Telematics
Room 203 A-B/Session Tracks: Innovation, Technology
Join us for an informative and engaging discussion on utilizing your current trailer telematics solution as a tool to help drive data driven decisions to save time and money while increasing operational efficiencies.  Want to learn how by just one report saved one location $3 million dollars?  We will take the participants on a journey of low hanging fruit of your current telematics solution that will produce big results in savings.  How can I use my existing telematics as a yard management system?  These are but a few of the questions we will help answer and more.  This session will explore the newest developments in the telematics field and what you should consider now and into the future to make a technology solution decision.  Do you want to be that Hero?  Come join us where you can bring instant value back to your company on Monday morning!   
Don Durm, VP, Customer Solutions, PLM Fleet
Dean Marris, Co Founder, Coretex
Jim Johnson, Senior Director, Fleet Support, US Foods

11:00 am – 12:00 pm – IFDA Truck Driver Hall of Fame Orientation

11:00 am – 2:30 pm – Exhibit Hall Open      
                                 Lunch on the Expo Floor
                                 Innovation Labs


2:45 pm– 3:15 pm – Workshop Sessions

The Future of Foodservice Distribution: Emerging Technologies and Trends
Room 201A/ Session Tracks: Technology, Innovation
Join us for an engaging panel discussion hosted by MHI's Solutions Community. In this thought-provoking session, we delve into the ever-evolving landscape of foodservice distribution and the dynamic role of emerging technologies and trends in shaping its future. As the foodservice distribution sector navigates unprecedented challenges and opportunities, it's imperative to understand the pivotal role of emerging technologies and trends in redefining industry norms.
Chris Morris, Swisslog Logistics, Inc.
Gary Master, Agile Business Media
Ed Romaine, VP of Marketing and Business Development, Conveyco Technologies, Inc.

How to Tactfully Implement Vehicle Cameras
Room 201 B-C/ Session Track: Transportation
Maximizing safety and data through onboard cameras while not alienating your employees is a tricky needle to thread. Our experts will help you understand all facets of the process, including getting driver buy-in, setting standards, when to record, what to record and what to do with it.
Jon Stanley, CEO, Synergy-Solutions LLC, and Co-Founder, Driver Education Network

De-escalation: Communication Skills to Navigate a Potentially Difficult Situation
Room 202 A-B/ Session Tracks: Talent, Management
Learn valuable insights from an experienced licensed clinician who trains law enforcement. Discover essential techniques to employ even before a situation escalates, ensuring positive outcomes. Gain essential skills not just for law enforcement but applicable to various scenarios. This session offers tactical tools and strategies to proactively address challenges while also guiding effectively meeting the needs of individuals in a supportive and constructive manner. Don't miss this opportunity to enhance your conflict resolution abilities and communication skills.
Speaker: Mark Benson, Central and Southern Illinois Regional Coordinator for the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training

Exploring Cybersecurity: Understanding Phishing, Protocols, and Digital Waterholes
Room 202 C-D/ Session Tracks: Management, Innovation
Discover cybersecurity essentials in this workshop with a CIS expert. Learn to tackle phishing threats, grasp network protocols, and understand digital waterhole attacks. Valuable insights for everyone aiming to enhance their digital security. Join us to fortify your online resilience.
Speaker: Curtis Dukes, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Security Best Practice, Center for Internet Security (CIS)

Leading Others in the Modern Age
Room 203 A-B/ Session Track: Management
UVA Professor Jared Harris, head of IFDA’s Executive Development Program, leads a discussion on thinking outside the box and how teams make decisions. You’ll leave this session with fresh perspectives on everyday managerial challenges.
Speaker: Jared Harris, UVA Professor

3:30 pm – Ice Cream Break


3:30 pm – 4:15 pm  Colleague Connect

Join us for a delightful and insightful Colleague Connect session where we'll come together to indulge in delicious ice cream while delving into the critical issues that shape our industry's landscape. This event promises to blend networking, knowledge sharing, and sweet treats perfectly.

Our focus areas will include:

  • Talent & Inclusion: Explore how to foster a more inclusive and diverse work environment, discussing strategies to promote equality and representation within our organization.
  • Warehouse Optimization: Delve into the latest trends and best practices in warehouse management, ensuring efficient operations, and maximizing productivity.
  • Transportation and Supply Chain Challenges: Engage in a conversation about the evolving complexities of transportation and supply chain management. We'll share insights on overcoming challenges and embracing innovation.

Come prepared to share your insights, experiences, and ideas. Let's work together to navigate the ever-changing industry landscape while enjoying a scoop of your favorite ice cream!

4:15 pm – 5 00pm – Workshop Sessions

Boost Employee Health and Productivity through Ergonomics
Room 201A/Session Track: Warehouse
In conjunction with the Ohio State University, IFDA recently researched ergonomics to improve the day-to-day working environment for food distribution employees. This session will explore the results and explain how implementing ergonomics best practices can benefit both workers and your bottom line.
It is no secret that some foodservice distribution jobs are very physically demanding.  Fortunately, help is on the way.  In this session, you will learn about a recent IFDA-led effort to compile ergonomics best practice solutions to not only reduce fatigue and injuries but also enhance work efficiency and employee job satisfaction. Several examples will be presented. Attendees who are responsible for improving work operations will want to learn about these solutions for consideration in their facilities.
Speakers: Gary Allread, Program Director, Integrated Systems Engineering, Spine Research Institute, The Ohio State University.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­Beltway Roundup Room
201 B-C/ Session Track: Management
IFDA’s Government Affairs team will provide an overview of the current legislative and regulatory landscape and its impact on food distributors.
Mala Parker, VP, Policy & Government Affairs, IFDA
Kristin Spiridon, Senior Director, Policy & Government Affairs, IFDA

Coaching & Mentoring in Changing Times Room
202 A-B/ Session Tracks: Women in Foodservice, Talent
Discover practical tools for coaching and mentoring in times of rapid change and disruption. This session explores how food distribution leaders can use coaching and mentoring to help people thrive in their job and life. You will discover practical models for establishing coaching and mentoring programs for office and remote workplace settings and access easy-to-use tools for putting these models into practice.
Speaker:  Bucky Dodd, Ph.D., CEO, Principal Consultant, ClearKinetic

Right Product, Right Place, Right Time: Unlocking Supply Chain Efficiency with Real-Time Item Level Visibility Solutions
Room 202 C-D/ Session Track: Supply Chain
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, supply chains have become intricate networks of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, necessitating accurate end-to-end (E2E) visibility with data availability in real time. Enter the game-changing technology of Real-Time Item Level Visibility Solutions. Join us as we delve into how this innovative solution revolutionizes supply chain management, ensuring that the right product is at the right place, at the right time.
Speaker: Marc Hoster, VP, GM North America, Mojix, Inc

Navigating the Future of EV with Gordon Foods
Room 203 A-B/ Session Track: Transportation
Join us in this insightful conference session as we delve into the innovative strategies employed by Gordon Foods to navigate the realm of Electric Vehicles (EVs) skillfully. Discover how Gordon Foods is working to incorporate electric vehicles to enhance efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and optimize its supply chain. Gain valuable insights into the challenges faced and lessons learned, offering attendees a comprehensive understanding of the future-forward approaches that are driving Gordon Foods toward sustainable success in a rapidly evolving industry.
Speaker: Jason Derby, Manager Fleet Maintenance, Gordon Foods

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm – Reception on the Expo Floor – Exhibit Hall Open

6:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Truck Driver Hall of Fame Reception


Tuesday, September 12 


7:00 am – 7:45 am – Attendee Breakfast

7:00 am – 5:00 pm – Registration Open

7:45 am – 9:00 am –General Session: The Future of Work


Workshop Sessions - 9:15 am – 10:00am

Get Organized Before Union Organizing
Room 201A/ Session Track: Management
The best way to prepare for union organizing activities? Have a clear understanding of on-the-ground morale – and a plan to act quickly. This session will break down signals to look for in your workforce and what to do before and during an event.
Speaker: Steve Rahhal​, Shareholder, Littler

The DOT Regulatory Agenda Room
201 B-C/ Session Track: Transportation
The USDOT agenda includes regulatory actions, research efforts, and programmatic and enforcement changes. This session will cover all these areas and help you navigate issues that could affect your business.
Speaker: Steve Keppler, Co-Director, Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, LLC
Driving Continuous Operations Improvement with AI Enabled Analytics
Room 202 A-B/ Session Tracks: Supply Chain, Innovation
A discussion of proven approaches to improving the performance of distributor operations and demonstrating an AI-enabled tool (MarginBrain) that leverages operational, sales, and financial data to identify and action margin enhancement opportunities.
Speaker: Mike Ely, Sr. Manager, Supply Chain Deloitte

De-escalation: Communication Skills to Navigate a Potentially Difficult Situation (Repeat Session)
Room 202 C-D/ Session Track: Talent
Learn valuable insights from an experienced licensed clinician who trains law enforcement. Discover essential techniques to employ even before a situation escalates, ensuring positive outcomes. Gain essential skills not just for law enforcement but applicable to various scenarios. This session offers tactical tools and strategies to proactively address challenges while also guiding effectively meeting the needs of individuals in a supportive and constructive manner. Don't miss this opportunity to enhance your conflict resolution abilities and communication skills.
Speaker: Mark Benson, Central and Southern Illinois Regional Coordinator for the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training

Complex Decisions:  Why More Data Isn't the Answer
Room 203 A-B/ Session Track: Management
Description: Complicated decisions are hard enough but with current circumstances, these decisions take on even more complexity. It’s easy to assume that we need more and more data. Grasping for data can lead to over-thinking and analysis paralysis. As complexity goes up, decision-making involves more than just the data. Learn a step-by-step process to hone in on the real issues to deepen your understanding of the problem, reframe your decision and achieve your goals with less frustration.
Speaker: Shelley Row, Founder & CEO, Blue Fjord Leaders

10:00 am – 10:15 am – Refreshment Break

10:15 am – 11:00 am – Workshop Sessions

Ergonomics Solutions in a Distribution Environment
Room 201A/ Session Track: Warehouse
New technology and a better understanding of workplace injuries and related ergonomic solutions. Explore the big impact of small changes, such as the use of wearables and athletic trainers.
Tom Olitsky, Vice President, Safety, Performance Food Group
Stacey Akins, Director of Safety, Dot Foods, Inc

Implementing a WMS at a Foodservice Distributor
Room 201 B-C/ Session Track: Innovation
Join our workshop to explore the transformative potential of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) for modern foodservice distributors. Discover how WMS adoption modernizes operations, reduces errors, enhances efficiency, and boosts productivity. Learn from a successful northeast food distributor's implementation journey as we outline key steps, including scope definition, configuration coaching, training, change management, and ongoing evolution. Embrace this workshop to stay ahead in the evolving landscape of flexible and scalable technologies.
Bill Conrad, CEO & President, Prime Source Foods
Mathieu Galipeau, Partner, Lidd

Management Training and Growth
Room 202 A-B/Session Tracks: Management
Join us is a conversation style session designed around operations management and its struggles. A thought-provoking session with questions and answers concerning stability and management growth leading to better execution. This session is for everyone looking for operational improvements and team building. Results with a planned approach that doesn’t require funding. Real Conversation for lasting Results.
Jon Birdwell, Director of Warehouse Operations, Ben E. Keith Co.
Brian Kulak, Regional VP, McLane Foodservice

Hype or Reality; The Rise of the EV Refrigerated Trailer
Room 202 C-D/Session Tracks: Transportation
In this session we will lead a highly engaging conversation with industry TRU leaders that will discuss an overview of current and future zero emission TRU technology options along with improvements on performance, weight, and maintenance over the traditional TRU.  We will explore TRU clean technology challenges and opportunities for the foodservice distributor.  We will look at what clean technology TRU product options and technologies are available for both single and multi-temp operations.  Explore the critical path steps for successful and safe clean technology TRU trailer deployments.  IFDA has arranged for all of the players in the room, come join in and look at what the future of cold chain distribution holds – the future is now!
Don Durm, VP Solutions, PLM Fleet (Moderator)
Chris Tanaka, VP Product Management, ThermoKing
Marc Trahand, Vice President and General Manager, ConMet
Robert Koelsch, CEO, Advance Energy Machines
Ryan Kemet, Business Development, eNow

How to Have a Difficult Discussion:  Grow Your Confidence and Skill
Room 203 A-B/Session Track: Talent
You have a performance issue with your staff, you need to have a “Talk” with your boss, or a customer is upset. You are anxious about the discussion and emotions are running high. That’s when you need top-notch communication skills and a plan to frame the difficult discussion so that it’s not so difficult. In this interactive session, learn a step-by-step approach that transforms a dreaded conversation into a skilled, honest, and productive one.
Speaker: Shelley Row, Founder & CEO, Blue Fjord Leaders

11:00 am – 2:30 pm – Exhibit Hall Open      
                                 Lunch on the Expo Floor
                                 Innovation Labs


2:45 pm – 3:15 pm – Workshop Sessions

Age Old Problems; Technology Solutions For Regulatory and Operational Success Management
Room 201A/Session Track: Transportation
Food distributors face increased competition with age-old operational challenges such as inaccurate inventory, shrinkage, incomplete deliveries, delivery rejections, quality discounts, and even labor. On top of those daily challenges, new FDA FSMA 204 Rules will soon impact your business with additional burdens to capture KDE’s and CTE’s, retain the data for 2 years, and produce documentation within 24 hours of request.  Come experience how a proven technology can turn a food safety regulatory compliance burden to an operational success in your distribution business saving you time and money bringing operations efficiencies.  This will be the technology of the future for the 3-T’s of food distribution - transparency, traceability and trust.  The future is now.  Want to bring something of value back to your office on Monday morning, this is a cannot miss session!      
Don Durm, VP Customer Solutions, PLM Fleet
Amber Engebretson, TrustLink Solutions Consultant, PLM TrustLink
Murli Ram, Managing Director, PLM TrustlLink

FDA'S Food Traceability Compliance Tips
Room 201 B-C/ Session Track: Warehouse, Management
In this session, a panel of food safety experts will provide a how-to guide to prepare foodservice distributors for the implementation of FDA’s new food traceability rule.
Mala Parker, VP, Policy & Government Affairs, IFDA (Moderator)
Charles Leftwich, Senior Director, Quality Assurance, Sysco
Greg Cassens, Regulatory Counsel, Dot Foods
Ceret Leyva, Director of Food Safety, Ben E. Keith Co.

Unlocking the Value of Collaboration
Room 202 A-B/Session Track: Supply Chain
As the evolution of the foodservice industry continues to accelerate, it is critical to continue to enhance how you collaborate with strategic trading partners. Join us in this session to hear supply chain collaboration success stories, best practices in supply chain collaboration and keys to enhancing supply chain collaboration today and into the future.
Speaker: Art Bell, Partner, Kinetic-12

The Food Distribution Professional’s Guide to ChatGPT and AI Tools
Room 202 C-D/Session Track: Innovation
This session explores the current landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT, and highlights effective practices for using these technologies in your work. You will discover the exciting capabilities, current limitations, and techniques for using AI tools to save time, support planning, supercharge communication, and streamline workflows.
Speaker: Bucky Dodd, Ph. D., CEO, Principal Consultant, ClearKinetic

2:45 – 4:00 pm - Women in Foodservice Panel
Room 203 A-B
This panel discussion will feature successful women within the foodservice industry. Through their stories, attendees will gain valuable insights as the panel shares their experiences fostering a sense of community, provide inspiration through powerful stories, and promote coaching and mentoring as part of our desire to create a brighter and more inclusive future for women in foodservice.
Lisa Tobio, Regional Vice President for HR, Performance Food Group (Moderator)
Susan Adzick, President, McLane Foodservice
Suzanne Rajczi, CEO, Ginsberg’s Foods

3:00 pm - 3:15 pm: Break


3:30 pm – 4:00 pm – Workshop Sessions

Utilizing Audits to Move Food Safety Culture Forward

Room 201A
A general discussion of the types of audits used in distribution, how to prepare and engage team members to drive Food Safety and Food Safety culture, a review of best practices and most common non-conformities, and upcoming/future trends we envision in the distribution world.
Speaker: Todd Dechter, Auditing Account Manager, Merieux Nutrisciences

Turbocharge Your Washington Advocacy
Room 201 B-C/ Session Track: Management
There are many benefits to having an ongoing dialogue with policymakers. Learn how you can build and maintain relationships with key federal elected officials and regulators to be an effective grasstops advocate.
Mala Parker, VP, Policy & Government Affairs, IFDA
Aaron Kerkhoff, Director of Operations, Kohl Wholesale

The Power of Data: How IFDA Research Can Help You Make Better Business Decisions
Room 202 A-B
Do you know what research and resources IFDA offers to help your business succeed? Learn about the resources you have access to as an IFDA member, from statistics that tell the industry’s story and trends that shape the business environment, to concrete data to improve your recruitment and retention strategies and benchmarking that helps assess your operational performance.
Speaker: Annika Stensson, Senior Director of Research and Innovation, IFDA

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm – Closing General Session –Darren Woodson

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm – Solutions Celebration at Acre Distillery
                                Hosted by Cooling Concepts
                                All Attendees Invited


Wednesday, September 13

8:30 am – 12:00 pm Facility Tour - Ben E. Keith DFW