It's been a marathon kind of winter, and if I was a driver in a NASCAR chase, I would liken it to the last Daytona Race we attended - a long haul, an end in sight, and then surprise - someone hits the wall and everything is stopped...for awhile...and then a mad dash to the finish line! I'm trusting that we are very close that last phase now - as we inevitably round another lap creeping closely behind the pace car looking for more sunshine and warmer weather and the green flag that everything is a go!
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Needless to say, keeping that NASCAR mindset, we have an incredible spring and summer lineup for our Food, Beverage and Bio Sector Networking Activities - and we are eagerly revving our engines in anticipation of some dynamic sessions designed to help our businesses succeed in today's ever-changing and competitive environment!
So, with your engines started - consider the preliminary sessions below as "Pit Stops of Opportunities"! Join in on discussion - fine tune and fuel up on the knowledge and best practices shared - consider how you might implement changes or improve processes to gain track (production) position - is your crew engaged, proactive, creative and lean-minded? In NASCAR races, as much as can be prepared before and during the race is - right down to the lug nuts being glued to the rim! How can we make the best of proactive opportunities in our own businesses? Where can we "wrench" some similar time and efficiency savings? NASCAR events are all about team building and that's what our EMC Food, Beverage and Bio Sector Events are setting out to do as we make full speed ahead for a year of excitement, growth and profitability!
This year's starting line-up of events begins on Monday, May 26th, 2014 and requires our drivers to prep their engines and key coordinates into their GPS navigational systems as we head to the lovely town of Kanata near Ottawa. Doug Harper, General Manager, Blommer Chocolate, will be sharing his insights, ironically (given our racing theme), on "Dealing with Rapid Growth"! Growth in business is what we all strive for - but key to success is preparation and planning and an appreciation that growth affects every aspect of your organization. Doug has a great story to tell with lots of examples that you can learn from. His presentation "Be Careful What you Wish For - A Modern Manufacturing Fable" - will walk you through the pitfalls of rapid growth so that you may hopefully avoid some of them. No matter where you are coming from or what stage of growth you are in - this will be a session well worth the drive. If your vehicle of choice should be a convertible, keep the top down and cruise on up to Kanata - we would love to have you join us!
With our shades on, an open-mindset and a desire to fuel up on information and expertise that could lend well to our business growth, we look forward to touring to Cambridge on May 28th, 2014 to visit with our friends at the Institute of Food Processing Technology. This is a wonderful facility that boasts an 8000 square foot pilot plant and some key technical and apprenticeship programs specific to the food industry. Our keynote presentation will look at Retail Management and Merchandising. We are honoured to have David Bartolini of Bartolini Consulting "driving" this workshop in a session that looks at "Vendors Taking the Wheel"! David brings a wealth of retail sector experience and enthusiasm and is a regular contributor to "Canadian Grocer" Canada's only national retail sector magazine. Another pit stop of opportunity designed to help you explore the fast-paced world of retail management!
As June arrives and inevitably much better racing weather, we can bet those interested in touring will welcome every chance to shine up their vehicles and explore the open roads! Our Sector events will be looking at two themes - the world of exporting and that of sourcing funding in specially designed workshops offered across the Province. These will be excellent presentations full of opportunity to ensure we have the right "lug nuts" in our business parts bins, as we enhance knowledge and gain insight from industry experts!
On June 10th and 24th, 2014 in Brampton and Leamington respectively, our drivers will be teaming up with the Canada-Ontario Export Forum, Ontario Food Exports and local municipalities to gain insight on key programs, required compliances, planning, resources and tools that can set your business on the right course as you navigate the unique challenges in exporting! According to the 2011 Statistics Canada Report, Canada exported product valued at $40.3 billion and as we become more and more globally competitive, growing numbers of Canadian producers and processors are interested in exploring potential markets around the world. This special event is designed to bring awareness of some wonderful resources available and collaborations possible to help your company find success in this regard! It's a race you definitely want to participate in!
Adding some variety to our Schedule of Events, we are pleased to offer two back to back sessions in Eastern Ontario that focus on the opportunities available in funding. Our first pit stop will be on June 17th, 2014 at HFS - Healthcare Food Services in Ottawa and our second on June 18th, 2014 in beautiful Belleville! We'll be looking under the hood to get a better understanding of key programs that can enhance business growth and innovation development through funding opportunities. Our Guest Speaker, Mentor Works, will discuss how government funding programs help small and mid-sized businesses in the food and beverage sector tackle the barriers of financing in order to prosper and achieve growth. They look forward to sharing strategies for success in "Helping You Fund and Plan the Growth of Your Business"!
Looking way down the roster of upcoming activities this year, I would like to highlight our final event of the season so that you can be sure to have it on your radar screen! Soon there will be some postings from Miller Thomson LLP who have elected to share insights on issues of interest or those "cautionary flag" moments if you will as it relates to the Food, Beverage and Bio Sectors. We are thrilled to have their representation at a specific event later in the fall that looks at Food Safety and Food Labelling. Please note November 20th, 2014 in Cambridge on your calendars - this is a session that you do not want to miss! It will present a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and learn from legal experts in this field.
Finally a few words about the start of our whole race season, this year's EMC NRCAN Energy Summit 2014 - a virtual Daytona 500 in itself! Scheduled for May 14th and 15th, 2014 in beautiful Niagara Falls, it's designed to fuel our mindsets and engage our teams, and present those "wrenches" I mentioned earlier, for companies to work together and reflect on possible strategies for a positive outcome in all things related to Energy and Energy Management! This event clearly sets a race-stage mindset as participants consider setting clear goals, objectives and achieving checker flag finishes with those on a similar journey!
The green flag is down - boogedy, boogedy, boogedy!! If you are interested in joining us for any of these amazing activities, please feel free to email me at any time at bdeleeuw .org or call 519-372-6009 - I would be delighted to hear from you!
Bren de Leeuw
Sr. Community Development & Food, Beverage and Bio Sector Network Program Manager
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - www.emccanada.org
email@example.com - 519-372-6009