From the Desk of the Executive Director

May 14th 2018

by Vicki Reich

I hope you have October 3rd, 4th, and 5th blocked out on your calendar.  Those are the dates for this year’s Provender Alliance Educational Conference in beautiful Hood River, Oregon.  There are many new and exciting things coming to this year’s conference, you will not want to miss it!

The theme this year is Minding Our Mission, Finding Our Future.  We are taking that theme to heart in our planning.  We will be minding our mission of being a sustainable business by going paperless this year, while finding our future in an app that will contain all the information we used to print.  We will be eliminating over a thousand pounds of paper (most of which ends up in recycling or as waste) plus saving on the carbon emissions needed to transport that paper to the conference.  The new app will allow us to put all the information you used to find in your packet (and more) in the palm of your hand.  It will make communication with other attendees easier before, during and after the conference.  The app will also allow you to take notes, download files, and find out where workshops and events are happening easily and quickly.  We’ll send out more information on the app and how to use it as we get closer to the Conference.

Meet Your Makers gets a new home this year!  If you’ve been coming to the Conference for years, you might remember when Meet Your Makers started in a big tent in the parking lot.  We soon outgrew that space and moved to the Columbia Room.  That space has gotten a bit cramped (not to mention that hauling stuff up and down stairs is no fun) so this year we are moving Meet Your Makers to the Gorge Room.  We’ll have more tables and more room to move around and talk to the people who make the products we love.  Registration for tables will open in June. And we will have a new registration type that will give exhibitors a great deal on joining in on workshops and keynote speakers for the day.

This year we are introducing a new program we’re calling ProvX on Wednesday night.  It will be an evening of short presentations from attendees.  Everyone is invited to apply to present on a topic you think our community needs to know more about.  Has your business started a new program that’s really making a difference?  Have you been researching something that you are excited to tell others about?  Have you done something that will inspire us?  This is your opportunity to share what you’ve learned with your peers.  More information will go out with registration information in July, but it’s never too early to start rehearsing your presentation.

While some things are changing, most of what makes the Conference so inspiring and elevating won’t change a bit.  We have an amazing line up of workshops with diverse topics to pique your interests and educate you on subjects affecting our community.  Wednesday’s Intensive Workshop on telling your story through video will help all of us talk about our mission using future-looking technology.  Our Keynotes will be educating and inspiring.  The Snack Room will be filled to the rafters and we will dance the night away with Karaoke From Hell on Friday night.

Please make sure you save the date (Oct 3-5) and invite a few friends who might not have experienced the magic that happens at a Provender Conference.  We look forward to seeing you there!