Learn And Grow At The 2006 OFA Short Course

April 14, 2006 - 07:49

OFA – an Association of Floriculture Professionals will host its annual OFA Short Course July 8-11, 2006, in Columbus, Ohio.

The OFA Short Course is known for its educational and trade show events. Exhibitors representing various sectors of the floriculture industry will be showcasing their products and services for three days, and seminars will be held throughout the 4-day event.

Growers. This year’s grower sessions are part of a fresh, not-like-any-other-year program, according to OFA. The tracks of sessions are divided into greenhouse production, greenhouse advanced and greenhouse crop diagnostics. The topics focus on the grower issues at hand: labor, energy and profitability.

The Floriculture College of Knowledge, a Michigan State University program, will offer Track I and Business Track courses on Friday, July 7, and Saturday, July 8.

Learn how other growers “do business” by visiting Ohio growers like Green Circle Growers Inc. and Pinehaven Greenhouses on the grower study tour. A second Ohio grower tour of Timbuk II Plant Company LLC and Wilson’s Garden Center is also planned — featuring an inside look from the extension perspective. The tour concludes at The Ohio State University’s Horticulture and Crop Science facilities. Don’t miss this year’s town meeting on “Raising Prices — The Achilles Heel of Our Industry,” planned for Sunday evening.

Other special Saturday workshops will focus on mixed container production and plant growth regulators.

Garden Center. The garden center sessions will kick off with a tour on Saturday, July 8. This year’s Ohio retail tour will visit The Andersons, Whole Foods Market, Millcreek Gardens and A Proper Garden. Each of the stops will be a learning experience, from marketing strategies to merchandising ideas and new product lines to management solutions. Quite often the best way to learn ways to improve your business is to look outside the box at other industries and operations. This year’s tour is different from anything offered in the past.

Garden center sessions this year will focus on profitability. Learn inventory control, margin management, contemporary merchandise strategies, how to attract Gen X and Y customers, customer loyalty and what drives customers to a garden center. A retailer idea exchange will also be offered Sunday, July 9.

Florists. Sessions in the florist category will include three hands-on workshops on high impact designs under $40, value-added packaging and translating trends into everyday designs. There will also be stage show presentations on the business of creativity, first impressions for lasting impressions and translating trends into everyday designs, and a seminar on selling smarter. The OFA Florist Design Contest will also be held.

Interiorscaping. Saturday interior plantscape workshop topics will focus on customer service, training, human resource issues, effective staff meetings, scheduling and plant care techniques.

Management and Marketing. Educational sessions that feature management and marketing will highlight topics such as marketing the business in tough times, finding the right manager, face-to-face selling, disaster preparedness and profit enhancement. Bring your best ideas and biggest frustrations to the “Manager Idea Exchange” on Sunday evening.

A special “Lean Manufacturing” workshop will show you how to define value and waste in your core processes, map the stream of value-creating activities that produce what your customers want, create flow and pull within your company, and generate continuous improvement within your organization.

Generation Next. Individuals who are just launching their careers as floriculturists should attend the Generation Next sessions. Come refine your business skills, get tips to jumpstart your own personal financial future and learn effective communication techniques.

“Unplugged” is a new event scheduled for young industry professionals on Monday evening, July 10. This event will include a band, food, drinks and prize giveaways. It is an event designed to be a place for young industry professionals to come together with people their own age.

With 10,000 stakeholders from countries all around the globe, OFA serves floriculture professionals across nations. The OFA Short Course will attract exhibitors and visitors from around the world this July. Floriculture industry leaders will take advantage of this educational and trade show event in a multitude of ways.

For additional information, contact OFA at (614) 487-1117 or ofa@ofa.org.

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