Did you know that eight U.S. presidents were born in the state of Ohio? Did you know that Ohio has an official state rock and roll song — “Hang on Sloopy” by the McCoys?
Did you know Columbus is the largest city in Ohio? Did you know that 50 percent of the United States population lives within a 500 mile radius of Columbus?
You would be amazed at all of the fun facts that you can find about Columbus and Ohio on the Internet.
Well, this month, 10,000 floriculture professionals from around the world will converge in Columbus for the industry’s rite of summer — OFA Short Course. Many of them coming a lot farther than 500 miles.
OFA Short Course will take place July 12-15, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. It is THE industry event of the year. The trade show, seminars, tours, workshops and networking events provide invaluable opportunities to learn and have fun — all at the same time!
The educational program has something for everyone with more than 130 sessions being offered this year in nine different educational tracks. There are six sessions on sustainability to help attendees gain a better understanding of the industry’s most talked about issue, including a town hall meeting, “The Business and Business Sense of Sustainability” on July 13.
The trade show will feature nearly 600 companies occupying 1,500 exhibit spaces. Attendees will be able to check out the latest varieties, production equipment and other products and services that growers and retailers need to survive in today’s competitive marketplace.
And this year for the first time ever, the American Nursery & Landscape Association will hold its annual meeting in Columbus at the same time as Short Course.
GPN Invades Columbus
Of course, the entire GPN/Lawn & Garden Retailer staff will be in Columbus. Our schedules are jam packed: We will be speaking during several of the sessions, sitting in on others to learn more about what is going on and walking the trade show floor to check out the latest products. Here are just a few of the things on our agenda:
2008 Sustainability Progress Awards
GPN and OFA will present the inaugural Sustainability Progress Awards during the opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. on Saturday. We are recognizing those growers that are truly making a difference when it comes to sustainability. We had some excellent entries in this year’s competition and all of the participants are to be commended for making progress in the journey toward a sustainable future. The September issue of GPN will feature this year’s honorees.
GPN/Nexus Intern of the Year
We also will recognize Eric Pitzen, the 2007 recipient of the GPN/Nexus Intern Scholarship. Pitzen, a recent graduate at Iowa State University, was featured in the January issue of GPN, received a $3,000 check from Nexus Corp. and an expenses-paid trip to Short Course. Pitzen is also the recipient of a full Short Course registration courtesy of OFA — an Association of Floriculture Professionals.
What is the State of the Industry?
GPN and OFA recently conducted a survey of growers to find out what the current state of the industry is. On July 15, I will be presenting the results of this survey during the session, “The State of the Industry — Looking at the Numbers Under a Magnifying Glass.” A panel of growers, academics, consultants and other industry experts will be on hand to interpret the data and tell you what it all means. You might want to check out this special session to see how your business compares to the rest of the industry.
On July 14, GPN Publisher Diane Pirocanac Vojcanin will facilitate the session “The Successful Woman’s Guide to Time Management.” During this session, Sara Williamson from the University of Kentucky will discuss the balancing act that many women must deal with in the workplace and at home and present time-management strategies specific to the challenges faced by women in our industry.
Did You Know?
Did you know you can go to www.ofa.org  to learn more about the 2008 OFA Short Course?
I’ll see you in Columbus.