Leroy Startz, Chair of the ARA Conference Planning Committee since 2009, spoke with Chuck Zimmerman while at the ARA Conference & Expo in Palm Desert, CA recently.
After wrapping up a busy week, Startz was pleased with the overall event. He highlighted the importance of early planning to put together a successful, relevant week for ag retailers. Early planning helps the conference planning committee determine what needs to be discussed, as well as hot-button issues effecting agribusiness retailers. Although outside of the box from traditional presentations, branding, working with media, and millennial concerns were all popular presentations at the conference.
“A lot of these topics are a little foreign to our ag retailers. They work very diligitently to take care of their customers. A lot of times their daily activities get them so focused that they sometimes fail to look forward enough. So our intent is to bring some of these topics to the surface so attendees can immediately take something away from this conference that they can’t get anywhere else.”
With a goal of having 650 registrations for this year’s event, the final attendee registrations totaled over 730, well exceeding expectations. Also increasing are the number of exhibitors as over 100 exhibitors, with an increase in technology companies, were present at this year’s event.
Next year ARA heads to Orlando, FL in December 2016. The Conference Planning Committee will kick of brainstorming and planning for the event in January 2016.
To hear more of Leroy’s interview: Leroy Startz, ARA Conference Planning Chair