February 27-March 1, 2023
The Woodlands, TX

The Woodlands Waterway Marriott
Hotel & Convention Center

Education Sessions


Monday, February 27

1:30 pm–3:15 pm Opening Keynote

6 Key Factors for Driving Success & Employee Engagement
Presenter: Shawn Burcham, Founder & CEO, PFSbrands; Founding Partner, GRITT Business Coaching
Driving success through employee engagement has been a staple in the makeup of PFSbrands for the last 20 years. Shawn Burcham, Founder & CEO of PFSbrands, will share the six key factors to help every business do the same. Shawn will dive into establishing rhythm, the importance of goal setting, execution, open book leadership, team assessments and employee/customer engagement in a session you don’t want to miss. PFSbrands’ core purpose is to help others become more successful in work and in life. As constant change in business is the new normal, focusing on this purpose for employees and leaders can become a testament to what makes your business better.


  Concurrent Education Sessions

3:30 pm–5:45 pm

The Predictive Index: Understanding Yourself and Others
Presenter: Alexa Lott, Director, Talent Optimization, GRITT Business Coaching
Attend this session to take a deep dive into Talent Optimization and learn how to unleash the potential of your leaders and teams. Talent Optimization is a different way to think about people. It’s a framework for understanding yourself, others and teams in relation to the business strategy so you can make objective decisions and become a better leader. To get the most out of this session, attendees will receive the short Predictive Index assessment to complete in advance.

Really understanding and adapting how you interact with people based on key behavioral drives will be a massive advantage throughout your career. Almost all issues in business are people issues. Part of our role as leaders is to cultivate and coach our teams to become high performing. To do this, we first need self-awareness of our own motivating needs, and then we need to have a clear understanding of the natural traits and behaviors of the people around us. Whether working with your leader, your peers, your direct reports, teams of people or the executives at your company, understanding what makes them tick will help you work with people effectively. This puts you in an exceptional position for continued career growth as well as motivating others to achieve your business plan.

You will come away with an understanding of your own motivational drives and behaviors, as well as others, and understand how you can work with those drives to recruit and hire the right people for the right roles and to thrive in your organization.

3:30 pm–4:30 pm
Focus on Foodservice: What’s Next in C-store Foodservice
Presenter: Joe Pawlak, Managing Principal, Technomic
This session will use Technomic’s latest data and insights for foodservice professionals to understand and prioritize the opportunities to grow in the c-store foodservice channel. Highlights include a forecast on menus, consumer and operator trends and other opportunities. Don’t miss this update by Technomic, which has been delivering unapparelled information and data on the foodservice industry for more than 50 years.

4:45 pm–5:45 pm
Focus on Foodservice: Foodservice Development from the Retailer's Perspective
Presenter: John Matthews, President & CEO, Gray Cat Enterprises
Retailers face many challenges as well as opportunities when they decide to offer foodservice. John Matthews of Gray Cat Enterprises will offer first-hand experience on how distributors can be an asset to retailers as they launch a foodservice program. Learn from the retailers’ perspective on the many facets of launching a foodservice program from brand development, floorplan layouts, equipment, menu development, vendor management, technology, operations and marketing. Additionally, gain a better understanding of how to be a better partner to your retailers as it relates to the current labor and supply chain challenges.


Tuesday, February 28

8:00 am–9:00 am Business Keynote

Smart Technology Investments for Wholesale Distributors to Drive the Bottom Line
Presenter: Jason Bader, Principal, The Distribution Team
Technology adoption has always been a little slower in the distribution space. We are legacy businesses that rarely skate on the bleeding edge with a tendency to be pragmatic when adopting new technology solutions. Judging by the longevity and stability of our industry, we may not be too foolish in our thinking. The secret to our success is in our adoption of logical technology, not in our need to keep up with the Joneses. In this session, we will explore a few newer technologies from other distribution verticals and discuss how they can be integrated into the convenience distribution market. Furthermore, we will explore how to make data-informed investments in technology on projects that will drive the bottom line.


Wednesday, March 1

8:00 am–9:00 am Industry Keynote

Tobacco: The State of the Industry
Presenter: Tom Briant, Executive Director, National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO)
This session, back by popular demand, provides an update on current federal tobacco regulations and legislation as well as an overview of local, state and federal tobacco issues. Don’t miss this state of the industry update that will answer the latest questions you have on tobacco-related issues.


9:15 am–10:15 am Education Session

Growing Your Business and Financial Literacy
Presenter: Patrick Carpenter, President, GRITT Business Coaching
When you understand how businesses make money in general and what determines the success of your own company specifically, all employees can unleash a wave of improvements, from countless small process tweaks to bold new lines of business. This session will help you build this understanding for your company and offer experiences of companies that have created widespread business literacy. To get the most out of this session, attendees will receive the Financial Literacy survey to complete in advance.


10:30 am–11:30 am Closing Session
Emerging Products (CBD and Cannabis)
Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products have proliferated throughout the country. CBD and cannabis have become big business, and it’s set to get much bigger and more diverse with new products constantly entering the market. This session will look at the current landscape, emerging products and what’s on the horizon for CBD- and cannabis-related products.