FAIRFAX, Va. -- New this year to the American Wholesale Marketers Association's 2015 AWMA Marketplace & Solutions Expo, February 24-26, at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, will be the Next Generation Conference, designed for emerging leaders in the convenience distribution industry, and the Executive Leaders Forum, for owners, CEOs, presidents and vice presidents from convenience distribution businesses.
The Expo keynote speaker will be adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person in history to summit Mount Everest. Weihenmayer, who has reached the summit of the tallest mountain peaks on each continent, will speak at the general session on February 26.
Also, Charlotte Beers, former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and national advertising agency CEO of Ogilvy & Mather and Tatham-Laird & Kudner, will address attendees at the annual AWMA Women's Leadership Initiative Breakfast.
Beers, once named the "most powerful woman in advertising" and known as the "queen of Madison Avenue," is author of the book, I'd Rather be in Charge.
The opening general session on February 25 will feature a presentation on overall industry and consumer trends by Kelly Tackett, U.S. research director for Planet Retail. Tackett will examine how consumer trends are driving a shift toward convenience formats, which along with discount stores, are expected to generate the fastest pace of growth among physical retail channels in the next five years. The presentation will show how convenience stores can innovate around the needs of their shifting shopper base.
During four one-hour Category Spotlight Sessions held on the trade show floor, industry experts will discuss trends, reveal current data and offer projections for the future and offer a view into how candy, cigarettes and other tobacco products (OTP), electronic cigarettes and vaping and salty and alternative snacks have been performing by category, subcategory, manufacturer brand and SKU.
Presenters for these sessions will be:
- Candy: Presented by Kit Dietz, principal at Dietz Consulting LLC.
- Cigarettes and other tobacco products: Presented by Nik Modi, managing director of RBC Capital Markets LLC.
- E-cigarettes and vaping: Presented by David Bishop, managing director of Balvor LLC, and Ray Johnson, operations manager for Speedee Mart Inc.
- Snacks and alternative snacks: Presented by Kit Dietz, principal at Dietz Consulting LLC.
In addition, for users of AWMA's exclusive InfoMetrics data program, the event will feature an InfoMetrics Distributor Users Training Seminar.
AWMA is an international trade organization working on behalf of convenience store distributors in the United States. Its members represent more than $85 billion in U.S. convenience store product sales. Associate members include manufacturers, service providers, technology companies, brokers, retailers and others allied to the convenience retailing industry. In addition to convenience stores, its largest customer segment, convenience store distributors also service grocery stores, drug stores, tobacco shops, mass merchants, newsstands, concession stands, gift shops, fundraising groups, restaurants, institutions and more.