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    GMA Moves 2009 Exec Conference to Broadmoor in August

    The Grocery Manufacturers Association is breaking with a long-held historical precedent to hold its Executive Conference at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., and not at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia that has hosted the event for decades.

    In a "Save the Date" email notice sent to previous conference attendees, GMA broke the news with the message: "Growth. Agility. Evolution. These are the hallmarks of the fast-paced consumer packaged goods industry and are reflected in the industry's flagship gathering of senior executives. Plan to join international thought leaders, business magnates and luminaries of government and academia as the premier forum for CPG leadership moves to a new date, new location and a whole new level."

    The message was delivered in a letter addressed from GMA's Cal Dooley, president and c.e.o.

    The new date is August 30 - September 2, 2009.

    Sean McBride, GMA chief spokesman and v.p. of communications, said the rationale for the move away from Greenbrier in 2009 is continuing labor strife a the venue, which had first forced the trade group to take the virtually unprecedented step of canceling the Executive Conference in 2008 as a potential labor strike loomed at the Greenbrier.

    According to McBride, the labor strife at Greenbrier remains unresolved. The Broadmoor, meanwhile, faces no such wild card as a the possibility of a strike, and is a venue that can handle the conference from the standpoint of size--800 attendees for four days--and also the level of quality of the facilities and services that have characterized the Executive Conference traditionally.

    GMA also has prior experience at the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Broadmoor, where it had held other events, and thus knows what the venue's capabilities are, said McBride.

    GMA has also changed the timing of the venerable conference, from early June to late August. McBride said that once the trade group decided to change the venue, that opened the door to reconsidering the timing.

    "In the past, have been voices among attendees expressing difficulty with the June timing on a personal level," McBride said, "citing conflicts such as graduations and weddings. He said the association will observe how the new dates are received by membership, and plans to go forward with a September time frame for future Executive Conferences.

    Content: actually had plans in motion to make some changes in 2008 both to social and educational structure components to the meeting, but then canceled event. Not sure that all plans will make it into 2009, will continue to look at that over next 6-12 months. There will be a renewed emphasis on the issue of manufacturer and retailer collaboration - looking to reinforce that theme in 2009.

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