Aug 20, 2004
OFA Celebrated 75 Successful YearsSource: OFA

Floriculture professionals from around the world were in attendance at the 2004 OFA Short Course to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of OFA and the OFA Short Course.

For 75 years, the OFA Short Course has been a great place for floriculture industry professionals to meet, network, learn, and conduct business with their peers from around the world. Each year at this event, attendees can get a worldwide perspective on what’s happening in the industry. In 2004, floriculturists from across the United States and more than 25 other countries attended more than 120 educational sessions and visited more than 1,330 trade show booths. In fact, the attendance of more than 9,800 was an increase from 2003.

“While we’re pleased with the numbers, OFA is continually focused on improving the quality of the Short Course, and we’re hearing great things from attendees and exhibitors this year,” said Cheryl Cuthbert, manager of communications.

“We have received extremely positive comments from exhibitors about the amount of business conducted on the show floor,” said Wendy McAtee, director of expositions. Several long-time exhibitors have commented that this was their best year yet, according to Cuthbert. More than 560 exhibitors showcased their latest innovations in equipment, plant material and products. Unique displays, new ideas, samples and demonstrations kept the trade show floor bustling with activity.

The quality of “take home” information from the seminars also was outstanding, according to many attendees, said Cuthbert. The 2004 educational program provided a variety of seminars, hands-on workshops, tours and interactive sessions for all segments of the industry.

For greenhouse growers, session topics included vegetative and seeded annuals, perennials, poinsettias, media, nutrition, irrigation, lighting, chemical growth regulation and container production. Sessions were presented in three “tracks” – greenhouse production basics, advanced topics, and disease and pest management.

Garden center operators toured several central Ohio locations for ideas to “borrow” to enhance their own businesses. A one-day workshop was presented on the future of garden retailing. Other sessions focused on a variety of needs – marketing, customer relations, controlling insects, making a profit on woody ornamentals, store layout, merchandising and keeping the garden center updated.

An interior plantscape technician workshop focused on media, insect/disease diagnostics, customer service, aglaonema varieties and color programs. An interior plantscape management workshop focused on secrets for interiorscapers, asking the right questions of growers and wholesalers, how to be the best boss, safety in the workplace and how to be an effective trainer. Holiday preparation was also a hot topic for all interiorscapers.

Retail florist hands-on workshops focused on color, creating high-style looks at a low cost and gift baskets. General sessions addressed tips and tricks of the trade, pricing issues and a history of floriculture.

Marketing and management topics included working with employees more effectively, increasing profits, marketing to and maintaining customers, dealing with the generation gap, point-of-sale systems, customer relations, leadership skills and time management.

Archie Griffin, an alumnus of The Ohio State University (OSU) and one of college football’s greatest players was the OFA Short Course keynote speaker. Griffin presented his beliefs about “The 3 D’s of Success” – desire, dedication and determination – and how they’ve helped him succeed personally and professionally as a football player, OSU’s associate director of athletics and now as president of the OSU Alumni Association.

Attendees also had an opportunity during the Short Course to visit the New Products and New Varieties displays, attend the Short Course 75th anniversary reception, stop by the OFA Showcase and view a special display of OFA historical items, support several FIRST fund-raising activities, and purchase books, apparel, and conference CDs at the OFA MarketPlace.

The New Products Display was enhanced this year with a new setup to improve visibility and traffic flow. Both the New Products and New Varieties displays were again located at the north end of the convention center to allow attendees more space to browse and take notes/photos.

Green Industry Yellow Pages sponsored and provided the Cyber Station near the OFA Showcase and the Cyber Café on the trade show floor, where attendees could easily access E-mail and the Internet. A number of other activities (i.e. the Short Course Reception, the Garden Center Idea Exchange, and several educational sessions) were sponsored by industry firms. The 2005 OFA Short Course will be held July 9-13 in Columbus, Ohio. For more information, contact OFA at (614) 487-1117.

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