2019 Top2Top-NexGen Schedule of Events



Click on the link to print the schedule of events.

2019 Top2Top-NexGen Schedule of Events

Tuesday, January 15

8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Registration Open - Wigwam Foyer

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

FSMA Golf Outing - Wigwam Gold Course

Network, and play the day away on the famous Wigwam Gold Course. This 7,345 yard, par 72 course has received various industry awards and accolades since opening in 1965, including being named one of the “Top 100 Golf Courses in America.”

  • Cost: $150.00
  • Golf Fee Includes: Green fees, cart fee, range balls, taxes, and gratuity.

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Welcome Cocktails - Sachem Terrace

Join your new and old friends for a quick cocktail as we kick off the best Top2Top-NexGen yet.

Wednesday, January 16

7:00 am – 4:00 pm

Registration Open - Wigwam Foyer

7:00 am – 7:45 am

Networking Breakfast - Mohave Ballroom

8:00 am – 9:30 am

SPEAKER: Walter Robb
Former Co-CEO
Whole Foods


Conference Welcome & Kick-off Keynote Address
- Pima/Pueblo Ballroom

Building Positive Business in a Rapidly Changing World

An investor, mentor and advisor to the next generation of American food companies, former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market Walter Robb has a long and varied entrepreneurial history, ranging from natural food retailer to farmer to consultant.

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Markets rattled most food industry stakeholders. Robb has a unique insider's perspective to share with us about how disruptors like Amazon will revolutionize distribution networks. Don't put yourself in the position where you have to play catch-up," he advised. "Your capacity for change ensures your survival."

With the increasing number of disruptors such as Amazon and so many other non-traditional food/meal providers shaking our world, we can no longer afford to see foodservice as a separate supply channel. Few have the depth of knowledge that Robb will share about the future of food distribution. His experience in building Whole Foods Markets into a retail powerhouse that turned traditional retail on its ear provides him with unique insights into the possible future of all food distribution.

Join us at Top2Top-NexGen to hear Robb provide his thoughts on how you can prepare your company for what promises to be a revolutionary future.

9:30 am – 10:00 am

Networking Break - Wigwam Foyer

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Concurrent Breakouts (choice of 1)

SPEAKER: David Henkes
Advisory Group Senior Principal

1.   Critical Strategic Issues Facing Foodservice Manufacturers and Agencies to the Year 2022 - Aztec A

Foodservice currently represents 52% of all consumer spending on food and beverage, but only accounts for 27% of manufacturer shipment dollars.  This is an important distinction that manufacturers should recognize. Over the past several years, industry growth has been stagnant, with most growth driven by price increases.

Volume growth has been challenging for many manufacturers. Major chains, which have been a source for growth for many suppliers, have underperformed smaller chains and independents.

In this presentation, critical issues facing each of the channel participants will be evaluated with respect to implications on manufacturers, including agencies, consumers, operators, distributors.

A component of the study will include a side-by-side comparison of the foodservice and retail food industries as well as trends impacting each. Specifically, Technomic will analyze the industry situation, develop the critical issues and identify alternative strategic responses for foodservice manufacturers and agencies to consider.

SPEAKER: Joe Schumaker, FCSI
Co-Founder & CEO
SCG FoodSpace
2.    The Future of Food: Catch Me if You Can - Aztec B

It’s easy to get hung up on the day to day grind, but it’s easy to forget what brought us there in the first place – the food!  It’s important to know what food trends are on the horizon so you know what’s in store for the kitchen of future. This session will explore everything from snackification and flexitarianism to plant-based and cultured meat.  We will take a look at food system challenges and talk about how we can begin to truly meet the physical demands of the new foods, supply chain, and even growing and processing on site. 

SPEAKER: Barry Friends


3.    The Changing Landscape of Foodservice Purchasing
- Aztec C

The recent GPO acquisitions and expansions send some clear messages to their trading partners in the manufacturer and agency community. The first message is confirmation that they should expect the GPO business model will continue to increase in scope, scale and leverage on both the commercial and non-commercial markets. The second message is that doing business in the non-commercial segments dominated by foodservice management firms will likely be increasing in cost and compliance challenges. The third message is they see opportunity for membership growth from the independent and street operators — the operators that provide the largest margins in the industry. In this session, we will examine recent GPO and DGPO developments and the current and future effects these developments have on the agency, manufacturer, and distributor.

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Concurrent Breakouts (choice of 1)

SPEAKER: David Henkes
Advisory Group Senior Principal

1.    Non-Commercial 2022 - Outlook & Opportunities - Aztec A

Noncommercial segments account for 21% of manufacturer food and beverage shipments (excluding alcohol and non-foods) making them an important part of the foodservice landscape. These segments face increasing commercial competition and a variety of headwinds, including rising cost pressures and skilled labor shortages. Understanding their needs and opportunities is critical to capturing future growth in key sub-segments.

SPEAKER: Paul Howe
Strategic Relationship Manager/Sr. Instructional Designer
Allen Interactions


2.  Employee Performance in HD: Training Solutions that Impact Performance & Increase Revenue - Aztec B

Creating the right training is critical to driving down training/operational costs associated with industry change with channel partners and employee turnover. This requires training that’s effective and easy to roll out. Truly innovative training is a game changer that can propel any agency or manufacturer to the next level. We also know that with every training dollar spent, you need to see measurable results. 

By implementing these solutions, you can cut your training time up to 50% and your learners will leave onboarding excited and confident with their ability to perform resulting in quicker partner sales and reduced employee attrition.

In this session you will learn:

  • How to create engaging training so your learners can onboard quickly
  • The benefits of employee education and performance technology to your business
  • The learning technology tools and options available to meet your needs.

SPEAKER: Barry Friends

The Direction of Distribution - Aztec C

Despite its maturity, the foodservice industry remains in a state of transition. Consolidation, online sales, logistics, labor, technology, and increased GPO purchase power continue to reshape the distributor community and affect the way products flow to the operator. What does the future hold for our both our broadline, independent and redistribution partner community and how can agencies, manufacturers and distributors work more closely together?

12:00 pm – 1:45 pm

SPEAKER: Dave Mitchell
The Leadership Difference


Keynote Address & Lunch - Pima Pueblo Ballroom

The Power of Understanding People: The Key to Strengthening Relationships, Increasing Sales, and Enhancing Organizational Performance

You’re still trying to “get through” to that new customer to get them to understand a complex topic.  You want to grow your brand, so you’ve made dozens of calls to various outlets – all to little avail.  Two of your best performers are “on the outs” and you’re having to run offense.

Developing successful relationships is critical to our success in both our personal and professional lives. This session will show you how to establish and develop extremely effective relationships by providing you with techniques to better identify and understand the intrinsic needs of others. As a result, you will achieve better team dynamics, increased sales and client satisfaction, higher levels of employee engagement and performance, and even more satisfying marriages and friendships. Armed with the ability to interpret the behavior of the people around you, you will achieve greater levels of success at work and at home while also learning how to better handle the difficult situations involving people in your life.

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Concurrent Roundtables: (30 minutes each - choice of 3 of 5)

SPEAKER: John Woods

1.    How to Partner with Retail Foodservice - Aztec A

Full-service dining is still trying to recover from a decade-long slump due to innovative fast-food rivals and a growing trend of consumers who prefer pizza and a night in, plagued full-service dining in recent years. Now, the low-margin grocery industry is setting it sites on foodservice. And the line between restaurant and retailer blurs more every day. We have seen a 12.5-billion-dollar sales increase in prepared foods from grocery stores since 2009 equating sales of 51-billion dollars in prepared food sales from 2009-2016 in grocery and convenience stores. In this session, we'll look at the strengths and weaknesses of both and explore how foodservice and retail can benefit from partnering.

SPEAKER: Joe Schumaker, FCSI
Co-Founder & CEO
SCG FoodSpace

2.    The Rise of Localization - Aztec B

Demand for food grown within about 150 miles of where a consumer lives, is likely to continue. Sales for local foods in 2019 will be 66% above that for 2014, according to industry estimates. What does this mean for agencies, manufacturers, our distributor partners, and the industry?

SPEAKER: Flip Frank
Chief Connecting Officer
Flip 2.0 LLC

3.    Private Label Pressure - Aztec C

Private labels put a manufacturer’s brands under pressure. How are you innovating to ensure that your product is preferred? Do you expand product discounts, or do you seek to break away via differentiation? Private labels will continue to be a formidable competitor across the board. How do you make sure that your customer, whether it’s the operator, distributor or even consumer, takes notice if your product is no longer the product they receive or consume?

SPEAKER: Dave Mitchell
The Leadership Difference

4.    The Power of Understanding Yourself - Kiva East

From today's keynote address, the stage has been set...you now understand your customers and colleagues. Now it's time to take it to the most important level...understanding yourself.  In this keynote follow up, Dave will discuss how to examine yourself and your approach to life. This session will provide a roadmap for identifying your true purpose and achieving greater personal happiness, professional success, and self-awareness.

4:15 pm - 5:30 pm

Non-Extreme Sports Party - Sachem Terrace/Lawn

Join us for some extreme fun and "non-extreme" sports. These sports include everything from Putting to Foosball and everything in-between.

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

President's Welcome Reception - Mohave Ballroom

The President’s Welcome Reception is your chance to connect with all your friends, peers, and FSMA partners - and our chance to celebrate your arrival at the 2019 Top2Top-NexGen. Don’t miss this opportunity to network, market yourself, meet seasoned professionals and newcomers, reunite with friends and colleagues, and have fun! We look forward to welcoming you to sunny Phoenix.

Thursday, January 17

7:00 am – 4:00 pm

Registration & Tables Open - Wigwam Foyer

7:00 am – 7:45 am

Networking Breakfast - Mohave Ballroom

8:00 am - 9:15 am

SPEAKER: Jill Brandt, Senior Leader, Growth & Strategy

Keynote Address - How Amazon Business Starts with the Customer and Works Backwards - Pima/Pueblo Ballroom

Amazon Business is a store on Amazon.com that combines the selection, convenience and value customers have come to know and love from Amazon, with new features and unique benefits tailored to businesses. Amazon Business provides easy access to hundreds of millions of products – everything from IT and lab equipment to education and food service supplies – as well as business-only selection and pricing. Amazon Business customers also benefit from Business Prime, single or multi-user business accounts, approval workflow, payment solutions, tax exemptions, dedicated customer support and much more.

Jill Brandt is a business development specialist who helps commercial customers interested in working with Amazon Business. She will join us to discuss Amazon Business’ innovations and growth in the food service industry. By starting with the customer and working backwards, attendees will learn how Jill and the team at Amazon Business put that into practice to improve the B2B experience for business buyers and sellers. 

9:15 am – 9:45 am

Networking Break - Wigwam Foyer

9:45 am – 11:00 am

Moderator: Ira Blumenthal
Executive Director
Independent Broker Alliance (IBA)

Keynote Address - Pima/Pueblo Ballroom

Operator Power Panel: Your Best is Next

A healthy and growing commercial and non-commercial business is crucial to all of us in the foodservice supply chain. But the foodservice business has never been more challenging. Both commercial and non-commercial operators are looking for market share and the economy still isn’t growing fast enough, and customers have many more choices on where they spend their away from home food dollars.

In this session, you will hear from a panel of influential operators who will discuss how they are addressing these challenges, and where they see the away from home market going in the near future. You won’t want to miss this general session that may reveal the keys to all our future success.


Onesimo Aleman
VP of Purchasing
Granite City Food & Brewery



Louis J. Basile, Jr.
Wildflower Bread Company
Butch Raphael
Executive Chef
Phoenix Children's Hospital
Bruce Schroder
Moe’s Southwest Grill

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Concurrent Breakouts (choice of 1)

SPEAKER: Bahige El-Rayes
A.T. Kearney

1.    Food That Goes the Distance: Capitalizing on Off-Premise Dining and Delivery - Aztec A

Delivery has become a need to have and no longer a nice to have in the restaurant industry. Studies show that by 2030 most meals currently cooked at home are instead ordered online and delivered from either restaurants or central kitchens. Delivery sales could rise an annual average of more than 20% from $35 billion to $365 billion worldwide by 2030.

For existing units, takeout and home delivery will provide a boost to sluggish same-store sales and should provide a means for restaurant operators to compete with grocery chains and other producers of prepared foods. Also, delivery raises average check by 25% which is good news for all of us. However, how that food travels is the challenge. How can foodservice suppliers help operators capitalize on delivery by providing food that goes the distance?

SPEAKER: Mike Leiker
Business Development Executive
Blacksmith Applications
, Inc.

2.    The Operator: Whose Customer Is It? - Aztec B

In the foodservice industry, one of the great topics for debate between a manufacturer and their agencies and their distributors is focused on the operator and the simple yet complex question, “Whose customer is it?”

Over the past few years, the emerging practice of distribution bids has challenged everyone to re-visit that simple question. The bidding process has upped the ante and altered the debate. The stakes are bigger than ever before and the implications of winning and losing are substantial. Defining your “push” [distributor-focused] and “pull” [operator-focused] strategies is easily one of the top 2 or 3 strategic challenges. Within the discussion of push vs. pull, many have opted to take the stance they are going to aggressively support the needs of both the operators and distributors.  One question to debate is whether you can afford to execute both strategies.

  1. Which category should be supported as “push” businesses and which are more suited for a pull strategy?
  2. If our portfolio has at least one of each type, can we realistically execute two strategies with a single face to the trade?

12:00 pm – 1:45 pm

SPEAKER: Alex Chausovsky
Senior Consulting Advisor
ITR Economics


Keynote Address & Lunch - Pima/Pueblo Ballroom

What to Expect from the Economy, Administration and Foodservice: This Year, 5 Years and in 15 Years

No one can predict the future, but ITR Economics Senior Analyst Alex Chausovsky can get pretty close when it comes to the U.S. economy. 
With a long-term 94.7% accuracy rating, ITR Economics has forecast major economic events, such as the 2008 recession, well in advance and provides reliable industry and company forecasts.

In 2018, we saw many changes in the U.S. and in the rest of the world. How will these changes impact you? What can you expect in 2019 and into 2020, and what tactical decisions should be made now in anticipation of the upcoming changes in the U.S. and global economies and administrative policy?

During this presentation, ITR will address the economic impact of policy changes in Washington, the outlook for interest rates, the forecast for markets served by foodservice manufacturers and agencies, pricing pressures, the outlook for job growth and wage, and what the leading indicators reveal including:

  • Impact of U.S. industrial production on economic growth
  • How global economic trends affect the U.S. economy
  • Behavior of food production, food prices, and foodservice sales
  • Retail sales, including B2B e-commerce 
  • Personal disposable income growth in relation to debt levels and loan delinquency

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Operator Trends Roundtables: (30 minutes - choice of 3)

From healthcare to colleges to independent and chain restaurants, operators need to exceed customer expectations. In this intimate setting, 8 operators from 4 foodservice segments will provide an overview and insight into their operations. They will discuss trends in the industry and how they affect their operation. What are their current issues? What are the challenges and pressures they are experiencing? What do they need from us to help them adjust to today’s economy and the changing needs of their patrons? Each attendee can sign up for three roundtables which will last 30 minutes each.



1.  College/University Trends Roundtable - Aztec A

Learn what matters the most when making purchasing decisions in college and university dining. Ask questions about their purchasing patterns, gripes, and regulatory compliance requirements. You will get a better understanding of certain strategies that can help reduce cost, improve efficiencies, and reduce employee turnover during this session.

SPEAKER: Kris Klinger
Assistant Vice President, Auxiliary Services & Executive Director of Hospitality and Hotel
University of Southern California (USC)

SPEAKER: Ken Toong
Executive Director Auxiliary Enterprises
University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMASS)

2.   Healthcare Trends Roundtable - Aztec B

Self-operating healthcare food management facilities represent 80% (over $10 billion) of all food and beverage purchases in our industry. Discover how new technologies are working in conjunction with nutrition services to improve patient outcomes and improve meal delivery. This session will allow you to learn first-hand how you can better help them provide high-quality, nutritious, and comforting meals to those in their care.

 Regional Chains

3.   Restaurants - Regional Chains Trends Roundtable - Aztec C

Don't miss out on the opportunity to get inside the mind these chain restaurant powerhouses. In this intimate setting, they will provide an overview of their operations and answer all of your questions. This session will allow you to find out more about purchasing decisions, what they value in a channel partner, and so much more.


SPEAKER: Onesimo Aleman
VP of Purchasing
Granite City Food & Brewery
SPEAKER: Bruce Schroder
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Independent Restaurants

4.   Restaurants - Independent Trends Roundtable - Kiva East

This session will give you the chance to hear about the challenges and opportunities independent restaurants are experiencing today. Discuss what they need from you to help them adjust to today’s economy, retail pressures and the changing needs of their patrons and how you can help them exceed customer expectations.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

SPEAKER: Thom Blischok
Chairman & CEO
The Dialogic Group

Closing Keynote - Pima/Pueblo Ballroom

Disrupt or be Disrupted. Pick One. Winning at Retail – 2019?
The Role of Foodservice is about to Radically Change

The grocery and restaurant industries are without question, both in a highly intensified battle for the consumer – and that battle is going to increase significantly between now and 2025. The grocery industry is in the throes of a cataclysmic restructuring by rapidly increasing digital competition. As well, the restaurant industry is struggling with its evolving role as consumers engage with home food delivery. Both industries are today being and will continue to be disrupted.

Through 2025 - 2030, both of these industries are expected to continue transforming their go to market models, supply chain, shopper engagement strategies, innovation, and overall role in daily living.  

Grocers will increasingly become restaurateurs, restaurants will increasingly look for flavor, taste, and meal preparation innovation.  And, with the new trend toward home offices, convenience retailing including pop up food outlets are on their way to becoming a reality.

In this session, Mr. Blischok will present the forces and factors of change destined to reinvent foodservice as we know it today.  Localization, anticipatory forecasting, innovation in flavors and tastes unique cuisines, and a new dimension of fresh and fresh preparedness are at the center of change.

Many describe the future of retail as “doom and gloom”. The Dialogic Group describes it as the most opportunity-rich environment we have seen in the past 50 years. However, navigating change will not be easy for organizations, manufacturers, foodservice preparers, and retailers. They must evolve their operating model to one driven by entrepreneurial thinking and action. Data, analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and most importantly speed are the core components of tomorrows winning organizations. Come to this session to develop your call for action.

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Closing Cocktail Reception and Celebration - Mohave Ballroom

Join us for drinks and heavy hors-d'oeuvres, in an informal setting, to celebrate and close the 2019 conference in style.


To register for the conference, go to CONFERENCE REGISTRATION.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

Be a conference sponsor. Be a legend.

For full details regarding our sponsorship opportunities, please visit our sponsorship page.

YOUR  COMPLETE  SATISFACTION  IS  GUARANTEED - OR YOUR MONEY BACK! If you are not satisfied with our 2019 Top2Top-NexGen Conference, simply let us know and we will send you a refund for your conference registration fee. Your complete satisfaction is guaranteed! Register today!

SHAPE THE FUTURE OF FOOD. Become a sponsor of the 2019 Top2Top-NexGen conference. Sponsorships start at $350. When you sponsor, you’re not only shaping the future of your company, you're shaping the future of our industry. Sponsor Online NOW and secure your spot before they’re gone.


Return to Conference Home Page

Questions? Please contact us at 410-491-7857 or [email protected].