The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association (PFMA) recently hosted its fourth annual fall legislative conference at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg in Camp Hill.
The event was punctuated by a special guest keynote speaker, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who spoke during cocktail hour about challenges to cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the problem of food insecurity in America.
The conference, held Oct. 7-8, included federal and state legislative panels, which discussed issues facing the food and beverage industry and the business community as a whole. Educational sessions included an update from state Gaming Control Board Chief Counsel R. Douglas Sherman on rollout of video gaming terminals (VGT) and a cyber-security presentation from Federated Insurance’s Patrick Donahue.
“We were very fortunate once again to have a great lineup of expert panelists, as well as quality, informative presentations about relevant and current topics of great interest to our members,” PFMA President and CEO Alex Baloga said. “We were also thankful Sen. Casey took the time from his busy schedule to travel to our conference, speak, and meet with our members.”
“We’d also like to express our deepest thanks to our corporate leadership sponsors, our members, presenters and panelists, and associates and staff who helped make this event possible,” Baloga said.
Serving on the federal legislative panel was: Jennifer Hatcher, chief public policy officer and SVP of government and public affairs for the Food Marketing Institute; Jon Taets, director of government relations for the National Association of Convenience Stores; Robert Yeakel, director of government relations for the National Grocers Association; and Michael Gruber, VP of government affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The panel was moderated by PFMA Board Vice Chairman Tom Cormier, manager of government affairs at Retail Business Services, a subsidiary of PFMA member and sponsor Ahold Delhaize USA.
Serving on the state legislative panel was: Drew Crompton, chief of staff for Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Joe Scarnati; Ali Thomas, senior managing director, senior legislative counsel for the state democratic office of legislation and policy; Neal Lesher, chief of staff for Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Turzai; and Jerermy Kiehl, director of legislative affairs to House Majority Leader Rep. Bryan Cutler. The panel was moderated by PFMA Legislative Committee Co-Chairman Jeff Allen, president and CEO of PFMA member and sponsor Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution.
The next event on PFMA’s agenda is its 2020 Annual Conference, scheduled for June 23-24 in Philadelphia.