The joint IPPS/NGIV conference recently wrapped up in Melbourne. Four days of talks, networking, tours and education has been the focus for approximately 200 industry representatives. For the first time the International Plant Propagators Society and the Nursery and Garden Industry of Victoria provided a variety of opportunities for their members under the one roof.
The event attracted a real mixture of attendees. On one hand there were plants people keen on discussing their latest procedures and challenges but on the other a range of wholesalers, retailers and allied traders keen to share their products and seeking business inspiration. The most common reason for attendance that I heard was the networking opportunity. For our industry it’s a key draw card to events such as these. Most of us are always keen to share knowledge and opinions, catch up and unwind.
A full program of lectures and presentations ran over nearly three days. The morning sessions offered a variety of speakers. We heard from Olympic Gold Medalist Steve Bradbury who shared his journey of perseverance and determination to meet his goals. Steve did a great job of likening his sporting challenges to those many in our industry face in their own businesses. I know many enjoyed his motivating presentation and entertaining approach.
Whether it’s ice skates or plants there was something everyone could relate to. Steve hit a nerve when he spoke about never giving up, identifying your goals and constantly reviewing your targets. With breeders in our industry often dedicating a lifetime to one or two genus, it’s no wonder there were a lot of nodding heads in the room.
Along the same lines, young entrepreneur Brad Smith of Braap Motorcycle fame shared his success. This young gun’s enthusiasm certainly inspired a few people to keep on chasing their goals. If there is one thing he shares with many in our industry, it’s passion. Whilst Brad’s passion is motocross and sharing his sport with young kids around the world, it’s really no different to the plant breeder who was sitting next to me. He loves plants and his professional goal is to share his new innovations with the world.
A full program of presentations was divided into two streams, technical and business. The technical stream included plant breeding, biosecurity, water management, potting media and production trends… and the list goes on.
On the other side of the conference hall the business stream heard advice on planning, performance management, social media, communications and much more. It’s refreshing to be exposed to different thinking from a range of experts outside of the industry. Just taking one or two things away makes the day worthwhile. However, I must admit after three days of listening I was keen to move on!
Many delegates enjoyed getting out for a full day tour of leading industry businesses. Visits included the roof top at the University of Melbourne’s Burnley Campus, well known Victorian wholesaler Plant Growers Australia, printing company Immaj and the AgriBio Centre amongst others. Getting some time to enjoy some greenery was welcomed and the bus trips in themselves were great for catching up with peers and making new contacts.
All in all it was an interesting few days, with an interesting mix of people. There were definitely challenges involved in keeping so many sectors of the industry happy and it will be intriguing to see what IPPS and NGIV do next year. I myself took away one of the key messages common to many of the guest speakers… plan… dream and go for it!