Every year, I come away from the CAAR Conference with my head spinning. It takes a bit of time to process all of the information, all of the implications and simply take a breath after the fast pace of the event.

Along with capturing the sights, sounds and successes of the conference through writing and photography, myself and my team members from Suckerpunch do our best to assist the CAAR team with whatever they may need throughout the event.

This year, we tried to ramp up our support efforts, as CAAR’s event and creative manager, Lisa Defoort, welcomed her first child – a healthy baby girl – into the world the very day before the conference was set to begin. In the months leading up to the event, Lisa put in countless hours to make the conference a success, and how smoothly it ran in her absence is a testament to that hard work.

I would like to congratulate Mitch, Lady and Scott for their amazing work and accomplishments. You can read more about Scott Van Alstyne, CAAR’s new sales and marketing manager here.

It was my pleasure to meet Scott for the first time at the conference – he had joined the CAAR team only a week before. Working under these kinds of circumstances that you see in the movies, the CAAR team put on an outstanding event. So, congratulations again, and thank you for letting me be a part of it!

Along with meeting Scott, I was happy to get a little bit better acquainted with some of CAAR’s board members and meet Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture, Ralph Eichler, among many, many notable interactions.

At every conference, I am blown away by the number of people who want to tell me about themselves, their businesses, their priorities and their connections to CAAR. These conversations that happen organically throughout the event are invaluable to me, as they have taught me so much about the history of CAAR as an association and insight into the future of the ag retail sector.

For a more formal dose of education on the state of the industry, I found both panel discussions extremely enlightening, particularly the Mergers and Acquisitions discussion. You can read a transcription of the conversation here. Clocking in at over an hour, the full panel could have taken up a issue unto itself. What we have published in the pages of this magazine captures the crux of it, but I couldn’t imagine not hearing the entire thing.

If you weren’t at the CAAR Conference this year, I hope we will see you next year so that you can get the great information the conference offers first hand.

Until then, happy reading.

Laura Wiens
Editor

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