Joint Breakfast & Opening Session: The 2020s: The Most Disruptive Decade in History

David Houle is a futurist, thinker and speaker. Houle spent more than 20 years in media and entertainment. He has worked at NBC, CBS and was part of the senior executive team that created and launched MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1 and CNN Headline News.

Houle is Futurist in Residence and Guest Lecturer at the Ringling College of Art + Design. He is Honorary President and Futurist of the Future Business School of China. He is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Sarasota Institute – A 21st Century Think Tank.

This session will be a high-level overview of the major dynamics of the decade, the trends that will affect us all, the necessary ways to lead, and a look at the future of work, technology, energy and transportation, finance, Democracy, Capitalism generations and intelligence. Any organization that wants to avoid disruption or actual collapse will benefit from this presentation.”

The Joint Breakfast & Opening Session will take place at 8:00 am on Wednesday.

Ag Policy 2020: A View from the Inside, Underside and Now Outside

Ray Starling

Ray Starling, will discuss the potential implications of the 2020 national and state elections and share stories about his political career and time in the Trump administration. Starling will offer an analysis of how the top contenders may influence the economy, the regulatory environment, trade, taxes, and more.

Ray Starling is an inspirational speaker with professional experience in farming, law, and government. He grew up on a family farm in North Carolina, which he describes as an experience that shaped his life path more than any other. He earned an undergraduate degree in agricultural education and a juris doctor degree, both from universities in North Carolina. After law school, Starling clerked for a state supreme court justice, practiced law at an international law firm, and became the general counsel to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

In 2015, he moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as the chief counsel and agricultural policy adviser to U.S. Senator Thom Tillis. He later became the senator’s chief of staff. In 2017, he joined the National Economic Council at the White House as the special assistant to the president for agricultural policy, which made him the top agricultural adviser to the president at the White House. In mid-2018, he became chief of staff to USDA’s Sonny Perdue.

Starling returned to North Carolina in the summer of 2019 to serve as general Counsel to the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and as president of the NC Chamber Legal Institute.

He also promotes Starling Farms sausage, made from pigs raised by his brother, Willi, on the family farm in Autryville. He has spoken to hundreds of audiences across the U.S. about agriculture, leadership, and personal development.

Ray Starling will speak on Wednesday at 1:00 pm.

Operational Excellence

Steve Wilson

This year’s convention kicks off a new service for members: a five-part instructional series on continuous improvement intended to offer a deep dive into the work.

Steve Wilson will make the first of three convention appearances. In between conventions, he will host two webinars that tie together the content. His first session will focus on readiness–achieving it and sustaining it in your pursuit of operational excellence.

Wilson is a consultant, coach, and trainer who has worked with hundreds of companies, including Deere, Union Pacific, and Heinz. He’s also worked as an operations manager with Federal Express, a service manager in the automotive and IT industries, and a quality improvement manager for a healthcare provider.

Steve Wilson will speak on Wednesday at 3:00 pm.

How Have We Changed?

Steve Wilson, Greg Martinelli and Aleisia Dragon

This year may be a dividing year in our collective reference on time. The “before coronavirus” days may never be completely restored, and we’re all striving to make sense of what “after coronavirus” will look like. The Association will bring together a panel of experts to offer insights into what our new normal may be.

Steve Wilson will explore how manufacturing and the industrial workplace has changed. Wilson’s work focuses on operational excellence. He is a consultant, coach, and trainer who has worked with hundreds of companies, including Deere, Union Pacific, and Heinz. Wilson also will lead our series on operational excellence that kicks off in Orlando.

Greg Martinelli will focus on the new normal in sales and marketing. He is trainer and coach who specializes in agricultural sales and the author of A Season for Sales.

Aleisia Dragon, who is a senior account executive for the West at YRC Worldwide, Inc., will discuss changes to the supply chain.

This session will take place on Thursday at 9:00 am.

After the panel session, attendees will reconvene in breakout groups focused on each category.

Tillage Council

The Tillage Council  meets from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday.