"For those stuck in a cold storage facility all day, spending a little R&R in the heat seems like a dream come true.

For those stuck in a cold storage facility all day, spending a little R&R in the heat seems like a dream come true. However, for those of us who attended the 2012 IARW-WFLO Convention & Expo, April 21-26 in sweltering Tucson, Ariz., the 102-degree heat proved to be more than just a “temperature-controlled environment.”

It wasn’t hard picking me out of the crowd. Yup, the new girl on the block was dressed as though the convention was actually taking place INSIDE a cold storage facility-that and my gigantic stack of business cards that barely made it through the airport’s security checkpoint.

This year’s convention and expo, hosted by the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW) and World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO) offered a series of educational sessions, booth displays, networking opportunities and yes, even fun in the sun.

Titled “Energizing Success,” the conference kicked off with keynote speaker Steve Farber, leadership speaker and author. In his presentation, Farber showed the audience how to use the LEAP framework (love, energy, audacity and proof) to radically improve your organization and your life.

The expo immediately followed this session, featuring lighting and cold storage door manufacturers, energy efficiency consultants, design-build firms and more.

A series of concurrent, 30- to 45-minute focus sessions offered world-class educational content focused on business and market development, liability and risk management, operations management and research.

Featured speaker and economist Dr. Gene Stanaland, president of GSE Inc., talked about the current economy, how government actions and industry response have forestalled a recession and instead, created wholesale change.

Meanwhile, Dave Horsager, author and business strategist, offered the eight pillars of leadership, including creativity, productivity, freedom, results and more.

Sure, I may have been slightly overdressed for the weather, but all in all, this year’s IARW show was hot, hot, hot.

To learn more about the Alexandria, Va.-based organizations, to become a member or to attend/exhibit at next year’s event (May 4-8, 2013 in Hollywood, Fla.), go to www.gcca.org.