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SARDA winner avoids the cold, heads to California

The winner of the 2016 SARDA Tony Lewis award, Francois Smith, received an all-expenses paid trip to the IARW-WFLO Convention in the US in April to compete for the NextGen award.

The 126th International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW) World Food Logistics Organisation (WFLO) convention was held from 22 to 25 April at Dana Point, California. South Africa’s Francois Smith competed against three other contestants for the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA).

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Each of the contestants for the Global NextGen award presented their overview of the cold storage industry to an audience of 400 delegates from the US, Australia, Canada, South America, UK and Europe.

Smith beat various other local competitors to travel to the US and was sponsored by the South African Refrigerated Distribution Association (SARDA) to attend the convention. The SARDA Tony Lewis award recognises expertise in young people under the age of 35 years in the cold storage industry in South Africa.

Francois Smith, logistics manager at Sequence Logistics in Hammarsdale, started his cold store career in August 2006 as an assistant floor supervisor at Sequence Logistics and was offered a permanent position as floor supervisor after his first month. He relocated to Durban with the development of the KwaZulu-Natal branch. In October 2011, he was promoted to operations manager, followed by a promotion to his current position in December 2015.

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During the two-day convention, open discussions were held.

“In total, there were about 800 delegates, many with their partners and I met so many new people and networked with many experienced service providers in third party distribution, cold storage warehousing and in-house cold store operations,” says Smith.

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On opening night, there was an evening reception in warm weather for all the delegates.

“The hospitality and friendship extended by IARW and the Global Cold Chain Alliance was heart-warming and encouraging. The contacts that I’ve built up across the world will certainly be of great value to my career in the cold storage industry,” he says.

*Read the full article in the upcoming September/October edition of Cold Link Africa.






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