PMA Fresh Connections: Mexico Invites Former Astronaut to Keynote

PMA Fresh Connections: Mexico Invites Former Astronaut to Keynote



GUADALAJARA, MEXICO - For those of you heading down to Guadalajara for PMA Fresh Connections: Mexico, buckle up because the show is about to be out of this world! With former astronaut José Hernández set to take the stage as the featured keynote speaker, attendees can count on entering a new dimension of produce-thought, and they won’t want to be coming back down to earth afterwards!

Nancy Tucker, Vice President of Global Business Development, PMA “Our conference sessions and speaker lineup are impressive, and participants will learn from experts in their fields. We also can’t wait to hear what former astronaut José Hernández has to share with our industry about overcoming adversity and helping others to succeed,” said Nancy Tucker, PMA Regional Vice President for Latin America.

Hernández will kick the event off by presenting his keynote address, “The Star Harvester,” on May 29, prior to the opening of the expo. His address will touch on his story and a few of his accomplishments.

José Hernández, Former Astronaut and Founder, José M. Hernández Reaching for the Stars FoundationHernández grew up in both Mexico and the U.S. and didn’t learn English until he was 12 years old. Growing up, he worked and harvested crops alongside his Mexican immigrant parents and other farmworkers. While in high school, Hernández began to dream of space flight after learning that Franklin Chang-Díaz had become the first Hispanic-American selected for NASA’s space program.

Former astronaut José Hernández will be speaking at PMA Fresh Mexico

Hernández went on to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering, became an expert in X-ray physics, and worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Johnson Space Center, according to a press release. He applied to NASA’s astronaut program 12 times, finally receiving his acceptance to the astronaut candidate class in 2004. He then completed training in 2006 and served as a mission specialist in 2009 on the STS-128 mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. He currently acts as an advisor to the Mexican Space Agency.

But voyaging on a space flight was not Hernández’s only goal. To fulfill his goal of giving back to the community, he founded the José M. Hernández Reaching for the Stars Foundation in 2005. The foundation educates students about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields as well as hosts STEM events and provides scholarships to ensure students can pursue STEM careers.

Hernández (center, bottom) inside Node 1 of the ISS during STS-128 (source: NASA)

In addition to Hernández’s show-stopping address, Fresh Connections: Mexico will invite attendees to take part in a slew of activities over the course of its two days (May 29-30). On May 29, four retailers will share trends and tips for success and answer attendee questions in the education session “The New Retail World is Here.” In addition, the Center for Growing Talent (CGT) will host a Young Professionals Networking Coffee Hour. Lastly, the expo, which will feature fruit and veggie growers and solutions providers from 1:30 pm to 5 pm, will round out the action-packed day and include a networking lunch and evening reception.

The second day of the show, May 30, will open with a breakfast and another keynote presentation, titled “New Leadership and the Impact on Mexico’s Fresh Produce Industry,” which will explore political and governmental shifts and how they have impacted our industry. The expo will then open up for its second and last day and will be held from 10:30 am to 1:15 pm.

“Most of Mexico’s major retailers attend this event, offering an unparalleled networking experience. PMA Fresh Connections: Mexico does what its name says—it connects people with each other, opportunities, new products, information, technology, and more,” Tucker continued.

This year’s event marks Fresh Connections: Mexico’s 12th year in business, offering U.S. and Canadian buyers, Mexican supermarket retailers, and Mexican produce growers and business solution providers the opportunity to meet face-to-face and produce it up in Guadalajara—the first time the show has returned to the city since 2013.

For more information, or to register for Fresh Connections: Mexico, visit the event page on PMA's website.

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