WTC Arkansas to Host Veteran for Export Series

Aug 12, 2022

ROGERS — The World Trade Center Arkansas’ Get Ready to Be Ready series, which is designed to help small businesses prepare for export, will return this fall with a series of webinars from Dr. Michele Pfannenstiel, a veteran, and entrepreneur who specializes in regulatory medicine.

“These sessions will be vibrant, fun and most importantly, educational for all those Arkansas companies interested in tackling issues suppliers face,” said Denise Thomas, chief executive officer of WTC Arkansas.

The webinars will be on Tuesdays from August to November, with workshops to follow on Thursday. Each session should be about 30-45 minutes, followed by 15-30 minutes for Q&A. All of the events will be held at 1 p.m. CST.

Dr. Pfannenstiel has worked in regulatory medicine as an enterprise since leaving her post in the U.S. Army, where she worked as a veterinarian responsible for food safety for the Department of Defense, spanning from military bases to the White House.

Today she is the CEO of Dirigo Food Safety in Ohio, where she lives with her family. Dr. Pfannenstiel earned her bachelor’s degree at Wellesley College and her doctorate of veterinary medicine at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Pfannenstiel said she was thrilled to bring leadership coaching on supply chain issues to the diverse WTC Arkansas membership

“These webinars and workshops are packed with great insight, and we look forward to supporting regional leaders and food businesses,” she said.

Approved Supplier Programs

Aug. 30, Webinar

This webinar is going to help you determine who should be a supplier. Very often, when we make a decision to work with someone, we don’t look at the whole picture of working with them. We pick them for price or convenience. Those aren’t bad reasons…but are they the ones that are going to help you build a strong and profitable relationship that nourishes your community?

Sept. 1, Workshop

Now that you’ve developed your supplier list based on something more sustainable than price and convenience, let’s look at all the ways you need to go about actually approving them…AND keeping them approved. Learn how to have the hard conversations that are going to save your company money and time

Foreign Supplier Verification

Sept. 6, Webinar

Several years ago the FDA started enforcing a rule on Foreign Supplier Verification. It’s part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (AKA FSMA). Have you been ignoring this rule? Trying to skirt in and hope Customs and Border Patrol is going to not notice your products? Let’s fix that together. This webinar will explain what the FSVP rule is (and what it isn’t) and help you understand if you need to be compliant

Sept. 13, Workshop

Developing a foreign supplier program is not as hard as it seems. Mostly it is a matter of good Google skills and a tolerance for paperwork. In this workshop you will learn what you need to know to either write your own FSVP and/or learn how to know if the person writing it for you is doing a good job. Having paperwork you don’t understand is arguably as bad as not having the right paperwork. Let’s fix both of those issues.

Recall and Business Disruption

Sept. 27, Webinar

Recall…a word to strike fear into the heart of any food business. Truth is, a recall is awful, but not even close to the sum total of things that can shut down a business. How do you protect yourself? By building systems that let you know as much as you can about your supply chain, work process and how your product is treated after it leaves your possession. Avoiding risk up and down the chain is what is going to let you sleep at night. This webinar will teach you to evaluate your risks and put in appropriate measures to mitigate them.

Sept. 29, Workshop

Do you know what to do when disaster strikes? This workshop is going to be a tabletop exercise for your business. In the Army we have a saying…how you practice is how you perform. In this workshop we will run a simulation on a business disruption exercise and you are going to get feedback in real time about your performance.

CA Prop 65 and Product Testing

Nov. 1, Webinar

Do you sell a product in California? Because if you do, then you have to know about Prop 65. You must THINK about what you are selling, what the ingredients are and what risk they are for action by someone who sues for a living. We will cover what the Prop 65 law is, who is at risk for it, why selling on Amazon isn’t going to give you cover. Further, even if you are compliant, or not selling in California, you need to test your food for other things that can go wrong with it. But for what? How often?

Nov. 3, Workshop

You’ve determined that you need a Prop 65 testing plan. Let’s figure out one together. This plan depends on a lot of factors, like your ingredients and how they are prepared. This workshop is going to help you act on the knowledge you gained in the webinar to develop a testing plan that makes sense for your company. Then I’ll teach you how to read the COAs (certificate of analysis) that you get back from the lab, and make decisions about next steps based on the information we find out.

The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

To apply for funds, contact Trish Watkins, our STEP Grant director.

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