VGM Members Packing for Waterloo

Next week’s Heartland Conference and Expo aims to offer a heavy schedule of education, along with some entertainment.

The VGM Group Inc. members will soon pack their bags to attend next week’s 16th annual Heartland Conference, which runs June 12 to 15 at Waterloo, Iowa’s Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

The event will feature a packed slate of education sessions it has become known for, as well as a number of special events, speakers and show features, as well as some familiar networking and entertainment events.

This year’s notable highlights include a special Retail Lab; a panel featuring representatives from CMS and the Small Business Administration; and a keynote from a former U.S. Navy SEAL.

Retail Lab

VGM has leased an 1,100-square-foot storefront across the street from the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center to host a retail training lab during the show that will feature innovative products and display concepts that attendees can examine, learn from, and possibly apply to their business.

Attendees will be able to visit the Retail Training Lab throughout the four-day conference. Representatives of VGM’s online marketing agency, VGM Forbin, will be in the showroom to discuss online marketing tactics and trends to help providers reach their target audience.    

In addition to the lab, Rob Baumhover, director of VGM Retail Services and his team will present a pre-conference strategy-driven session titled Achieving Retail Success. Other retail education for attendees will include presentations on an all-cash, health and wellness business model; inventory management; and how to use retail marketing strategies.     

SBA, CMS Panel Discussion

A June 13 panel discussion will feature officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Small Business Administration, who will discuss the future of the competitive bidding program, as well as government resources available to small businesses.

The panel’s open forum format will give audience members the chance to to interact with the panelists. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and share feedback and concerns directly with the speakers.

John Gallagher, vice president of Government Relations for VGM will moderate the panel, which will feature CMS Competitive Acquisition Ombudsman, Tangita Daramola, and Deputy Ombudsman for Regulatory Enforcement Fairness at the SBA, Yolanda Swift. VGM also invited Medicare contractors to participate

Special Keynote

Kevin Lacz, former U.S. Navy SEAL and author of the New York Times best-selling memoir, The Last Punisher, will give this year’s keynote address, "A Morning with Kevin Lacz: Risk vs Reward.”

Slated for at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 13, Lacz keynote will tell the story of his personal journey from struggling student to decorated Navy SEAL and successful master's degree student. Lacz will use his story to illustrate the importance of identifying, mitigating and overcoming risk to achieve success.

A recipient of multiple decorations, including a Bronze Star with combat “V” (indicating acts of valor or meritorious services in combat) and the Navy and Marine Commendation Awards with combat “V,” Lacz is now a certified physician assistant in Florida and co-owner of Lifestyle and Performance Medicine-powered by Regenesis, a concierge-based, functional medicine practice. He is also the spokesperson for his charity, Hunting for Healing, a Florida non-profit organization that takes serviced-disabled veterans and their spouses on hunting, fishing and other outdoor expeditions.

Lacz's book, The Last Punisher, a memoir about his 2006 deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, was published in July 2016. Following his keynote address, copies of the book will be available for sale at a book-signing event.

Networking Opportunities

Last but not least, this year’s event will serve up the same schedule of signature social gatherings, which include:

  • The Van G. Miller Memorial Golf Tournament on Monday, June 12.
  • A tour of the the SingleSpeed Brewery on Monday, June 12.
  • An Afternoon of Art and Wine on Monday, June 12.
  • The well-known hog roast and fireworks display on Monday, June 12.
  • The exhibit hall grand opening reception on Tuesday, June 13.
  • An HME Young Professionals meet-up at the SingleSpeed Brewery on Tuesday, June 13.
  • The Fiesta in the Heartland networking gala on Wednesday, June 14,
  • A closing, family-style dinner at the VGM farm on Thursday, June 15.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.

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