Charlotte plays host to 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference

At Practical Software Solutions, we try to maintain a dignified, even-keeled temperament when it comes to reporting on events in which we participate. That all goes out the window when the event is in our backyard, like the 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference.

AmericanHort will host the 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we can’t wait for young plant growers to come and visit. We’re also excited to be one of the sponsors of the Bus Tour, which will head to our first-ever greenhouse customer, Metrolina Greenhouses, and our neighbors up at Rockwell Farms.

The conference takes place from Sept. 17-19 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up for the 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference — and what else you can see while you’re here.

Celebrating young plant growers at the 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference

We love participating in these regional AmericanHort exhibitions whenever we get the chance. These events are more focused than the organization’s primary Cultivate conference. For

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Young plant growers can find educational sessions geared toward them at the 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference

example, last year’s Production Technology Conference was a great way to highlight the different ways technology help growing plants. At Cultivate, technology is only a minor part of the event.

The Plug & Cutting Conference focuses on the young plant growers in the horticulture industry. (For those who aren’t in the industry, young plant growers take seeds and cuttings and grow them to a certain point, then ship them to other growers who will complete their life cycle.) Obviously, there’s some overlap all growers deal with, but there’s also things young plant growers don’t have to deal with, like EDI and other retail-centric issues.

Here’s some examples of the young-plant specific sessions that will take place at the 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference:

Then there’s some sessions that are more generic but still relevant to young plant growers:

That last session will be hosted by our own Greg Lafferty. While it’s not specific to young plant growers, it is a topic we often hear about from customers and prospects alike. “What is that-there cloud?” as Lafferty likes to joke. But it’s an important question when it seems all business software is going the cloud route.

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Seeing Metrolina Greenhouses’ transplant machine is better than just hearing about it.

But as I mentioned before, one of the highlights of the Plug & Cutting Conference is the Bus Tour, which will take place on the Monday before the sessions start. Most of AmericanHort’s large and small events feature a bus tour, and there’s a good reason for that: They’re the type of hands-on experience you can’t get in an exhibit hall.

The folks at Metrolina Greenhouses could get on a stage in front of 2,000 people and tell them how their latest plug transplanter improved the speed of their production line. Or, people could actually walk through the largest single-site greenhouse in the country and actually see for themselves.

Lafferty will be the tour guide on one of the buses as it goes from Charlotte to Huntersville to Rockwell. As a native of Concord, which is between the two suburban cities, Lafferty is the perfect person to tell stories about the area and point out highlights.

Speaking of the area’s highlights, lets take a look at some of the places you may want to visit while you’re in town for the 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference.

Entertainment and other attractions in the Charlotte area

Charlotte is an interesting city as it’s the largest and most populous city in North Carolina, but it also sits on the border of South Carolina. That’s why the Charlotte metro area, which is split between the two states, is often referred to as “Metrolina.” (Yes, that’s where Metrolina Greenhouses got their name from.)

As any major city and its metro area, Charlotte has a lot to offer to residents and visitors alike. And, as veterans of many conferences ourselves, we know that people tend to spend their nights seeking entertainment. Below is a few options for visitors who are coming to the 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference, highlighting both popular attractions and hidden gems:

Entertainment

Carrowinds Carrowinds is a great theme park that sits on the border of North and South Carolina. I’m told the roller coasters at the park are excellent. (That’s the best I can do — not a fan of roller coasters myself.) There’s also Camp Snoopy, a great area geared toward youngsters. However, unlike Florida’s major theme parks, Carrowinds is only open on weekends during starting in September. Check their website for more details.

Concord Mills It’s hard to call Concord Mills a hidden gem, as it’s North Carolina’s largest tourist attraction. But from the outside, it does look like just another large shopping mall. But it features your best bet for the most chain and local restaurant in one area. It has the area’s only IMAX theater in the AMC 24 Concord Mills, plus a go-kart track and the Sea Life Aquarium.

Nature

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens For those who can’t get enough plant life, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden offers 400 acres of rolling meadows, woodlands and waterways as an escape

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Syrian brown bears are extinct in the wild, but you can see Brutus and Cleo at Tiger World while you’re in town for the 2018 Plug & Cutting Conference

from the big city. This green space offers beautiful examples of both formal gardens and natural habitats.

Tiger World On the way to Rockwell Farms on the bus tour, you may see a sign for Tiger World. Don’t be disappointed by its small size. They’re an accredited rescue organization that participates in responsible, genetically diverse breeding programs that hope to bring back big cats from the brink of extinction in the wild. They are closed on Wednesdays, so plan accordingly.

Motorsports

NASCAR’s ancestral home is in the Piedmont of North Carolina, where it developed from rum runners getting together to see who had the fastest car. For those who are into American stock car racing, the Charlotte area has plenty to offer.

Charlotte Motor Speedway On the other end of the I-85 exit from Concord Mills is the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s the only track on the NASCAR circuit that hosts three events during the calendar year: The All-Star Race, the Coca-Cola 600 and the new Bank of America 400 road coarse race. If you’ve never been to a super speedway, it’s worth it to take a tour to appreciate the size and scope of the facility. By planning ahead, you can also participate in ride-alongs or even drive yourself around the track.

NASCAR Team Garages — Most of the NASCAR teams have garages around the Charlotte area, mostly to the north in Concord, Kannapolis and Mooresville. Sometimes they’re right in the heart of it, like the Hendrick garage, but most are a bit off the beaten path. Click this link to find out which garages are in the area and where they’re located.

If you have any questions about the Metrolina area, please feel free to reach out to us. Greg will be on the tour, and we’ll be showing off Grower Vertical at Booth 23 at the Plug & Cutting Conference. We can’t wait to show off our southern hospitality!

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