With over 150 participants, the Fecc Annual Congress 2019, 12-14 June, Sitges (Barcelona area), Spain, gathered high-level professionals representing all the actors of the supply chain, from manufacturers to customers, in the chemical distribution industry.

Fecc President Neville Prior welcomed the participants to the 2019 Congress, taking place at the ME Terramar Hotel in Sitges, Barcelona area, Spain. The welcome reception -- sponsored by Cornelius Group -- officially kicked off the event. Gathered by the hotel pool with a superb view to the Sitges sea-front promenade, the audience could enjoy a special evening before the Congress started the following day.

With a new format and a strong focus on networking activities, this year's Congress programme included a full day of debates plus a half day of networking activities on the second day. The networking activities represented a real added value for the participants, who could enjoy a special evening right after the event, which included a guided tour of the Miro Foundation, a superb center for the study of Joan Miró's work. The visit was followed by a cocktail in an internal patio with a stunning view over Barcelona. The evening continued with the gala dinner - sponsored by Stockmeier Group - which took place at the Hotel Miramar in Barcelona. During the dinner a lottery allowed participants to win three prizes linked to the Fecc Congress 2020 in Milan, including free registration and hotel accommodation.

Officially opened on 13 June by Neville Prior, Fecc President and Chairman of Cornelius Group, and with an introduction from Fecc new Director General, Dorothee Arns -- the Congress started with the lead of Katrina Sichel, experienced communication professional and moderator, who was able to guarantee a lively discussion around four main themes: digitalization and cyber security, promoting and attracting young talents into chemical distribution, value chain & services for the future and sustainability. The moderator presented the panel speakers, who represented all the actors of the supply chain, and could provide diverse perspectives on the chemical distribution industry and its future challenges.

The two case studies on 'Women in leadership position' and 'Showcase of Young Talent' contributed to more observation on the future of chemical distributors. The outcomes of these sessions showed the need for a different approach to be inclusive and celebrate difference. The distribution sector aims to be more sustainable and innovative by keeping professionals trained and by attracting young talent to foster new ideas and a renewed vision of the industry. In this respect, Fecc is determined to play an active role in cooperating across the entire value chain to jointly solve the societal mega-challenges.

During the Congress the key topics were transformed into images by David Jesus Vignolli -- a London-based visual artist and founder of VisualScribing.com -- who offered the participants an artistic interpretation of the panel discussions. Participants have really appreciated this graphical summary, which represented the main points of the discussion in a very effective and humorous way.

The audience could actively participate also thanks to the event app - Fecc2019APP - which facilitated the interaction with the speakers, the moderator and among attendees. The app provided participants with several functionalities, including messaging, questions, live polling, survey and a timeline. Downloaded by 95% of the people registered, the app was a real added value to the event.

Fecc Vice President -- Frank Schneider (IMCD) -- closed the meeting on 13 June by sharing his positive impressions on the Congress and inviting the audience to join the next Fecc Annual Congress, which will take place in Milan (Italy), 27-29 May 2020. The next day participants enjoyed an informal breakfast before heading to the Sitges harbor for catamaran tour (kindly sponsored by Quimidroga), and a business lunch at the Vivero, a charming restaurant located on a small cliff by the sea.

An online survey was conducted right after the Congress and sent to the full list of participants. The survey included eighteen questions related to the quality of the programme, speakers, topics, networking activities, overall organisation, venue and general recommendations. The feedback has been very positive with a response from 28% of participants. The format (especially the case study sessions), the programme, the speakers and the moderator got a very high rate. The networking activities still are a key factor for participation, followed by programme/topics and speakers. Participants are looking forward to the 2020 Congress and willing to recommend it to another colleague.

Fecc extends its gratitude to its congress sponsors - Stockmeier Group, Cornelius Group, Univar Solutions, Quimidroga and Eigenmann & Veronelli SpA - that gave an added value to the event and supported this unique stakeholders' gathering in the field of chemical distribution. Fecc addresses a special thanks to the audience, which made the event so interactive and lively until the very end.

Fecc Congress 2019 online survey