If you are an industry expert with years of experience and would welcome the opportunity to strengthen your reputation as a thought leader, we would love to hear from you.
Our Speaker Faculty is constantly evolving, for consideration or to nominate an industry leader, please call us at 416-829-6500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Carletta Ooton is Amazon’s Vice President for Product Assurance, Risk & Security. She oversees the company’s Product Assurance, Food Safety, Trade Services, Product Safety & Recalls, Transportation Risk & Compliance, Dangerous Goods, Global Security Operations and Environmental Assurance & Protection teams worldwide.
Her responsibilities include establishing global standards and policies, managing emerging issues, developing and deploying global programs and ensuring effective risk identification and mitigation worldwide. Carletta has been actively involved with industry and government collaboration across many of her areas of responsibility.
Before joining Amazon, Carletta worked at The Coca-Cola Company where she served as the company’s Chief Quality, Safety & Sustainable Operations Officer and the VP of Technical Operations & Capability Development. Prior to that she worked for Cott Beverages, Bath & Body Works, Unilever, and Tate & Lyle.
Carletta received dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Biological Sciences and Chemistry, and a Master of Science degree in Microbiology from Southern Illinois University.
Robin Forgey is the Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance for Costco Wholesale Corporation. Costco Wholesale Corporation operates membership warehouses world-wide, that offer a selection of branded and private label products in a range of merchandise categories.
Costco Wholesale is a global leader when it comes to food safety and all suppliers must meet their strict compliance requirements. Costco’s food safety audit systems, STEC testing of fresh foods, x-ray product inspection and unique positions on the Global Food Safety Initiative and the global regulatory environment, is well known industry wide.
In her role as Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance for Costco Wholesale, Robin establishes product quality policies and practices and administers test programs to ensure vendor compliance to these policies. Robin manages an in house laboratory that conducts routine testing for specification monitoring purposes as well as oversees the vendor food safety vendor audit compliance team and the internal food safety operations programs. Prior to joining Costco, Robin worked as a research scientist for BioControl Systems developing assays to detect foodborne pathogens and as the Director of Microbiology for an independent testing lab.
Robin holds a BS in Biology and a Masters Degree in Food Science.
Jeff Edelen is the Vice President, Retail Food Safety at Whole Foods Market where he leads a talented team of food safety professionals dedicated to customer obsession and Team Member growth, while focusing on the company’s mission to nourish our people and our planet. Jeff is passionate about food safety culture, engagement and accountability working together to provide an exceptional work and shopping experience.
Jeff previously held positions at Amazon as Sr. Manager, Food Safety and enjoyed a 25-year career at The Kroger Co. in various roles including store management, merchandising, operations and Sr. Manager, Food Safety & Regulatory Compliance.
He also served on many committees in the state of Kentucky including Chairman, Food Safety Task Force; and Vice President, President-elect, and President of the Kentucky Association of Milk, Food, and Environmental Sanitarians. He is also a member of the International Association of Food Protection.
Jeff attended the University of Louisville where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He is also a Certified Professional, Food Safety through the National Environmental Health Association.
Cindy Jiang is a Senior Director of Global Food Safety Risk Management at the Global Supply Chain department of McDonald’s. This is a newly established function since June 2020, she leads the development of food safety risk management framework and processes to identify and mitigate food safety risk from farm to restaurants. In this role, Cindy is responsible for establishing strategy and operationalize food safety risk management by leveraging internal and external insights, technology and data analytics; and collaborating with external organizations.
Food Safety is the top priority for McDonald’s business as it serves over 65 million customers in 120 countries every day. Cindy led the global food and packaging safety function from Jan. 2017 to May 2020. Under her leadership, food safety department developed and implemented global food safety strategy; elevated food safety culture by establishing a strategy based on evidence and data; strengthened food safety practices from farm to restaurants; conducted food safety benchmarking to identify gaps and that led to a significant change in strengthening global food safety organization with addition of resources.
She has been leading the McDonald’s Food Safety Advisory Council since 2002, a forum for sharing food safety knowledge and best practices among leading suppliers and external experts. Cindy has been actively involved with industry and government collaboration on food safety. She has served on the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Board since 2008. Cindy is currently a board member of SSAFE.
Cindy started her career with the McDonald’s Corporation after receiving a Master Degree in Food Science and Nutrition in 1990. She has held various positions within McDonald’s Corporation, from a Food Chemist to a Quality Assurance Manager, and a Director of Food Safety. Cindy has been actively engaged in leading the effort on harmonization of food safety standards by working with many leading food safety professionals from suppliers, food service industry, food safety standard owners, etc. since early 2007. Cindy is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Cindy has been a member of the Institute of Food Technologists since 1989. She is a member of the International Association of Food Protection and has been very engaged in the global food safety community. To elevate food safety and quality culture globally has been Cindy’s everyday mission.
Sherry Williamson is currently the VP of Global Food Safety and Quality that oversees Food Safety, Sanitation, Quality Management Systems, Auditing, Supplier Quality Management, Supplier Certification, Premiums, Packaging Quality, Compliance to Design, Process Optimization, Regulatory and Co-manufacturer Quality for the Kellogg Company. Kellogg’s is the world’s leading cereal producing company and the world’s second largest producer of crackers and savory snacks. Kellogg’s is also a leading North American Frozen foods company producing products that include Eggo Brand Waffles and Morningstar Farms veggie products.
Sherry has over 23 years in the industry and joined Kellogg’s in 2012 as part of the Pringles acquisition from P&G. She has had numerous Supply Chain roles in the company ranging from Operations to Quality. Sherry was appointed to the role of Vice President of Global Quality Food Safety and Regulatory in January of 2020.
Sherry is on the SSAFE and STOP Foodborne Illness Board of Directors. She is also affiliated with a number of other Industry associations. Sherry also Co-Chairs the National Chapter of KAARG (Kellogg African American Resource Group).
Sherry holds a B.S. and MBA in Business Management from Stayer University. She’s a graduate of the Kellogg Harvard Executive Program and is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society.
Arnie Sair serves as the Head of Quality & Food Safety for Bunge, the world’s leader in oilseed processing and a leading producer and supplier of specialty plant-based oils, fats and proteins. Arnie joined Bunge in 2018 and brings 20 years of quality, food safety and regulatory compliance expertise to the company.
Bunge’s purpose is to connect farmers to consumers to deliver essential food, feed and fuel to the world. With more than two centuries of experience, Bunge’s products are used in a wide range of applications such as animal feed, cooking oils and flours, as well as bakery and confectionary, dairy fat alternatives, plant-based meat and infant nutrition. Bunge also has an important role to play in using its crop infrastructure to help fuel renewable energy solutions.
Before joining Bunge, Arnie spent 5 years as Head of Quality and Regulatory Operations with Signature Brands, the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of decorating and confectionary products. Prior to that Arnie spent 12 years in Quality & Regulatory Operations leadership positions with General Mills Inc, including experience with milled grains, boxed and frozen meals, and dry cereals.
Arnie received a Bachelor of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Illinois, a Master’s degree in Food Science from Michigan State University, and his Ph.D. in Food Science from North Carolina State University studying foodborne viruses and molecular methods for their detection.
Arnie serves on the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils Technical Committee and the National Oilseed Processors Association Food/Feed Safety & Quality Advisory Group. Throughout his professional career, Arnie has always strived to be an influential leader who has worked to build a culture that facilitates the development of high performing teams, foster positive customer and consumer relations, and develop external vendor partnerships that drive business results.
SHARON LINDAN MAYL, J.D. has been with FDA for more than 25 years and currently serves as Senior Advisor for Policy in the Office of Food Policy and Response. In this position, she oversees and manages significant policy initiatives in the foods area. Among other issues, Ms. Mayl is the implementation lead for FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative, which seeks to develop a new approach to food safety that leverages technology and other modern tools to create a safer and more digital, traceable food system. Previously, she co-led the team that developed and implemented the import provisions of FSMA, including those related to the Foreign Supplier Verification Program, Voluntary Qualified Import Program, and Accredited Third-Party Certification Program. Ms. Mayl also serves as a vice-chair of FDA’s Cannabis Products Council. She is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School.
Captain John Gibbins currently serves as a Veterinary Epidemiologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio. NIOSH is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIOSH has the mandate to assure “every man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” NIOSH has more than 1,300 employees from a diverse set of fields including epidemiology, medicine, nursing, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, chemistry, statistics, economics, and many branches of engineering.
Captain Gibbins joined NIOSH and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 2006 as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Fellow. Prior to joining NIOSH, he served for 9 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Public Health Officer and 6 years in mixed animal clinical veterinary practice.
CAPT Gibbins specific areas of interest include zoonotic disease prevention and occupational hazards in veterinary medicine, agriculture, and industries where employees work with animals.
CAPT Gibbins also served as the 11th Chief Veterinary Officer for the United States Public Health Service from 2016–2020. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and completed his Master of Public Health Degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. He earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The Ohio State University.
Dr. Philip Bronstein was appointed Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) Office of Field Operations (OFO) on January 2019. In this capacity, Dr. Bronstein plays a critical role in guiding the District Offices, which provide inspection in more than 6,000 establishments throughout the United States and territories, to ensure domestic and imported meat, poultry and processed egg products are safe, wholesome and properly labeled. He is committed to successfully implementing all three FSIS Strategic Goals 1: Prevent Foodborne Illness and Protect Public Health; 2: Modernize Inspection Systems, Policies, and the Use of Scientific Approaches; and 3: Achieve Operational Excellence.
Throughout is his career, Dr. Bronstein has been committed to public health and to serving the American public. He joined USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in 2004 as a Research Molecular Biologist. In this role, he was responsible for developing and implementing research to study the interactions between plants and pathogenic bacteria. In 2010, he joined FSIS as a Microbiologist in the Office of Public Health Science (OPHS). In this role, he worked on a wide range of microbiological issues including providing microbiological support to the field, identifying emerging microbiological issues, and explaining the scientific underpinnings of FSIS policies to international audiences. In 2015, Dr. Bronstein was selected as the Director of the OPHS Science Staff and provided microbiological and chemical residue support for the Agency. He joined OFO’s team in 2017 and helped implement the Siluriformes inspection program.
Dr. Bronstein holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology from Texas A&M University and a Doctorate in Microbiology Degree from the University of Washington.
Cloeann is currently the North America Vice President of Quality, Safety and Environmental for the Coca-Cola Company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Cloeann has been part of the Coca-Cola family since 2001 and her most recent position before May of 2021 was working with The Coca Cola Consolidated Bottling Company, LLC, the largest bottler of Coca-Cola in the US, holding 29% of total volume. Cloeanns’ current position offers opportunity to impact the Coca-Cola North America network including Canada within Quality, Food Safety, Personal Safety and Environmental. Cloeann holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and minor in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has over 28 years’ experience in the Beverage Industry. Her career started immediately after college in Great Britain in Quality Assurance for a major beverage manufacturer. Since that time, she has worked throughout the US supporting beverage manufactures in Wastewater and Water Treatment facilities, Dairy, Concentrate and Carbonated Beverages and also working within an Analytical lab as a Pathogen Specialist. Cloeann has served as a member of the IFT (International Food Technologist), GFSI (Global Food Safety Institute), the Dairy Manufacturers Council, Food Safety Board and the ISBT (International Society of Beverage Technologies). Currently Cloeann serves as the Former President of the ISBT (International Society of Beverage Technologies) and has also been a special presenter for the ISBT general assembly technical sessions, the IFT, Food and Beverage Manufacturing Summit, Food Safety Symposium, and Keynote Speaker for Food Safety Summit.
Kerry Bridges is the Vice President of Food Safety at Chipotle Mexican Grill. In this role, Kerry oversees food safety standards, quality assurance and procedures.
Kerry joined Chipotle in January of 2019 and oversees a team of individuals who are committed to enforcing Chipotle’s zero-tolerance policy and industry-leading processes, focusing on supply chain, in-restaurant practices, food prep and employee training. Food safety is more than a collection of programs and processes; it’s part of Chipotle’s culture. Food Safety is incorporated in all elements of the business, from our supply chain, restaurant design, product development, and day-to-day operations as an underlying prerequisite to operate.
Prior to joining Chipotle, Kerry oversaw supplier food safety for the world’s largest food retailer, Wal-Mart, serving over 200 million customers around the world on a weekly basis. During her time at Wal-Mart, Kerry’s food safety oversight included tens of thousands of Wal Mart’s, Neighborhood Market’s, and Sam’s Clubs food suppliers, in addition to researching and assessing new and emerging food safety issues and handling regulatory compliance. Prior to Wal-Mart, Kerry’s food safety career also included roles with TESCO and Jack in the Box, Inc.
Kerry is the past president of the International Association for the Southern California Affiliate of Food Protection (IAFP) and former board member of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GSFI). Kerry attended California Polytechnic State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Food Science.
Deann Akins-Lewenthal, Ph.D. is the Senior Director of Food Safety and Enterprise Laboratory Services for Conagra Brands in Omaha, NE. She has responsibilities for laboratory services, food safety, customer facing quality and regulatory. Deann has been with Conagra Brands for 12 years in various roles. Deann is also active in several industry scientific and trade organizations including The International Associaton of Food Protection, The American Frozen Food Institute, and the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety. Deann attended the University of Georgia and received her B.S.A in Biological Sciences and M.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science.
Grace Varga is the VP of QA/QC with Canopy Growth Corporation. She has spent 3 decades in Quality Assurance, working in Blood Manufacturing, a Pharmaceutical CRO, a CMO specializing in the production of food, nutraceuticals, and intermediates for medical devices, and finally in the Cannabis industry.
Her passion lies in change management – restructuring Quality practices to create efficient process flows to help the rest of the organization get on the ‘Quality Train’.
She has a Certificate in Quality Management from the University of Manitoba, has been certified by the American Society of Quality as a Quality Auditor, holds a certificate as a Clinical Trials co-ordinator, and started out as a Medical Laboratory Technologist. Her audit experience includes Health Canada, FDA, USDA, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, USDA, Halal, Kosher, GMP, GLP, ISO and countless client audits.
Jonathan Fischer is the Vice President of Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory at HP Hood, LLC. Jonathan is a 38 year veteran of Food Safety and Quality working in diverse food and agricultural industries in North America, South America and Asia Pacific and having lived in Brazil, England and Singapore. Jonathan’s main accountability is to assure compliance to all Regulatory and Food Safety requirements of Hood’s customers and Federal/State regulatory requirements.
Prior to joining HP Hood Jonathan worked at Cargill, Nabisco, Unilever/T.J. Lipton and Tyson Foods in multiple Food Safety and Quality roles both domestically and globally.
Jonathan is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.S. degree in Poultry Science and a M.S. Degree in Food Science/Poultry Science.
Lone Jespersen is principal and founder of Cultivate SA, an organization dedicated to helping global food businesses make safe, great-tasting food through cultural effectiveness. She has significant experience with manufacturing, having previously spent 11 years with Maple Leaf Foods leading the execution of the company’s food safety strategy and operations learning strategy and prior to that engineering and operations roles in the global automobile industry. Lone holds a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Syd Dansk University, Denmark, a Master of Science in food science from the University of Guelph, Canada and a Ph.D. in culture enabled food safety with Dr. Mansel Griffiths at the University of Guelph, Canada. She led the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) technical working group “A Culture of Food Safety”, currently the chair of the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) professional development group “Food Safety Culture”, and the technical author on the BSI PAS320 “Practical Guide to Food Safety Culture.”
Marie joined Dairy Farmers of America in 2017. She was most recently the SVP of Quality. Prior to DFA, Marie was the Global Chief Food Safety and QHSE Officer at Kerry. Prior to joining Kerry, Marie held various quality leadership roles for PepsiCo and Godiva (Ulker). Marie holds an M.S. in Food Science from Rutgers University, and formally served on the board of SSAFE and was on the board of directors for the International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT). Marie is currently a member of the Food Safety Committee for the Innovation Center for U.S Dairy and serves on IDFA’s Food Safety Committee.
Current Role Vice President Food Safety Del Monte Fresh
PhD – Engineering , Purdue University
MBA – University of North Florida
Sarah Blackmon serves as Senior Director of Supplier Quality and Safety (SQS) at Chick-fil-A. In this role, Sarah leads the team responsible for ensuring that all products delivered to Chick-fil-A Restaurants are safe and meet brand specifications. Under Sarah’s leadership, the SQS team has initiated a transformation journey to become a best-in-class function designed to protect Customers by combining data and technology with policies and processes. SQS focuses on 5 key areas: Risk Mitigation, Performance Management, Process and Production control, Issue response and Solutions and Innovation.
Since joining Chick-fil-A in 2013, Sarah has had the opportunity to hold a variety of roles across the business. Her most recent role was Manager of the Supply Chain Launch Team, where she led supply chain execution of all menu tests and rollouts. Prior to her Launch Team experience, Sarah served as Manager of Enterprise Social Responsibility, where she helped develop a holistic strategy for the brand’s environmental and social issues. Finally, Sarah began her time at Chick-fil-A in Sourcing, leading the procurement of all non-food items for the business.
Before joining Chick-fil-A, Sarah spent 12 years with Printpack, a large packaging converter, in various roles including Product Development, Sales and Marketing.
Sarah holds a Packaging Science degree from Clemson University. She and her husband, Matt, live near Atlanta, Georgia with their two daughters.
Lee Perry is the Vice President, Quality Management and Food Safety, WILD Flavors & Specialty Ingredients, a division of Archer Daniels Midland Company. Lee is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of the safety and quality systems, and supporting the commercial and customer base by monitoring and providing guidance on quality trends and issues. He also ensures alignment with companywide quality and regulatory standards.
Lee joined WILD Flavors in 2011 as Associate Director Quality Management and Food Safety and was responsible for the overall execution of the Quality Management System throughout WILD North America. He supported the launch of a Global Quality Council, the establishment of scorecard processes, and partnered with the CFO on a global continuous improvement process. In 2014, Lee was asked to lead the Human Resources function for WILD Flavors followed by the WFSI North America division of ADM which he held until August, 2016. During his time in HR, Lee was a business partner to the WFSI leaders and supported a commercial global commercial talent assessment, developed two ADM-wide sales training programs and supported the human resource integration and cost synergies efforts for WFSI.
Lee holds a B.S. from Idaho State University in Biological Sciences. Lee has over 20 years of experience in quality management gained in his previous roles at ConAgra, Ken’s Foods, Davisco Foods, Leprino Foods, and Nestle USA.
Ana is Head of Quality & Food Safety for Danone North America, one of the top 15 food & beverages companies and the world’s largest B Corp. Ana leads the Danone North America end to end Quality & Food Safety ambition and strategy with focus in consumer trust & preference. Started with Danone in 1998 as Quality Director, in Portugal, in 2008, she moved to Danone Brazil as Quality & Regulatory Affairs Director and, in 2014, to US, as Vice President Quality & Food Safety North America for Danone Dairy Division. Prior joining Danone, Ana held various positions related with Quality & Food Safety.
Ana holds a Degree in Pharmaceuticals Sciences, a Specialization in Quality Engineering and a Master Degree in Animal Nutrition.
Ana is passionate for continuous improvement and people development by cultivating a purpose – driven culture of quality towards a better world through the food revolution.
Yanyan is the global director of quality control and lab operations for ADM. ADM’s purpose is to unlock the power of nature, to enrich the quality of life. We transform natural products into a complete portfolio of ingredients and flavors for foods and beverages, supplements, nutrition for pets and livestock and more. And with an array of unparalleled capabilities across every part of the global food chain, we give our customers an edge in solving global challenges of today and tomorrow. ADM has more than 170 quality control labs globally, which serve internal and external customers. Yanyan leads the global initiative of standardization, optimization, and continuous improvement of ADM quality control processes.
Yanyan has a Ph.D. in microbiology and a minor in biotechnology. Prior to joining ADM, Yanyan served as a food safety scientific director with Danone, where she successfully led the company’s global allergen control program and food safety risk assessments in microbiology, ingredient, chemical contaminants and packaging. Yanyan is a recognized expert in building global food safety programs (EMP, Food Safety Plan/Hazard Control Plan, Allergen Control Program, Positive Release Program, Process Validation, Chemical Contaminant Monitoring Program et.) and leading a high function team.
Lamb Weston is a leading supplier of frozen potato, sweet potato, appetizer and vegetable products to restaurants and retailers around the world. For more than 60 years, Lamb Weston has led the industry in innovation, introducing inventive products that simplify back-of-house management for our customer and make things more delicious for their customers. It is all about seeing the possibilities in potatoes and never, ever settling. Learn more about us at lambweston.com.
Jennifer Weekes is the Sr. Director of Food Protection for Lamb Weston. Her responsibilities include developing, leading and directing Food Protection [Food Safety, Microbiology, Toxicology, Supplier Compliance, Internal Compliance, and Regulatory Affairs (labeling, special certifications and nutrition)] programs. Jennifer holds a Master’s degree in Food Science with an emphasis in Microbiology/biotechnology from the University of Idaho and a Master of Jurisprudence in Food Law from Michigan State University. Jennifer has worked in the Potato Processing Industry for 18+ years. She has held various positions in Quality Assurance, Food Safety and Regulatory. She is passionate about food safety and the importance of a food safety culture. Jennifer and her husband live in Kennewick, Washington with their three kids, dog and cat. When not working she enjoys spending time with her family, running, mountain biking, gardening, and baking.
Kara Baldus is a Food Safety Program Manager for Hydrite Chemical Company where she is involved in the food industry training and microbiological support.
Ms. Baldus has 25 years of food microbiology experience, working in the contract laboratory and food industries prior to joining Hydrite.
Much of her career has been spent on the control of foodborne pathogens in the manufacturing plant environment and continuous improvement of food safety systems such as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), environmental monitoring programs (EMP), Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) audit schemes and Preventive Controls. She is a member of the International Association for Food Protection and on the education committee for the Wisconsin Affiliate. She is a member of the Institute for Food Technologist and a member of the board for the Wisconsin Affiliate.
AREAS OF PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE
David has been with Chick-fil-A, Inc. for 12 years and currently serves as the Director of Restaurant Food Safety. In this role, he has the responsibility of Food Safety Risk Assessment and Mitigation, Regulatory Compliance, and Team Member Health and Wellness. Prior to coming to Chick-fil-A, David spent 16 years in the food packaging industry where he worked for Sealed Air/Cryovac and Printpack. He worked in R&D developing functional packaging for food products, Marketing, and Supply Chain.
David received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Food Science/Microbiology from the University of Georgia. He currently lives in the suburbs of Atlanta with his wife and three children.
Mike Flot is Claremont Foods Sr. Director of Food Safety and Quality and serves as the Chief Health and Safety Officer. He oversees and leads Food Safety, Product Quality Assurance, Product Safety & Recalls, Cleaning and Sanitization, Supplier Verification and Approval, Identity Preserved Certifications and Health and Safety Programs.
His responsibilities include establishing, maintaining and improving food safety day to day programs, ensure consistent high quality is maintained and keep a watchful and most proactive eye on health and safety standards and policies. Mike’s main aim and passion is to stay on the cutting edge of technology and being keenly aware and thus educated with present and potential future global food safety risks.
Mike has a very wide range of experience in food safety and quality. They include corn wet milling, fermentation, nutritional supplements, cheese production, fluid dairy and non-dairy, frozen entrees, popcorn, baking operations, nut butters, hot fill/canning, ice cream and energy-protein bar manufacturing.
Mike received a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Colorado State University.
Institute of Food Technologist Certified Food Scientist with over 20 years experience in the food industry specializing in food safety, regulatory affairs, quality assurance & product development. In addition to leadership roles in the food industry, Frank served 6 years with USDA, FSIS, as Consumer Safety Inspector in Charge – NYC circuit.
Tiago is a Quality Director for Restaurant Brands International (RBI) in North America, being responsible for development, maintenance and enforcement of product safety and quality control programs and procedures to monitor the quality of Protein suppliers for 14,000 restaurants in the region. He leads, identifies, and supports improvement opportunities for product quality, safety and/or profitability and monitors supplier performance through various test and product analysis reports, creating a culture of continuous improvement in the supplier base.
Anne Kraus is Vice President of Quality and Food Safety for E. & J. Gallo Winery with enterprise accountability for Quality and Food Safety Policy, Standards and ISO System Governance, Product Liability and Food Safety Recall Effectiveness.
E. & J. Gallo Winery is a family-owned company and global wine and spirits industry leader. Since its earliest days, the hallmark of E. & J. Gallo Winery is their lasting commitment to quality, and consistently providing alcoholic beverages for every occasion. Gallo offers a broad array of products that total more than 130 brands and include table, sparkling and luxury wines, along with distilled spirits that are available in more than 100 countries.
Anne’s responsibilities include leadership of food safety and scientific affairs, enterprise laboratory network, quality systems, manufacturing quality and food safety preventive controls, supplier quality, product integrity, Toxicology, Microbiology, global policy and standards training and cultural integration, corporate compliance governance, and assuring effective quality and food safety risk identification, response, and prevention.
Before joining Gallo, Anne worked at General Mills, Inc., and PepsiCo in Quality Regulatory Operations and Innovation Technology Quality leadership roles.
She currently serves on the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program Board, and The California Wine Institute Technical Advisory Committee.
Lisa Thorsten is a Vice President Research & Development and Quality at Zentis North America, part of the Zentis Group. Zentis is a global manufacturer specializing in processing and refining of fruit and other natural raw materials. Our fruit and vegetable experts are focused on transforming natural ingredients into fruit, warm flavor, cereal, and vegetable preparations. Lisa leads a diverse, talented team of technical professionals in delivering quality from concept to consumer with industry leaders in bakery, dairy, foodservice and beverage businesses.
Prior to joining Zentis, Lisa served as Director, Global Regulatory Affairs at Campbell Soup Company. She also held other technical leadership positions in R&D and Quality while at Campbell. Lisa began her food career at Best Foods on the Knorr U.S. business, now part of Unilever, and at Estee Foods, a manufacturer of specialty sugar-free and sodium-reduced products.
Lisa earned her B.S. in Nutrition from Penn State University and M.S. in Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs from Temple University. She has been an active participant and leader in industry organization committees and working groups focused on improving food safety, quality and transparency in the industry including Flavor Extract Manufacturers Association, Research Chefs Association. American Bakers Association and the Consumer Brands Association (formerly Grocery Manufacturers Association)
Hiba Kakish is the Director of Quality Assurance at Little Caesars. She oversees the company’s Quality Assurance and Food Safety programs for Suppliers, Distributers, Restaurants and Fundraising Program. Her responsibilities include establishing global standards and policies, crisis and recall management, nutrition and menu labeling, and developing and deploying global programs such as animal welfare and food safety culture.
During her 20 years with the company, Hiba held various positions in Research and Development, Quality Assurance, and Innovation. Prior to her current role, she was the Director of New Products Commercialization, leading the development, testing, and launch of many successful Limited Time Offers for Little Caesars. Hiba also served as an adjunct professor at Henry Food Community College teaching food science and nutrition courses.
Hiba holds B.S. in Public Health with specialization in Food Science & Nutrition from Jordan University of Science and Technology and M.S. in Nutrition Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Rob Skillicorn has over a decade of experience in the life sciences industry with extensive experience within the pharmaceutical & medical device industries. His leadership provides direction in designing, developing, improving, and restructuring quality systems.
His experience includes managing the rebuild of quality systems for McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson. Rob served as the Director of Pharmaceuticals for Pathwise Inc, where he was responsible for leading teams in the delivery of services to many global clients. He has managed teams through CAPA, training, system rollouts, quality system development, and remediation activities.
Through Rob’s continuous effort organizations are always able to be audit ready. Rob’s key skills are driving positive change, fostering relationships, strategy implementation, and data driven decision making.
Asma Baig is a Corporate Quality Compliance Manager for Bellisio Foods- CP Foods USA, a leading frozen food company with a portfolio of well-known brands including Michelina’s®, Boston Market®, Atkins™ Frozen, Authentic Asia™, and EatingWell® Frozen Entrées.
As a Corporate Compliance Manager, Asma has a passion for supply-chain food safety in food manufacturing which has taken her to operations around the globe. Asma’s career with Bellisio Foods includes quality leadership roles in manufacturing, a liaison to Research and Development, and currently a Corporate Compliance Manager. She oversees and drives the company’s compliance in the area of Food Safety for our Manufacturing plants, Suppliers, and Customers. She works with these groups to provide resolution to Food Safety and Quality Assurance issues thus ensuring all established food safety regulatory requirements and quality expectations are met or exceeded. She leads the development of food safety risk management framework and processes to identify and mitigate food safety risk from suppliers of raw materials to manufacturing of finished goods, to distribution to customers and eventually consumers. In this role, Asma is responsible for establishing policies that operationalize food safety risk management by leveraging internal and external insights. These include evidence, data analysis, and collaborating with external organizations.
Under her leadership, the Food Safety and Quality team developed and implemented Corporate Food Safety Policies, elevated food safety culture by establishing a strategy based on evidence and data analytics, and strengthened food safety practices within our manufacturing plants. Her governance on food safety and quality systems, attention to detail, and food safety benchmarking assure that gaps are identified and addressed proactively and efficiently.
Before joining Bellisio Foods, Asma worked at Food Service Specialties out of Red Wing Minnesota as a Chief of Food Safety and Quality, Director of Research and Development, and Director of Supply-chain Food Safety. Prior to that she worked for Maple-Leaf Foods, General Mills, Pillsbury Company, and Quest International (now known under Kerry Foods).
Asma received Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry from University of Minnesota.
Miranda Hooker is the Specifications and Regulatory Manager for Bellisio Foods – CP Foods USA, a leading frozen food company with a portfolio of well-known frozen entrée brands including Michelina’s®, Boston Market®, Atkins™, Authentic Asia™, and EatingWell®.
In this role, Miranda oversees compliance to specification for everything from raw materials to finished products. She leads a team responsible for ensuring incoming raw materials meet quality expectations and food safety regulations in addition to managing export requirements. She also leads compliance and accuracy on domestic and international labeling regulatory requirements.
Miranda joined Bellisio in May 2013 as a Labeling Specialist and held various positions including Senior Regulatory Specialist, Senior Corporate Compliance Specialist, and most recently Specifications and Regulatory Manager.
Miranda previously held food safety and quality positions at Jack Links, Post Consumer Brands (formally MOM Brands) and Sweet Harvest Foods.
Miranda attended the University of Minnesota where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science.
Tom Miller is the SR Director of FSQA at John Soules Foods. He has been at John Soules Foods for over 11 years. Prior to John Soules Foods he worked at NSFBU and earned his Bachelor’s Degree, Animal Science from Penn State University.
Tanya Peacock has been at PepsiCo for 21 years. She is responsible for the role of Vice President Supply Chain Quality & Food Safety. She earned her Chemistry degree from Florida State University.
Clive Newton has a 30-year career history in the food industry that encompasses general management, supply chain, food safety and food innovation. Working predominantly in Asia Pacific and global roles, Clive’s focus has orientated towards formulation of organizational strategy and governance. As a former member of Yum!’s Compliance Oversight Committee, Clive was responsible for the definition and global deployment of Food Safety policy, standards and compliance programs across more than 130 countries with primary focus on new and developing markets.
Prior to joining Yum! Brands Inc. in 2007, he worked with H.J. Heinz Company in a variety of technical and commercial roles in the UK, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
Clive earned his bachelors degree and doctorate in the UK before completing post-doctoral research at Stanford University.
Mary O. Tarver is Vice President, Quality, Health, Safety, Environment & Sustainability of Coca‐Cola North America.
In her current role, she leads a team of Leaders with expertise in Quality, Safety, and Environment and sets strategic direction, leverage & establish global best practices, and continue developing a capable, high performing Quality, Safety and Environment teams; while ensuring strong stewardship for the Coca‐Cola North America system.
While in Global Quality of The Coca‐Cola Company, Mary built and lead networks of subject matter experts, partnered globally with key equipment suppliers, evaluated, validated new technologies for processing and filling equipment, and adopted over ten new technologies for The Coca‐Cola Company (TCCC). She enabled system capability by developing global associates through face to face trainings in areas such as: aseptic, hot‐fill, thermal and validation.
Mary has been with the Coca‐Cola system for 23 years.
During the course of the years, she held various positions such as Director, Quality Expertise & Networks for the Coca‐Cola Company, Manager Process Authority & Technology, Quality Assurance Manager and Quality Assurance Supervisor, in the Quality organization of the Coca‐ Cola system, Coca‐Cola Enterprises (CCE), Coca‐Cola North America (CCNA) and The Coca‐Cola Company.
Mary has been involved in some critical leadership developments such as, Catalyst Program with project recommendations accepted by the Chairman of The Company, Chief Administrative Office (CAO) People Development Forum with her recommendations accepted by the CAO Leadership and part of the recommendations implemented at TCCC in Q3 of 2015.
Prior to Coca‐Cola, Mary held the position of Staff Microbiologist at Lykes Meat Group Inc., Plant City, Florida, and in Germany, as a Food Technologist responsible for Technology and Management of Analytical Processes at Hengstenberg, a German food manufacturing company, in Esslingen Germany.
Mary holds a Postgraduate/M.S. Degree in Food Engineering with majors in Food Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Technology at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart Germany and a B.S Degree in Food Technology at the University of Galati, Romania.
A company leader and brand ambassador responsible for the overall food safety and quality of the Wendy’s brand in all Wendy’s restaurants in 30 countries and with all Suppliers. Jorge provides leadership and oversight to all Quality Assurance programs, company and franchise operations. His responsibilities also include ensuring brand compliance with nutritional information, allergen information, menu labeling and any other local, state or federal regulatory requirements.
Previously, Jorge was the Chief Food Safety Officer at Wholesome International, a restaurant company with concepts and brands in the quick and fast casual foodservice markets in the US; the Senior Vice President for Food Safety and Quality Assurance at US FOODS, the second largest Distributor in the US; the Vice President of Food Safety and Risk Management at the National Restaurant Association; the Food Program Manager at the Illinois Department of Public Health and a Senior Sanitarian at the Winnebago County Health Department in Illinois.
Jorge has Degrees in Biology from Rockford University, Microbiology from the Centro de Estudios Medico-Biologicos in Mexico City Mexico and Languages and Literature from la Universite de la Sorbonne, Paris, France.
He has published a large number of articles including “The Myth of the Magic Bullet” for Food Management (1988); “Sanitation Standards and how to apply them” for National Frozen Dessert Retailer (2003); “Food Distribution: Maintaining the Cold Chain” for Food Safety Magazine (2005); “Caught in the Middle” for Meatinplace (2010); “Driving the Chain of Custody” for QA Magazine (2010); and many more.
Jorge belongs to several national and international organizations and boards such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a global industry network of QA professionals, based in Paris, France with a vision of “Safe food for consumers, everywhere”; STOP Foodborne Illness, an organization of people who have been seriously impacted by foodborne illnesses; The International Food Protection Institute (IFPTI), STOP the United States ANSI Accreditation Committee, QA Magazine, the Food Safety Summit and the Food Safety Consortium.
Craig Wilson is the Vice President, General Merchandising Manager of Quality Assurance/ Food Safety, Non-Foods Quality Assurance, Environmental Services/Haz Mat and Merchandise Services for Costco Wholesale Corporation. Costco Wholesale Corporation operates membership warehouses world-wide, that offer a selection of branded and private label products in a range of merchandise categories.
Costco is a global leader when it comes to food safety, and all suppliers must meet their strict compliance requirements. Costco’s food safety audit systems, STEC testing of fresh foods, x-ray product inspection, and unique positions on the Global Food Safety Initiative and the global regulatory environment, is well known industry wide.
Prior to joining Costco Wholesale, Craig worked as a Special Projects Director for Frigoscandia Equipment Food Safety Systems for over 24 years. During his time with Frigoscandia, Craig published numerous research papers in the areas of food safety and food processing and holds many patents, the most notable for steam pasteurization of food, and is the recipient of the Gia/Matek, Global Excellence in Food Safety Award.
He currently serves on the Global Food Safety Initiative Board, the Center for Produce Safety Board, the Center for Food Integrity Board, the STOP Food Borne Illness Board and the Steering Committee for the National Food Safety Consortium. Craig is also a member of the Board of Directors for Camp Korey.
Steve Lutes serves as Vice President, Global QA and Food Safety for Domino’s, the world’s largest Pizza company. Hired in March 2018 into this created global role, Lutes is responsible for leading the Quality Assurance team globally. Strategic initiatives he is leading include, driving culture change via the launch of the Store Food Safety assessment process, enhancing Supply Chain Center quality and food safety standards, and partnering with Franchisees to improve ingredient supplier quality and food safety.
Prior to that, Lutes spent 17 years in the Spirits industry working for Diageo and Beam Suntory in Manufacturing and Corporate QA roles. He was the VP, Technical Services for Beam Suntory, the world’s 3rd largest Premium Spirits Company, since 2010, and Director of Quality Assurance for Diageo’s Americas’ region from 2006 – 2010. Lutes was a member of the Beam Suntory’s Corporate Responsibility Committee, Crisis Management Committee and Supply Chain’s Risk & Compliance Committee, while also serving on the Whisky Quality Council and Global Technical Steering Committee.
Lutes holds a Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering, from the University of Louisville and an MBA from Bellarmine University. He is a horse racing enthusiast, enjoys spending time with family, and an occasional round of golf. He also enjoys a healthy debate with open minded people, while sipping from a glass of his favorite wine or spirit.
Paul Kiecker was named Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in February 2020. From May 2018 through February 2020, Kiecker was the Agency’s Deputy Administrator.
Throughout his over 30 year career with FSIS, Kiecker has fostered his commitment to ensuring the Agency meets its food safety public health goals, including the current FSIS Strategic Goals: Prevent Foodborne Illness and Protect Public Health; Modernize Inspection Systems, Policies, and the Use of Scientific Approaches; and Achieve Operational Excellence.
In his current and past roles, Kiecker will continue his dedication to a robust public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, efficiently manage resources, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness.
In 1988, Kiecker joined FSIS as a food inspector and served as Deputy District Manager in Madison, Wisconsin; and District Manager in Madison, Wisconsin, and in Springdale, Arkansas. He also served as Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations and Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Field Operations in Washington, D.C. Kiecker’s FSIS experience also crossed program areas where he worked as a Compliance Investigator and a Supervisory Compliance Investigator with the Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit.
In his various positions with FSIS, Kiecker has played a critical role in leading external coordination with other federal, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, international entities and law enforcement agencies. He has also had oversight responsibility for strategic planning, policy formulation and implementation, budget development and execution, human resource management, and day-to-day inspection operations.
Greg Pritchard heads up the Quality and Food Safety team for Nestlé USA, a leading food and beverage company with a portfolio of well-known brands including CoffeeMate®, Dreyer’s®, Nesquik®, Nescafé® Taster’s Choice®, Stouffer’s®, Lean Cuisine®, DiGiorno® and Nestlé® Toll House®.
An Australian Food Technologist, Greg has a passion for food & beverage manufacturing which has taken him to operations located in every corner of the globe. Greg’s career with Nestlé spans more than 20 years and includes quality leadership roles in Confectionery, Dairy & Infant Formula manufacturing facilities in Australia , Research & Development facilities in Switzerland and corporate support roles in South East Asia, Oceania and USA. Prior to moving to the US in 2014, Greg was Head of Quality Management for Nestlé Oceania based in Sydney, Australia.
Greg is currently focused on driving simplicity in Quality and Food Safety systems via the application of pragmatism, risk awareness and capable autonomous teams.
Brian Perry is an award-winning food safety and quality expert with over 21 years of experience in large, multinational food corporations. Currently, Brian is Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Quality and leads Food Safety and Quality at TreeHouse Foods, a leader in private label food and beverage focused on customer brands and custom products. His experience with creating and implementing food safety and regulatory compliance programs for a variety of product lines gives him a broad range of knowledge regarding current food safety and quality issues. Brian holds a BS degree in Animal Science from Auburn University.
Darryl Riley is the SVP Quality/ Food Safety and R&D for Hostess Brands, LLC and serves on the senior leadership team. He directs the strategic plan and risk management for food safety and quality including policy, practices, and procedures. He also directs the R&D team with headcount and budget approvals, innovation, NPD, and quality improvements.
Darryl previously spent 15+ years at Kraft Foods in R&D and Supply Chain, in roles based in U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany, and the U.K. directing technical functions. He also spent 9+ years at the Kellogg Company, as VP, Snacks RQT followed the VP, Global Quality and Technical Operations where he led the strategic transformation of Quality Operations to a scientific risk-based global team.
In her role as Director, U.S. Quality Systems, Amy Wilcox works to promote the highest standards of food safety and quality within McDonald’s Supply Chain and across the system. Amy leads a time that manages FDA products such as Produce/Fruit, Potatoes & Oil, Bakery/Baked Goods, Beverages and Liquids Products, and she is the direct McDonald’s U.S. quality lead for Logistics and U.S. Food Evolution (link to Scale for Good Commitment to Families). Amy and her team establish supply chain requirements, manage performance and build strategies for continuous quality and food safety improvement.
Amy has worked in the quality assurance field over 20 years. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Amy served in multiple corporate Quality Assurance positions for companies such as Custom Industries (now Kerry Ingredients), a maker of confectionery products, and before that, with Aurora Foods, Inc., a retail food manufacturing company covering multiple food product categories.
Amy earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has completed a number of professional training and certification programs, including Hazard and Critical Control Point (HACCP), Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC), Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), Allergen Awareness, Food Security Implementation and Regulatory Compliance.
Amy is also a recipient of the prestigious McDonald’s President’s Award, an award that recognizes the outstanding achievements of the top 1% of global McDonald’s staff employees in addition to several Circle of Excellence and other individual and team awards.
Vijay Krishna is the VP of Food Safety and Quality at Sargento Foods Inc. He is responsible for the strategic leadership and management of the Food Safety and Quality function and leads the organization in the areas of risk management related to food safety, quality systems, and regulatory compliance. Prior to joining Sargento, Vijay most recently held the position of Quality Director at Kerry Group, where he provided strategic and tactical support for continuous improvement of multi-site manufacturing facilities. He brings more than 20 years of experience in Food Safety and Quality Systems and has previously held leadership roles at Kahiki Foods, Gourmet Kitchens and IMI Cornelius. Vijay earned his Bachelors of Dairy Technology from Gujarat Agricultural University, India and a Masters in Food Science and Technology from The Ohio State University, OH.
Barb Masters is the Vice-President for Regulatory Policy, Food and Agriculture at Tyson Foods. She will provide regulatory vision and support across the business enterprise at Tyson Foods.
She came to Tyson from Keystone Foods where she served as the Global Vice President for Food Safety and Quality. Barb is a lead instructor for the Human Preventive Controls Rule.
Prior to joining Keystone Foods, she was a Senior Policy Advisor OFW Law. Before joining the firm, Dr. Masters spent 17 years at the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Dr. Masters held a variety of positions throughout the Agency, both in the field and at headquarters – including serving as an in-plant inspector and the Administrator for the Agency.
Dr. Masters graduated from Mississippi State University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, and served in a Food Animal Internship at Kansas State University. She continued to further her education by taking advanced coursework in biotechnology at Texas A&M University.
James. E. Rogers, Ph.D. is the Director of Food Safety Research and Testing at Consumer Reports. He is responsible for leading the food safety and sustainability operations of the organization, including food testing, data analysis, and risk and safety assessments for various foods. Prior to joining Consumer Reports, Dr. Rogers held various positions at the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. This includes serving as the Designated Federal Official for the National Advisory Committee for the Microbiological Criteria for Foods, the Director for Baseline Studies and as Senior Advisory for Food Safety and Nutrition for the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist.
Dr. Rogers received his Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology from Ohio University in 1981, his Masters in Microbiology from Miami (Ohio) University in 1983, and his Doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Michigan in 1993.
John Budin is the Vice President of Product Safety and Quality at FONA International. John obtained his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science from the University of Minnesota. He started his career in 1996 on the faculty in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Enology at Fresno State University. In 1998, he began work with Quest International in their flavor division at Hoffman Estates, IL and later became the Manager of Analytical Sciences. In 1996 Quest was acquired by Givaudan where he his role was as Technical Manager. In May 2009, John joined Merieux NutriSciences (Silliker) as their Corporate Director of Chemistry, where he was responsible for the technical integrity of chemistry testing in North and South America. In October 2014 John joined FONA International. Over the past 20 plus years John has performed the chemical and instrumental analyses of food from a wide variety of matrixes.
John is currently the Past-Chair of the Technical Division of Reference Materials of the AOAC. He has served as a member of the Executive Advisory Board to the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota and on the organizing committee of the North American Chemical Residue Workshop. He has served as a lecturer for short courses and workshops offered at the University of Minnesota, IFT and AOAC. Currently John is a food chemistry, food analysis and food quality lecturer for IFT’s Certified Food Science Prep Short Course. He has received training from the Food Safety Preventative Control Alliance in their curriculum “Preventative Controls for Human Food”.
John is currently serving as the treasurer of the Chicago Section IFT and the Chicagoland Food Science Foundation. He has also served on Chicago Section IFT as: Chairman, Hospitality Committee, Supplier’s Day Committee, Chair of Minute Man Committee, Chair of Tanner Lecture Committee and Chair of the Scholarship Committee.
Spir is currently serving as Vice President, Food Safety, Quality and Technical Services for processed meats, further processed poultry, fresh poultry, fresh pork at Maple Leaf Foods (MLF). As overall leader of this function Spir is accountable for the strategic direction to deliver on MLF’s Food Safety & Quality (FS&Q) strategy, Food Safety Promise, Quality Vision, day-to-day operations of the FS&Q Management Systems and Microbiology and Chemistry labs that service all MLF’s plants.
Spir began her professional career at Unilever Canada, one of the world’s largest CPG company. She progressed through various roles that included food scientist, sales representative, brand manager, innovation manager, R&D/QA manager, Canada and customer activation manager, North America. During this time, Spir achieved two prestigious Global Innovation Awards for innovative concepts and successful execution. Throughout this time her efforts on the commercial side of the business enhanced her appreciation of the importance of innovation, and customer-centric focus.
In 2004, Spir joined Maple Leaf Foods as Director FS&Q for the poultry division. During this time, Spir was awarded the President’s Award. In 2007, she moved into Six Sigma. During her tenure in Six Sigma, she was responsible for critical projects within marketing and food safety. In 2013, Spir moved into the Director, FS&Q systems role where she took over leadership and execution of the company’s quality strategy, performance metrics, FS&Q Pillar of the Operational Excellence System, complaint management, and control of the FS&Q Management System.
RM Karr engages in prevention and collaboration as the Director of Food Safety & Quality Assurance at Clif Bar & Company. In partnership with operations, he led a step-change advancement with how food safety risk is measured, monitored, and mitigated within the supply chain at Clif. After 20 years in the food industry, RM recognizes real prevention comes from keeping the big picture visible and aligning goals among stakeholders.
In addition to an MBA from Santa Clara University, RM is a certified Master Brewer from the Institute of Brewing and holds a BS in Fermentation Science from the University of California at Davis. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife and two kids.
Hugo Andres Gutierrez is the Global Food Safety and Quality Officer for Kerry. In this position, Gutierrez is responsible for developing and executing a long-term strategy to transform quality, food safety, and employee safety systems into world class. In his previous position as Vice President of Quality and Regulatory at Hershey Corporation, he provide leadership to Hershey’s global Food Quality, Regulatory and Food Safety programs in addition to implementing 6 Sigma programs and a Supply Chain Learning and Development team for the Company.
Gutierrez has 25 years of experience in leading global, virtual and multi-cultural quality, food safety and regulatory teams.
Gutierrez has also served as Director of International Quality and Regulatory Operations (QRO) for General Mills. In this position, he was responsible for working with regional and international functional leaders to enhance Food Safety Culture, quality systems, and Food Safety programs. Gutierrez worked to strengthen the quality organization by developing leaders that could support the technical area while connecting with the business side of the company around the world. His career with General Mills also included positions of Director, QRO for the Yoplait Division and Technical Development Director for Latin America and South Africa.
Prior to General Mills, Gutierrez held QA-related positions with Cadbury Schweppes USA, Pfizer in Canada and Adams (Warner Lambert) in Colombia.
Gutierrez holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Javeriana University and an MBA from Icesi University, both in his home country of Colombia. He speaks fluent Spanish, French, English and basic Portuguese.
Gutierrez and his family currently reside in Fontana, Wisconsin.
Sharon Lindan Mayl has been with FDA for more than 25 years and currently serves as Senior Advisor for Policy in the Office of Food Policy and Response. In this position, she oversees and manages significant policy initiatives in the foods area. Among other issues, Ms. Mayl is the implementation lead for FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative. She also represents the foods program on issues related to cannabis and co-chairs the Marijuana Working Group at FDA. Previously, she co-led the team that developed and implemented the FSMA import rules and guidance documents, including those related to the Foreign Supplier Verification Program, Voluntary Qualified Import Program, and Accredited Third-Party Certification Program. Ms. Mayl is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School.
Raymond has been at Prinova USA for 4 years and he has been in the food industry for a total of 11 years. He is responsible for the roles of Quality Assurance and Food Safety in North America, Quality Control – Flavors (Sensory), Regulatory Compliance and Leads a Global Quality Council. Prior to Prinova USA, he worked at Flavor Focus, LLC where he developed flavors and managed QA, QC, food safety and regulatory for the manufacturing of flavors. He currently holds certificates for HACCP, PCQI, Advanced SQF Practitioner and Yellow Belt for continuous improvement. He earned his Bachelor Degree of Science at Aurora University. He is currently earning a EMBA from Loyola University – Chicago.
Taylor Harlin is the Learning and Development Change Coach for Johnsonville Sausage. In this role, he and his team lead technical training for operations. With 10 years at the organization in roles ranging from Operations to Organizational Development and Learning, Taylor has a unique understanding of the role documentation plays in food production. Documentation is a critical part of most training programs, but it hasn’t been built for success, Taylor and his team have taken a different approach. By combining change management and documentation practices, Taylor’s team delivers meaningful training results across all areas of Johnsonville’s operations.
In her role as Senior Director of Quality Systems with oversight to quality programs and quality control laboratory operations, Catherine Davidson and team are working to transform the Food Safety and Quality programs within the largest dairy cooperative in North America (NA). Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) has a diversified portfolio of dairy processing platforms, from aseptic systems and bulk fluid shipments to specialized dairy powders and ingredients. Owned and operated by over 13,000 farm families, DFA operates over 50 manufacturing facilities and multiple offices across the country and supplies dairy ingredients to the global markets.
Catherine has worked in food industry, food safety and quality for more than 20 years, and prior to joining DFA served as the Regional Director of Food Safety and Quality Control for Kerry NA. Subsequent to her work at Kerry, Catherine has held several positions in quality assurance and laboratory management with Bel-Kaukauna Cheese (now BelBrands), Balchem, Michael Foods, and Merieux NutriSciences.
Catherine received a Master of Science in Animal Science food microbiology and holds two bachelor’s degrees in Animal Science Biotechnology and Animal Science Food Science from Oklahoma State University (OSU). While completing her thesis work, she joined the Oklahoma Food & Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center at OSU, working in foodborne pathogen research focusing on Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes interventions.
Catherine is a passionate servant leader, whose success has been grounded in the development of others; building solutions to support manufacturing quality and operations, she has led the implementation of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) solution for over 50 manufacturing laboratories in NA, partnered with RD&A to develop a Food Safety Flow Chart to support Food Safety By Design, developed an award-winning global e-learning module on environmental monitoring swabbing technique and designed a risk-based pathogen monitoring assessment tool.
Gina came to the food industry approximately 15 years ago holding various Food Safety and Quality Roles from Corporate Microbiologist to Quality Management roles. Her educational background in Food Microbiology/ Genetics and Forensic Microbiology gives her numerous tools to help her succeed in the career path that she has chosen. Gina also brings a rather unique skill set to her position as a former Criminologist/ Profiler. Gina also has extensive background in Food Defense and some consider her a sanitation specialist. Gina is a Six-Sigma/ LEAN Green Belt, and is currently working towards a black belt.
Paul Damaren joined Perry Johnson Registrars Food Safety Inc. “PJRFSI” in January 2020. Paul Damaren has over 35 years’ experience in the hospitality, service and retail agri-food sectors.
Prior to joining PJRFSI, Damaren worked for 16 years in the certification industry working with clients for their food safety, supply chain, health & wellness, brand protection, quality, environmental, health & safety, GMP, automotive, aerospace, medical and information technology requirements.
Before working in the Certification industry, Damaren was a professional Chef/consultant for 20+ years working in major hotel chains, restaurants, private golf courses and food service organizations such as Aramark. Further, Damaren was a member of the National Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks (C.F.C.C.) for 14 years, member of the Region of Waterloo Culinary Association (R.W.C.A.) for 14 years, President of R.W.C.A. (Region of Waterloo Culinary Association) for 3 years, special Events chairman – R.W.C.A. – 1998 – 2000 and National Culinary Ambassador to Russia for 5 years.
The Food Safety & Supply Chain team at PJRFSI are responsible for the commercial channels in North America and continuing to build and develop the PJRFSI brand through our multiple service offerings. Damaren and his team, work with global food processors, retailers, manufacturers, restaurant chains and hospitality groups who have a corporate head office in the Americas or wish to be managed from the Americas.
Primarily the team works with clients who require or are mandated to comply with Global Food Safety standards including 3rd party accredited GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative), 2nd party audit programs such as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), GDP (Good Distribution Practices) or HACCP assessments and our full suite of training and services. The team also works with many clients on their own specific 1st Party audit schemes.
Wendy Maduff is the Vice President of Corporate Food Safety and Quality at The Wonderful Company, a position she has held since October 2016; she is responsible for food safety and quality systems, corporate incident management team, and centralizing functions of the four separate business units. While at Subway for almost three years, she oversaw all food safety, regulatory, food traceability and quality assurance of the food products throughout Subway’s nearly 44,900 stores in 112 countries. From 2009 through 2012, Dr. Maduff was a Principal Microbiologist with ConAgra Foods. In her earlier career, Dr. Maduff was the Director of Technical Services and Manager of Technical Services for Food Safety Net Services from. She received a Bachelors degree in Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a Masters degree from Clemson University and a Doctorate degree from the University of California, Davis.
As Chief Product Officer and Director of Marketing at CMX, Jim directs and oversees strategy for all software products. His responsibilities include driving product direction, positioning, and marketing. Jim’s 20+ years experience in working with and solving the business needs of many of the world’s leading food, consumer, retail, and financial services organizations, allows him to bring valuable insight in the user-centric design, architecture, construction, and delivery of CMX’s solutions.
In his career, Peter has focused on differentiating brands, creating new products and services. He has launched over 20 new products and services in numerous market segments including B2C and B2B. Peter gained pest management experience when he joined Orkin Pest Control as the Sr. Director of Strategy and Innovation and has been with Bayer since 2011. Leveraging his passion and experience, Peter is one of the cofounders of the digital pest management business at Bayer. The team launched the Bayer Rodent Monitoring System in 2017.
Central Life Sciences, whose founders invented insect growth regulator (IGR) technology more than 30 years ago, has Mel Whitson on the company’s technical services team.
As a graduate of the University of Florida (Gainesville) Urban Entomology Program, Whitson has a long history in the professional pest control industry. He joined Central Life Sciences from the pest control industry where he held various positions that ranged from service technician to technical manager and general manager of sales and service.
In October 2002, Mel joined the Zoecon sales team as the regional manager serving Florida and the Caribbean. His track record of achieving sales targets earned him the distinguished “Salesperson of the Year Award” on three different occasions during his sales tenure. He is the groups only three-time award winner.
In 2014, Mel took a new position as the Senior Field Technical Services Manager for Central Life Sciences’ vector, professional pest management and wastewater treatment markets.
Mel has played a key role in developing and implementing key strategies for the PCO market and worked with Zoëcon Professional Products Division management in the development, field testing, and marketing of new products for the vector control and pest control markets for the past 17 years.
Supports development and implementation of client’s food safety programs, training, and regulatory compliance.
Over 20 years of experience in the food industry, working within manufacturing, CPG brands, and retail. Her background in Food Science and professional skills allowed her to become a lead trainer and consultant for FSMA and GFSI schemes.
She is valued for providing best practices and real-world examples to each training session and consulting project she undertakes to exceed client’s expectations.
Her passion is to improve the food & beverage industry using a combined approach of risk-based management techniques and technical knowledge.