Stephen Ostroff, MD
Deputy Commissioner for Foods & Veterinary Medicine
Stephen Ostroff, M.D., is the Food and Drug Administration's Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine.Ostroff oversees the food and animal health activities of FDA, including the agency’s responsibilities in the areas of food safety and nutrition, food labeling, food and color additives, cosmetics, dietary supplements, animal drugs and animal feed, and research to support the food and veterinary medicine mission of FDA. As deputy commissioner, he provides leadership and direction to FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the foods-related programs of FDA’s inspection and compliance arm, the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA). His responsibilities include leading the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011.
Rick Biros
Conference Director / Publisher & President
Food Safety Consortium / Food Safety Tech
Rick Biros has more than 25 years of B2B publishing experience. Early in his career he worked on Food Processing and then Food Engineering magazines in a sales and then management role. He was the founder and a principal in Carpe Diem Communications where he developed and launched Food Quality magazine, The Food Quality Award and The Food Quality Conference & Expo as well as Pharmaceutical Formulation & Quality and Contamination Control magazines. Under his direction, Food Quality and Pharmaceutical Formulation & Quality received editorial excellence awards from The American Society of Business Publication Editors. In 2007, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. acquired Carpe Diem. Biros continues his entrepreneurial interests with the formation of Innovative Publishing Co. and the launch of MedTech Intelligence in 2009; Food Safety Tech in 2012 and the Cannabis Industry Journal in 2016. Innovative Publishing is also a conference producer of six med tech conferences, three food safety conferences and two cannabis industry conferences.
Tim Ahn
Senior Technical Manager – Food Safety
As senior manager food safety at LRQA, Tim Ahn is responsible for the technical development of food safety assessment schemes, in addition to performing FSSC 22000, ISO 9001, and second-party assessments. Prior to joining LRQA, Ahn worked for Mars, Inc. for more than 25 years, where he was the director of quality and food safety for the Mars Global Chocolate Business. In this role Ahn was responsible for food safety, quality assurance, regulatory compliance, and technical services for the global chocolate business of Mars, Inc. He has a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and is an IRCA certified Food Safety Management System auditor.
Rance Baker
Program Administrator, Entrepreneurial Zone
National Environmental Health Association
Rance Baker is Program Administrator at the National Environmental Health Association with headquarters in Denver, CO. He oversees of the Entrepreneurial Zone for NEHA, and leads the teams in researching, developing and delivering education and training in food safety and other environmental health areas.
Before coming to NEHA, Rance spent over 30 years in the retail food arena. His background in corporate management and ownership in both the restaurant and grocery sectors gives him a strong understand of food and food safety needs from both the industry and regulatory points of view.
Rance is a Principle Investigator for FDA cooperative agreements, an active member of the Conference for Food Protection, sits on the Partnership for Food Protection Training and Credentialing Committee, and is a member of the ANSI Credentialing Body Advisory Council.
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Brita Ball, Ph.D.
Brita Ball & Associates
Dr. Brita Ball helps organizations improve their food safety and organizational performance. She is a food safety professional and accomplished coach, trainer and facilitator of change. She has worked across the food sector and has extensive experience in leadership and organization development. Brita holds a Ph.D. in food science, focusing on food safety culture, an MSc in adult learning and leadership, and certifications in talent development and professional business coaching. She is principal at her own firm and volunteers as Chair of the Food Safety Education subcommittee for the International Association for Food Protection.
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Janet Balson
Sr. Food Safety Consultant
US Pharmacopeial Convention
Janet Balson has more than 15 years’ experience in food ingredient manufacturing, quality, food safety and regulations. She received her B.A. in biology and biochemistry from Beloit College. Balson has a certificate in International Food Law from Michigan State and is working on her master of science in food safety. She formerly served as president of the Enzyme Technical Association, vice chair of the International Food Additive Council and chair of the Natural Color committee of the International Association of Color Manufacturers. Balson is a professional member of the Institute of Food Technologists, a Preventive Control Qualified Individual, and served as a former member of the Food Ingredients Expert Committee of the Food Chemical Codex before joining the US Pharmacopeial Convention as a senior food safety consultant in 2016.
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Kamyar Bayat
Kamyar Bayat has multinational leadership experience as a change agent, operations champion and process innovator in delivering maximum efficiencies, optimizing business processes and driving revenue growth in fast-paced, global CPG market spaces. Bayat is widely recognized for his experience in operations management, supply chain, distribution strategies, cost controls and organizational streamlining in consumer-facing industry sectors. He has served as a results-driven project manager, process advocate and cross-discipline decision-maker in generating sustainable revenue expansion, coordinating program implementation and continually streamlining matrixed organizations. Other areas of expertise include large-scale internal consulting projects encompassing process improvements, cost reductions, inventory tracking, procedural development and divisional support in multiple territories.
Peter Begg
Vice President, Quality and Food Safety
Glanbia Nutritionals
Peter Begg is currently Vice President, Quality and Food Safety for Glanbia Nutritionals. He oversees all aspects of quality and food safety across the company including risk management, regulatory and food safety conformity and product compliance for the business. Glanbia Nutritionals provides nutritional and functional ingredient solutions for use in the food and beverage industry.

Prior to Glanbia, Peter was Sr. Director of Global Supply Chain Quality for Mondelēz International. His responsibilities included Auditing, Supplier Quality, Sanitation and Hygienic Design, Lean Six Sigma for Quality, Distribution and Warehouse Quality, Policy and Training, and Quality Systems. Before that, Peter was the Director of Quality for Kraft Foods Europe from 2008-2011 and Director of Research, Development and Quality for the Kraft Foodservice (Away from Home) business in North America from 2005-2008.

Throughout his 23-year career, Peter has worked in a variety of business roles including Engineering, R&D and Quality. Peter also represented Mondelēz International on the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) board of directors from 2012-2017. Peter completed his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1994.
Neil Bogart
Red Diamond
Neil Bogart has been with Red Diamond since 2011, where he has consistently maintained a Level 3 SQF Certification. He is the 2016 Past President of the Alabama Association for Food Protection (AAFP), the 2016 - 2017 International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Executive Board - Affiliate Council Chairperson and AAFP’s affiliate delegate to IAFP. Prior to Red Diamond, Neil worked as a Food Safety Consultant, specializing in food safety program development, HACCP, training, sanitation systems and development. Before consulting, Neil was a certified chef and owned a catering business. He holds a Food Science degree from Mississippi State University.
Scott W. Brooks
River Run Consulting, LLC
Dr. Scott Brooks is the owner of River Run Consulting, LLC, providing food safety, quality, scientific and regulatory affairs services for food and beverage companies in manufacturing, food service and retail. He is the former Senior Vice President, Quality, Food Safety, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for Kraft Foods. Scott joined Kraft from PepsiCo, where he held the position of Vice President Global Food Safety, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, and Quality Policy. He joined PepsiCo from Yum! Brands where he was Director of Global Food Safety and Quality Assurance. Scott also held senior quality, food safety and regulatory positions at Food Safety Net Services and at E&J Gallo. He started his career in Food Safety and Quality with the US Air Force as a Public Health Officer and Director of Air Force Food Safety Programs.
Scott has a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University, as well as a Master’s degree in Food Science/Microbiology and a Master’s degree in Preventive Veterinary Medicine/Epidemiology, both from the University of California-Davis. He has served on numerous scientific boards and food industry advisory committees and was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. Scott is Board Certified in Veterinary Preventive Medicine and is currently the Past President of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine where he influences national farm-to-table food safety policy and systems with colleagues from government, academia and industry.
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Mark Byrne
President & Chief Executive Officer
Mark is an experienced C-level executive and entrepreneur. After a successful career in medical device industry with Battelle and Johnson & Johnson, he started a successful consulting business serving the new business development and company management needs of life science clients. He has been CEO/COO at several startups including CardioEnergetics, JointVue, Arteriovations, Medical Ingenuities, Epico, and AssureRx Health. Mark holds BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Dayton and The Ohio State University
Lynn Buck
SQF Practitioner
Safefood 360(0)
Lynn Buck has worked within the quality control realm for more than a decade over multiple roles in the pharmaceutical, printing, plastics, and food production industries. Lynn’s extensive experience in developing safety and ISO-based programs at previous employers made her the first choice for SQF Practitioner at Mother Murphy’s Laboratories when they decided to move forward with GFSI Certification. Since beginning the SQF Program, Lynn has lead the company from the ground up in developing and maintaining the food safety systems, staying on top of the ever-changing food regulations, and most recently receiving the honor of SQF Practitioner of the Year in 2016.
Karen Carr
Arent Fox, LLP
Karen Carr is a partner at Arent Fox where she practices in the areas of biotechnology, food, and agriculture. She represents members of the regulated community in litigation and through regulatory and product counseling on issues related to food safety, advertising and labeling, testing and reporting, and data use. Karen also works closely with industry associations on coordination of industry regulatory strategy and on federal and state legislative issues.
LeAnn Chuboff
Vice President of Technical Affairs
SQFI at Food Marketing Institute
LeAnn Chuboff, Vice President of Technical Affairs, SQFI at Food Marketing Institute. LeAnn has over 25 years of food service experience specializing in supply chain food safety and quality assurance. Currently, LeAnn is the Senior Technical Director for the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute responsible for the technical elements of the SQF program including the development, maintenance and technical support of the SQF code and supporting materials. Prior to working at the SQF Institute, LeAnn worked for the National Restaurant Association Solutions as the Director of Science and Regulatory Relations. In this
role, she was responsible for the technical accuracy of the ServSafe food safety program and developed program and services on food safety and food defense to fit with all segments of the restaurant industry. LeAnn has also worked for Long John Silver and Boston Market in corporate quality assurance, where she developed food safety and vendor approval programs. LeAnn graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science.
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Peter Claise
Marketing Director, Foods Program
Peter Claise is the marketing director for the foods program in the strategic marketing and program operations group at the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) in Rockville, MD. He is responsible for developing and executing on a comprehensive marketing plan that addresses all aspects of USP Food Safety and Integrity Solutions including pricing, products and services, promotion and distribution. Claise joined USP in 2016 and has prior experience in technical support, sales and marketing in microbiology, molecular biology and analytical chemistry products and services serving various end markets including food, environmental, chemical materials, clinical diagnostics and pharmaceuticals. He has been responsible for defining, developing and maintaining strategic product roadmaps across global markets, launching new products and managing cross-functional teams. Claise received his B.S. in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University and his M.B.A from Northeastern University’s High Tech MBA Program.
Bryan Cohn
Vice President of Operations
Seal the Seasons
Bryan Cohn, Vice President of Operations, is a North Carolina native who is enthusiastic about agriculture, food, and business. Bryan joined Seal the Seasons with more than ten years of experience in large scale food-services and operations management. Bryan began his career in 2005 with Frankies of Raleigh as Operations Manager. He quickly rose through the ranks becoming the General Manager of one the largest family entertainment facilities in the United States. In 2010 Bryan went on to join the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the largest zoological park in North America in both acreage and attendance. Holding the position of Revenue Department Manager, Bryan's primary focus was managing the day-to-day operations of the Food and Beverage Department which was tasked with feeding 2.5 million guests each year. In late 2011 Bryan was recruited by Couche-Tard one of the largest company-owned convenience store operators in the world with more than 12,000 stores across Canada, the United States, Europe, Mexico, Japan, China, and Indonesia to manage the training and development for food safety and new initiatives for the eastern United States. Bryan attended North Carolina State University, studying Agricultural Management and Economics.
Since joining Seal the Seasons Bryan has been instrumental in the development of critical infrastructure such as farmer supply chain, food safety & traceability standards. Additionally, Bryan has worked diligently to expand Seal the Seasons reach throughout the southeast by establishing co-packers, farmer networks and additional infrastructure in Florida and Georgia.
Stacie DeBenedictis
Special Projects Manager
Stacie DeBenedictis is a Special Projects Manager for Food Safety Tech, and works directly with clients to fulfill their advertising deliverables. Prior to working for FST, Stacie worked for 10 years at SAI Global as a Marketing Manager, and then ran her on Marketing Consulting Company for several years after that. Stacie specializes in project management, as well as marketing initiatives such as marketing strategy development, oversight of tactical marketing initiatives and overall brand development.
Darin Detwiler
Director: Regulatory Affairs of Food and Food Industry
Northeastern University
Darin Detwiler, M.A.Ed., DLP is the director: regulatory affairs of food and food industry, assistant teaching professor in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University. Prior to this role, he was the senior policy coordinator for food safety at STOP Foodborne Illness, (a national non-profit public health organization dedicated to the prevention of illness and death from foodborne illness.). Detwiler has spent two decades working in the support and reform of food policy. Four different secretaries of agriculture have recognized Detwiler for his efforts in the USDA’s Pathogen Reduction Program. From 2004–2007, he served on the USDA’s National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. He is also an FDA-certified food science educator whose work can be found on television, radio and in industry journals and newspapers, including the New York Times. Detwiler is a former high school teacher and adjunct professor of science and history, as well a navy veteran.
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Kevin Devine
Expert Consultant
AlterEcho INC
Veteran consumer food products industry manager and research engineer Kevin Devine is with the consulting firm AlterEcho, helping lead the company’s consumer packaged goods practice.

Devine spent more than 20 years in increasing engineering and management roles for multiple Kraft Heinz Co. brands such as Maxwell House and Crystal Light before joining AlterEcho. He previously served as a process development and quality engineer with Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc. Devine received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from Manhattan College.

Devine and the AlterEcho Team assist clients with establishing and analyzing systems and processes to meet growing regulatory demands, concentrating on environmental management, risk assessment, quality assurance, auditing and workplace safety and health.
Chris Domenico
Territory Manager for North America
Safefood 360(0)
Chris Domenico is the Territory Manager for North America with Safefood 360°. Before joining Safefood 360° Chris worked in quality and food safety management roles for some of America's leading food companies - including Heinz and Seneca Foods. Today Chris is helping Safefood 360° customers better understand their business needs and implement Safefood 360° in the best possible way.
Karen Everstine, PhD
Scientific Liaison, Food Programs
US Pharmacopeial Convention
Karen is a Scientific Liaison with the Foods Program at United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). She joined USP in 2015 to advance the development of food fraud mitigation tools and resources, including serving as the technical lead for the re-design and expansion of USP’s Food Fraud Database. Karen is the lead Scientific Liaison for two USP Expert Panels focused on food fraud. In her previous work, Karen led federally-funded food fraud research projects at research center based at the University of Minnesota. She began her food safety career as a foodborne disease epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health.
Shelley Feist
Executive Director
Partnership for Food Safety Education
Shelley Feist is executive director of the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education. At the Partnership she has focused on delivery of evidence-based food safety information to consumers, on developing networks of health and food safety educators, and on organizational development and effectiveness. Prior to joining the Partnership, Feist was with the Pew Charitable Trusts. She has worked for two U.S Senators, focusing on appropriations and domestic policy.
Randy Fields
Chairman & CEO
Park City Group/ReposiTrak
Randy Fields’ career reflects his strong entrepreneurial skills and passion for learning and building. He moved from establishing a financial and economic consulting firm to co-founding Mrs. Fields Cookies with Debbi Fields in the 1970s, to creating Park City Group in 1990.

Today, Randy continues to define the strategic direction of Park City Group. His most recent innovation is ReposiTrak®, Inc., an internet-based solution that helps retailers and suppliers manage regulatory, financial and brand risk associated with issues of food safety in the global supply chain.

Randy received his B.A. magna cum laude and M.A. from Stanford University.
Reinaldo B. Figueiredo
Sr. Program Director
American National Standards Institute
At ANSI, Mr. Figueiredo is responsible for coordinating and supporting ANSI implementation of MOUs with Government agencies (e.g., US EPA ENERGY STAR) and private sector owners (most recently, International Halal Accreditation Forum) as well as MRAs with international and regional entities. He especially enjoys forging new partnerships in order to share the advantages and value that conformity assessment offers. At ANSI, he has implemented and managed accreditation programs that include on the one hand, program activities of 3rd party-accredited product certification bodies and on the other hand, scheme-specific programs (e.g., formaldehyde, forestry, food safety, health information technology, telecommunications, water quality).

Reinaldo B. Figueiredo holds a degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University Vale do Rio Doce, Minas Gerais in Brazil and has specialized in Economic Engineering from the University of Rio de Janeiro State , Brazil.
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Simon Flanagan
Technical Consultant
Reading Scientific Services, Ltd.
Simon Flanagan is an internationally acclaimed technical consultant who specializes in the field of food allergens. Flanagan is a biochemist by training who has worked in numerous of sectors of the food industry before joining Reading Scientific Services 14 years ago. He is affiliated with numerous professional bodies, industry groups and technical committees (ILSI Europe, FDF, BRC, EFSA, FSA) and has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and a reference book: The Handbook of Food Allergen Detection and Control. Flanagan was the first to develop a methodology for quantitative allergen risk assessment, which was adopted by Food and Drink Europe in their 2013 allergen management standard.
Michael Flot
Director, Food Safety & Quality
Graduated from Colorado State University with a BS in Microbiology. Worked at Coors Biotechnology (corn wet milling facility-HFCS/Starch), Colorado Sweet Gold (corn wet milling facility-HFCS-Non-GMO/Organic corn processing), Natures Bounty (Nutritional Supplements), Leprino (mozzarella), WhiteWave (soy and dairy liquid products), Fresca Foods (ready to eat snacks) and Claremont Foods (ready to eat snacks). Expertise with food safety, quality, employee safety, sanitation, FSMA PCQI, Process Authority certified, SQF Practitioner. Perform external audits at suppliers for packaging and raw materials/ingredients. Audit 3rd party laboratories.
Maria Fontanazza
Food Safety Tech
Maria has more than a decade of experience in journalism, marketing, and communications within the publishing, conferences and medical device industry. She has authored more than 250 articles that have appeared in domestic and international industry publications and has moderated educational sessions and panel discussions at industry events. Maria joins Innovative Publishing from Secant Medical, Inc., where she was the Marketing Communications Manager and Market Research Manager. Maria has a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications with a concentration in New Media and Visual Design, and a Minor in Fine Arts, from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT.
Elise Forward
President and Principal Consultant
Forward Food Solutions
Elise Forward is the president and principal consultant for Forward Food Solutions, LLC. She has more than 15 years of food safety, quality, and regulatory experience in both the international and domestic food markets. She has worked in laboratory and production settings, and has more than 10 years’ experience managing the food safety programs of an international importer and distributor. She is a member of the International Association for Food Protection and the Institute of Food Technologists.
Michelle Harden
Messner Reeves Litigation
As a partner and member of Messner Reeves Litigation, Crisis Management, and Health Law Practice Groups, Michelle Harden represents individuals and businesses, large and small, striving to identify common sense solutions for difficult problems. Having worked as a nurse prior to attending the University of Colorado Law School, Harden brings a unique perspective and expertise to her practice. She has an active litigation and trial practice, appearing in state, federal and administrative courts. She serves as a trusted advisor to many clients on a wide variety of topics and serves as outside counsel for several businesses, including a large publicly traded company that oversees litigation throughout the United States.
Jorge Hernandez
Chief Food Safety & Compliance Officer
Steak 'n Shake

Jorge Hernandez is the Chief Food Safety & Compliance Officer at Steak 'n Shake where he is responsible for the design and implementation of the food safety, quality assurance, regulatory compliance and sustainability programs.  Hernandez was previously Chief Food Safety Officer at Wholesome International and the senior vice president of food safety and quality assurance at US FOODS, vice president of food safety and risk management at the National Restaurant Association and regional supervisor at the Illinois Department of Public Health. Hernandez received a B.S. degree in biology from Rockford University, a degree in microbiology from the Centro de Estudios Medico-Biologicos in Mexico City, Mexico and a degree in languages and literature from Universite de la Sorbonne, Paris, France. He belongs to several national and international organizations and boards, including the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), STOP Foodborne Illness, Food Safety Tech and the Food Safety Consortium, the International Food Protection Institute (IFPTI), Food Safety Summit, QA Magazine and the ANSI Accreditation Committee.

Barbara Hulick
Senior Director of Food Safety
Produce Alliance
Barbara Hulick is an industry leader in the rapidly developing Food Safety Management arena. Barbara brings the added value of a hands-on understanding of the culinary/food service industry, having spent more than twenty years in the development, implementation, and management of food safety policies for the fresh produce industry. Barbara’s expertise in developing and implementing compliance plans deploying Food Safety Modernization Act and the ongoing rollout of its related regulations, all factor into her leading Produce Alliance’s Food Safety Management Department.
Barb Hunt
Director, QA & Food Safety
Savour Food Safety
Barb Hunt is the Director of QA & Food Safety at Savour Food Safety International, Inc. Ms. Hunt comes to Savour Food Safety International, Inc. with over 30 years of food safety experience. Early in her career, Barb worked in several food and water testing laboratories, as a technologist performing cultural techniques for indicator and pathogenic food and water-borne organisms. From 1995 to mid-2016 she was a member of Wendy’s International Quality Assurance team. During her time at Wendy’s, she conducted hundreds of food safety audits in Wendy’s and Baja Fresh restaurants. She also provided food safety education to company and franchisee operators.
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Jessica Jones
Supplier Quality & Safety
Jessica Jones, Sr. Specialist of the Supplier Quality & Safety team leads the Produce program for Chick-fil-A. Along side other teams, her team ensures 100+ Chick-fil-A Suppliers provide safe and accurate supply to our 2,220 restaurants with food safety, quality and service being the primary focus. In addition to safety, she is involved with brand protection. This increases Operator confidence, enabling growth and maintaining the overall Chick-fil-A Supply Chain network so that it remains relevant and capable of meeting the needs of Chick-fil-A’s growing business. Jessica lives in Newnan, GA . She attended Shorter University where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and secondary degree in Environmental Conservation Science.
Hank Karayan
Director, Global FSMA Program
Hank Karayan is director of the global FSMA program at SGS. He joined the company in 2011 as international solutions manager, then director. Karayan started his career as a food safety consultant and trainer. Prior to joining SGS, he had held various managerial positions within the certification sector. He was a member of the ISO 22000 technical committee and has led food safety programs and initiatives in North America and globally. With a bachelor of science in Biology and an MBA, Karayan brings together a wealth of international and local experience in food defense and food safety strategies.
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Donald Kautter
Sr. Advisor, Food Safety & Applied Nutrition
Don Kautter is a Senior Advisor in the Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in the US Food and Drug Administration. Don is the co-lead for implementation of the Intentional Adulteration FSMA regulation and a subject matter expert on juice HACCP, food defense, foodborne outbreaks, the human food FSMA regulations, preventive controls, and FDA food compliance activities. Don has held numerous positions within the FDA both in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Office of Regulatory Affairs dealing with food safety, food safety policy, and compliance and enforcement activities.
Don received his Master’s in Food Science at the University of Maryland and his undergraduate degree at George Mason University.
Barbara Kowalcyk
Assistant Professor
The Ohio State University
Barbara B. Kowalcyk is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology in The Ohio State University. Dr. Kowalcyk is a recognized expert in food safety and has broad experience and training in epidemiology, public health informatics, risk science, regulatory decision making, and public policy. For over 15 years, her efforts have focused on advancing a more systems-based approach to food safety that promotes evidence-based decision making from farm to fork to physician and considers the broader connectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. Dr. Kowalcyk has served on many national committees, including two National Academy of Sciences committees and her current appointments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Science Board and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Board of Scientific Counselors Food Safety Modernization Act Surveillance Working Group. In addition to her extensive experience in food safety, Dr. Kowalcyk has more than 10 years of experience as a biostatistician conducting clinical research and providing support to data safety monitoring boards in the pharmaceutical industry. She is also co-founder of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit dedicated to advancing a stronger, science-based food safety system that prevents foodborne disease and protects public health.
Gina (Nicholson) Kramer RS/REHS
Executive Director
Savour Food Safety International
Gina Nicholson-Kramer, RS/REHS is the chairwoman of the board of directors for STOP Foodborne Illness. She is also executive director of Savour Food Safety International™ where she specializes in assisting companies in developing long-term food safety culture and behavior change programs starting with the top to the front-line employee. She also specializes in internal and external food safety communication plans during times of crisis for food companies. She has developed a mentorship program for food safety professionals, coaching them on how to build a program that is a profit center not a cost center for their company. Nicholson-Kramer works with companies on new products and technologies from ideation to commercialization that focus on “improving food safety one great idea at a time”. She was previously the global director of retail food services for NSF International, overseeing NSF’s team of retail food safety experts for third-party auditing, consulting and technical services for major global retail brands such as Sodexo, HMS Host, T.G.I. Friday’s and Jack in the Box.
As an owner and operator of her own organic bakery, to manager of public health promotions and a registered sanitarian at the Columbus Public Health Department, to her role as senior manager of food safety & quality at The Kroger Co., Nicholson-Kramer has spread her knowledge and innovative approach of food safety to organizations both small and large. Her skill in food safety education, training and systems development has already helped other national retailer’s to build ambitious perishable food process improvement projects focused on food safety & quality and successfully establish a food safety culture that now permeates these organizations.
In addition to her current role as executive director, she is also an active member of several food safety committees, including The Ohio State University Environmental Health Sciences Advisory Board, STOP Foodborne Illness, and several committees with the Conference for Food Protection, the International Association for Food Protection (chair of the Retail Foodservice PDG) and the Food Safety Summit.
Nicholson-Kramer has presented at several state, national and international conferences on topics such as: Branding Your Food Safety Message; Selling Food Safety from the Top Down; Creating a Food Safety Culture within the Real World of Retail Foods; 5 Terrific Training Tools; Consumer Education – It Takes a Partnership; Be Food Safe Part
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Bridgette Kreuger
Director, Food Safety & Quality Assurance
Sokol and Company
Krueger has over 7 years’ experience in food safety, quality, microbiology, and sanitarian roles in the food industry. She currently oversees food safety, quality, and regulatory compliance at Sokol and Company, a privately owned family business that has been in the manufacturing industry for over 100 years in the Chicagoland area. Krueger holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Illinois State University and a Master’s of Science degree with a concentration in Molecular Virology from Purdue University.
John Kukoly
Director, Americas
John Kukoly is a senior member of the BRC Global Standards team, responsible for managing the BRC programs across North and South America. The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety and the BRC Global Standard for Packaging were the first global food safety standards to be benchmarked to the GFSI requirements, and Kukoly works closely with specifiers and users of the BRC suite of standards.
With more 20 years of technical management experience in the food industry, including a significant focus on BRC Standards within a global certification body, as well as quality and production positions with Kraft, ConAgra and Ecolab, Kukoly brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his role. He is an active member of both the GFSI and the Canadian Supply Chain Coalition Working Groups, developing food safety and auditor qualification programs for the industry.
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Hank Lambert
PURE Bioscience
With more than 35 years of consumer products and food industry experience, Hank Lambert is an accomplished executive with a broad management skillset. Joining PURE Bioscience in 2013, Lambert oversees strategic direction, planning and business development, go-to-market execution, business integration and investor relations.Having worked at companies such as Heublein Inc., RJ Reynolds, Nabisco, Inc. and Pinnacle Foods, Lambert has held a variety of business unit leadership positions servicing the foodservice and consumer food brands markets. From 2010 through June 2013, Lambert served as general manager of the global food and water business of Underwriters Laboratories, where he was responsible for the start-up of the company's food safety services business. From 2007 to 2010, Lambert served as senior vice president of business development, and then president, of Arrowstream Transportation, Inc., a provider of innovative supply chain management solutions to the foodservice industry, including key customers such as Wendy's, Applebee's, Arby's, TGIF, Sysco and DMA. Prior to 2007, Lambert held executive positions with a number of high-profile companies in the food and consumer products industries.
Lambert is involved with various food industry associations as both a member and board member, including the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), Institute of Food Technologists and Safe Supply of Affordable Food Everywhere (SSAFE). Lambert earned his MBA in finance from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, and his BA in economics (with honors) from Union College.
Natalia Larrimer
Business Development and Regulatory Affairs
Natalia Larrimer is responsible for developing and advancing accreditation programs with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB). Natalia’s primary responsibility is working with industry and client groups, international organizations and the U.S. government to develop sector-specific conformity assessment and accreditation programs and to promote the use of the international IAF-ILAC system and independent third-party accreditation programs.

Prior to joining ANAB in August 2014, Natalia spent more than ten years working with Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the Canadian multi-disciplinary accreditation body, where she started in the national and international standard development group. She then moved to accreditation services, where she managed accounts of global certification organizations within the voluntary and Canadian and U.S. regulatory frameworks. She is an experienced assessor and trainer for a number of accreditation standards.

Her portfolio includes work at the national level with standards-developing committees such as the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO Technical Committee 176 for ISO 9001 and the U.S. TAG to ISO Technical Committee 207 for ISO 14001. She also delivers educational sessions on sector-specific programs, accreditation, and international accreditation frameworks. In addition, Natalia has been involved in international organizations such as the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), and InterAmerican Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC).
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Ibi Layi-Ojo
Ibi Layi-Ojo is an assessment, psychometric and research expert with extensive experience working with licensure and certification organizations. Her specialty is in test development, professional competency measurement, and quantitative assessments. As a team lead on the Prometric Test Development Solutions team, Ibi works with the government and private sector clients to create effective food safety assessment programs as part of a preventative strategy. She is active in multiple examination oversight committees for food manager, food handler and HACCP examinations. As an experienced testing expert, she advocates for best-practice methodologies in creating reliable, secure, and legally-defensible exams that properly validate employee knowledge and help ensure both the public health and corporate long-term business success. Ibi holds a Master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Baltimore.
Sean Leighton
Vice President, Food Safety and Quality
Sean Leighton is currently Vice President of Food Safety & Quality for Cargill based in Wayzata, Minnesota. Prior to joining Cargill, Sean worked for over 13 years at The Coca-Cola Company in various roles across Quality, Food Safety and Environmental Sustainability, working in the US, Canada and Europe. Sean has a BS in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MS in Food Science from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Emory University.
Sean sits on the advisory board of many organizations including, but not limited to, IAFP’s Journal of Food Protection, The Center for Food Safety (UGA), GMA’s Science & Education Foundation and the Food Fraud Think Tank (MSU). In his spare time, Sean enjoys running, lifting weights, and spending time with his wife, Kelly, his 3-year old son Connor, and his 1-year old daughter, Parker.
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Scott Mahloch
Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator
FBI Chicago
Special Agent Scott Mahloch entered the FBI in 2008. Upon completion of new agents training at Quantico, Virginia, SA Mahloch was assigned to the Milwaukee Division’s Kenosha Resident Agency, working a variety of criminal and national security cases. SA Mahloch transferred to Chicago Division in 2012 and worked national security matters until his being named Chicago Division’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator in 2016. SA Mahloch also has experience as a member of the FBI’s Evidence Response Team and the Hazardous Evidence Response Team. Prior to the FBI, SA Mahloch served in the United States Navy, where he continued to serve today as a Navy Reservist.
William Marler
Managing Partner
Marler Clark LLP, PS
An accomplished personal injury lawyer and national expert in foodborne illness litigation, William Marler has been a major force in food safety policy in the United States and abroad. He and his partners at Marler Clark have represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused serious injury and death. His advocacy for better food regulation has led to invitations to address local, national, and international gatherings on food safety, including recent testimony to U.S. Congress Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Marler began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, handling the seriously injured survivors of the landmark Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Since then, he has represented victims of every large foodborne illness outbreak in the United States against such companies as Wholesale Club, Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, ConAgra, Dole, Excel, Golden Corral, KFC, Sheetz, Sizzler, Supervalu, and Wendy’s, securing more than $500 million for his clients.

In 2010, Marler was awarded the NSF Food Safety Leadership award for Education. He has the top rating from Martindale, is voted a Superlawyer every year, and has been voted into Best Lawyers in America. He received the Public Justice Award from the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, Outstanding Lawyer Award from his bar association, and has been in the Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys every year since 2002. Marler is the publisher of Food Safety News, and his award-winning blog, Marler Blog, is read by more than 1,000,000 people around the world every year. In 1998, he formed the not for profit Outbreak Inc; under its auspices, he spends much of the year speaking on how to prevent foodborne illnesses.
Douglas L. Marshall, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories Inc.
Douglas Marshall is chief scientific officer with Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories, Inc., a division of the global life sciences company Eurofins Scientific. He also is cofounder and director of the Food Safety Institute, LLC, an integrated consulting and analytical services company affiliated with Eurofins. He currently holds adjunct professor positions with Colorado State University and Florida State College. His former positions include associate dean and professor of public health at the College of Natural and Health Sciences, University of Northern Colorado; adjunct professor with the Colorado School of Public Health; professor of food science, nutrition, and health promotion at Mississippi State University; assistant professor of food science at Louisiana State University; contributing editor for the peer-reviewed scientific journal Food Microbiology, and four consecutive terms on the editorial board of the Journal of Food Protection. He is a frequent consultant to NIH, WHO, FAO, USDA and other government agencies and private companies. His research and expertise has been featured in popular press venues such as Consumer’s Reports, Fine Cooking, USA Today, Fitness, Health, Men’s Health, Chemtech, Nature Science Updates, and ASM Journal Highlights. Marshall is a frequently invited speaker and a prolific book chapter writer. With more than 250 publications and more than 150 invited presentations, his scientific research and outreach interests focus on improving the microbiological quality and safety of foods. Among these was the completion of the four-volume Handbook of Food Science, Technology, and Engineering, which he co-edited. He has been the recipient of a number of awards for his scholarly efforts including the Mississippi Chemical Corporation Award of Excellence for Outstanding Work and the International Association for Food Protection Educator Award. He is a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, where he has previously served as chair of two divisions and two regional sections, member of the board of directors, an Inaugural member and chair of the International Food Science Certification Commission, and a founding member of the Global Traceability Center.
Julie McGill
Director of Implementation
Food Logiq
Julie McGill is FoodLogiQ's Director of Implementation and Strategic Account Management. McGill previously worked at GS1 US for over 16 years on various teams including Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) implementation services and global account management. She also led the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative for over 7 years, working with manufacturers, distributors, operators and supply chain partners to increase efficiencies and build a foundation for traceability and supply chain visibility through the use of GS1 standards.
Ann Marie McNamara, Ph.D.
V.P. of Food and Essentials Safety and Quality
Target Corp.
Ann Marie McNamara, Ph.D. has advanced food safety as a leader working in government, manufacturing, consulting, research, food service and retail. She is currently the vice president of food and essentials safety and quality at Target Corp. where she leads the food safety and quality programs for more than 1800 stores. She was previously vice president of food safety and regulatory compliance for Jack in the Box, where she worked to ensure the safety of more than a million customers a day by creating and managing the leading food safety programs in the industry. She previously served as vice president of food safety and scientific affairs at Silliker, vice president of food safety and technology at Sara Lee, and director of microbiology at USDA FSIS, where she led investigations into the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak.

McNamara has developed corporate food safety programs that have been widely recognized for their excellence. She has authored more than 100 publications and given more than 100 scientific presentations. She has provided expert food safety advice to more than 100 businesses as a consultant. And as a regulator, she has played an influential role in developing food safety policy, including serving as co-author of the landmark Pathogen Reduction and HACCP Rule, Performance Standards for Meat and Poultry Products, FDA's Healthy People 2010, and President Clinton's Food Safety Initiative. She was as a member of an industry group that advised USDA FSIS on the Listeria testing requirements in RTE meat and poultry plants.

She has served on many professional and scientific committees including the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, CODEX Food Hygiene Committee, and the Conference for Food Protection, often serving as Chair. She was awarded the Secretary of Agriculture’s Superior Service Award five times and is the recipient of several professional awards such as the International Association for Food Protection’s Fellow Award, the National Council for Chain Restaurant’s Ambassador Award, Kansas State University’s Distinguished Service Award and Food Safety Magazine’s Distinguished Service Award.
Victor Muliyil
Food Technical Program Manager
SGS North America
Victor Muliyil is Food Technical Program Manager, SGS North America, is a lead trainer and audit manager for several human and animal food safety training and audit programs, including FSSC 22000, PRP/HACCP and second party Supplier Qualification Audits. He is the creator of the risk-focused, resource efficient Food Safety Program Optimization initiative. Victor holds degrees in biochemistry and microbiology, with over 30 years’ experience in food safety training, implementation and auditing.
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Tom Myers
Executive Vice President
PURE Bioscience
Tom Myers has over 40 years of food industry experience focusing on operations management, quality control and assurance, research and development, product and process development, plant design and construction, food safety and regulatory compliance. Prior to joining PURE Bioscience, Mr. Myers served as the President and Principal of Idaho Milk Products where he built a $105 million green field dairy proteins plant and launched a worldwide business with revenues in excess of $200 million annually.
Mr. Myers has also held executive management roles at Weider Nutrition International, Puritan Quartz Pharmaceuticals, FruitSource Associates and FruitSource Confections, Nancy’s Specialty Foods, Izaki Glico and Berkshire Hathaway Corporation (See’s Candies and See’s Candy Shops). Mr. Myers holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University Long Beach.
As EVP, Technical Support Services, Mr. Myers leads the implementation and application of PURE’s SDC technology in customer facilities through problem identification and solution development, custom protocol development and training.
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Melanie Neumann
President and Global Food Safety Attorney
Neumann Risk Services, LLC, (NRS)
Melanie Neumann, J.D., M.S. is the president and global food safety attorney of Neumann Risk Services, LLC (NRS). NRS provides regulatory, business and brand counsel to help the food and beverage industry manage these various risks. NRS is a holistic food safety risk management firm where food law, food safety, food science and brand reputation converge. With more than 18 years of experience advising food and beverage companies, Neumann leverages her years as an attorney along with her master’s degree in food safety to help clients understand the risks relating to food laws and regulatory compliance from compliance, operational and brand perspectives. This involves working with companies to interact with regulators in response to investigation findings, enforcement actions and recalls, FSMA compliance and other FDA and USDA regulations. Neumann also works with companies to identify risk-based strategies to manage supply chain risks through an enterprise risk management approach and helps clients tackle emerging food safety risks and regulatory changes in both the United States and international markets.
Neumann is active in the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), is a technical working group member of the GFSI Global Markets Program Strategy, as well as a member of the Scientific Organization Committee of The Sackler Institute of Nutrition Science of the New York Academy of Sciences. She is an avid runner, marathoner, triathlete and four-time Ironman finisher.
Debby Newslow
DL Newslow & Associates
Debby Newslow is the author of Food Safety Management Programs ¾ Applications, Best Practices and Compliance, published by CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group in 2013; The ISO 9000 Quality System: Applications in Food and Technology released by John Wiley & Sons Publishing in February 2001 and many published articles on food safety, management systems and related topics throughout her food science based career. Newslow has received several industry-specific awards with the most recent being the 2013 Food Safety Leadership Award for Training presented by NSF International at the Food Safety Summit. The entire D. L. Newslow & Associate Team not only focuses on presenting the best possible educational courses at company sites or their Orlando public training center (NRFSP corporate offices) but also on the development, implementation, and maintenance of effective and compliant (FSMS, GFSI-approved FS schemes, ISO, FSMA, etc.) food safety and quality management systems.
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Louise Newswanger
Quality Systems Manager
Savencia Cheese USA
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Gary Nowacki
Gary Nowacki is the CEO of TraceGains. Gary joined TraceGains in January 2008 after holding executive positions in Supply Chain Management, Quality, and ERP software solutions. TraceGains solutions are used by over 300 customer sites to insure that they are 365 Audit Ready™, automatically score-carding their suppliers, and being instantly notified of quality and regulatory non-compliances. Gary has 30 years’ experience designing and implementing advanced solutions for Food & Beverage, Nutraceuticals, and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs).
Palmer A. Orlandi, Ph.D. CAPT
Chief Science Officer and Research Director
U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Palmer received an AB in Chemistry from Lafayette College and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Kentucky. He joined the FDA in 1997 after his postdoctoral research training at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the National Institutes of Health. From 1997-2007 he lead a research lab at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition where he developed and deployed several rapid and molecular detection methods for three emerging food-and waterborne protozoan parasites, Cyclospora and Cryptosporidia and the Microsporidia. In 2008 he joined the Division of Field Science in the Office of Regulatory Affairs. In his role as a science coordinator he developed and oversaw collaborative analytical methods programs for the FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs and the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN). In February, 2012, he joined the FDA Office of Food and Veterinary Medicine as a senior science advisor to the chief scientist officer. In this capacity, Palmer serves to integrate science and research efforts across all elements of the FDA foods program; and, works to ensure alignment of research and laboratory programs to the needs of regulatory field labs as they support the evolving food safety mission of the FDA. He received a Commission as an officer in the US Army in 1981 and since 1991 has been an officer in the Commission Corps of the Public Health Service.
Arcchana T. Patel
Sr. Manager, Food Safety & Defense, QRC
the Hershey Company
Arcchana has her Masters in Science, Major in Microbiology from University of Pune, India. She has been working in the food industry over 17 years and has held various positions in two leading confectionery and snacks industries. She has vast experience in working in different geographical regions, being a change agent in multi-cultural working environments. In her current role she leads food defense and food fraud prevention programs for the Hershey Company, being part of the “food safety center of excellence” based out of Hershey PA. Her core expertise is long term strategic quality improvements, gap assessments, and implementation of GFSI standards.
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Tony Pavel
Mary Ann Platt
Executive Vice President
RQA, Inc.
Mary Ann brings forty years of experience to RQA, and acts as an expert senior consultant to RQA’s client base, focusing on crisis management and the recall process. She leads RQA Food Forensics™, a leading forensic contaminant investigation service, who was chosen as GMA’s partner lab for all product sample testing effective January, 2017. She consults on operational excellence and business continuity planning, FSMA regulatory requirements and their potential impact on client operations. She has authored numerous articles and is a frequent public speaker, including “Issue and Crisis Management in the Digital World” in SOCAP’s Customer Relationship Management Fall 2016 publication.

Prior to joining RQA, Inc., Ms. Platt held the position of Vice President, Manufacturing Operations for the Nutrition and Consumer Products division of Monsanto, with worldwide responsibility for manufacturing, quality assurance, procurement, logistics, and engineering for their food ingredient and consumer products businesses.
Marilyn Plunkett
Project Coordinator
Marilyn Plunkett is currently the Project Coordinator for the Chicago Department of Public Health Food Service Sanitation Program at Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. Additionally, she has earned instructor certification and is an authorized State of Illinois and City of Chicago Certified Food Service Sanitation Manager Instructor. She is also a Food Service Sanitation Manager Instructor for City Colleges of Chicago. Prior to her work as a Project Coordinator and Instructor Marilyn spent over 30 years in restaurant operations with Darden Inc. During her tenure she worked her way up from an hourly employee to the rank of General Manager where she was also responsible for training new managers. She earned her B.S. from University of Missouri-Columbia.
Aaron D. Peacock, PhD
Director, Molecular Biology
Microbac Laboratories
Dr. Peacock is an environmental scientist specializing in microbial ecology and serves as Microbac’s director of molecular biology. He works with food manufacturers on emerging applications using molecular methods to minimize brand risk - confirming ingredient safety and quality, ensuring safe product, improving EMP corrective action plans based on pathogen detection and verification, and more.

Peacock earned his Ph.D. from The University of Tennessee where he worked as a researcher at the Center for Environmental Biotechnology. With 21 years of experience (in academia, government, and industry), he also co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications.
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Rani Rashmi
Food Safety QA Manager
Bake CO
Rashmi Rani is a SQF practitioner, HACCP-certified and PCQI-trained, qualified microbiologist with more than 12 years of experience in food and beverages industries. She has experience in quality management, continuous improvement and food safety.
Rani is a food safety and quality assurance manager at BakeCo, implementing SQF level 3 in the plant and sustaining it. She previously worked as QA manager at Anheuser Busch-Inbev and successfully implemented HACCP and food safety programs, where she was trained and an authorized auditor and served more than 500 hours of auditing. Her continuous commitment is to add value to food safety by learning, coaching and training.
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Edward "Eddie" Richter, PhD
Richter International
Dr. Edward R. Richter obtained his degrees from The Ohio State University .Post graduation, Dr. Richter accepted a position with Unilever, as research microbiologist. In this capacity Dr. Richter was responsible for designing microbiological challenge studies on new and existing food formulations, designing optimal food preservation systems, reviewing process design and coordinating food product development from a microbiological perspective as well as the overall food safety of products distributed by Unilever in North America. At Unilever, Dr. Richter developed expertise with beverages, snack food, acidified multi-phased sauces and dressings as well as rapid microbiological testing methodologies.

In 1987, Dr. Richter returned to academia at his alma mate as a Professor in The Department of Food Science and Nutrition at The Ohio State University. Here, Dr. Richter conducted research in the areas of food preservation and rapid microbiological methods as well as served as instructor of an undergraduate course "Food Sanitation and Protection” and a graduate course “Advanced Food Microbiology”.

In 1989, Dr. Richter founded Silliker Laboratories of Ohio, Inc. Together with the Silliker organization, he built a successful food analytical research service laboratory.

In 1997, Dr. Richter founded RICHTER INTERNATIONAL, an independent food safety, quality, defense and research-consulting group. That same year RICHTER INTERNATIONAL formed an alliance with the Battelle Memorial Institute. Battelle is the largest research institute in the world with more than 7,000 professionals in nearly 30 countries. Together, Battelle and RICHTER INTERNATIONAL have participated in a number of commercial and government programs in the area of food defense. Dr. Richter has held a secret security clearance.
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Michael Robach
Vice President, Corporate Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory
Cargill, Inc.
Mike Robach is Vice President, Corporate Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory for Cargill based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Mike joined Cargill in January of 2004 to lead the company’s corporate food safety and regulatory affairs programs. Since that time, Mike has increased the department’s scope to include animal health and quality assurance. He continues to refocus the department toward global efforts in line with Cargill’s vision of being the global leader in nourishing people. Mike started out his career with Monsanto Company. Prior to joining Cargill, he headed up technical services for Conti Group’s meat and poultry businesses. Mike is a graduate of Michigan State University and Virginia Tech. Mike is past President for Safe Supply of Affordable Food Everywhere (SSAFE), Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a member of the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Council Executive Committee for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and a member of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association’s Research Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the American Meat Institute, the National Turkey Federation, the International Association of Food Protection, the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Society for Microbiology, and on the Advisory Board for Food Safety Tech & Food Safety Consotium. Mike has worked with the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on harmonized animal health and food safety standards. He has worked closely with the USDA and FDA regarding food safety policy, HACCP, and regulatory reform based on science. From 1995 through 2000, Mike was a member of the National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria in Foods.
Robert Rogers
Senior Advisor for Food Safety & Regulation
Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection Division
As a 20-year veteran at Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection, Robert Rogers gained his experience by excelling in several positions within the organization, including field service, training and product testing departments. In his current role, Rogers provides subject matter expertise in foreign material detection and prevention strategies, assisting in the development food safety management programs, focusing on foreign body prevention and other product integrity and safety programs.
Brian Ronholm
Sr. Director, Regulatory Policy
Arent Fox, LLP
Brian Ronholm is senior director of regulatory policy in Arent Fox’s FDA and Agriculture group, where he specializes in food safety policy, and provides clients with strategic advice on navigating regulatory challenges in the food and agriculture space. From 2011–2017, he served as USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, where he provided oversight of the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the department’s public health agency that regulates meat, poultry, catfish and processed egg products. Prior to USDA, Ronholm worked on the staff of Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, where he managed policy issues related to food safety and nutrition.
Jasdeep K. Saini, PhD
Manager, Microbiological Programs
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
Dr. Jasdeep Saini is a professional in the area of food safety with experience in designing, teaching, implementing, and directing food safety and quality systems for the food industry. Dr. Saini received her Ph.D. in Food Science from Kansas State University. She has worked with technology providers in food industry to validate the effectiveness of new food safety technologies that control foodborne pathogens in food matrices. Her research focus has been on control strategies for Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods and processing environments. She is a member of Institute of Food Technologists, International Association for Food Protection and American Society for Microbiology.
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Elizabeth Salvo
Regulatory & Consulting Services Director
ESHA Research
Elizabeth Salvo is Regulatory & Consulting Services Director for ESHA Research, the pioneers of Genesis food labeling software. She is experienced at interpreting nutrition labeling requirements and monitors the ever changing regulatory environment to ensure compliance. Prior to joining ESHA Research in 2016, Ms. Salvo handled menu innovation at McDonalds. She also has a background as a paralegal where she was implemented technology to support paperless trials. She holds an MBA in organizational leadership from Elmhurst College and a BA in organizational leadership from Lewis University.
Deirdre Schlunegger
Chief Executive Officer
STOP Foodborne Illness
With over twenty years of nonprofit and leadership experience, Deirdre joined STOP in August 2010. She serves as an advisory member of the Joint Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition (JIFSAN) and of International Food Day, a celebration and movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.Before joining STOP, she held the position of President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma. Prior to this, she was Vice-President of Chapter Relations at Breast Cancer Network of Strength. Deirdre has served as the Executive Director of a Chicago nonprofit organization and a national foundation. She has been the Director of Child Life Programs in a number of Children’s Hospitals during which time she served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Georgia. Deirdre has also worked as a consultant for various organizations.
Gregory Siragusa, Ph.D.
Senior Principle Scientist
Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories, Inc.
Gregory Siragusa is senior principal scientist with Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories, Inc., a division of the global life sciences company Eurofins Scientific. He has held positions with Danisco/DuPont and the USDA. He has been a reviewer for the Journal of Food Protection and Applied Environmental Microbiology.

Siragusa’s research spans fields of microbiology focusing on foods. He has been a speaker on the topics of food genomics and antibiotic alternatives. He obtained the B.S./M.S. in microbiology from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, chapters and abstracts. His latest activities focus on applications of genomics to food microbiology.
Steven Sklare
Director, Customer Engagement - Food Programs
United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
Steven Sklare is the Director of Customer Engagement – Foods Program for the United States Pharmacopeia. Steven’s focus is on helping the food industry and the public understand the significance of food fraud as a threat to public health, a food organization’s brand as well as a source of economic fraud. Steven’s background includes working with food manufacturers, the foodsevice/hospitality industry, nursing home/assisted living facilities and retail food. Steven provides consulting and training services in regard to food fraud, food safety, sanitation and pest elimination consulting, training and services on a domestic and international basis. Steven is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist, Licensed Environmental Health Practitioner, Certified Professional – Food Safety and Certified Pest Control Technician.
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Gary Smith
Director of Food Safety Systems
Gary Smith brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his duties at Eurofins. A
leader in food safety, Smith has an extensive list of professional certifications as well as industry
memberships, and has been active on a number of policy-influencing committees, including the GFSI
Technical Working Group and SQF Technical Advisory Committee. In addition, Smith has been
awarded numerous industry recognitions, including the SQF Distinguished Service award in 2014.
Previous relevant positions Smith has held include director of training and improvement
solutions at SAI Global, vice president of supply chain at Steritech, and technical director at the SQF
Institute. Smith has a Master of Science degree in environmental biology from Governor’s State University and B.S. in animal sciences from the University of Illinois.
Jacqueline Southee, Ph.D.
US Liaison
FSSC 22000
Jacqueline Southee is U.S. liaison for FSSC 22000, working to build the profile of the ISO-22000 based certification scheme in the United States and understanding of the important role FSSC 22000 can have in the global harmonization of food safety. A graduate of the faculty of agriculture and food sßcience of the University of Nottingham, Southee is based in Washington, D.C.
Shawn K. Stevens
Global Food Safety Attorney
Food Industry Counsel LLC
Shawn Stevens is a global food safety lawyer and founding member of Food Industry Counsel, LLC, the only law firm in the nation that represents the food industry exclusively. For more than a decade, Stevens has worked throughout the country and abroad with food industry clients (including the world’s largest food processors, international restaurant chains, and food distributors and grocers), helping them protect their brand by proactively reducing their food safety risk, complying with complex FDA and USDA food safety regulations, managing recall response efforts, and defending high-profile foodborne illness claims.
In addition to his legal practice, Stevens serves as the only food safety mediator in the world, helping parties who have food safety disputes resolve their claims. He also speaks regularly to national and international audiences on a wide variety of emerging scientific, regulatory and legal food safety trends, and authors dedicated food safety columns for Meatingplace, the National Provisioner, and Food Safety Tech. He is also a regular contributor to Food Quality Magazine. Additional information about Stevens’ food safety and food quality legal practice can be found at
Roslyn Stone, MPH
Corporate Wellness, Inc.
Roslyn Stone, MPH is the Chief Operating Officer of Corporate Wellness, Inc. based in Stamford, CT. Corporate Wellness serves as the medical department for companies across the U.S. She chairs the CDC / AMA’s Workplace Flu Working Group and sits on several CDC advisory committees. Her experience includes more than twenty-five years in the field of workplace health and managing medical crises prevention and response services for the restaurant and food service industries. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Union College and a Masters in Public Health degree in Epidemiology from Pace University. She has been seen, published and quoted extensively in major media outlets regarding employee health issues and appears on CNN, the Today show and MSNBC.
Jim Topper
Sr. Market Development Manager
Jim Topper is the Senior Market Development Manager for Neogen and a food safety industry veteran of over 16 years. He’s been the principal author of a number of environmental monitoring publications and helped dozens of companies develop and implement robust environmental monitoring programs.
Jennifer Van de Ligt, PhD
Associate Director
Jennifer van de Ligt, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence at the University of Minnesota. She has an extensive background and industry experience
in animal feed and human food production, nutrition, safety, and regulations. Currently, Dr. van de Ligt leads a talented team of experts providing evidence-based food defense innovation, education, and outreach solutions. A key focus of her leadership is building collaborations with and transitioning the food defense solutions to the food industry.
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John Wadie
US Region Marketing Manager
John Wadie is the US Region Marketing Manager and has worked for 12 years in the Food Industry at 3M. He has been active in the Food Safety market for over 12 years. John has held various sales and marketing leadership roles at 3M, and has been an active member of International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and International Food Technologists (IFT).
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Reed Walter
Director, Sensor Development
Reed is an experienced life sciences R&D professional. He has 7 years of interdisciplinary research experience at the cross section of microbiology, electrochemistry, and engineering. He has proven experience solving critical technology problems for life-science startups. Prior to joining ProteoSense Reed worked in microbial fuel cells, biosensors, microfluidics, bioremediation and delivery systems for microbial soil additives. Reed has a degree in microbiology from The Ohio State University and has been leading the sensor development team at ProteoSense since May 2016.
Vicky Waskiewicz
Safe Food Resources
Vicky Waskiewicz has dedicated the last 30 years in pursuit of food safety. In 2011, this culminated by realizing her dream of creating Safe Food Resources, an organization of consultants and educators specific to the food Industry. She, along with the SFR Team, works with food manufacturers to develop and implement national and international compliance programs to enhance the efficiency of operations and realize business growth dependent on certification to those standards. She has a passion for teaching and extends that to her students through various educational outlets.
Trish Wester
PA Wester Consulting
Ms. Wester’s career has spanned industry, food safety testing and auditing. She pioneered programs for Listeria monocytogenes control using Rep PCR technology and has worked extensively in the development of global accredited Third Party auditing programs. She is currently President of PA Wester Consulting, and an active SME in food safety.
Rod Wheeler
Founder & CEO
Global Food Defense Institute
Rod is the Founder and CEO of The Global Food Defense Institute, which serves the food, agricultural and chemical industry in protecting products against intentional, deliberate acts of tampering and adulteration. Rod also serves as a Law Enforcement Analyst/ Contributor to the Fox News Channel.

Rod has most recently served as the Homeland Security, Food Defense Subject Matter Expert for AIB International. In that capacity, he developed and conducted numerous training and educational programs for the food, agricultural and chemical industry to protect products from intentional contamination and adulteration. As the former Director of the Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness with the Food Products Association in Washington DC, Rod created and developed an entire series of Homeland Security & Defense programs, to support many food processing, manufacturing and retail corporations in developing and implementing food safety and security plans, procedures, guidelines and food tampering investigations. Rod was also appointed and served as the Secretariat of the Food and Agricultural Coordinating Council, which consist of high level Federal and State Government officials as well as senior food industry sector representatives that focuses primarily on implementing emergency preparedness strategies for the protection of the food infrastructure in the United States. Rod have conducted nearly 500 Physical Security Vulnerability Assessments and have written dozens of Security Response and Crisis Management plans for corporations large and small.

With a BA degree in Criminology/Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University, and a Key Executive Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from American University in Washington DC, Rod has remained active around the United States speaking to several organizations on crime related issues, as well as advising and consulting on many major high-profile cases of national interest such as the Sniper Shootings in Washington DC, the Virginia Tech Shooting Massacre, the Washington Navy Yard shooting, the Newtown School shooting, as well as several other major high profile cases of national interest. Rod has also completed high level training in Terrorism Identification and Response and Workplace Violence from the esteemed Brookings Institute in Washington DC. His expertise is also in Responding to and Preventing Active Shooter Situations in the workplace.
Lisa Wong
SQF Practitioner
Safefood 360(0)
Lisa Wong started her career in Clinical Microbiology teaching infectious disease interns and medical laboratory students’ microbiological methods and techniques. Much of her work was in hospitals, an environment that allowed Lisa to develop her teaching skills and hone in on her attention to detail. Today, Lisa is the SQF Practitioner and PCQI at Abelei Flavors, in North Aurora, IL. Lisa has developed, implemented and maintained the SQF/FSMA programs at Abelei Flavors. Lisa is continuously challenged and inspired to educate and learn, and her attention to detail and hard work have allowed Abelei Flavors to improve food safety and productivity.