Speakers

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Rick Biros
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.
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Marianne Alvardo
Marianne is an Executive Territory Specialist for Metalcraft, Inc. in the eastern Midwest. Marianne has over 20 years’ experience in the identification and tracking industry helping numerous Fortune 500 companies implement product identification and asset tracking solutions.
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Angela Anandappa, Ph.D.
Dr. Anandappa is the Founding Director for the Alliance for Advanced Sanitation, and a Research Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She leads the scientific and strategic direction of the Alliance for Advanced Sanitation and dedicated to improving food safety with a focus on sanitation. Her current work involves developing inter-disciplinary research and educational programs to address food safety issues, and prevent them by. The scope of sanitation ranges from facility design and material science to microbiology and chemistry. Prior to that she was Section Manager Supply Chain Safety Assurance, at Kraft Foods.
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Al Barodi, Ph.D.
In 2008, Dr. Baroudi joined The Cheesecake Factory, Calabasas, CA with broad experience in the food industry as their QA/FS executive. An agricultural engineer with MS degree in Food Science and Technology/Microbiology from UC Davis, and a Ph.D. in Food Processing and Technology/Regulatory Affairs from OSU in Columbus, he became the head of QA/FS at Borden Foods in Columbus, before moving to California as the Corporate VP QA/FS - Regulatory Affairs for the Vons/Safeway Supermarkets, Arcadia. Dr. Baroudi then served as VP QA and Technical Services, Harry & David Corporation, Medford, OR., before becoming the Chief Scientific, Health and Regulatory Affairs Officer at Yum! Brands in Louisville, KY. He later founded and served as President of the Food Safety Institute, International (FSI), where Remote Video Auditing (RVA) system was developed/implemented industry wide. Dr. Baroudi introduced the ozone technology as a pathogen kill step for The Cheesecake Factory restaurants and their suppliers. He was instrumental in passing the Food Facilities Sanitization Bill AB 1427 in California State Assembly that cleared the way for the ozone to be approved in California Cal Code (2012). He served on the E. coli O157:H7 Blue Ribbon Task Force Committee during the Jack-In-The-Box meat outbreak and then on the Board of Directors of the International HACCP Alliance representing The Food Marketing Institute (FMI). Dr. Baroudi also served on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Food Safety (CFS), University of Georgia. He is a “Certified Food Scientist” CFS, and was elected/served as the Chairman, of the Food Safety Advisory Council, LA County (CA). He is a member of the Educational Advisory Board (EAB) of the Food Safety Summit Group.
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Jason Bashura
Jason Bashura joined PepsiCo in March 2014, as Sr. Mgr., Global Food Defense, following 6 years with FDA’s Food Defense team. Prior to joining the FDA, Jason worked at the State of CT DPH / Food Protection Program where, as a Food “Bio-Security” Sanitarian he participated in his first vulnerability assessment of a seafood processor in 2003.
Jason has responsibilities related to helping PepsiCo to develop FSMA IA Rule compliant Food Defense Plans and has completed more than 100 Vulnerability Assessments on a variety of food and beverage platforms across PepsiCo.
Outside of work, Jason’s the father of two of the best kids in the world, and he’s very active with their school groups and sport teams; on occasion his daughter has been known to refer to him as “Coach Mr. Daddy.”
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Peter Begg
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.
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Kathryn Birmingham, Ph.D.
Dr. Birmingham ensures product and service standards for research-based interactive online training. She leads teams that research and design training solutions while tracking impact. Kathryn’s expertise is melding business and academic training to bring learning to scale.

A business owner, former University of Florida professor and Dean of Arts & Sciences for Florida State College, Dr. Birmingham blends business acumen and curriculum talent to create innovative training. With experience overseeing a Biotechnology Degree Program with a food testing analytical lab, she is FSPCA/ASDO certified as a Lead Instructor for the FDA regulated standard curriculum for the Preventive Controls Qualified Individual.
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Glenn Black, Ph.D.
Division of Food Processing Science and Technology (DFPST), Office of Food Safety (OFS), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Glenn Black is the Associate Director for Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Food Processing Science and Technology jointly located with IFSH at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology in Bedford Park, IL. In this role, he provides guidance and support for research conducted at the center in the areas of food microbiology, processing, chemistry, packaging and serves as a subject matter expert for food processing related issues. Prior to joining the agency, Dr. Black served various roles in the food industry related to the evaluation and recommendation of processing equipment and parameters, as well as research and development in microbial food safety.
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April Bishop
April Bishop is the Director of Food Safety for TreeHouse Foods supporting 24 plants across the US and Canada. She received her B.S degree in Food Science in 1995 from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She has worked in the food industry for over 20 years in various roles relating to Food Safety and Quality.
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Mary Lou Bosco
Mary Lou Bosco leads the executive team as Chief Operating Officer for AIM, a global industry alliance representing the interests of individuals and organizations that implement, sell, develop, and use automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies across all vertical markets. An industry advocate, Ms. Bosco is passionate about the promotion and adoption of AIDC technologies and innovation, while always striving to present a balanced view of all aspects of the industry. Well recognized within the AIDC community, she is considered a resource by both national and international on barcode, radio frequency identification (RFID) and the trends within the industry.
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Kathryn Boys
Kathryn Boys is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University. Her research and teaching programs are focused on issues related to the business and economics of food systems, food safety, and the international trade of agri-food products. Her current work includes studies which assess the corporate valuation and civil litigation impacts on companies who have experienced food safety failures, which explore food-safety barriers precluding smallholder produce farmers from accessing institutional markets, and examine the role of food safety and business certifications and standards (e.g. traceability, GAP, ISO 9001, ISO 14000) in business operations, marketing, and international market access.
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Marcus Burgess
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Brady Carter
Dr. Brady Carter is a Senior Research Scientist with Carter Scientific Solutions. He specializes in Water Activity and Moisture Sorption applications. Dr. Carter earned his Ph.D. and M.S Degree in Food Engineering and Crop Science from Washington State University and a B.A. Degree in Botany from Weber State University. He has 20 years of experience in research and development and prior to starting his own company, he held positions at Decagon Devices and Washington State University. Dr. Carter currently provides contract scientific support to Novasina AG and Neutec Group. He has been the instructor for water activity seminars in over 23 different countries and has provided on-site water activity training for companies around the world. He has authored over 20 white papers on water activity, moisture sorption isotherms, and complete moisture analysis. He has participated in hundreds of extension presentations and has given talks at numerous scientific conferences. He developed the shelf life simplified paradigm and hygrothermal time shelf life model and is the leading expert in applying water activity to shelf life prediction.
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Erin Crowley
Erin Crowley has been the Microbiology Research and Development Supervisor at Q Laboratories, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio since 2006. For the past 8 years, Erin and her R&D team have served as an independent third-party laboratory with a primary focus on providing high quality method validation for microbiological rapid detection methods. These validations include Independent laboratory evaluations for pathogen detection, qualitative methods and confirmatory biochemical assays for AOAC Official Methods of Analysis, AOAC Research Institute Performance Tested Methods Program and MicroVal. In addition to being an active member of the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) and AOAC, Erin currently serves as Vice-Chair of the AOAC Official Methods Board and ISPAM Chair and Fresh Produce Initiative Chair of the SMPR Working Group on Salmonella in Leafy Greens. Erin earned a B.S. from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio and an M.A. from Tufts University in Medford, MA.
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Jill Droge
Jill Droge used her experience working on the family farm to graduate from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education and a minor in Biology. Early in her career, she had the opportunity to become involved in the quickly growing technology industry and has spent the last 26 years developing and growing businesses. That includes owning and operating stores throughout Kansas as well as serving in key roles for Verizon, overseeing 500 locations across a multi-state region. Jill also consults globally on business development and operations and currently serves as the V.P. of Business Development for ImEpik.
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Jeanne Duckett
Jeanne Duckett leads the Transparency Initiative Development for Avery Dennison Printer Systems investigating: Blockchain, Distributed Computing, RFID, networking and new technology and other relevant technologies for products in the 3-5 year. She manages the Food IP portfolio for Avery Dennison's Printer Systems in addition to holding multiple patents in imaging, RFID handling, and various aspects of printer design including design of Food Freshness Printers. Jeanne is a contributing member of AIM Global and GS1 inter-industry organizations. Currently on AIM NA Board and chairs the AIM North America Food Policy Committee and previous chairman of the IOT and Blockchain Council, RFID Experts Group. Participates on Technology Symbols, Wireless Communication, GS1 Supply Chain Visibility and GS1 Foodservice Initiatives. Also a contributing member of the GS1 Global Traceability Initiative. Jeanne has spoken at several industry events including Industry food shows focusing on technology, RFID Journal Live, GS1 Connect and State Association Restaurant Shows.
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Vikram Dutta
Vik Dutta is currently working as a Senior Staff Scientist on the Scientific Affairs team for bioMérieux Inc. Prior to his current role, he was employed as a Senior Microbiologist at the Enteric Disease Laboratory Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA. Vik earned his doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from MAFSU India, and a PhD in Microbiology from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Vik has been working with different aspects of food safety and food-borne pathogens for over 13 years with work experience ranging from basic to applied science, including development/commercialization of isothermal/PCR-based tests, and WGS-based detection and subtyping tests. He has authored or co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed articles/book chapters. He currently serves as a member of the editorial board for the Food Protection Trends, is a Review Editor for the Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, and is an active reviewer/contributor for a number of microbiology journals and other food safety publications. Vik has also been granted a patent on improving isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology. Throughout his career, Vik has been awarded multiple times for his contributions to the field from institutions and groups such as the CDC, Sigma Xi scientific research honor society, and Phi Kappa Phi. He has delivered a number of seminars/webinars, including those hosted by the Association for Public Health Laboratories (APHL), the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) and the Analytical Excellence through Industry Collaboration (AEIC).
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Clint Fairow
Clint Fairow earned a B.S. in Zoology with a Chemistry Minor and a M.S. in Environmental Biology from Eastern Illinois University Charleston IL and pursued post-graduate studies in Toxicology at the University of Illinois Urbana IL. He is currently finishing a Master’s Degree in Public Health through the University of Illinois-Springfield. He is the Global Food Defense Manager at Archer Daniels Midland Company in Decatur, IL. His work since late 2010 has focused on assessing the risk of intentional adulteration of the foods produced using a probabilistic risk assessment model which incorporates information on physical and chemical limitations of potential contaminants and the processing parameters to which they would be subjected. This work has involved many interesting aspects of risk vs. vulnerability, the likelihood a colleague would be motivated to commit an intentional adulteration with the intent to kill consumers and what would serve as a threshold for risk requiring mitigation.
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Elise Forward
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.
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Melody Ge
Melody Ge has more than 10 years of experience in food safety and quality in different stakeholder positions including certification program owner, retailer, manufacturer, and food safety testing lab. Ge is a six-sigma black belt certified professional with experience in food safety consulting. Currently, Ge serves as the Head of Compliance at Corvium to ensure the product and data are in compliance with regulatory and customers’ requirements and needs. Prior to Corvium, Ge was a senior consultant and deputy QA Director with Lidl US where she established the QA department for Lidl US expansion. Ge also worked as Compliance Manager at SQFI where her responsibilities include overseeing auditing results, stakeholders monitor and code Version 7 and 8 development. Ge started her career being the R&D and Food Safety Director at Beyond Meat. Ge holds both M.S. and B.S. in Food Science and Engineering.
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Jorge Hernandez
Jorge Hernandez is the Vice President of Quality Assurance at The Wendy's Company.  Prior to joining Wendy's he was the chief food safety officer at Wholesome International where he is responsible for the design and implementation of the food safety, quality assurance, regulatory compliance and sustainability programs. Wholesome International is a restaurant company with different concepts and brands in the quick service and fast casual foodservice markets. Hernandez was previously 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.
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Jill Hoffman
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Gina (Nicholson) Kramer RS/REHS
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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R. Spence Lane
Mr. Lane brings more than 25 years of security director and security consulting experience to the BPS team. Having served in the United States Army as a commissioned officer with 20 years in combat operations, line command, and staff positions, Mr. Lane garnered extensive experience in senior corporate domestic and international security roles (including Chief Security Officer in two companies) as well as work as an independent security consultant. He has prepared implementation recommendations and action plans to promote appropriate security to meet best practice and regulatory guidelines for a diverse client group, from, food service, manufacturing and health care, to high-risk chemical and security sensitive organizations.
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Laura Lombard
Laura Lombard is the CEO of ImEpik, a market-driven and research-based online training company. Laura has been an entrepreneur and businesswoman throughout her career, and she joined ImEpik to expand the company’s presence in the food safety industry as well as other industrial sectors. Prior to joining ImEpik in April 2017, she was the founding President and Executive Director of MENA Consultants. She formed MENA Consultants in 2013 along with twelve other consultants interested in promoting increased trade relations and commerce between the United States and Middle Eastern countries. After graduating from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), she worked at The Cohen Group (TCG), a DC-based consulting firm founded by former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. In addition to her Master’s Degree in International Relations & Economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS, Laura has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas.
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Rob Mommsen
Rob Mommsen joined Sabra in 2010, left in 2013, and came back in late 2016 as the Sr. Director of Global Quality and Food Safety.
He is a food manufacturing executive with international, multi-facility experience in shelf-stable, frozen, refrigerated, and Ready-to-Eat/Ready-to-Heat food and alcoholic beverage products including meat, dairy, vegetable, fruit, and grain based main courses, sides, snacks, sauces, dips, condiments, syrups, wine, and beer packaged in glass, cans, and rigid and flexible plastic. Rob has over 40 years of hands-on know-how in quality assurance, food safety, regulatory compliance, thermal processing, process engineering, product development, continuous improvement, and R&D with food manufacturing firms that include Sara Lee, Hillshire Farms, and Baxters Food Group. He has a proven record of building high performance teams and leading successful start-ups and turnarounds. Rob drives operational excellence and margin expansion in the most challenging cultures through organizational development, innovation, and sustainable improvement of Key Performance Indicators. At Baxters, Rob developed 14 soup SKUs in 4 months, and 12 baby food SKUs in 7 months, from concept to shelf insertion, including the purchase, installation, and microbiological validation of new production lines. Prior to this, he drove Baxters EBITA up 150% in 16 months through implementation of Statistical Process Control programs, process improvements, product reformulations, equipment upgrades, and machine optimization via Six Sigma projects, enabling the sale of the company at a 7X multiple. Earlier, Rob designed, built, and successfully ran an award winning, 20,000 case per year premium winery and vineyard in Oregon’s renowned Willamette Valley, specializing in Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewürztraminer.
Rob is a Process Authority and certified SQF Expert, holds certifications in Advanced HACCP and Lean Manufacturing, holds an OSHA 30 hour Training card, and holds degrees from the University of California and Santa Clara University. Rob lives in Richmond VA with his wife, Jeanne, and has two daughters, Geneva and Hannah, at university. He and his wife are both life-long learners, enjoy fine wine, cooking, gardening, reading, and fly fishing.
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Melanie Neumann
Melanie Neumann, J.D., M.S. is the president of Neumann Risk Services, LLC, (NRS) and executive vice president of Matrix Sciences. NRS is a holistic food safety risk management firm where business and brand protection converge with regulatory compliance and industry best practices.
NRS, backed by Matrix Sciences, is a trusted advisor to the food and beverage industry in food safety risk, recall and crisis management. Matrix Sciences is a new, dynamic group that is driving needed change and impacting the future of food safety, made up of well-established companies, each chosen for their expertise and reputation in the industry, notably Northland Laboratories of Chicago, IL and Green Bay, WI, Richter International of Columbus, OH, and NRS, of Chicago, IL.
Neumann provides regulatory, operational and brand reputation risk mitigation advice to the food and beverage industry, helping companies manage these various risks in today’s ever-changing risk landscape. She leverages her 19 years of industry experience as a food law attorney along with her Masters of Science in Food Safety to help clients manage the risks relating to each step in the supply chain, from supplier assessment and procurement, manufacturing, distribution and sale of food globally.
She interacts with regulators in response to investigations, enforcement actions and recalls in the wake of threatened and actual crises and works with companies proactively to identify strategies to prevent or reduce risks before they arise. Neumann helps her clients build programs to achieve a level of best practice—developing tools such as food safety risk maturity models, robust supply chain risk assessment and management programs and robust recall and crisis management programs—all through an enterprise risk management lens.
Neumann is a graduate of Mitchell-Hamline Law School for her juris doctorate degree, and Michigan State University for her M.S. in food safety. She has worked for multi-national food companies such as Hormel Foods, The Schwan Food Company, private law firms focusing on food law and intellectual property law, was instrumental in launching national food safety risk management practices for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and boutique consulting firms.
She is an adjunct professor at Michigan State University and Northeastern University, and serves on advisory panels and boards of several notable organizations. Neumann is a frequent speaker on executive liability in food production and food
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Alan Olstein, Ph.D.
Alan Olstein, Ph.D., is the founder and chief scientific officer of Paradigm Diagnostics Inc. In his role, Alan has raised seed capital to fund the company, developed and patented novel diagnostic products for food safety applications, and managed R&D and production and QC functions. Prior to Paradigm Diagnostic Inc., Alan was a senior scientist at Optical Sensors Inc. working on materials or optical chemical sensors for medical devices. Alan earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of California – Berkeley.
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Stacey Popham
Stacey Popham serves as the Vice President, Quality, Food Safety, and Regulatory, Americas for Barry Callebaut, the world's leading chocolate and cocoa company. She leads a team which develops and executes the Quality strategy for the region, which includes 16 company-owned plants in five countries
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Clinton Priestley
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Prasant Prusty
Prasant Prusty has a wealth of expertise in managing, improving and critically evaluating food safety and quality programs to globally recognized food safety standards in various food industry segments across global food supply chain. He is the co-founder of Pathogenia Inc (the first and only virus testing laboratory in food in Canada) with the core focus on “Making Food Safer” across the food supply chain through risk-based analysis. He worked previously as Director of Corporate Quality at Nature’s Touch Frozen Foods Inc in design, develop and implementation of the corporate food safety program (with core focus on virus and listeria) within a global food supply base.
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Bob Pudlock
Bob Pudlock is the president of Gulf Stream Search, an executive search firm that specializes in the placement of top quality and food safety talent in the food, beverage, ingredient and flavor industries in the United States. Bob has worked with start-ups, suppliers, and large CPG companies to help them identify high-impact talent since 2001. In addition to leading search engagements with executive teams, he also crafts the long-term strategies that keep Gulf Stream Search as the go-to search firm for companies in the food, beverage, ingredient and flavor space.
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Fabien Robert
Fabien Robert, PhD, is currently Director of Nestlé Zone America laboratories. Before moving to the United States, Robert held various roles in R&D, quality, safety and regulatory within Nestlé international headquarters in Switzerland for 16 years. He has authored and co-authored 56 publications in scientific journals and patents and is an experienced speaker and presenter in the areas of organic, analytical and flavour chemistry, as well as quality and safety. Robert holds a PhD, in organic chemistry.
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Melanie Ross, MBA
Melanie has over 15 years of experience in quality assurance, quality control, and quality management. She has worked in several different industries, including chemical, biological, oil and gas, and aerospace. Her main role in each of these industries was the development of management systems, including internal audit programs, vendor qualification procedures, and implementation of lean six sigma. Working at American Type Culture Collection, a biological resource repository in Northern Virginia, Melanie successfully led the implementation teams for accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO Guide 34, as well as certification to ISO 13485. She is a lead assessor for ISO/IEC 17025, ISO/IEC 17020, ISO 17034, and ISO/IEC 17043.
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Ron Stakland
Ron is Global Product Director and subject matter expert for HorizonScan, a web-based software service developed by Fera Science, Ltd. that tracks food safety alerts affecting nearly 600 food commodities from more than 180 countries. HorizonScan™ is the most comprehensive database of its kind and is used by food companies to identify and assess potential food safety hazards in their supply chains, research the food safety history of over 20,000 suppliers and comply with FSMA and GFSI standards. Ron is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.
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David Shelep
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Elizabeth Sinclair
Elizabeth Sinclair is the senior manager of marketing for BarTender® labeling, barcode and RFID software. She works with end users and industry groups in sectors such as food, pharma, medical devices, chemical, aerospace and healthcare, helping them enable regulatory compliance and supply chain efficiencies through deployment of Auto-ID and labeling technology. Prior to Seagull Scientific, Sinclair managed marketing communications for the global chemical distributor Univar, supporting business units in the regulated industries. She attended the University of Washington and holds a certificate in strategic marketing management from the school’s Foster School of Business.
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Steven Sklare
Steven Sklare, REHS/RS, CP-FS, LEHP, is the President of The Food Safety Academy (FSA), a consulting & training company. FSA addresses issues involving food safety, food fraud, sanitation. pest management and regulatory/standards compliance. Steven has served as the Director of Customer Engagement – Foods Program for the United States Pharmacopeia, as well as positions with other global food safety organizations such as SGS. He has spent his professional career protecting the public’s food and health. Steven is focused on helping the food industry and the public understand the significance of food safety and food fraud issues as threats to public health, a food organization’s brand as well as a source of economic harm. Steven’s background includes working with the foodservice/hospitality, retail food and food manufacturing as a provider of 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, Certified Pest Control Technician, FSPCA Lead Instructive for Preventive Controls Human Food and FSVP. Steven can be reached at 847-624-6512 or stevensklare@foodsafetyacademy.us.
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Jacqueline Southee, Ph.D.
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.
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Shawn Stevens
Shawn Stevens is the founding member of Food Industry Counsel LLC, the only law firm in the United States that represents the food industry exclusively. As a food industry consultant and lawyer, Mr. Stevens works with food industry clients (including the world’s largest growers, processors, restaurant chains, distributors and grocers) helping them protect their brand by complying with FDA and USDA regulations, reducing risk, managing recalls, and defending high-profile foodborne illness claims. Mr. Stevens also speaks regularly to national and international audiences on a wide variety of emerging scientific, regulatory and food safety legal trends. Additional information about his practice can be found at www.foodindustrycounsel.com
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Alba Velazco
Alba Velazco is the SQF Practitioner at U.S. Waffle Company, where she focuses on the employee annual training program, SQF, regulatory compliance and food safety. She is trilingual, being also fluent in Italian and Spanish. She previously attended the University of Bologna, Italy and worked as a content contributor, translator and interpreter for Conde Nast Italy. Prior to her tenure at U.S. Waffle, Alba was a team member at Sweet Street Desserts, where she played an integral role in the development of the SQF, food safety, production quality and CMMS programs.
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Jake Watts
Jake Watts is vice president of food safety for PSSI, the industry's leading food safety and sanitation provider. He leads the company's corporate programs and regulatory affairs as it pertains to food safety. This includes the development, implementation and maintenance of company polices and programs supporting the industry's leading food processors. Jake has nearly 20 years experience working in the food safety and sanitation industry, previously working with Pilgrim's and Tyson to lead corporate Food Safety & Quality Assurance policies, programs, and regulatory compliance.
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Trish Wester
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.
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Martin Wiedmann, DMV, Ph.D.
Martin received a veterinary degree and a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, and a Ph.D. in Food Science from Cornell, where he currently is the Gellert Family Professor of Food Safety. His research interests focus on farm-to-table microbial food quality and food safety. He and his team are regularly asked to help industry across the world with a range of microbial food safety and quality challenges. He received the Young Scholars award from the American Dairy Science Association in 2002, the Samuel Cate Prescott Award from Institute of Food Technologists’ in 2003, the International Life Science Institute North America Future Leaders Award in 2004, and the American Meat Institute Foundation Scientific Achievement Award in 2011. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM), and a member of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology.
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Yan Wu
Yan Wu, is a Ph.D. student in Food Science at the University of Minnesota. His doctoral research topics range from food safety regulations, food microbiology, to nanotechnologies. Yan also holds a Master of Science Degree in Food Safety and Technology from the Illinois Institute of Technology where he worked as a graduate research assistant at the FDA’s National Center for Food Safety and Technology. Yan is a certificated food scientist recognized by the Institute of Food Technologists. Besides academic research, Yan also has industry R&D experience with Sensient Technologies Inc. and Pharmavite LLC
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Frank Yiannas
Frank Yiannasis currently the Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, at the Food & Drug Administration. Yiannis previously served as vice president of food safety, oversees all food safety, as well as other public health functions, for the world's largest food retailer, Wal-Mart, which services more than 200 million customers around the world on a weekly basis. Yiannas’ scope of responsibilities included food safety oversight of Wal-Mart’s stores, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Clubs, training and education of associates, food safety oversight of thousands of food suppliers, and a number of critical regulatory compliance issues.
Prior to joining Wal-Mart in 2008, Yiannas was the director of safety & health for the Walt Disney World Company, where he worked for 19 years. In 2001, under his tenure, Walt Disney World received the prestigious Black Pearl Award for corporate excellence in food safety by the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). As a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, Yiannas is known for his ability to build partnerships and for his innovative approaches to food safety. In 2008, he was given the Collaboration Award by the FDA. He is the 2007 recipient of the NSF International Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Food Safety. Yiannas is also a past president of IAFP and a current board member of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). He is also an adjunct professor in the food safety program at Michigan State University. He is the author of the books, Food Safety Culture, Creating a Behavior-based Food Safety Management System, and Food Safety = Behavior, 30 Proven Techniques to Enhance Employee Compliance.

Yiannas is a registered microbiologist with the American Academy of Microbiology. He holds memberships with several professional associations, including the National Environmental Health Association, the American Society of Microbiology, and the Institute of Food Technologists. He received his BS in microbiology from the University of Central Florida and his master of public health (MPH) from the University of South Florida.
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