2018 Confirmed Speakers

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Rick Biros
President, 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.
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Alexander Bromage
Global Food Safety & Quality Director, Tetra Pak
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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.
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Cathy Crawford
President, HACCP Consulting Group
Cathy Crawford is President of HACCP Consulting Group. Crawford shares her many years of experience in food manufacturing, regulatory and third-party audit compliance requirements. Crawford has provided HACCP and other food safety training to a wide variety of businesses including meat and poultry processors, bakeries, fruit and vegetable processors/packers, food service establishments and transportation providers. Crawford is a lead instructor for sanitary transportation and promotes training beyond minimum SMA requirements. She is a Registered Trainer and former Auditor for Safe Quality Foods (SQF) and holds a Certificate in International Food Law and M.S. Food Safety from Michigan State University
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Karen Everstine, PhD
Scientific Liaison, Foods Program, 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, one of which developed a framework for identifying and classifying adulterants that pose a potential health hazard to consumers. In her previous work, Karen led federally-funded food fraud research projects at a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence based at the University of Minnesota. She began her food safety career as an epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), where she conducted foodborne outbreak investigations and contributed to study design and statistical analysis for CDC-funded studies. She holds an MPH and PhD in public health from the University of Minnesota.
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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.
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Joshua Grauso
Sr. Manager, Food Safety & Quality Audits, UL
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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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John Kukoly
Director, Americas, BRC
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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Will Lennon
Chief Operating Officer, Imbibe
Will Lennon brings a unique blend of supply chain, finance and strategic planning to the Imbibe team. As chief operating officer, he leverages his deep experience in supply chain management to lead the company’s efforts in sourcing, logistics, production and finance. Under his leadership, the company has developed a cutting-edge approach to ingredient sourcing and strong partnerships with suppliers and co-packers while maintaining rigorous and meticulous compliance controls. Lennon holds an M.B.A. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Brandeis University.
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Erika Miller
Food Safety Specialist, D.L. Newslow & Assoc. Inc.
A Tampa native, Erika Miller is trained in and experienced with GMPs, HACCP, FSSC 22000, internal auditing/risk analysis and FSMA; including program design and implementation, facility compliance and training. After a brief stint in aggregate quality assurance where she learned the basics of ISO and developed her first SOP manual, she entered the Florida citrus industry (on the byproducts side), where she received further extensive training in quality assurance. She has completed the FDA/FSPCA Lead Instructor course for Preventive Controls for Human Food. In addition to these skills, Miller has the ability to understand the scope of an operation, and logically develop a food safety management system. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Florida.
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Miles Murphy
Business Development Directorq, Birko
For the past decade, Miles Murphy has been involved with protecting the food chain in one way or another. In his role at Birko, a provider of food safety chemistry, equipment and technology, Murphy trains food and beverage processing facilities on cleaning and sanitation. He has experience working with suppliers throughout the entire supply chain—from farm to store—and advises facilities on products, equipment and SSOPs to enhance their food safety program. His experience also consists of liaising between food processors and raw product suppliers to assist with supplier approval programs.
Murphy holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound and a Master’s of Science degree in food safety regulation from The Johns Hopkins University.
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Elizabeth Pierson
QA Coordinator - Food & Bevevrage, Dave & Busters
Elizabeth Pierson has a ten-year track record of contributing procedures and expertise to food safety programs in both manufacturing and food service. As Quality Assurance Coordinator for Dave & Buster’s, she serves as a driving force to implement robust food safety checks and balances within the supply chain to ensure an exceptional guest experience. Through collaboration with third party vendors, suppliers, and distributors, Elizabeth has also developed a foundation to ensure FSMA compliance across the Dave & Buster’s business. Elizabeth earned a Bachelor in Science in Microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin.
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Fabien Robert, PhD
Director, Nestle Zone America
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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John Szpylka, PhD
Director, Scientific Affairs, Merieux NutriSciences
John Szpylka, PhD, is the scientific affairs director, chemistry N.A. with Mérieux NutriSciences where he manages nutritional analytical method and is a technical leader for chemistry testing. Szpylka is a fellow of AOAC International, a past chair of the AOACI Official Methods Board, and chairs numerous expert review panels. Before joining Mérieux NutriSciences, Szpylka was a principal scientist with General Mills, overseeing analytical method development and working on new product formulations.
Szpylka received his doctorate in analytical chemistry from the Ohio State University after receiving a B.S. in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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Ismail Uysal
Assistant Professor, University of South Florida
Dr. Ismail Uysal has a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Florida. He is an assistant professor and the director of the University of South Florida's RFID Lab for Applied Research. His research focuses on RFID and wireless sensors for supply chain, pharmaceuticals and health care, as well as data-analytics and machine-learning applications for the Internet of Things.
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Trish Wester
Chair, The Association of Food Safety Auditing Professionals – AFSAP
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, as well as Chair, The Association of Food Safety Auditing Professionals – AFSAP and an active SME in food safety.
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Melanie Nuce
Senior Vice President, Corporate Development & Innovation, GS1 US
As Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, Melanie Nuce leads a team that investigates new technologies, partnerships and business opportunities to increase the relevance and reach of GS1 Standards. Drawing on her extensive background in retail technology, Ms. Nuce oversees the exploration of collaboration opportunities to help businesses leverage emerging technologies including the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and machine learning.
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Kathleen Wybourn
Director, Food Safety Solutions, DNV Business Assurance
In 2008 Kathleen joined DNV Business Assurance to head the Food Safety Certification Division for DNV in the United States and Canada. Kathleen led a study with Michigan State University on the readiness of the United States market for food safety certification across the supply chain, she has published numerous industry articles regarding certification including; “Wal-Mart’s Magna Carta for Auditing”, “Navigating the Jungle of Food Safety Standards” and “First Look: GFSI adds FSSC22000 standard”. Kathleen has served on GFSI technical committees including; the GFSI Benchmark, Warehouse and Logistics and the most recently formed Retail and Wholesale technical working groups.
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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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Andrew Seaborn
Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer, Division of Import Operations, ORA, U.S. Food and Drug Association

Andrew J. Seaborn is a supervisory consumer safety officer in the Import Program Development and Implementation Branch under the Office of Regulatory Affairs/Division of ImportOperations. In this role, Mr. Seaborn leads a diverse team focused on constructing and implementing the import operations and policy for a range of projects, including the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)/International Trade Data System (ITDS), Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA).

Mr. Seaborn graduated from the University of Toledo with a B.S. degree in Biology and Political Science. Before joining the Division of Import Operations, he worked for the Agency in the field conducting facility inspections and performing import operations as well as for what is now the Division of Food Defense Targeting.

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Priya Rathnam
Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food & Drug Association
Priya Rathnam, M.P.H. is a Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer in the Division of Enforcement/Office of Compliance at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). As a team leader in the Food Adulteration Assessment Branch, and subject matter expert, she routinely reviews regulatory actions related to microbial contamination in food. Priya has worked at CFSAN for over 14 years, and works closely with FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs and Office of Chief Counsel in determining regulatory strategies for follow up action. She currently is serving as a co-lead for the FSMA Phase 2 workgroup for implementation of the Preventive Controls in Human foods regulation.
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Steven Gendel,
Senior Director for Food Science, USP
Dr. Gendel works to ensure food integrity and quality as the Senior Director for Food
Science at USP. Previously he was the Food Allergen Coordinator for the US Food and
Drug Administration where he lead policy initiatives, the development of regulatory
documents, and assisted in enforcement activities. He is a Food Safety Preventive
Control Alliance Preventive Controls Lead Trainer, a Certified Food Scientist, and an
experienced speaker. He has over 25 years of experience in food safety science and
policy and over 90 techincal publications. He held postdoctoral positions at Harvard
University and the University of Toronto and was on the faculty of the Department of
Genetics at Iowa State University before joining the FDA.
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