Presenter Bios



Matt Ammermann, Commodity Risk Manager-CIS/Black Sea Region, INTL FCStone Inc. 

Matt Ammermann is a commodity risk management consultant in the Black Sea/CIS region for INTLFCStone. For the past five years, his team has provided commodity risk management services to the Black Sea region, working at the forefront of risk management in one of the fastest and largest growing agricultural markets in the world.  His team provides education for market players so they understand how to protect their price risk and enhance their operating margin.  It remains crucial that a hedger understand the relationship between the physical product and the financial product.  Growing up on a farm, active in its operations, Matt understands that the markets are changing; those companies that actively protect their price risk will be in a better position to grow and adapt to these market changes. 


Gregory J. Bernardi, President, London Forfaiting Americas Inc. 

Gregory Bernardi, President of London Forfaiting Americas Inc. (wholly owned by London Forfaiting Company Ltd. and a member of the FIMBank Group) has specialized in Trade Finance since 1990.  In addition to Forfaiting, Greg is well versed in International Factoring, EXIMBank Finance, Credit Insurance, Back to Back Letters of Credit and Structured Trade Finance. His primary responsibility is overseeing London Forfaiting Americas North and South American origination and distribution efforts.  Greg has had the pleasure of marketing trade finance services to importers and exporters in the Americas for the past twenty-one years.   

Greg is a past three term president of the Association of Trade and Forfaiting in the Americas (ATFA) and is certified by the FCIB as an International Credit Professional.  

Greg holds a M.B.A. from Saint John’s University, New York. 


Gary Blumenthal, President & Chief Executive Officer, World Perspectives 

Gary R. Blumenthal is President and CEO of World Perspectives, Inc., a global agri-food market analysis and strategy consulting firm.  The company provides the industry with daily (Ag Perspectives) and monthly (Ag Review) analytical reports on global commodity markets and government policy interventions affecting the market.  Gary has served on a number of board and industry groups including the USDA/FAS Emerging Markets Advisory Committee, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Policy Advisory Committee, C-FARE’s Industry Advisory Committee, Ag Roundtable, Washington Agribusiness Club, and the World Agricultural Forum.  His prior professional roles have included:  Deputy Assistant for Cabinet Affairs to President George H.W. Bush; Special Assistant for Agricultural Trade and Food Assistance to President George H.W. Bush; Chief of Staff to USDA Secretary Clayton Yeutter; Legislative Director, Foreign Agricultural Service; Special Assistant, U.S. Air Force; and Legislative Assistant, U.S. Congress.


James C. Borel, Executive Vice President, DuPont

James C. Borel is executive vice president and a member of the company's Office of the Chief
Executive. He also has responsibilities for DuPont Pioneer, Crop Protection and Nutrition &
Health businesses. Mr. Borel joined DuPont in 1978 in Findlay, Ohio, as a sales representative.
From 1978 to 1997, he held a variety of business and operations management positions in
agricultural products in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan. In
November 1997, he was appointed global vice-president & general manager, DuPont Crop

In January 2004, Mr. Borel was appointed senior vice presidentDuPont Human Resources. He
was named group vice president, responsible for the agricultural businesses of DuPont in
February 2008. He was named to his current position in October 2009. 

Mr. Borel serves on the Board of Trustees of National 4-H Council, the Board of Directors of
CropLife International; the Board of Trustees of Farm Foundation, the Board of Trustees of the
University of Delaware, and the Board of Directors of Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Mr. Borel graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in agricultural business.

Alan L. Boyce, Founder and Chief Executive Officer , Westland Solar Farms, LLC 

Alan L. Boyce is a co-founder and CEO of Westlands Solar Farms, LLC, a California renewable energy company formed in 2009. Alan is Chairman and co-founder of Materra, LLC, a California-based agricultural production company that owns and operates 30,000 acres of farmland.  Alan is Chairman of Broadacre, a Saskatchewan farming company, which farms 65,000 acres.  He is co-founder and Director of Agrica Ltd, which developed and operates a 5,000-hectare rice farm in southern Tanzania.  Alan is co-founder and Director of Adecoagro (NYSE:AGRO), a food and renewable energy-producing company that owns and operates highly productive land throughout Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Alan is Founder and Vice-President of Boyce Land Co..  Boyce Land Co has acted as the General Partner in a series of US farmland limited partnerships since 1987.


Dave Brown, Vice President of Global Commodities, Mondelēz International (MDLZ)

Dave Brown is Vice President of Global Commodities for Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft Foods).  A 26-year veteran of food and agribusiness, Dave and his global team manage over $7 B in commodity risk, sourcing, and sustainable agriculture for major materials such as cocoa, coffee, grains, edible oils, sweeteners, dairy products, and nuts for Mondelez, a global snack food company with 110,000 employees and revenues of approximately $36B. He is also a member of the Global Mondelez Leadership Council, a collection of the company’s top 175 leaders. Prior to joining Mondelez, Dave held roles of increasing responsibility in trading, procurement, sales, and supply chain with Ingredion, Sara Lee Corp., and ConAgra Foods. A native of Decatur, Illinois, Dave holds a BS in Agriculture from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Auburn University.  

Patrick Christie, CEO, Conservis Corporation  

Patrick Christie has over 20 years of experience in technology development and consulting. Conservis is delivering a comprehensive technology and service platform to make real-time farm management possible for the family farmer as well as the global institutional operation. Prior to Conservis, he was Executive Vice President of WAM!NET and helped deliver over $1.6 billion of network services under contract with the U.S. Navy. He was also President of Cybernet Systems, a highly profitable technical systems integration firm that generated over $6 million in the U.S.

 OGTS_Aidan_Connolly_UPDATED Aidan Connoly, Vice President of Corporate Accounts, Alltech

Aidan Connolly is Vice President of Corporate Accounts at Alltech, a global biotechnology firm headquartered in Kentucky, USA. Throughout his tenure at Alltech, Aidan has lived and worked in over 100 countries. He is also an Associate Professor of Marketing at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Ireland, where he works with Executive Education groups, conducts research on agribusiness and marketing topics, and helps the university with international outreach efforts. Special areas of focus for Aidan include international business, talent management, human and animal nutrition, international sales and marketing, and impacts of agriculture to improve human standards of living around the world.


Geoff Cooper, Senior Vice President, Research & Analysis, Renewable Fuels Association

Geoff Cooper is RFA’s Senior Vice President. In addition to overseeing market analysis and policy research, he provides regulatory support and strategic planning for the association and its members. Geoff also focuses on issues related to lifecycle analysis, sustainability and ethanol co-products.

Prior to joining RFA, Geoff served as Director of Ethanol Programs for the National Corn Growers Association, where he led research and promotional efforts to increase the production and use of corn-based ethanol.

Previously, Geoff served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, specializing in bulk petroleum supply and logistics. 

A Wyoming native, Geoff graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He earned his master’s degree at Webster University in St. Louis.


Philippe de Lapérouse , Managing Director, HighQuest Partners

Philippe de Lapérouse is Managing Director at HighQuest Partners. He has more than 20 years experience in senior leadership positions with global companies in the agro-industrial and value-added food chain and in private equity investing. Previously, as director of business development for Bunge North America Inc., he was responsible for the company’s efforts to expand its industrial operations into Mexico and the Caribbean Basin, biotech and e-commerce initiatives, and public relations/corporate communications (before and after Bunge’s successful IPO in 2001). Mr. de Lapérouse is a director of Sodrugestvo, the largest independent soybean crusher in Europe with its head office and main production facility in the Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. Mr. de Lapérouse received an MBA from The Darden School of Business at The University of Virginia and a BA from Trinity College.

 Dzisiak, David  David Dzisiak, Commercial Leader Grains and Oils, Dow AgroSciences

David has responsibility for leading the canola, sunflower and grains food traits commercial strategy for the company. David grew up on a family grain farm near Dauphin, Manitoba. He attended the University of Manitoba and graduated in 1981 from the faculty of agriculture with a degree in plant science and economics. David has been involved in development of the plant genetics and biotechnology strategy for Dow AgroSciences since the mid-90’s. As part of that, he led the creation of the Dow AgroSciences healthy oils portfolio, including the Nexera canola program. David has worked with Dow AgroSciences for 32 years.

  Ken Eriksen, Senior Vice President, Transportation, Informa Economics 

 OGTS_Levin_Flake_Photo_UPDATED Levin Flake, Agricultural Economist for Trade, Office of Global Analysis, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA
Levin Flake is a Foreign Service Officer for the Foreign Agricultural Service/USDA, and has been an Agricultural Attaché in both Moscow, Russia and Lagos, Nigeria.  While in Nigeria he also covered USDA activities in Ghana and Liberia.   Levin also has also been an international trade economist for FAS, where he covered the global wheat trade.  Levin Flake has a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University in International Studies and a Masters Degree from Oxford University. 


Emily French, Managing Director, ConsiliAgra

Ms. Emily French is founder & managing director of ConsiliAgra – an active advice / strategy and brokerage group founded in 2009 that covers the world agricultural commodity markets.  Ms French has long been involved in agriculture: she grew up on a wheat farm in north Idaho and earned a degree in agricultural business from Washington State.  She began her professional career as a physical cash trader for Cargill.  Following Cargill, she worked for the US Grains Council and World Perspectives in DC and then moved to New York, Sydney, Australia and back to New York working for both National Australia Bank and Macquarie Bank as an investment banker.  Her final role before ConsiliAgra was as a senior Vice President for Macquarie’s global ag-OTC global team.  



Peter Friedmann, Executive Director, Agriculture Transportation Coalition 

Peter Friedmann serves as Executive Director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, identified by the trade press as the “principal voice of agriculture exporters in US transportation policy.”  AgTC members include exporters and some importers of virtually all agriculture and forest products, from all geographic regions.  Soybean and grain growers, processors and exporters are members and sit on its Advisory Board.  AgTC pursues dependable, affordable transportation to keep US agriculture exports competitive in the global marketplace.  AgTC offers regional Ag Shipper Workshops, Annual Meeting in San Francisco, AgTC Ocean Carrier Performance Survey, updates on trucking, port strikes, rail, and advocacy of agriculture interests on Capitol Hill and at Federal Agencies.  As Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Peter drafted the Ocean Shipping Act, and numerous other transportation laws. 

 OGTS_Tom_Gaglione_Photo_UPDATED Thomas ‘Tom’ Gaglione, Vice President, Global Trade Services, JPMorgan Chase Bank

Tom Gaglione is Vice President - Global Trade for JPMorgan Chase Bank – Midwest Region.  Tom is responsible for providing and supporting global trade solutions for commercial and corporate bank clients in the Midwest markets.

Tom has a combined 38 years of international trade banking and credit insurance industry experience, assisting companies in structuring trade payment, trade finance and payment risk mitigation solutions in support of their export opportunities and import needs.

Tom is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BBA and MBA in Finance.

           OGTS_Richard_Galloway_UPDATED        Richard Galloway, President, Galloway & Associates LLC

Richard Galloway has 40 years’ experience in all aspects of grain merchandising, oilseed processing, vegetable oil refining and biodiesel production and marketing. His consulting firm, Galloway & Associates LLC, provides business consulting services to these businesses. He is the lead consultant for the United Soybean Board in soybean composition, primarily focused on improved functionality and nutrition of soybean oil, the feed value of soybean meal and increasing the competitiveness of U.S. soybeans through soy product enhancements and quality improvements. Richard provides consulting services for QUALISOY, a collaborative effort among the soybean industry to help market the development and availability of trait-enhanced soybeans. He is co-editor of Soybeans: Chemistry, Production, Processing, and Utilization, a widely used reference book published by the American Oil Chemists Society.

Evelyn Browning Garriss, Historical Climatologist and Author, The Browning Newsletter

For over 35 years, The Browning Newsletter has maintained a belief that a person is significantly influenced by the climate in which they exist. Therefore, in understanding the past and present conditions of the climate in which they live, they can use the momentum of change to their advantage in the future. Evelyn Browning Garriss has been the author of The Browning Newsletter for more than 25 years.  She has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Business News Network, Canada's Globe and Mail, Financial Sense and numerous other media outlets. She was dubbed the “Weather Whisperer” by the Toronto Globe and Mail, and is also known as "The Weather Lady". She has given presentations from Singapore to London, and throughout North America on climate and its effect on the world. 

PeterGoldsmith  Peter Goldsmith, Director, Food and Agribusiness Management Program, Associate Professor, Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois

Dr. Peter Goldsmith is the Director, Food and Agribusiness Management Program, as well as Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois. Dr. Goldsmith graduated in 1995 from the Ohio State University with a PhD in Agricultural Economics. In addition to his PhD, Dr. Goldsmith has received an MBA in Finance, and undergraduate degrees in Dairy Science and Political Science. . In 2007 he was named the Soybean Industry Endowed Associate Professor in Agriculture Strategy. In 2009, he was named to the USDA's International Agribusiness Education Taskforce, Global Advisor to the Galtere Agribusiness Fund, a member of the Academic Board of the Masters of Agribusiness Program at the University of Belgrano in Argentina, and a member of the advisory boards of the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies. In 2010 he was appointed as the Director of the Food and Agribusiness Management Program at the University of Illinois and in 2011 Dr. Goldsmith was named a Fellow of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association; the organization's highest honor.


Curt Goulding, Senior Vice President, Global Sales, Product Development, INTL FCStone Inc

Curt is a 1977 graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He began his career with Cargill Nutrena Feeds. In 1982 he began working for Farmers Commodities Corporation (now FCStone, LLC) in Denver, Colorado. In 1992 he started developing risk management programs for consumptive demand in Mexico. In 1996 the Latin American Division was formed with Curt as the director. In February of 2005 Curt moved to Campinas, São Paulo in Brazil to start FCStone do Brasil. Curt served as president until his return to the US in June of 2009. Since returning to the US, Curt has focused on international business development with the INTL FCStone offices outside the US. Additionally, Curt is responsible for expanding and developing risk management business with the INTL FCStone offices east of the Mississippi River.


Mario Gouvea, Head of Market Intelligence and Logistical Projects, Bunge Brasil 

Mario Gouvea is a Naval Engieneer with a Masters Degree in Logistics (University of São Paulo) and an MBA - Finance and Accounting (Fundação Getulio Vargas).  Formerly a Senior Trader at Louis Dreyfus, for 15 years having traded commodities (soybeans, grains, coffee) and financial assets (currencies, fixed income and gold), has since 2006, served as the Head of Market Intelligence and Logistical Projects at Bunge Brasil.  He reports to the Agribusiness Executive VP and is responsible for identifying short and long term investment opportunities and strategies.  As of 2014, Mario Gouvea is also an investment adviser of BungePrev Pension Fund.


Pranav Garg, Managing Director & Co-Head, Consulting, HighQuest Partners

Mr. Garg brings global thought leadership to client management teams, helping them achieve profitable growth in the Global Agribusiness & Food value chain. Prior to HighQuest, Mr. Garg was at Newpoynt Partners where he helped industry and private equity clients enter new markets and execute M&A transactions. Mr. Garg’s background ranges from building innovative technology companies to senior management positions in Agribusiness Strategy, Finance, and M&A. As Bunge’s Strategy Head & CFO for a $2bn Latin America division, Mr. Garg delivered industry-leading annualized profit growth and ROIC of 50+% and 25+% respectively. Prior to Bunge, Mr. Garg was a management consultant at Arthur D. Little and Charles River Associates. He is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and of Tufts University, Boston.

Susan Grelling, Vice President, Member Relations and Chief Commodity Risk Officer, Land O'Lakes

Susan Grelling is Vice President, Member Relations and Chief Commodity Risk Officer at Land O’Lakes. Susan has more than 20 years of experience in the packaged foods and agribusiness sectors in the United States, Asia and Former Soviet Union. She joined Land O’Lakes in 2009 and served as Vice President of Commodity Risk Management. In 2012, she became Chief Commodity Officer and Vice President of Member Relations. Prior to joining Land O’Lakes, Susan was Vice President, Commodity Risk Management, Strategic Sourcing and Packaging Engineering with The Schwan Food Company. She has held global supply chain positions with General Mills, Kelloggs, and The Pillsbury Company; and has held international development positions with Peace Corps and Mercy Corps, International. In addition she managed her own agribusiness consulting company, Niche Markets, which helped established agribusinesses in emerging countries. Susan has served on several boards. She has a bachelor’s degree in theoretical and applied economics from the University of Minnesota. 

Jim Hershey, Executive Director, American Soybean Association, WISHH Program

Jim Hershey is the Executive Director at the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (ASA/WISHH) Program.  Jim earned a B.A. from Northwestern University and a Master’s in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.  He spent two years in the Peace Corps in Ivory Coast.  Jim’s work in agriculture has focused on international market development for U.S. agricultural products, first with the USA Rice Council, and with ASA/WISHH since 2000.  In 2006, the ASA registered the World Soy Foundation, as a 501c3 charitable organization; Jim served as the Executive Director of this new entity until 2011.  Today, he serves on the Board of Trustees with the growing organization. 

OGTS_Adrian_Katz_UPDATED   Adrian Katz, Chief Executive Officer, Finacity Corporation 

For the past 13 years Adrian Katz has been the Chief Executive Officer at Finacity Corporation, a company focused on enhancing liquidity for trade receivables, with approximately $90 billion of funding facilitated by his company in the past 12 months.  He has been involved in the asset-backed finance industry for 29 years, working in both the investment banking and specialty financing industry. As an investment banker, Mr. Katz was a Managing Director at Smith Barney responsible for all issuance of new asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities. Prior to Smith Barney, Mr. Katz worked for Prudential Securities where he was Managing Director and Co-Head of the Mortgage and Asset Capital Division.  Mr. Katz graduated from Princeton University with a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science.

 Walter Kemmsies photo

Dr. Walter Kemmsies, Chief Economist, Moffatt & Nichol

As Moffatt & Nichol’s Chief Economist, Dr. Walter Kemmsies directs and oversees the firm’s work related to market studies, financial analyses, global trade and economic trend forecasts. He has led projects ranging from strategic development plans for ports through merger and acquisition transactions of port-related entities to terminal-operator expansion decisions. Dr. Kemmsies is also an advisor to executives at various port authorities and major transportation and manufacturing companies. Dr. Kemmsies is a registered financial analyst with a strong background in industry analysis. He also contributes a monthly column in American Shipper, economic outlook reports for Rosenblatt Securities, and contributes to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Professional Forecasters. Dr. Kemmsies received his Doctorate in Economics from Texas A&M University. He has a Master of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Florida Atlantic University.


LaVerne Klecker, Director of Procurement, SunOpta(Raw Materials Sourcing & Supply)

LaVerne Klecker has over 40 years of industry experience working for SunOpta- a leading global company specializing in the sourcing, processing and packaging of natural, organic and specialty food products. Mr. Klecker  is the Procurement Manager for the Raw Material Sourcing and Supply team, directly contracting Non-GMO grains from over 2500 USA farmers. Mr. Klecker grew up on a farm in Southern Minnesota and has had the unique opportunity to work his way up within the company, gaining knowledge and passion for the industry. To, Mr. Klecker lives on a small farm where he produces non-GMO corn and soybeans. He is married, with four children and seven grandsons and is also an active member of the Knight of Columbus. 

Thomas Kopp, Manager, Commodities and Ingredients, World Food Processing, LLC

Thomas Kopp, known as the “Jack of all trades and the Master of none” is Manager of Commodities and Ingredients, for World Food Processing, LLC, a vertically integrated Non-GMO and Organic Food Ingredient Company.  After operating a dairy farm, teaching vocational agriculture and 25 years of global marketing of grain and feed ingredients, Tom joined World Food and took on the challenge of developing a Non-GMO and Organic Food Ingredient Company focused on providing the market with healthy, high quality, identity preserved grains and ingredients.  Tom sources ingredients for processing, manages the supply chain, markets food and feed ingredients and sells grain produced by growers that aren’t processed. Working with growers, processors, and consumers Tom is in touch with the demand for Non-genetically modified products from all sectors across the market.


Dr. Bharat Kulkarni, Director, Stalwart Management Consultancy Services Pvt.

Dr. Bharat Kulkarni is Director of Stalwart Management Consultancy Services, a Dubai-based consulting firm, working in agricultural value chain and market microstructures, especially in Africa.  Bharat has provided advisory to several agribusiness projects in Africa and Asia, ranging from private investors to governments.  He has consulted on projects including establishment of agro-processing parks, commodity exchanges, warehouse receipt systems, food processing industries and commercial farming.  Bharat started his career as a grain and oilseeds trader, and later worked for reputed organizations like MCX India, IFPRI, and United Nations Development Program. He recently concluded a project linking smallholder farmers of pulses and oilseeds in Malawi with large buyers in Asia.  He holds a PhD in Oilseed Trading.  He presently works as Advisor to AHL Commodities Exchange in Malawi.  


Gary LaGrange, President and CEO, Port of New Orleans

Gary LaGrange has served as President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans since 2001.  Under LaGrange’s direction, the Port made great expansions in spite of great adversity.  LaGrange’s leadership brought the Port of New Orleans back into operation two weeks after Hurricane Katrina.  With over a decade of investment and expansion, the Port of New Orleans is recognized as the #1 Port for logistics in America.  LaGrange also serves on many Boards and Executive Committees including the Waterways Council, Inc., the Transportation Research Board, and the Board of Gulf Ports Association of the Americas.  Previously, LaGrange served as the Executive Director of the Mississippi State Port Authority, the Port of South Louisiana, and the Port of West St. Mary. 

 OGTS_David_Lehman_Photo_UPDATED David Lehman, Managing Director, Commodity Research and Product Development, CME Group

David Lehman serves as Managing Director, Commodity Research and Product Development of CME Group.  He is responsible for leading efforts to identify and develop new CME Group product and services opportunities related to both exchange-traded and over-the-counter (OTC) markets, maintaining viability of current product offerings and providing strategic insight into new markets, business development and research within the commodity space.  Before assuming his current role, he most recently served as Director, Commodity Research and Product Development, since July 2007. Previously, Lehman served as Managing Director and Chief Economist of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), and held the position of Industry Economist, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, from 1986-1989.  He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland. 

Sarah Day Levesque, Director of Content, HighQuest Partners

Sarah Day Levesque is the Director of Content for HighQuest Partners. In this role, she oversees the organization and production of insightful and innovative content for the company’s event, news and research initiatives. Ms. Day Levesque has a strong background in agricultural research and her areas of market expertise include the oilseeds, grains, vegetable proteins, and soyfoods. She is the lead author of the Soy Proteins report, Soyfoods: The U.S. Market report, and the first ever Women in Agribusiness Study in 2013.  Ms. Day Levesque received a Master of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics and a Master of Science in International Agricultural Development from University of California, Davis. She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Agricultural Development from the same university.


Douglas Marshall, Chief Scientific Officer, Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories Inc.

Dr. Marshall is Chief Scientific Officer with Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories, Inc., a division of Eurofins Scientific. Also, he is cofounder and Director of the Food Safety Institute, LLC, an integrated consulting and analytical services company affiliated with Eurofins. He currently serves as Adjunct Professor at Colorado State University and Florida State College. He previously held positions at the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado School of Public Health, Mississippi State University, Louisiana State University, the scientific journal Food Microbiology and 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 scientific research and outreach interests focus on improving the microbiological quality and safety of foods.  

Gerald McNeill, Vice President, Research and Development, IOI Loders Croklaan

Dr. Gerald McNeill, Ph.D., is the VP of Research and Development, North America, for IOI Loders Croklaan. In this role, Dr. McNeill leads the company’s North American research teams in guiding the development of new solutions for the fats and oils industry. With a Ph.D. in biochemistry and over 20 years of experience in fats and oils, Dr. McNeill provides strong technical insight and knowledge to the increased awareness of Palm Oil and its benefits for the food industry – specifically to replace partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Tom Neher, Vice President- Senior Originator, Global Food and Agriculture Group North America ,Swiss Re Corporate Solutions

Tom is Vice President- Senior Originator of the Global Food and Agriculture Group North America with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.  He works with large Agribusinesses offering customized, tailor-made risk transfer solutions.  Before joining Swiss Re, Tom was part of the Farm Credit System as a Grain Industry Specialist with AgStar Financial Services.  Tom previously held positions with Archer Daniel Midlands and Benson-Quinn Company.  Early in his career Tom was a part of his family's agricultural seed business operated a diversified dry land and irrigated farm; along with a swine farrow to finish operation.  Tom is a graduate of McPherson College and completed graduate studies in Clinical Psychology at Emporia State University and Rural Sociology at Kansas State University.

OGTS_Doug_Prohaska_UPDATED  Doug Prohaska AP, FCStone, LLC 

Doug started managing commodities 40 years ago for the family farm in Iowa. Subsequently became involved in Producer risk management embedding optionality into commercial grain elevator contracts. Currently, he manages commodity risk for Corn and Soybean Meal consumptive markets. Doug specializes in Corporate Commodity Risk Policies and designs, educates and implements strategies for national and international customers. 


Darwin Rader, International Sales Manager, Zeeland Farm Services, Inc.

Responsible for international sales of food & feed ingredients (both GMO and non-GMO) and non-GMO sales to the domestic food and feed industries, Rader joined ZFS in 2007.  He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Ag Business, earned an MBA from Western Michigan University and has 20 years of experience in marketing to the agriculture industry.  

He previously worked for Land O’Lakes Agricultural Services and at David Manufacturing Company marketing agricultural equipment internationally while also serving on the senior management team and the board of directors.  His experience includes ownership and senior management roles in the wholesale, retail and manufacturing industries.


Daniel Redo, Ph.D., Lanworth’s Manager of Agriculture Research, Thomson Reuters 

Daniel is Lanworth’s Manager of Agriculture Research within Thomson Reuters Commodities Research and Forecasts. Currently, he oversees the Lanworth team’s early season and long-range forecasts of corn, soybean, wheat, and rapeseed production in the United States, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Daniel has over a decade of experience applying remote sensing, geospatial, and weather analysis to monitoring global agro-forest production with special emphasis on Latin America and the United States. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining Lanworth, Daniel was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Puerto Rico.

 Tom_Scott_web Tom Scott, CEO, Informa Economics, Inc. 

With Informa since 1989, Mr. Scott's specialized work has included business strategy, agribusiness economic development, feasibility and site selection work, and various market analyses. In addition to his work in North America, Mr. Scott has extensive experience in the agribusiness sectors of Central Europe, Southeast Asia and South America. He has been involved in many training programs developed and delivered by Informa. Prior to joining the company, he had various assignments in management, trading, logistics and merchandising with Continental Grain Company. He received his bachelor's in agricultural economics and business from Cornell University and a master's in business administration from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College where he was an Amos Tuck Scholar.


Josh Sell - Senior Director of Commodities, Industry Affairs & Supply Chain Analysis , QSCC, Inc. 

Josh Sell is the Senior Director of Commodities, Industry Affairs, and Supply Chain Analysis for Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Co-Op. He oversees the department responsible for commodity risk management, industry affairs, purchasing analysis, supply chain optimization, and pricing coordination for Wendy’s® restaurants in North America. In addition, he directly manages the co-op membership’s commodity risk for proteins, dairy, and softs. Josh’s previous experience includes purchasing in corporate or cooperative environments for several chain restaurant concepts such as Wendy’s®, Subway®, and Café Express®. Josh has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Ohio State University, and currently resides in Columbus, OH with his wife and their two daughters.

PaulSmolen_Photo  Paul Smolen, Principal, AgriNetworks

Paul Smolen is an Agribusiness leader with expertise in commodity risk management, marketing strategy, new business development, and industry logistics. An accomplished and sought after speaker at Agribusiness industry groups worldwide addressing value capture and joint venture management, Paul has held executive and senior advisory positions at Bunge, United Soybean Board, and Continental Grain. Paul has led market development for enhanced output trait soybean meal and oil for the Bunge Dupont Biotech Alliance, coordinated Bunge’s global food and feed safety and quality programs, and developed animal nutrition expertise to improve protein and byproduct valuation. For USB, Paul utilized USB’s neutral platform to improve recognition and utilization of soymeal attributes and value capture from grower to feeder and continuously challenged directors and administrators to improve effectiveness and efficiency in both domestic and international marketing programs by developing closer alignment with commercial stakeholders. At Continental Grain as VP and General Manager, Paul led one of the most profitable trading businesses in terms of capital committed and consistency of performance and set the pace for industry in the export of processed feed ingredients. Paul was also active in creating, implementing, expanding, and managing a succession of joint venture export trading companies involving Continental Grain Company and its soybean processing partners, Quincy Soybean Company and Bunge Corporation. Paul holds an MBA from New York University and a B.A. In Economics from Cornell University

Diane Stewart

Diane D. Stewart, Senior Vice President and Manager, Structured Trade Finance Division, U.S. Bank

Diane Stewart is Senior Vice President & Manager of U.S. Bank’s Structured Trade Finance Division, International Banking Group.  While working for JPMorgan and Citibank for most of her career, and now 11 years with U.S. Bank, Ms. Stewart’s area of focus has been on various types of Structured Trade Finance Solutions, including Supply Chain Financing.  She has successfully negotiated and arranged Structured Trade Finance programs involving support from various U.S. and foreign government agencies, multilateral and bilateral institutions, and private insurance underwriters.  She did her undergraduate studies at Loyola University of Chicago.

 Michael-Swanson_web Michael Swanson, Agricultural Economist, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank N.A.

Michael Swanson is an agricultural economist and consultant for Wells Fargo, the largest commercial agricultural lender in the United States. Based in Minneapolis, his responsibilities include analyzing the impact of energy on agriculture, forecasting for key agricultural commodities, such as wheat, soybeans, corn, and cotton, and livestock sectors, such as cattle, dairy, and hogs. Additionally, he helps develop credit and risk strategies for Wells Fargo’s customers, and performs macroeconomic and international analysis on agricultural production and agribusiness. Michael joined Wells Fargo in 2000 as a senior economist. Michael received undergraduate degrees in economics and business administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and both his master’s and doctorate degrees in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Minnesota. 


Craig Tashjian, Founding Partner & Managing Director, AMERRA Capital Management, LLC

Craig Tashjian is Principal and co-founder of AMERRA Capital Management LLC. Mr. Tashjian works with senior management teams of Agriculture Companies to develop bespoke investment programs, including working capital facilities, strategic growth, CAPEX, acquisition financing, and junior debt & equity investments. A commodities professional for over 25 years, his expertise covers global agriculture, energy, mining, metals, and trade finance markets.  Prior to AMERRA, Mr. Tashjian managed Societe Generale’s Natural Resources line in the Americas, leading development of their New York based Commodities & Trade Finance Group.  Previously, he served as Global Head of Commodity Finance at Standard Chartered Bank.  Mr. Tashjian holds an MBA from Rutgers University, a BS in Finance and Accounting from Lehigh University, and Series 7, 24 and 63 securities licenses. 


James P. Tobin, VP, Channel Engagement Corporate Engagement Group, Monsanto 

Jim Tobin leads Channel Engagement for the Corporate Engagement Group at Monsanto.  His work focuses on building and maintaining relationships with the grain and food industry. 

Jim joined Monsanto's agricultural unit in 1983. Past assignments include leadership roles in product management, seed business integration, crop protection and Monsanto’s global cotton business. Assignments in these areas provided valuable opportunities to work with Monsanto's seed, biotech and crop chemical customers and products. 

Jim holds a B.S. degree in agricultural education from Iowa State University and an M.B.A. degree from Harvard University. 

Jim currently serves on the board of the U.S. Grains Council and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.  He is a member of the Farm Foundation Roundtable and a past chairman of the American Seed Trade Association.


Hugh Welsh, President, DSM North America

Mr. Hugh C. Welsh is the President & General Counsel of DSM North America. Mr. Welsh currently serves on several DSM global and regional management teams and is responsible for legal, government affairs, corporate communications, financial and HR and other shared services, corporate partnerships and DSM’s sustainability, inclusion and diversity initiatives in the region North America.  Previously, Hugh worked for American Standard Companies McCarter & English LLP and others. Hugh currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Chemistry Council, Partners in Food Solutions and the Business Civic Leadership Center of the US Chamber of Commerce. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Economics and History from the University of Massachusetts and his Juris Doctorate in law from Seton Hall University School of Law.


William W. Wilson, University Distinguished Professor, North Dakota State University

Dr. William W. Wilson is a Professor at North Dakota State University in Agribusiness and Applied Economics, with periodic sabbaticals at Stanford University.  His focus is risk and strategy as applied to agriculture/agribusiness with concentration on marketing, procurement, transportation/logistics, international marketing, and competition. He regularly advises a number of large Agribusiness firms, several major railroads, several major food and beverage companies, and foreign governments.  Currently, he has projects and/or clients in US, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, China, Australia, and France.  His clients have included companies such as Burlington Northern Railroad, Monsanto, and Busch Agricultural Resources.  He was recently recognized in the top 1% of agricultural economists by RePEc (Research Papers in Economics). He received his PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba. 

Bob Wold, Engineering Manager, Trimble

As a technologist and engineering leader for Connected Farm, a Trimble product, Bob is focused on data solutions within agriculture.  Prior to joining Connected Farm in 2013, Bob spent 15 years driving cultural and technical innovation in other industries served by Trimble.  Bob has helped bring teams and technology together to create best-in-class solutions in the areas of telematics, remote sensing, sensor fusion, mobile data collection, internet of things, data visualization, data analytics, machine learning, and cloud scalability.  As a technical leader within Trimble, Bob serves as a member of Trimble’s Engineering Council, Open Source Advisory Group, Collaboration Advisory Group, and Data Governance Board.

   OGTS_Kara_VanKleek_Updated                    Kara L. VanKleek, Global Marketing Director, CHS Inc. Processing & Food Ingredients

Kara VanKleek is global marketing director for CHS Protein Foods, a position she has held since October 2013. She is responsible for developing marketing strategies that drive differentiation and competitive advantages, creation of short- and long-term brand messaging, distributor marketing programs, and identifying strategic global growth opportunities.

Prior to CHS, Ms. VanKleek was marketing director at Schwan Consumer Brands, where she led the development and launch of Bon Appétit® branded frozen meals. In addition to owning her own company, she has also held marketing and sales positions with ConAgra, Bellisio, Pillsbury and General Mills.

Ms. VanKleek holds an MBA in Marketing from University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., a BS from Minnesota State University, and leadership certification from Center for Creative Leadership.

 OGTS_Peter_Zeihan_updated Peter Zeihan, Geopolitical Strategist 

Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical strategist who has lived in the world of international affairs throughout his career. His firm, Zeihan on Geopolitics specializes in customized executive briefings, applying 12 years of intelligence experience and a geopolitical perspective. 

Mr. Zeihan is a frequent guest on national and international television news shows on CNN, ABC, Fox News. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Forbes, AP, Bloomberg, MarketWatch and others. Zeihan’s first book, The Accidental Superpower will publish in November, 2014. 

Before becoming a full-time speaker, Zeihan was part of the core team that built Stratfor into a geopolitical consultancy and publishing house. This included four years as their Vice President of Analysis. 

Zeihan began his career working for the State Department in Australia. 

 Photo-Zenuk_updated Mark Zenuk, Managing Director of NGP Global Agribusiness Partners

Mr. Zenuk is a Managing Director for NGP GAP. Prior to joining NGP in 2010, he served in many roles with Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM), most recently serving as President of Global Oilseeds, the largest Global Business Unit at ADM, comprising over $24 billion in sales and operating profit of $1.3 billion. These divisions employed 8,600 people, had 116 inland terminals, and 112 oilseed, crushing, refining, and industrial facilities. From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Zenuk was Managing Director for Europe and Asia. In 2005, Mr. Zenuk was elected a corporate vice president of ADM. From 2003 to 2005, he served as Senior VP for ADM’s North American & European Oils & Fats division. Prior to joining ADM, he served as General Manager (Commodity Marketing Group) for the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Marketing Manager for the Canadian Wheat Board. Mr. Zenuk received a B.S. from the University of Saskatchewan in Agricultural Economics in 1990.

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