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Speakers

Benjamin Bray

Benjamin Bray

California State University, Monterey Bay, '17

Benjamin represents the future of foodservice. With one semester left before graduating with a degree in Business Administration (concentration in agriculture), Benjamin already exhibits the passion, drive and determination our industry demands. As an intern at Superior Foods International, he has a front-row seat to quality assurance; as the co-founder of the CSUMB Agribusiness Club, he explores different aspects of the agriculture community; as a bartender, he expands his 10 years of food service expertise to practical use. Most telling are his experiences during his supply chain management course, where he was introduced to successful vertical integration and decided that employment with a large, international agriculture company would be his first post-graduation step.

Adolfo Bucio

Food Safety Assisting Supervisor, Tanimimura and Antle

Adolfo Bucio is currently working for Tanimimura and Antle as a Food Safety Assisting Supervisor and has been there over a year. He graduated from California State University Monterey Bay in May, 2017 and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Agribusiness. Adolfo has been in the AG industry for a long time. Before Tanimura and Antle, he was assisting his brother who is an organic grower. Just like at Tanimura and Antle, he focused in Food Safety.

Victoria Delgado

California State University, Monterey Bay, '18

Victoria is a 4th year student at CSUMB attaining a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Agriculture. As Co-Founder/ Vice President of the University Agriculture Business Club and an Agribusiness Intern for Mann's Fresh Vegetables, Victoria knows first hand the balance college students play with making healthy and economically wise decisions when it comes to their food choices. Growing up in the heart of Central California, Victoria experienced the business of Agriculture and the determination it takes to feed this world and its growing population. Victoria plans to be part of the produce movement by implementing her skills and knowledge of microeconomics and operations management to grow the relationship between grower, packager, and food service provider.

Ronald DeSantis

Director of Culinary Excellence, Yale Hospitality

Before Ron became the first Certified Master Chef to enter college dining (transforming the format for student meal delivery and leading a culinary team of more than 150). Before he served at The Culinary Institute of America as Director of CIA Consulting at The Culinary Institute of America (working closely with food service industry blue-chip companies) and as Director of Education Services (planning and designing notable teaching kitchens and workshops from here to Singapore to Spain). Before he cooked in Germany and for the U.S. Marines and graduated from The Culinary Institute, Ron was a young boy, surrounded by the old-world Italian ingredients at his family’s local grocery store, who fell in love with cooking.

Jessica Foust

Culinary Director, Farmer's Fridge

Can healthful, premium, freshly prepared meals come from 12 square feet? The answer is yes, when Jessica is Culinary Director! For Farmer’s Fridge’s 60 locations, Jessica leads culinary and nutrition strategy, new product innovation and commercialization, much to the aplomb of convenience-food lovers across the Chicago area. Prior to this tasty gig, Jessica was Director of Culinary Innovation for McDonald’s USA, where she led culinary development for national and regional menus across 15,000 restaurants. A registered dietitian, she holds degrees from The Culinary Institute of America and is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Johnson and Wales University.

Lisa Helfman Foodservice

Lisa Helfman

Founder & Board Chair, Brighter Bites

It took one fateful season to change Lisa’s (and her kids’) lives forever. Their active participation in a weekly fruit and vegetable co-op inspired her to replicate this kind of healthy-eating change in underserved communities identified as “food deserts,” or areas with limited access to grocery stores. Partnered with the Houston Food Bank and Dr. Shreela Sharma at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Brighter Bites has delivered more than 13,000,000 pounds of fresh produce to more than 30,000 families at more than 100 participating schools in Houston, Dallas, and Austin with great research results. A nationwide rollout is in the works, which she manages while simultaneously serving successfully as Director of Real Estate for H-E-B Grocery Company.

Michael Jackson Photo 2017

Michael Jackson

Change Agent/Professional Speaker

An internationally sought-after speaker, Michael has more than 30 years of strategic business, marketing and communications experience. Trained in business strategy development and communication, he has worked personally for business leaders including Richard Branson and Bill Gates, as well many other leading global businesses such as Qatar Airways, HP, Goodyear and Barclays. He has presented to more than 1,500 groups worldwide, focusing on the subject of change in a business context.

Rick Nahmias Foodservice

Rick Nahmias

Founder/Executive Director, Food Forward

Before founding Food Forward in 2009, Rick was an award-winning photographer, published author and cook who focused on the faces and stories of marginalized communities. For Rick, access to healthy fresh nutrients is a human right. Today, Rick is a sought-after speaker on food justice issues, a regional delegate to the Slow Food/Terra Madre Conference in Torino, a Ralph M. Parsons Fellow and recipient of a 2016 Trailblazer Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Rick also serves on the Leadership Board of the LA Food Policy Council and the Steering Committee for the Los Angeles County Food Recovery Initiative.

Evan Nash

Evan Nash

Purchasing Director, Johnson & Wales University

Evan is not a Stranger to the Food Industry. His experience spans over 30 years in the Hotel, Casino & Restaurant Industry in the Washington DC, Chicago, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Indiana and Mississippi, facilitating property openings and supply chain transformations. Evan attributes his early training in Procurement to Hilton Hotels Corp Central Purchasing in New York and Washington DC while serving the last thirteen years as Director of Purchasing with Johnson & Wales University. Known for their World Class Culinary Program, he feels that there isn’t another place in the world where he can give back to the profession on a daily basis. Evan is currently on the Board of Directors for the National Restaurant Association ESG, serving as Education Chair, Institute for Supply Management International Host Service Committee Chair, Past President of ISM Carolina Virginia, currently serving as VP of the affiliate and Board of Directors for Second Harvest Food Bank of the Metrolina’s in Charlotte NC.

David Nour Foodservice

David Nour

CEO, The Nour Group, Inc.

A native of Iran, David came to the US with $100, limited family ties and no fluency in English. Today, he is the thought leader on Relationship Economics®. In fact, it’s David who pioneered the phenomenon that relationships are the greatest off-balance-sheet asset of any organization of any size—a revolutionary concept that earns him consistent coverage in all major media and critical acclaim for his books, including the best-selling Relationship Economics and the newly released, CO-CREATE, for C-level leaders who want to optimize relationships, create market gravity and increase revenue.

Jill Overdorf

Jill Overdorf

Dir. of Business and Culinary Development; Corporate Executive Chef, Coosemans LA Shipping

An executive chef for almost two decades, Jill is the Director of Business and Culinary Development and Corporate Executive Chef for Coosemans LA Shipping, a specialty produce company. After attending UMASS-Amherst and graduating with honors from the Culinary Institute of America, she launched her career in New York City by helping to open Osteria del Circo, the sister restaurant of Le Cirque. She has worked as the Executive Sous Chef at the Telluride Film Festival and opening Executive Banquet Chef at The Getty Museum, Brentwood, CA; Executive Chef at DreamWorks Studios, Burbank, CA; Executive Chef at McMurdo Station in Antarctica and Executive Sous Chef at the Ross School in Easthampton, Long Island. In addition to her position with Coosemans LA Shipping, Jill works as an industry consultant with clients like Occidental College and UEPI’s Center for Food and Justice; launching one of the nation’s first Farm-to-WIC programs, connecting urban mothers and children with local small farm produce. She is one of the principle authors of the innovative purchasing document Good Food Purchasing Guidelines for Food Service Institutions. Jill is a Board member of both Produce Marketing Association and the Center for Growing Talent by PMA. She is also a member of the Leadership Board of the LA Food Policy Council. Jill volunteers with a number of Los Angeles regional animal rescue organizations. She has visited all seven continents and has found many favorite places around the world to eat and cook.

Joe Pawlak Foodservice

Joe Pawlak

Managing Principal, Technomic

His experience covers virtually every food, beverage and supply category and channel—and for that, our industry is thankful. Joe’s work conducting consulting and research engagement for food and beverage manufacturers, trade associations, private equity firms and restaurant chains propels all of us forward, especially in the areas of market trend analysis, forecasting and implications development. His success has attracted national media attention (think: Business Week, NPR and CNN) and countless speaking engagements for national and global food industry events—including ours!

Event Manager

Astrid Schrier

Astrid Schrier

Event Manager

+1 (302) 607-2102

Email Astrid

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