President, PEB Commodities, Inc.
During his career of over 40 years, Dr. Brecht has been actively involved with the handling, processing, storage and transportation of perishable products. Having extensive experience with food safety and postharvest biotechnology, he often serves as the principal forensics consultant on multiple occasions. Currently, he is President of PEB Commodities, Inc., an international service company that specializes in consultation, workshops and forensics and is also a scientific advisory council member for the Global Cold Chain Alliance. He has authored numerous publications and most recently co-edited/co-authored the ‘FDA Food Safety Modernization Act STF Final Rule Summary and User Guide’, the Refrigerated Transportation Best Practices Guide and the FDA Food Safety Compliance guidance.
CEO, Produce Marketing Association
Cathy Burns joined PMA on December 1, 2013 as President. Cathy is a 30-year supermarket industry veteran, during which time she’s held a host of senior-level positions starting with Hannaford Brothers and then Food Lion. Until December 2012, she most recently served as president of the Food Lion banner with its 1,200 retail stores where she was responsible for overall operations including financial performance, brand strategy, merchandising, marketing, communications and customer service. Cathy earned a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing from the University of Maine and completed coursework in strategic retail management at the College of William and Mary.
Kevin Coupe has been a working writer all his professional life. For the past two decades, he’s been bringing a wealth of experience, sharp storytelling skills, provocative and contextual insights, unique worldview and serious levity about the world of business and consumers to audiences everywhere. He has supervised a winery tasting room (happily), run two marathons (slowly), driven a race car (badly), learned to box (painfully) and acted in a major (but obscure) motion picture. With his book, “Retail Rules! 52 Ways To Achieve Retail Success,” he gives advice on management, marketing, customers, and operations from his unique view of the world of retail. For almost 16 years, he’s had his own website/blog – MorningNewsBeat.com where he provides “business news in context, and analysis with attitude” to some 35,000 worldwide subscribers. Kevin also is an adjunct faculty member of Portland State University’s Center for Retail Leadership in Oregon, where he has been teaching a summer marketing course for five years.
Managing Director, Human Capital, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Dr. David Dye has over 30 years of leadership and management consulting in the Federal Government and commercial sectors, contributing to the improved performance of employees, work teams and organizations. As a Director in Deloitte’s Human Capital Practice, he assists clients in developing and aligning human capital programs to achieve organizational strategy and mission with his areas of expertise in the human capital lifecycle for attracting, developing, and retaining talent. Dr. Dye is the executive sponsor for the firm’s Federal Leader Development Community of Practice, as well as for key eminence initiatives, including sponsorships with the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work in Government Rankings™, the Senior Executives Association, and The Engagement Institute™.
Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute
Leatrice Eiseman, the international color guru, is executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and head of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training. Leatrice has been widely quoted in many publications and recognized by Fortune Magazine and the Wall Street Journal as one of the most influential people in the world of color. An author of nine books, her tenth due out this fall, Leatrice is a world-renowned speaker on color trends, the psychology of color and consumer color preferences.
CEO & Managing Director, Consumer Equity Partners
Tom is CEO and Managing Director of Consumer Equity Partners, a venture capital and development firm in Seattle, WA that is building companies and capabilities to drive the next generation of consumer marketing and commerce. Within the portfolio, Tom is CEO of Replenium, a product replenishment platform designed to transform the traditional center store into an automated service. Prior to CEP, Tom was at Amazon.com as Vice President, Consumables and AmazonFresh, where he was responsible for building and running the company’s Grocery, Health & Beauty and AmazonFresh businesses. Prior to Amazon, Tom was the founder and CEO of Notiva, a Software-as-a-Service collaboration platform for retailers and their suppliers to manage business-to-business transactions, which sold to Oracle.
Global Talent Acquisition Leader, CSC
Laura is the global talent acquisition leader for CSC®, the leading provider of business, legal, tax, and digital brand services to companies around the globe. In her role, she provides opportunities and develops strategies to meet the human capital business needs of the organization. Prior to joining CSC, Laura worked in a variety of talent acquisition positions in banking, business, and consumer service, and as the founder of her own recruitment firm. Over the course of a 25-year career in human resources, Laura has cultivated a reputation as an expert in innovative solutions focused human capital management. Her passion for talent acquisition translates to proven strategies that position companies for attracting required talent at the most opportune time and location. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Resources from the University of Delaware. As recent empty nesters, Laura and her husband are trying out a variety of new hobbies and open to suggestions.
VP Food Safety & Technology, Produce Marketing Association
James Gorny, Ph.D. is the Vice President, Food Safety & Technology for the Produce Marketing Association, where his primary responsibilities are to assist produce industry members with issues associated with food safety, product quality, biotechnology, agricultural innovation, process and packaging technology and environmental sustainability. Dr. Gorny is also a member of the Center for Produce Technical Committee who identifies funds and provides industry with high priority and impactful produce safety research solutions. Additionally, he is a member of the PMA "crisis" team which provides assistance to members during foodborne illness outbreaks and/or recalls and assists in crisis communications. Prior to joining PMA Dr. Gorny served as the Senior Advisor for Produce Safety at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition where he provided scientific and technical expertise in response to evolving policy, foodborne illness outbreaks, regulatory follow-up investigations, education/outreach programs and risk based research needs to improve the safety of fresh produce.
Leader, Research & Development for the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™
As the global leader of Research and Development for the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™, Neal is responsible for leading all seeds and traits, crop protection, predictive agriculture and product development functions for producers around the world. Prior to working at DowDuPont, Neal held senior roles at Advanced Genetic Sciences and DNA Plant Technology Corporation. He served as President, CEO and Board Member of Mendel Biotechnology and currently sits on the CIMMYT Board of Trustees as program committee chair. Neal holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Yale University and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, he is the named inventor on more than 30 patents and pending patent applications.
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.
Professor of Practice, Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society
Brian David Johnson is a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, and a Futurist and Fellow at Frost & Sullivan, a visionary innovation company that’s focused on growth. As a former chief futurist at Intel Corporation, his charter was to develop an actionable vision for computing in 2020, his work was called “future casting”—using ethnographic field studies, technology research, trend data, and even science fiction to provide Intel with a pragmatic vision of consumers and computing. Along with reinventing TV, Johnson had been pioneering development in artificial intelligence, robotics and using science fiction as a design tool. He also works with governments, militaries, trade organizations, and startups to help them envision their future and has over 30 patents and is the author of a number of books of fiction and nonfiction. His writing has appeared in publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal and Slate to IEEE Computer and Successful Farming, and he appears regularly on Bloomberg TV, PBS, Fox News, and the Discovery Channel. In addition to his many accomplishments he has also directed two feature films, is an illustrator and commissioned painter.
Vice President of Support Operations, Allen Lund Company
A graduate of Loyola Marymount with a degree in Business Administration, Kenny managed the refrigerated transportation division of the Allen Lund Company in Los Angeles for eight years, before shifting full time into managing the Information and Technology Department in 1997. Kenny currently serves as Vice President of Support Operations and is a past member of PMA’s Fresh Summit Committee.
Vice President Quality & Food Safety, Taylor Fresh Foods
Drew is the Vice President of Quality & Food Safety at Taylor Fresh Foods, Salinas CA. With over 20 years of experience in fresh produce and fresh foods, Drew oversees the quality and food safety programs across food service, retail and deli operations. Throughout his career, he has worked with growers and processors of fresh produce items all over the world. He currently serves on numerous food safety-related technical committees and has participated in the authorship of numerous food safety guidelines. Drew studied at Lawrence University in Wisconsin and currently lives in the Monterey area with his wife Aimee and their three young girls.
Senior Technical Director for the Global Cold Chain Alliance
Stephen has been in the food industry since 1985. With a Ph.D. in Meat Science & Muscle Biology from the University of Georgia, Stephen joined the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and later joined ConAgra Beef Company (later to become JBS), where he was responsible for the development of technical training and marketing programs for the domestic and international divisions of the company. In 2001, Stephen formed Technical Solutions International (TSI), where he provided technical marketing solutions for the perishable food industry 70+ countries. As the Senior Technical Director for the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), he develops technical resource materials and works on international projects as a technical specialist. He and his wife, Lisa, own and operate a 160-acre cattle and horse ranch near Eugene, Oregon.
Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Deborah is a leader in Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice where she focuses in the retail and wholesale distribution industry. She most recently began working in the fresh food space where she partners with her clients to align leaders, identify interdependencies and deliver simple, scalable solutions that stick. Deborah has more than 10 years of consulting experience leading large, cross-functional project teams and advising her clients through transformational changes.
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.
Senior Director of Agricultural Operations, Limoneira Company
Mark Palamountain is the Senior Director of Agricultural Operations for Limoneira Company, a 124-year-old international agribusiness headquartered in Santa Paula, California. Mark oversees coordination between all agricultural operational teams and develops financial forecasts between domestic and international operations. He was instrumental in the development of Limoneira's first solar installation, one of the largest private solar facilities in California.
Author, Speaker, Adventurer, Veteran
Shannon knows leadership. In 1993, she became one of the first women to fly attack helicopters in the US Army. An honor graduate at the Army’s flight school and officer basic courses, she was assigned as the only woman officer in an attack aviation regiment of 120 pilots at only 23 years old. Over eight years in uniform she commanded two attack helicopter platoons and an Apache line company. Shannon knows courage, too. At 19, she became the youngest woman to climb Denali. And she knows corporate motivation, Shannon was selected for the high potential group at Microsoft after managing through a volatile turnaround while maintaining some of the division’s highest health ratings. No wonder Shannon has been recognized with the Woman of Valor Award.
Global Procurement & Resource Utilization Manager, Google Inc.
As the Google Food Team's Global Procurement & Resource Utilization Manager, Kristen focuses on category procurement guidelines, resource utilization strategies and vendor/partner tools. Prior to Google, Kristen was Brand Director in Sodexo's Corporate division. She also worked for Winrock International in Indonesia, the United Nations World Food Program in Bhutan, and Los Senderos, a sustainable resort in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Kristen earned an MBA as a Park Leadership Fellow at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, where she focused on sustainability in the hospitality industry.
News Anchor, Good Morning America
Amy has traveled around the world to cover major news events, from the terrorist bombings in Belgium, to the Orlando mass shooting at Pulse nightclub. Her extensive interview history of newsmakers, dignitaries and celebrities includes Gretchen Carlson, Hulk Hogan, Monica Lewinsky, Teresa Giudice and Malala Yousafzai. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Amy grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and then moved to Atlanta, Georgia before high school. She attended the University of Georgia where she graduated with honors and a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She currently resides in New York City with her husband, two daughters and is also the stepmom to three wonderful boys.
VP of Consumer Insights, Nielsen
Jordan Rost is VP of Consumer Insights for Nielsen where he leads a team of thought leaders who explores emerging trends, shifting buying behaviors and evolving shopper dynamics. He is often cited in business, trade and consumer press, regularly shares insights via Nielsen reports, industry talks and directly with Nielsen’s partners and clients. Prior to his time at Nielsen, Jordan most recently spent nearly a decade at Google, where he led brand and retail consumer insights, trends and thought leaderships.
Chief Marketing Officer, Produce Marketing Association
Lauren M. Scott joined Produce Marketing Association as the Chief Marketing Officer in October 2016. Lauren has over 20 years of experience in the consumer products industry. Prior to PMA, Lauren worked at PepsiCo and Diageo in a variety of marketing roles with increasing responsibility including brand management, foodservice, activation, field marketing, national promotions, cultural branding, global innovation and strategy. Lauren began her career as a four-year Inroads intern and full-time hire in sales at Colgate-Palmolive. A believer in continuous education and development, Lauren earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Rutgers University, an MBA from University of Maryland and a Master of Science in Strategic Communication from Columbia University, where she continues as a graduate project advisor. She also actively coaches and mentors. Lauren has served on recruitment teams and held leadership roles in a variety of employee resource groups. A self-described foodie, Lauren's civic passions include combating hunger, food insecurities and cleft lip and palate conditions. Lauren enjoys her thespian hobbies of tap dance, music and choral singing. Most of all, she loves great meals and good laughs with her friends and family, including her husband and son, affectionately known as The Allens.
President, Motivation Works, Inc.
Dan Thurmon is the author of two books, a renowned speaker, and a recognized expert in delivering peak performances – on stage and in the workplace. As president of Motivation Works, Inc., he has worked with hundreds of clients worldwide helping organizations and individuals implement plans and move confidently through transitions. He delivers experiences that go beyond motivation, teaching concepts and skills in a highly engaging and entertaining manner and incorporates his lifelong performance skills to create high impact events. He believes that we will never achieve “perfect balance” and should, instead, learn to embrace uncertainty and initiate positive changes that lead to growth.
Vice President of Supply Chain Efficiencies, Produce Marketing Association
With 30+ years of senior experience in logistics and supply chain management, Ed is PMA’s expert in developing supply chain practices to lead the produce and floral industries forward. He has spent most of his career working with major Canadian retailers, including Loblaw Companies Ltd., Shoppers Drug Mart and Sobeys Inc. At PMA, Ed monitors trends in supply chain efficiencies and designs products, services and educational events for members. He serves as a technical consultant to the Produce Traceability Initiative and is Chairman of the International Federation for Produce Standards.
Former Chief Agricultural Negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative
Ambassador Darci Vetter served as Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative from 2014 until January of this year. She was responsible for bilateral and multilateral negotiations and trade policy coordination regarding agricultural trade, including negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership agricultural package, and significant bilateral negotiations with Japan, China, Brazil and other countries. Before returning to USTR, Ambassador Vetter served as Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where she oversaw many of the department's international activities, including the Foreign Agricultural Service. She led the department’s international trade negotiating team, directed USDA’s export assistance programs, and coordinated USDA's role in international food aid and trade capacity building. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Ambassador Vetter served as an International Trade Advisor on the Democratic Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, where she advised Committee members on trade issues relating to agriculture, the environment and labor, including the 2008 Farm Bill and the Committee’s consideration of Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. She began her career as a civil servant at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where she worked on agricultural and environmental issues, including the WTO Doha Round and NAFTA implementation. Environmental Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, and her undergraduate degree from Drake University in Des Moines. She grew up in Nebraska on a family farm, and lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two small children.
Chief Science & Technology Officer, Produce Marketing Association
Bob Whitaker received his Ph.D. in Biology from SUNY Binghamton in 1982. Upon graduation, Bob joined DNA Plant Technology Corporation serving as both vice president for vegetable research and development and vice president of product development. In 1998, Bob joined NewStar as vice president of product development and quality where he developed corporate global food safety programs, spearheaded product development, and had operational responsibility for two value-added processing plants. In April 2008, Bob became the chief science & technology officer of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), overseeing food safety and technology efforts from field to fork. Bob has served as a volunteer leader for the United Fresh Produce Association, as chairman of the International Fresh-cut Produce Association (IFPA) board. Bob has been directly involved on a number of industry and government food safety and technology initiatives. In 2006, Bob was awarded IFPA’s Technical Achievement Award for his work in food safety and product development. He was named to the Executive Committee for the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) in 2007, and served as chairman of the CPS Technical Committee until 2013. Bob still serves as a member of the CPS Technology Committee which oversees the solicitation and awarding of funds for produce food safety research.
CEO/CTO, Centricity Global
Drew Zabrocki is the CEO/CTO of Centricity Global, a farmer owned company deeply rooted in its commitment to deliver solutions through leading edge technologies. As CEO, Drew advocates transparency, value retention and knowledge exchange across international agribusiness sectors. As CTO, he inspires the development of Centricity's software, API and blockchain technologies which enable better decisions on the farm and across the supply chain. Centricity’s unique "frictionless trust" solutions enables information to flow with purpose and intention thereby distilling the knowledge asset and protecting the intellectual property implanted within the "art of farming".