NEW ORLEANS, LA — Here we go: The match has been struck to light the fuse for PMA Fresh Summit 2017. The next 72 hours-plus are going to be frantic, hectic, frenetic and kinetic — and no doubt invaluable (and later we’ll all realize it was fun, too). There’s a lot to do, see and hear — you can’t get to it all so we’re here to help. Click HERE for our updated PMA Pocket Agenda.

And now let’s meet this year’s speakers from the events on that agenda:

Traci Adams
President, Tru Bloom LLC

Traci Adams is President of Tru Bloom LLC, a company with the mission of joining all sides of the Floral world, and a mantra to Define, Differentiate, Innovate, Strategize and Partner with Execution Experts. Prior to Tru Bloom, Traci served as VP and General Manager of Floral for Safeway Stores Inc. where her experience included Retail Store and Divisional Operations. She oversaw the initiative to brand floral with lifestyle and event planner, Debi Lilly, and served as co-chair of Safeway’s CSR platform, PLANET, whose goals were to aggressively reduce energy and waste consumption. Traci has been involved with PMA’s Floral Council since its inception and was awarded the PMA Floral Marketer of the Year award in 2012.

Dr. Patrick Brecht
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.

Michael Burchell
Organizational Solutions Expert, McKinsey & Company

Michael Burchell, Ed.D., is an expert on workplace culture and employer branding. As an organization solutions expert, he provides advice in culture transformation, organization design, people analytics and top team development. Prior to his work at McKinsey & Company, Michael was a corporate vice president at Great Place to Work® Institute and co-owner of its affiliate operations in the Arabian Gulf. He also worked at W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. in training and organizational development, supporting the enterprise’s operational excellence, leadership development and culture change efforts. Michael is also the co-author of The Great Workplace: How to Build It, How to Keep It, and Why It Matters, and No Excuses: How You Can Turn Any Workplace Into a Great One.

Cathy Burns
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.

Steve Campbell
Founder & CEO, pro-voke, LLC

With experience as an executive leading organizational change globally inside large companies like Hannaford Supermarkets and Delhaize America for more than 20 years, Steve gets to exercise what has been a long-time passion and apply it as the Chief Executive Officer of Pro-voke. Steve is masterful in helping leaders and organizations, large or small, uncover what they have always known, but couldn’t see clearly, didn’t want to acknowledge, or couldn’t find a constructive approach towards their desired outcomes.

Debora Coleman
Vice President Floral, Albertsons Companies

Debora Coleman is the Vice President of Floral for Albertsons Companies and has been in the floral industry for over 30 years. She is a member of the Floral Council for PMA and has been involved with PMA for several years helping to grow the industry. Debora has worked in the Grocery Floral industry for many years briefly working in Produce as well. She has also worked in the floral import business for 2 years returning to her roots in 2004 with Albertsons. Debora Coleman is currently living in Boise Idaho working at the corporate office for Albertson’s Companies.

Kevin Coupe

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 – 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.

Kasey Cronquist
Administrator, Certified American Grown Flowers

Kasey Cronquist is the administrator of Certified American Grown Flowers, a diverse coalition of large and small U.S. flower farms united in promoting domestic flowers and assuring consumers that the bouquets and bunches they purchase were grown on an American flower farm. Kasey is also the CEO and Ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC), a role he began in 2007. A committed nonprofit leader, Kasey is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management, was named the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Katherine Harvey Fellow in 2007, and is the recipient of Produce Business magazine’s “40 Under Forty” award.

Kristen Diver
Director of Human Resources, The Dinex Group

As Director of Human Resources for The Dinex Group, Kristen Driver combines her passion for the restaurant industry and its people. Prior to The Dinex Group, Kristen held Training Management and Human Resource roles at the Patina Restaurant Group. She also served as a restaurant manager for the Union Square Hospitality Group at The Modern in New York City. Her global experience includes managing a food service team in the Olympic Village during the Beijing Olympics as well as an internship with Aramark in Denali.

Kate Dowling
Corporate Strategy Manager, Robinson Fresh

As Manager of Corporate Strategy at Robinson Fresh, Kate Dowling is responsible for developing, managing and executing the company’s long-term strategy and annual planning processes. Kate joined C.H. Robinson in 2010 and initially served as a learning consultant. In this role, she created and facilitated key professional development courses focused on strategic, customer-driven planning which included directing the company’s elite North American sales training program. Today, Kate works globally with Robinson Fresh leaders to develop and drive comprehensive long-term strategies and goals for products, transportation and services.

Dr. David Dye
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™.

Leatrice (Lee) Eiseman
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.

Tom Furphy
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 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.

Laura Gleason
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.

José Antonio Gomez Bazan
President & SEO, Camposol Trading

José has extensive international experience in the food industry and international trade. He is currently leading Camposol´s transformation into a vertically integrated fresh produce corporation, with marketing and supply chain capabilities in North America, Europe and Asia. His previous experience includes several senior management positions at Chiquita Brands International in U.S., Latin America and Europe, and lastly as General Manager with headquarters in Florida. He is a PMA Board Member, Vice Chair of the Peruvian Avocado Commission, and past Chair of the Institute of Asparagus and Vegetables.

Dr. Jim Gorny
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.

Elaine Griffin
Interior Designer & Author, Elaine Griffin Design

A cast member and third-place winner of NBC’s 2014 primetime design competition reality show, American Dream Builders, interior designer Elaine Griffin is also the author of the bestselling Design Rules: The Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator, which arms readers with the timeless rules, principles and proportions that design pros use to create great-looking, livable rooms. Ranked as one of House Beautiful’s Top 100 American Designers, Elaine’s private client work has been featured in publications including Elle Decor, House Beautiful, New York Times, Daily News, New York Post, Southern Accents, and New York magazine. She also appeared regularly on the Today show.

Dr. Neal Gutterson
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.

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.

Brian David Johnson
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.

Mikelea Kelley
e-Business Manager

Mikelea is the e-Business Manager at Tanimura and Antle as well as a member of the Foodservice Sales Team. She has worked in the produce industry for 35 years on the Grower Shipper side of the business and has been involved with PMA committees and working groups helping to develop a path towards Data Synchronization Standardization and implementation. Currently she is a member of PMA’s Science and Technology Committee as well as United’s Finance and Business council.

Evan Kelsay
Global Account Executive, LinkedIn

Evan Kelsay has been a Global Account Executive at LinkedIn for the past seven years. Staying true to his belief that authentic storytelling is the greatest technology humans ever created, Evan helps companies activate their employee advocates, empower them as thought leaders, and authentically leverage their massive networks at scale.

Arnold Kloostra
Director, Intergreen

Arnold Kloostra has been working for Intergreen and other Dutch Flower Group companies for nearly his whole career in the field of international floral marketing, sales, procurement and supply chain development. Working with people, connecting growers with supermarkets and improving businesses are some of his greatest passions.

Julie Krivanek
President, Krivanek Consulting, Inc.

Julie Krivanek, President and Founder of Krivanek Consulting, started her company 27 years ago after 15 years on the fast track as a Fortune 500 Vice President in underground coal mining. Krivanek Consulting is the only firm focused exclusively on strategic planning for the produce industry. By discovering hidden insights about a company’s current business practices, as well as future trends and forces in the industry, Kvivanek Consulting guides firms with tailored action plans to achieve superiority in the marketplace. Julie brings knowledge of the produce industry few people can match and has track record of helping companies throughout the global supply chain including Dole, Strube, Ocean Mist, Eurofresh, Mann Packing, Sunkist, Duda, Pro Act, Naturipe and To-Jo Mushrooms.

Ken Lund
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.

Logan McCollum
Senior Recruiter, Driscoll’s

As a global recruiter for Driscoll’s, Logan McCollum is responsible for sourcing agricultural scientists from various backgrounds including: genetics, plant breeding, chemistry, pathology, entomology, and molecular science. He draws on his past experiences in sales, agricultural research, scientific recruitment and team management to help sustain Driscoll’s leading position in the berry industry.

Drew McDonald
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.

Dr. Stephen Neel
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.

Deborah Neff
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.

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.

Richard Owen
VP, Global Business Development, Produce Marketing Association

Richard Owen is vice president of global business development for the Produce Marketing Association (PMA). Richard served as Director of Agricultural Affairs for the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Executive Office of the President (EOP). At USTR Richard managed a portfolio that included Russia and Eastern Europe, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Israel. He led US negotiations on agricultural market access and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues with over ten countries acceding to the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also served as USTR delegate to two significant international trade agencies: the WTO Committee on Agriculture and Codex Alimentarius, the international food safety organization.

Mark Palamountain
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.

Shannon Huffman Polson
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.

Kristen Rainey
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.

Amy Robach
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.

Becky Roberts
Director of Floral, Produce Marketing Association

For nearly 20 years, Becky Roberts, Director of Floral for the Produce Marketing Association, has helped PMA members grow their companies through connections to information, insights and each other. She drives integrated programming for the floral industry, including research, education, networking, and events. She has traveled the world to meet members, understand their needs and identify opportunities for collaborations that bring value to members’ businesses. She is a native Delawarean.

Jordan Rost
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.

Lauren M. Scott
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.

Colette Shannon
Head of Communication, Spinneys

Colette Shannon holds a BSc. Management and majored in Marketing from Trinity College Dublin. She is currently the head of Communications at Spinneys, renowned as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) largest and most successful food supermarkets. Colette is the driving force behind strategic communication initiatives, management of integrated marketing, public relations and communication that ensures continuity across the three brands under the Fine Fare Food Market umbrella which are Spinneys, Waitrose and Taste Kitchen.In the eight years employed by the company store numbers have grown tremendously from 30 to over 70 stores to date. Her hard work has resulted in the three brands winning prestigious awards for UAE’s Favourite Supermarket, Super Brand of the Year and Healthy Restaurant of the Year.

Dan Thurmon
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.

Ed Treacy
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.

Ambassador Darci Vetter
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.

Dr. Bob Whitaker
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.

Drew Zabrocki
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”.

Marco van Zijverden
CEO, Dutch Flower Group

Marco van Zijverden (1962) is CEO of Dutch Flower Group (DFG). His father started the family business in floriculture in 1959 (OZ Export) and Marco joined in 1986 after his business studies. The family business merged with another family, Van Duijn, and formed Dutch Flower Group in 1999. The business model of Dutch Flower Group, with 30 specialized trading companies in the floricultural field, has grown into a $1.7 billion company today. Selling to 60 countries and sourcing from over 20 countries worldwide, DFG is a frontrunner in Europe in the supply to multiple retailers and the floral wholesale. Marco manages a portfolio that includes strategy, corporate social responsibility and new business.




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