GFSI/HACCP specialist and PCQI with vast experience in designing, implementing and maintaining food safety management systems in large companies. Have worked in Quality Assurance managerial roles with Heinz, Seneca Foods and Furmano Foods. Specific areas of expertise include: FSMA Preventive Controls; HACCP; GFSI; OSHA Regulations; FDA/USDA/State/Kosher auditing; Employee training & development; Canning (thermal processing & double-seaming); Vegetable processing; Dry food processing.
Special Agent Christopher Young
Federal Bureau of Investigation-Chicago
Christopher Young came to the FBI in Chicago as an Intelligence Analyst in January 2018 after retiring from the 5th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, IL Army National Guard. He has worked with weapons of mass destruction and hazardous materials for 18 years, during which time he provided subject matter expertise related to chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear materials before, during, and after potential WMD terrorist events and worked with a vast array of federal, state, and local agencies to include the FBI Hazardous Evidence Response Team and WMD, US Department of Energy, US Department of Homeland Security, Illinois State Police Labs, IL Department of Public Health, and Chicago Fire and Police Departments.
Food Protection and Defense Institute
Debra Freedman is the Education Manager at the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI). She is responsible for managing the Institute’s educational portfolio; focused on work force readiness and workplace learning. She works with University of Minnesota researchers and scholars, government, food industry professionals, public school teachers, and other Emergency Responders to develop teaching materials, certificate programs, courses, and training guides. Prior to joining FPDI she was an Online Learning Consultant at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada); a sessional instructor at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada); and, an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Penn State University.
Chief Executive Officer
Gary Nowacki has been the CEO of TraceGains since its launch in 2008. He previously held a variety of software industry executive positions in ERP, Supply Chain, and Quality Solutions. Gary has 30 years’ experience designing and implementing advanced solutions for CPG and food industries.
With more than 500 customer sites, TraceGains eliminates error prone tools like spreadsheets, SharePoint, paper, and custom portals. TraceGains automatically turns internal and supplier documents into actionable data and monitors plants and facilities 24/7 for problems, giving companies a comprehensive solution for FSMA, GFSI, and audits.
Sr. Director Corporate Food Safety
For more than 18 years, Gene has provided technical expertise and consultation to Smithfield Packaged Meats Division’s 38 meat and allied processing plants in the areas of HACCP plan development and validation, pathogen reduction efforts in sanitation, equipment design, thermal processing and chilling, and product shelf life extension. He is also Technical Director of the Corporate Microbiology Laboratories and directs the plant microbiology labs. Gene has worked on the North American Meat Institute’s Listeria Control Working Group since its inception and has presented to several industry groups on this subject. Prior to joining Smithfield Foods, he developed new food packaging materials, designs and an aseptic packaging system for International Paper. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bucknell University, and master and doctoral degrees in microbiology from Cornell University.
Senior Manager Corporate Quality
Packaging Materials & Supply Chain Professional, Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Project Manager, Quality Auditor & with 22 years of experience across consumer food, chemical, medical device and abrasives industries. Reputation for leading teams that deliver innovation & results exceeding business objectives. Key strengths include phased project management, external business partner relationships, team leadership, staff development, handling complexity and data-driven problem solving. MS Manufacturing Systems Engineering, BS Biochemistry, University of Minnesota Institute of Technology.
Director of Quality and Compliance
Sweet Street Desserts
Jerold has 25 years of progressive responsibility encompassing all areas of Operations and Quality/Food Safety management. Highlights of his career include global implementation of progressive quality management principles of Six Sigma and Process Capability efforts within fast paced manufacturing environments across international settings.
Prior to his current position of Director of Quality and Compliance at Sweet Street Desserts, Jerold worked for MillerCoors as the Director of Manufacturing Quality with direct oversight of all 10 North American breweries to advance all food safety, quality and sanitary hygiene programs. He also worked as the VP of Food Safety for Otis Spunkmeyer and at Kerry Ingredients as Sr. Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement, domestic and internationally. Jerold has a Bachelor in Food Milling Science from Kansas State University, a MBA from St. Ambrose University and is a Master Six Sigma Black Belt.
University of Minnesota
Dr. Feirtag is an Associate Professor - Extension Food Safety Specialist in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. Her primary responsibilities include developing and delivering educational programs/materials in the area of food safety related to all aspects of the food industry - from producer to consumer (farm-to-table). She has conducted many workshops in the area of food safety, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and sanitation in the US, Canada, and Mexico. She has served extensively as a food safety consultant for local, national, and international companies. Her research is in the areas of evaluating and improving rapid on-site methods for the detection of hazards in the food processing environment and new technologies to ensure cleaning and sanitation programs.
Dr. Feirtag received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota in Food Science. She received her B.S. degree in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her former academic and professional appointments have included: Assistant Professor at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, Corporate Microbiologist for Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, and Research and Development Microbiologist for Chr. Hansen Laboratories in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Director of Client Development – NA & EMEA
Performance Solutions by Milliken
Jordan Workman serves as Director of Client Development for Performance Solutions by Milliken. He works with multi-national manufacturing clients to help them assess their operational performance and create strategies to deliver on corporate performance expectations. Clients served span a variety of industries, including agriculture, automotive, pharma, chemical, food and beverage, mining and specialty plastics.
Prior to joining Performance Solutions by Milliken, Jordan was employed by Owens Corning for almost a decade, where he last served as Marketing Director for a global business unit and was responsible for creating and executing the go-to-market strategy that aligned commercial, supply chain, and operational capabilities. He also served as Business Development Leader for greater China based in Shanghai. He brings a wealth of knowledge on how to bridge cross-cultural differences and drive performance in the journey to business excellence.
Jordan holds a degree in Economics & Political Science from West Virginia University.
Keith R. Cadwallader
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Professor Dr. Keith R. Cadwallader is a leading national and international researcher and scholar in the field of flavor science, where he has made both fundamental and applied contributions. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Georgia, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Florida. He worked as assistant professor at Louisiana State University, as assistant/associate professor at Mississippi State University and then joined the faculty of the University of Illinois, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) in 1999. He is currently a professor of food chemistry within the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Lolita R. Brumfield
Compliance Investigator USDA, FSIS, OIEA, CID
United States Department of Agriculture- Food Safety Inspection Service
Lolita R. Brumfield is an Investigator with the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety Inspection Service, Office of Investigation, Enforcement, Audits, Compliance and Investigations Division (USDA/FSIS/OIEA/CID). She investigates violations of the food safety, food defense, and other consumer protection statutory requirements; controls unsafe or violative products through detentions, civil seizures, and voluntary recalls. Her position also plays a substantive role in outbreak investigation as well as a key role in FSIS' homeland security mission. She is a graduate of Alcorn State University, with a Degree in Agriculture Economics. She has been with USDA FSIS for 14 years.
Dr. Maria Hoffmann
Research Genomics Microbiologist
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)- FDA
Dr. Maria Hoffmann is a Research Genomics Microbiologist at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Office of Regulatory Science (ORS), Division of Microbiology. Dr. Maria Hoffmann is a highly regarded scientist with expertise in the field of public health microbiology, foodborne infectious diseases and the evolution and genetics of human foodborne pathogens. Her focus is to develop and apply microbiological and molecular genetic strategies for detecting, identifying, and differentiating bacterial foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, Vibrio, and Escherichia coli. She works primarily on next generation sequencing projects to show how whole genome sequencing is important in source tracking of foodborne contamination events and she applies 3rd generation sequence technology to completely close bacterial genomes and their plasmids.
Dr. Hoffmann received her master degree in Food Chemistry from the University of Hamburg in 2007 and her Ph.D. in Microbial Evolution/Systematics/Population Genetics from the University in Hamburg in 2012. She did a postdoctoral fellowship at FDA/Center for Veterinary Medicine and at the University of Maryland. She has co-authored more than 30 refereed publications and book chapters on the molecular differentiation and evolutionary genetics of human foodborne pathogens.
CFS Senior Principal Scientist
Ocean Spray Cranberries
Miriam Maxwell, CFS – Senior Principal Scientist at Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.
Ms. Maxwell is Senior Principal Regulatory Scientist in Corporate Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. with expertise in global finished foods labeling and claims as well as additives and flavors. Prior to Ocean Spray, she led the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs management function at Nestle USA responsible for all the retail/food service brands from Solon, OH R&D facility. Her employment history also includes Director-level global regulatory compliance management roles at Cargill, Inc. Wild Flavors, Inc., McCormick & Company and Givaudan where she describes her role as managing, motivating, coordinating and influencing multi-disciplinary functions to accomplish strategic business goals, anticipating regulatory obstacles/emerging issues throughout product lifecycle and developing solutions with other technical/commercial teams across global geographies (essentially herding cats!).
Ms. Maxwell is a proud graduate of University of Illinois – Champaign/Urbana with BS degree in Food Science and additional post graduate study in Carbohydrate Chemistry.
Always lively and engaging, Ms. Maxwell turns conventional wisdom on its ear using comprehensive data that offers a compelling look at new regulatory trends. Her insights are drawn in part from Washington DC colleagues, as well as her global network “cabinet” of industry professionals and the occasional bureaucrat.
Ms. Maxwell’s address comes during a remarkable time in the global food industry’s history. New science underscores the important role food compliance initiatives will have on consumer buying habits as well as down‐stream legislation. Meanwhile, negative media reports about serious food safety shortfalls have flooded consumers with information while companies and government bodies wrestle with solutions.
Director of Quality
Pamela Hutton is the Director of Quality for Faribault Foods, Inc. in Faribault, MN and has over 20 years of food industry experience in product development, quality and food safety. Pamela and her team’s responsibilities include the internal auditing of all Faribault Foods, Inc. plant and warehouse locations and co-manufacturing facilities and suppliers, auditing and qualifying all approved suppliers, and leading and directing activities associated with third party and customer audits. Prior to Faribault Foods, Inc., Pamela spent over 8 years in dry food processing, including cereal and tortilla manufacturing. Pamela has a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science from North Dakota State University. In addition, she has a Master of Science degree in Food Science from the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Pardeepinder Brar
Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance
Italian Rose Gourmet Products
Pardeepinder is working as the head of Food Safety and Quality Assurance department of Italian Rose Garlic Products. She serves as the primary contact to ensure compliance with the current and upcoming government regulations related to food safety, sanitation, nutrition labeling and others. She is the key person to assure compliance with the specifications for incoming material, in-process conditions, and finished products and assist the research and development projects as well. She manages all the government, third party and customer audits, along with ensuring compliance with other certifications like Organic, Kosher, non-GMO. Prior to working at Italian Rose, Pardeepinder worked at Kellogg Company as pre-professional intern in the Ingredient Quality department. She has Masters and PhD degree from University of Florida and her research projects focused on determining survival potential, cross-contamination potential and mitigation strategies for foodborne pathogens eg. Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes on tomatoes and nuts. She has published her research at renowned journals and has presented her work at several regional, state, national and international conferences throughout her degree program.
Paul van der Aar
Director Quality & NPI Management
Paul brings 28 years of Heineken production and Quality experience to HEINEKEN USA, as one of the 40 Master Brewers of Heineken globally. After finishing his Ph.D. in Yeast Genetics & Physiology in Amsterdam, he started his career in Heineken R&D. He was for years the ‘Yeast doctor’ within Heineken Global Supply Chain. He gained practical production experience in breweries as Quality Manager and Head Brewer in Shanghai, Panama and Den Bosch breweries. And he was also for several years technological consultant for Heineken for our breweries in South America, the Caribbean and Europe.
Before moving to HUSA in the summer of 2013, Paul was Quality Manager of Heineken Nederland Supply, the Dutch breweries which produce all the Heineken beer for the USA, for home country the Netherlands and many other export countries in the world.
Dr. Rong Murphy
Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety
Maple Leaf Farms, Inc.
Dr. Rong Murphy is the Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety at Maple Leaf Farms, Inc., an America’s leading producer of premium quality duck products. Previously, Dr. Murphy served as the Vice President of Food Safety for McDonald’s (China). Dr. Murphy also served in various capacities to PepsiCo, Cargill, and Campbell Soup Company. Dr. Murphy started her food professional career as a faculty at the University of Arkansas. She is a registered and licensed Professional Engineer. Dr. Murphy received a Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering and three M.S. degrees in chemical engineering, food science, and microbiology, respectively.
Manager of Food Safety & QA – Processing
American Foods Group, LLC.
Ross Ullman has served as the Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance at American Foods Group since 2016. In his role, he is responsible for managing food safety and quality programs in AFG’s further processing operations. He has been in various food safety and quality assurance roles for 15 years since joining American Foods Group gaining experience in the beef processing side of the business.
Dr. Ryan Newkirk
Senior Advisor for Intentional Adulteration
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Ryan Newkirk, PhD, MPH, is the lead for the Food Safety Modernization Act Intentional Adulteration rule writing workgroup, and is the Senior Advisor for Intentional Adulteration at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Dr. Newkirk has worked in public health and terrorism prevention for 15 years, with a specific focus on food defense for ten years. Prior to joining FDA, Dr. Newkirk held a post-doctoral position with United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Food Defense Assessment Staff. Dr. Newkirk completed his doctorate in epidemiology and food defense research at the Food Protection and Defense Institute at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
Professor and Egon Matijevic Chair of Chemistry
Silvana Andreescu is the Egon Matijević Endowed Chair in Chemistry and Professor of Bioanalytical Chemistry at Clarkson. She received a PhD in Chemistry, from the University of Perpignan, France, and the University of Bucharest, Romania in 2002, and has been a member of the Clarkson faculty since 2005. Between 2003 and 2005 she was a NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellow at the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is the recipient of a French Government Graduate Fellowship, a NATO-NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, the NSF-CAREER Award, the John W. Graham Faculty Research Award, the Research Excellence Award and a Member of the Million Dollar Club at Clarkson University, reflecting funds received for sponsored research. In her research lab she has worked with and mentored over 15 graduate students, 4 post-doctoral fellows, 10 international visiting researchers, including a Fulbright Fellow, 3 high school teachers and over 50 undergraduates. She is committed to the success of her students and fellow researchers, many of whom are continuing their education at top graduate institutions or have secured rewarding positions in industry or academia.
Sweet Street Desserts
Tom has thirteen years’ experience in R&D with Sweet Street a leading manufacturer of gourmet frozen desserts and fifteen years’ experience as an executive pastry chef. He worked with the Hyatt corporation in Chicago at the Park Hyatt and Hyatt Regency. He attended the Culinary art School at Schoolcraft college in Livonia MI and received his bachelors’ degree from Bellevue University. He is currently pursuing his masters’ degree in Food science at the University of Georgia.
Tian Hao has obtained the Ph.D. in colloidal chemistry and polymer physics area and has been working in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical formulation areas for 14 years. His interests lie in both fundamental scientific understandings and industrial applications of various drug and nutrients delivery forms, including softgels, two-piece capsules, tablets, powders, colloidal suspensions, and controlled release nanoparticles/polymer systems.
Dr. Yaohua Feng
Yaohua Feng, is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Food Safety Microbiology. Dr. Feng is dedicated to the research and extension of pre- and post-harvest interventions to enhance microbial safety of foods. She uses interdisciplinary tools to investigate gaps in food safety practice compliance and develop novel food safety strategies to empower food handlers and consumers to behavioral change.
Betty received her doctorate in food science and a master’s degree in sensory science from the University of California, Davis and a bachelor’s degree in food engineering from the Southern China University of Technology.