About Our Speakers

 

Nitin Bansal, Vice President, Olam Spices

Nitin Bansal is Vice President of Olam Spices responsible for Olam’s Global Pepper & Tropical product lines based in Vietnam. Nitin joined Olam in 2007 and was managing Olam’s business in Edible Nuts & Spices in China before moving to Vietnam in 2014 to assume his current role.

Prior to joining Olam, he was working for 6 years in business management role in other companies in India and China. Nitin holds MBA in International business for the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi

Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®)

Owner of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), Lynn L. Bergeson has earned an international reputation for her deep and expansive understanding of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), and especially how these regulatory programs pertain to nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology, and other emerging transformative technologies. Her knowledge of and involvement in the policy process allows her to develop client-focused strategies whether advocating before Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or other governance and standard-setting bodies.

Ms. Bergeson counsels corporations, trade associations, and business consortia on a wide range of issues pertaining to chemical hazard, exposure and risk assessment, risk communication, minimizing legal liability, and evolving regulatory and policy matters pertinent to conventional, biobased, and nanoscale chemicals, particularly with respect to TSCA, FIFRA, Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), REACH and REACH-like programs, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) matters.

She served as chair of the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and has served in many Section leadership positions. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute, the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association, and the Product Stewardship Society, among other business and law organizations, and lectures and writes frequently on legal, regulatory, and science policy issues. Ms. Bergeson is also President of The Acta Group (Acta®), B&C’s scientific and regulatory consulting arm, which assists chemical and product manufacturers in marketing and sustaining their products globally, and President of B&C Consortia Management, L.L.C., which helps the chemical industry leverage resources and maximize impact by forming consortia to achieve shared research, testing, regulatory, and access goals.

According to the Chambers USA Guide: “The universally highly regarded Lynn Bergeson of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. has developed an enviable reputation in chemical and pesticide regulatory work, with particular expertise in nanotechnology. ‘She is probably the premier pesticide lawyer in DC,’ notes one impressed commentator. Peers predict that she is set to become ‘one of the most important lawyers in America.”

Mr. Sanjeev Bisht, Head of the Spices Business, Agri Business Division, ITC Limited.

Mr. Sanjeev Bisht is the Head of the Spices Business in the Agri Business Division of ITC Limited. ITC is one of India’s foremost private sector company with sales of US $50 billion.

A graduate in Agriculture, Sanjeev joined ITC in 2001 after completing his Masters in Agri Business Management from MANAGE. Subsequently, he has also pursued multiple management programs from IIM Bangalore, IIM Ahmedabad and Cornell University.

He played an instrumental role in setting up the Spices business for ITC from its inception and has since been pivotal in driving its growth. He has been a key architect in setting up the backward integration program for the business, which has played a key role in transforming the business into one of the best in the industry in terms of farmer linkages and sustainability practices. He has played a vital role in establishing the value chain of the business that possess the capability of producing products that are able to comply with some of the most stringent food safety and quality norms across the globe which includes allergens, adulterants, mycotoxins, pesticide residues and heavy metals. He has also expanded the reach of the business to key major customers across the globe.

He also was a member of the Spices Development Agency, Government of India, Management Committee member of All India Spice Export Forum and product advisory committee member of National Commodity & Derivative Exchange.

As the Business Head of Spices, he is driving organizational changes through capability development, team building and customer driven supply chain processes.

He has a superior understanding on the value chain of various spices products and his inputs on supply estimation and price discovery are continually sought by the industry.

Jack Bobo, CEO, Futurity

Jack Bobo is the CEO of Futurity, a food foresight company that works with food and agriculture businesses and organizations to better understand emerging food trends and consumer attitudes and behaviors so they can position themselves to thrive in an ever more complex world. Jack previously served as the Chief Communications Officer and Senior Vice President for Global Policy and Government Affairs at Intrexon Corporation. He is a globally recognized thought leader having delivered more than 300 speeches in 50 countries on the future of food, the role of science and technology in sustainably and nutritiously feeding the world and how to build consumer trust. In 2015, he was named by Scientific American one of the 100 most influential people in biotechnology. Prior to joining Intrexon Jack worked at the U.S. Department of State for thirteen years as a senior advisor on global food policy, food security, climate change, biotechnology and agricultural trade. Prior to his career at the State Department, he was an attorney at Crowell & Moring LLP. He received a J.D., an M.S. in Environmental Science, a B.A. in psychology and chemistry and a B.S. in biology from Indiana University.

Bill Bryant, Founder/Chairman, Bryant Christie Inc.

Bill Bryant is founder and chairman of Bryant Christie Inc. Since founding the firm in 1992, Bill has been appointed under both Republican and Democratic administrations to advise USTR, USDA, and the Ex-Im Bank on our nation’s trade policy.

In 2007, Bill was elected to the King County/Seattle port commission and was re-elected in 2011. In 2016, Bill Bryant was the Republican candidate for governor of Washington state.

Before founding BCI, Mr. Bryant spent nearly seven years as vice president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, where he worked to eliminate trade barriers confronting the Northwest tree fruit industry. Prior to the NHC, he served as the director of the Governor’s Trade Council in Washington state. Mr. Bryant is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he concentrated his studies on Asia and Latin America.

Chiara Cecchini, Executive Director/Co-founder, Innovation/Global Outreach Lead, Future Food Institute

Chiara is deeply involved in food and sustainability innovation, as well as regenerative design. She is the co-founder, and CEO of the American branch of Future Food Institute, an organization that is empowering individuals, institutions and organizations to design and execute new food-related products and services, adopting a human and planet centered approach. She is part of the Expert Network at the World Economic Forum, a fellow at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Researcher and Alumna at Barilla Center Food
Nutrition Foundation, as well as Fellow at Summit. She loves to write about food innovation and social impact.

Chef Simone Cormier, Spice Sourcer, R&D chef, Allegro Coffee Company

As a spice sourcer and chef, Simone: sources spice from sustainable partners throughout the world; identifies flavor and food trends; develops all spice-related products (including creating exclusive seasoning blends and recipe development). She oversees inventory and purchasing and sets pricing in her current position. Simone also handles sales of the products. Her current role uses 99% certified organic spices and seasoning blends, which entails a completely different way to handle sourcing, ingredients used in blends, and documentation. Simone has over 9 years of experience in reverse-engineering seasoning blends into certified organic formulations. She also conducts food safety and responsible sourcing audits of suppliers internationally.

Prior to her current position, Simone’s spice journey includes a career as an Executive Chef, Pastry Chef, Kitchen Manager, and Sommelier, and she has travelled to 77 countries exploring regional flavors and sourcing food ingredients. She sits on the Board of Directors of the American Spice Trade Association, currently as the Immediate Past President, and is on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Research Chefs Association’s magazine “Culinology”. Simone is a judge for the Specialty Food Association’s Sofi Awards. She also served as a judge and floor chairperson for multiple ACF Culinary Classic competitions in her home state of Louisiana. She works with USAID in trade missions to East Africa in efforts to bring food and drink producers there up to US import standards. For 5 years she was a volunteer chef at one of the many dinners around Washington DC for Sips and Suppers, which benefits Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen. Simone was one of 100 chefs chosen to contribute to America the Great Cookbook, which will benefits No Kid Hungry, released in 2017.

Simone loves foreign languages and studied Greek, French, German, and Spanish in their countries of origin, living in Europe for 4 years.

When she’s not sourcing exotic spices, Simone can be found exploring her love of travel, and great food and wine. She also writes educational content about spices, and has taught classes about spices, including at Slow Food. She has a rare combination of expertise in food, cooking, food trends, spices and the spice industry and history, and spirits. She is adept in traveling globally – including developing nations as a solo voyager, all the while looking stylish and making many new friends along the way. Her penchant for learning languages has definitely been a boon!

Martin Einig, Secretary General, European Spice Association (ESA)

Martin is Secretary General of the European Spice Association (ESA) and serves as the leading lobbyist for herbs and spices in the EU, representing the spice industry to legislators and regulators on a wide variety of issues. As an expert on substances that may occur in herbs and spices in addition to the actual product, from pesticide residues, contaminants, allergens, mycotoxins and microbiological impurities to adulteration, he coordinates the interests of the spice industry vis-à-vis the European authorities in cooperation with the countries of origin.

On a national level, he represents other food associations in Germany and carries out lobbying work for the spice industry, the yeast industry and the manufacturers of culinary products.

Martin holds a degree in chemistry from the University of Bonn, Germany, and a PhD in organic chemistry and lives in Bonn with his wife and three children.

Shawn Ellis, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author, and Resilience Coach

Shawn Ellis is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and resilience coach who has been helping organizations inspire their teams to reach new heights since 1999. He brings are freshing perspective to help people find joy, meaning, and “life” in the midst of any circumstances, while also equipping and empowering them with tools and strategies to break through to the next level. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and associations across multiple industries including healthcare, retail, insurance, banking, technology, and more. As a business owner and single parent who has navigated and overcome multiple crises himself, Shawn speaks with humility and authenticity which audiences love, bringing “real world” solutions that audiences routinely describe as “a breath of fresh air.” www.ShawnEllis.com.

Benjamin L. England, Esq., CEO/Founder, Benjamin L. England & Associates, LLC

Mr. England is the CEO and Founder of Benjamin L. England & Associates, LLC and FDAImports.com, LLC . He routinely represents domestic and foreign companies of all sizes, assisting them in identifying FDA, USDA, FTC, EPA, and state requirements. His representation enables his clients to better understand and fully comply with federal and state requirements, and thereby reduce the risk of regulatory interference with products being imported, exported, or distributed in interstate commerce.

A 17-year veteran of FDA, Mr. England served as the Regulatory Counsel to the Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. Before this, he served in scientific, inspectional, compliance and criminal and civil enforcement capacities as an FDA Consumer Safety Officer, Compliance Officer, a Senior Special Agent with FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) and an analytical regulatory microbiologist.

Charlie Gill, Commodity Director, McCormick Global Ingredients Limited 

Charlie Gill is the Commodity Director at McCormick Global Ingredients Limited based in Cayman Islands. Charlie’s Key key area of responsibility is global sourcing of black pepper, white pepper and cinnamon.

He is also responsible for the development and execution of strategies to deliver sustainable sourcing, innovation, and risk management for the McCormick regional business units. Charlie has over 25 years of procurement experience with a proven track record at HJ Heinz, Kraft Foods and most recently leading global sourcing at Whitworth’s Ltd before joining McCormick in 2018.  Charlie has been leading global sourcing of coffee, dried fruit and edible nuts from developed and emerging markets before moving onto spices.

Charlie is graduate in Business Studies and Finance and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from Stafford University, England.

Charlie is married with 3 children in the UK.

Alfons van Gulick, CEO, Nedspice Group

Mr. Alfons van Gulick graduated with a MS in econometrics from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Since his graduation he has been working with E D & F Man Group in commodities like coffee, nuts and spices in areas of crop research, finance, sales and general management. In 2000 he was appointed as Managing Director of the Spices Division and joined the Executive Committee of the E D & F Man Group in 2001.

On his initiative the Spices Division were taken private by way of a management buy-out in 2004 and continued its activities under the Nedspice Group name. He is major shareholder and CEO of Nedspice Group.

Mr. van Gulick served as Chairman of the Dutch Spice Association, Chairman of the European Spice Association (ESA) and as a board member of the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA). In 2017 he was appointed Chairman of the Sustainable Spice Initiative (SSI).

During his career Mr. van Gulick held different positions in trade and charity related platforms.

 

Gustavo Hernández Polanco, Country Director, Heifer International Guatemala

Gustavo Hernández was born and raised in Guatemala City. He is bilingual English-Spanish and
holds a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development Management from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), Spain, and a degree in Sociology from the School of Political Science of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC). He has more than 30 years of experience in rural and urban development programs.

Gustavo is currently the Country Director of Heifer International Guatemala (HPIG), an NGO specialized in rural development whose mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth; he has also worked with national and international ONGs, such as CARE International, the United Nations Programme for Development (UNDP), the European Union and World Vision, among others; he also worked as a consultant for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the Guatemalan Government.

As the National Country Director and Legal Representative of HPIG, (since September 2010), Gustavo provides the necessary strategic direction, to ensure compliance with Heifer International’s vision and mission. He also provides overall leadership and direction to Heifer´s professional and technical team. He is responsible for the establishment of strategic alliances in Mesoamerica, in particular with HPI’s national programs in Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico. In direct coordination with HPI headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, Gustavo has designed and developed new rural development projects, focused on strengthening and developing rural economies, by supporting value chains (coffee, cardamom, cocoa, honey, vanilla, etc.), strengthening food security and nutrition, caring for the environment, social capacity building and empowering women and young people, always ensuring the quality of ongoing projects.
Gustavo ensures an adequate administration and implementation of the different national and international financial resources that HPIG works with and conducts a constant search for financial and technical resources, in order to continue the strategic lines of rural development that have been prioritized for Guatemala.

At present, he focuses on the search of rural development innovations and initiatives, while strengthening cooperation links with the private business sector and, on the implementation of financial innovations under the modality of impact investments. One of Gustavo´s main goals is the creation of Social Enterprises in Guatemala.

Kristen Jaskulski, VP, Sales and Business Development, Pure Ground Ingredients

After suffering severe health challenges as an adolescent, Kristen Jaskulski embraced a path of holistic healing and natural medicine. This challenge created a sincere appreciation for a healthy living, organic foods and a sense of purpose that only adversity creates. With incredible drive and perseverance this entrepreneur and holistic health advocate is dedicated to elevating humanity through the positive impact of business.

A natural marketer, with a contagious smile and MBA in social entrepreneurship, Kristen aligned with 30 year veteran in sustainable business practices and CEO of Pure Ground Ingredients Kevin Lindseth. Together they are an energizing and unifying force, operating a conscious business, sourcing and distributing the best in organic ingredients all while empowering farmers and communities around the world.

Hoang Thi Lien, Executive Director, International Pepper Community

Mrs. Hoang Thi Lien has been the sitting Executive Director of International Pepper Community, an Intergovernmental Organization of pepper producing countries, for the past 4 years where she, along with the stakeholders of the pepper industry, co-ordinates, harmonize and promote activities of the pepper industry with the sole purpose of achieving accelerated economic development for the stakeholders of the pepper industry especially pepper farmers.

Prior to joining International Pepper Community, she worked as the Director of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam. In which she mastered trade and investment policy framework, rules and regulations of ASEAN countries as well as acquired a comprehensive knowledge on regional and international economic integration and global economy trends. Furthermore, she has also established networks and liaising with government, other international agencies/bodies and the industry. She was also posted as Commercial Attaché at Viet Nam Embassy in Malaysia which helped her gained experienced in international trade issues.

With bachelor and master background in economics and working experiences as Director of Multilateral Trade Policy Department of Ministry of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam, she is well-versed to help answer the challenges faced in the pepper industry.

Mike Liu, Chairman/CEO, BCFoods

Mike Liu is Chairman and CEO at BCFoods and President of China Spice Association (CSA). Mike was a professor of Shandong Agriculture University, Taian, Shandong, China from 1985-1996 and then visiting scholar at Texas Tech University from 1996-1998 and Research Scientist at University of California, Davis, USA from 1998-2000.

BCFoods (www.bcfoods.com)  was founded in 2007.  Mike lead BCFoods to become one of the global leading food ingredients supplier with manufacturers in China, an operation and R&D center in Chicago, global ingredients partners, worldwide distribution platforms and 3PL services.

As founding president at CSA, working with CSA colleagues together for China national food ingredients standards and to cooperate with international professional associations for hosting the China Spice Conference.

Mike is married with one daughter.

John Minardi, Director of Sales, Jain Farm Fresh Foods Inc.

John Minardi is Director of Sales managing the North America group for Jain Farm Fresh Foods Inc. which is a industry leader in the production of dehydrated Onion ,Garlic, Spices and Herbs from global production facilities. John joined Jain in 2018 and has an extensive background in the food ingredient segment while working for companies like Nu-Tek Food Science, Olam and Conagra over the last 17 years.

John holds bachelor degrees in International Business and Biotechnology and has been a member of ASTA since 2010.

John is married with 3 children and lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

Guillermo Molina, Vice President, Sabater Spices North America, Inc.

Guillermo Molina is the Vice President for Sabater Spices North America, Inc. a subsidiary of Ramon Sabater. Guillermo joined the Ramon Sabater SAU in 2003. During his tenure with the company he has worked in purchasing, sales and operations. Guillermo also represents the interests of the company by attending international forums and meetings, and traveling to visit growing areas, auditing and training them. These experiences have helped to build his knowledge of the spice trade. Guillermo worked as a Purchasing Manager for Ramon Sabater SAU before moving in 2013 to manage the company’s direction and sales operations in the U.S.

Guillermo was born and raised in Murcia and studied International trade, business administration and received an MBA at ENAE Business School.

Tom Overby, President, Nedspice US

Tom Overby is President of Nedspice US, an affiliated company of Nedspice Group, headquartered in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Nedspice is a leading global supplier of fully processed spices and food ingredients with production plants strategically located in Vietnam and India.

Tom has been in the spice industry for over 40 years; starting his career with the RT French Company upon graduation from Missouri State University in 1977. Tom has held increasingly responsible positions in manufacturing, planning, purchasing, sales/marketing, joint venture operations and has traveled extensively to source markets during his career.

Tom served on the ASTA Board of Directors for 6 years and was President of ASTA from 2000-2002.

Aviva Paley, Cofounder/ Senior Director, Kitchens for Good

Aviva Paley is a passionate social entrepreneur with professional experience in marrying a social mission with proven business driven strategies. In 2014 Co-Founded Kitchens for Good, on the belief that all food has power and all people have potential. KFG equips individuals labeled “unemployable” with the culinary skills they need to launch meaningful careers, so they can move forward in life and make a positive impact on their communities. Students ‒ transitioning from incarceration, homelessness and foster care ‒ practice their culinary skills and give back to the community while upcycling rescued food into scratch-made meals for the hungry. Aviva developed the program and evaluation design for Kitchens for Good’s innovative job training and hunger relief work, and now oversees the organization’s fundraising and marketing efforts. In just four years the organization has trained over 350 individuals for jobs in the culinary industry, achieving an 86% employment rate post graduation, rescued 123,779 pounds of surplus food and transformed into 240,905 nutritious meals for the homeless, at-risk youth and homebound seniors; and developed a strong social enterprise catering operation that has generated over $4.9 million in earned income and provided an ongoing 59% of the organization’s budget.

Aviva has been chosen for several prestigious awards and fellowships including Forbes 2019 list of 30 under 30 Social Enterprise Leaders, Food Tanks list of 20 Food Leaders Under 40, The UC Global Food Initiative’s 30 under 30 Food Leaders Award, The ROI Fellowship, and the Arianne de Rothschild Fellowship.

Prior to joining Kitchens for Good, Aviva was a Food Justice Fellow at the Leichtag Foundation and Communications Coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future.

Peter Shah, President, Harris Spice Co, Inc.

Peter Shah is the President of Harris Spice Co, Inc – a 38-year old Company based in Anaheim, CA. Peter joined Harris Spice in 1994, while studying for his Bachelor of Finance degree from the University of Houston. In his 26 years with the company, Harris Spice has grown to become the world’s most distinguished processed-spice importer and distributor. Harris Spice possesses a strong supply chain spanning the globe with its 2 main processing plants in Anaheim & Vietnam as well as partner-affiliates in India & Turkey. Harris offers its North American, European, Far East & Australian customers a total spice solution with its core “5P” philosophy – Plant, Process, Product, Performance and Partnership. With its strength in Food Safety, fiscal conservativeness and constant product & service innovation, Harris Spice continually provides a strong end-to-end value chain. Peter currently serves in the ASTA Board and loves the spice business – be it buying or selling!!

Laura Shumow, Executive Director, American Spice Trade Association

Laura Shumow has been with the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) since September, 2018. She works with the ASTA Board of Directors to set the strategic direction of the association and with the ASTA staff to ensure the goals are met.

Prior to joining ASTA, Laura worked at the National Confectioners Association as the vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. In this role, she also oversaw the Chocolate Council, a decision making body that handles issues specific to the cocoa and chocolate industry. She has a strong background in domestic and international regulatory issues, and a proven track record of success addressing challenges related to the supply chains of food ingredients sourced from developing countries. Laura received her master’s of health sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and bachelor’s degree in food science from the University of Wisconsin. She is an active member of several professional societies, including the Institute of Food Technologists, where she serves as chair of the Food Laws and Regulations Section.

James (McKinley) Thomason, Founder/President, Nueva Kerala S.A. & The Doug Jeffords Co.

James (McKinley) Thomason is the Founder at Nueva Kerala S.A. & President at The Doug Jeffords Company. McKinley took over as the President of Doug Jeffords Company after his grandfather John Mack Thomason passed away in 2005. Since the early ’60s, Doug Jeffords Company has provided Nashville and the southeastern United States with seasonings and spices and custom blends of unparalleled quality. Farmers from distant counties sought out Mr. Jeffords’s seasoning blends for their freshness and consistent quality. The Doug Jeffords Company has a reputation throughout Middle Tennessee for delicious sausage seasonings. McKinley’s goal is to continue growing the family business, to exceed their customer’s expectations and provide the highest quality of spices and seasonings for restaurants, food manufacturers, distributors, and private label customers. McKinley’s latest venture is Nueva Kerala S.A., which was established in March 2019. McKinley is working with Nueva Kerala in the Guatemala area on a sustainable cooperative sourced cardamom and allspice processing and export to US and EU standards

Dan Solis, Division Director for Division of West Coast Imports (DWCI) MHA

Dan Solis started his career with FDA in 1998. Prior to working in FDA, Mr. Solis worked in the R&D field focusing on Medical Device and Drug Application Products with Biotechnology firms. Mr. Solis has held many positions within FDA that includes working at the FDA lab in Irvine, Ca., HQ positions with the Division of Import Operations in Rockville, MD, working at FDA HQ – IT branches and working in the FDA Los Angeles District Office Enforcement Operations. Mr. Solis was selected to be the Division Director for the Division of West Coast Imports on February 9, 2018. Prior to that, he was the Director of Import Operations for the Los Angeles District since 2009. He now runs one of the largest Import Divisions in the FDA’s Office of Enforcement and Import Operations. The Division of West Coast Imports manages all FDA Air and Sea Port Offices and FDA Import employees in the states of Washington, Oregon,Nevada, California, and Hawaii.

Mr. Solis has had many accomplishments within FDA and these are a few notables: Implementation of PREDICT at all ports in the US, the implementation of electronic communications and paperless transactions initiatives with the Trade Associations, formation of the CBP/FDA Teams including the Opioid Task Force and the Federal Destruction Redelivery Team, formation of the West Coast ACE Team, formation of Federal and State Task Forces, conducting Federal Operations, streamlining the refusal process in the Ports of LA, San Francisco and Seattle, and development of strong partnerships with the filers, brokers and importers in the Pacific Region.

Mr. Solis is nationally recognized as a subject matter expert in the program area of Import Operations and gives local, as well as, national training on Imports Investigations. He is a member of the National Leadership Development Workgroup at FDA’s Office of Training and Education Development, has served as a mentor for the Federal Executive Board in Los Angeles and the Potential Supervisor Program within FDA, member of the FSMA Workgroup at HQ working on FSVP implementation. He also has had integral roles in FDA Operations with other Federal Agencies, working with CBP, HSI, USDA, FWS, DEA and State and local law enforcement agencies. Currently, aside from his duties at the port, Mr. Solis is also a member of the FSMA – Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) Implementation Team as well as the Associate Commissioner’s IT Advisory Workgroup, the Associate Commissioner’s Import Advisory Panel, member of AFDO, WAFDO, ASQ, OCRA and the Pacific Island Health Officers Association (PIHOA).

Mr. Solis holds a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of LaVerne and a Bachelor’s Degree from University California of Irvine.

Amanda Topper, Associate Director of Foodservice Research, Mintel

Amanda has more than a decade of market research experience spanning industries including healthcare, travel, hospitality, retail food, and foodservice. She is an Associate Director, responsible for overseeing Mintel’s foodservice research offerings, and providing insight and competitive analysis across deliverables, and client and industry presentations. She was previously a Senior Analyst specializing in the retail food industry. Her insights have appeared in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, GQ, CNN, TIME, and leading trade publications.

Amanda is also well-versed in restaurant social media strategy, media analysis and measurement, and influencer relationships. She is a writer for several food publications including Thrillist and InsideHook, and manages a personal restaurant review blog and food Instagram account.

Doug Williams, Research Fellow, Regulatory Affairs, Kalsec

Bio coming soon.