October 11-13, 2021
FASTA is our first in-person event in more than 18 months, so we are very excited to plan an event that brings our members together to network and hear sessions of interest to the spice industry. Join us in Nashville!
Check out the sidebar for links to register, hotel reservations, exhibits and more.
FASTA Program & Speakers
Jump to day:
9:00am – 5:00pm
ASTA Board of Directors Meeting Closed Meeting
8:30am – 11:30am
ASTA Committee Meetings Invitation required
12:00pm – 1:00pm
First Timers Luncheon Invitation + RSVP required
FASTA attendees who have never previously attended an ASTA event are invited to join members of the ASTA Board of Directors and committees for a special networking lunch to introduce them to the association and make connections to ASTA leadership.
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Reunite with colleagues, meet new attendees, and win a prize in fun networking games prior to the FASTA kick-off!
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Keynote Address – Mastering the Moments: A Journey from Surviving to Thriving
We all have a drive to survive. The simple fact you’re reading this is proof that you’ve survived every challenge that has come your way – including the year that was 2020. You are unstoppable. But now, where do we go from here? While you are capable of surviving, you were born to thrive. Not only to bounce back, but to rise above. This moment is a new beginning. In this session, you’ll be inspired to dream again, to envision a brighter future, and to see that the path to bringing that vision to life is even easier than you imagined. With humor, heartwarming stories, and science-backed principles and practices, don’t miss a truly life-changing experience.
About our speaker:
Shawn Ellis has been inspiring readers and audiences for over 15 years, sharing ideas and principles to cultivate resilience and thrive in the face of uncertainty, adversity, and change based on his own decade-long journey of rising up under challenging circumstances and limiting beliefs to make the shift from just surviving to truly thriving.
Whether in his keynote presentations, his leadership development program or his online course, Shawn shares lessons from mindfulness, neuroscience, and psychology combined with strategic coaching methodologies to facilitate immediate and lasting shifts in mindset and behavior—so you, rather than your circumstances, are empowered to be the creator of your life experience.
A graduate of Belmont University, Shawn currently resides just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. When he’s not developing or delivering content for his clients and community, you’re likely to find him in a Nerf war with his son, learning how to paint like Bob Ross, or on a nearby hiking trail with his dog, enjoying the beauty and rhythm of nature.
3:00pm – 4:00pm
“What’s Hot” in Spices
Dr. Elizabeth Sloan, Sloan Trends
Spices are on fire! Explore the latest market data on CPG and foodservice trends for the spice sector to find out what flavor-driven consumers most want on menus vs. what’s gaining share at home, what’s “hot” and what to expect next. Get the latest info on home cooking, healthy ingredients, restaurants, delivery, online and more so you can identify new opportunities, categories, hot pockets, and product positioning set to drive explosive growth.
About our speaker:
Dr. Elizabeth Sloan, Ph.D., is President of Sloan Trends and a contributing editor for Food Technology Magazine. Dr. Sloan served as Editor-in-Chief of McCall’s magazine and Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Good Housekeeping magazine. She was also the Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute, managing the laboratories that reviewed consumer products for the Good Housekeeping Seal.
She received two John W. Hill Awards for excellence in public relations for Kraft’s Fat-Free introductory program and Wendy’s International at Hill and Knowlton Public Relations, and she has led several other organizations in their science and communications divisions. Dr. Sloan has written over 550 articles on consumer trends and food/nutrition marketing, co-authored two college textbooks on nutrition, and served as a trends/marketing columnist for several food & beverage trade publications.
Dr. Sloan holds a Ph.D. in food science and nutrition/journalism and mass communication from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in food technology from Rutgers University.
4:00pm – 4:15pm
4:15pm – 5:15pm
A Taste of the Future
Jack Bobo, Futurity
In this dynamic session, futurist Jack Bobo will explore the forces that will shape the future of food. From growing populations and shifting demographics to consumer demands for healthy and sustainable food products, Jack will examine the trends and attitudes that drive behavior and what organizations can do to get ahead of these trends before they get run over by them. If you don’t create the future you want, you will be stuck with the future you get.
About our speaker:
Jack Bobo is the CEO of Futurity, a food foresight company that advises companies, foundations and governments on emerging food trends and consumer attitudes and behaviors related to the future of food. Jack is also the author of “Why smart people make bad food choices,” which exposes the not-so-obvious but real drivers of our complicated relationship to the foods we eat and why it’s proven so hard to change our habits. Recognized by Scientific American as one of the 100 most influential people in biotechnology, Jack is a global thought leader who has delivered more than 500 speeches in 50 countries on food technology and policy. He previously served as the Chief Communications Officer and Senior Vice President for Global Policy and Government Affairs at Intrexon Corporation. Prior to joining Intrexon, Jack worked at the U.S. Department of State for thirteen years as a senior advisor for global food policy. An attorney with a scientific background, Jack received from Indiana University a J.D., M.S. in Environmental Science, B.S. in biology, and a B.A. in psychology and chemistry.
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Join us for an evening of mingling and music, drinks, and light fare, as we reconnect with member and industry colleagues and friends.
8:00am – 9:30am
9:30am – 10:30am
ASTA Advocacy Update
Larry Lichter, ASTA President
Laura Shumow, ASTA Executive Director
Craig Johnson, Long Point Advisors
Hear how ASTA is working to promote the supply of pure, safe spice, shape public policy, and advance the global industry. ASTA strives to advocate on behalf of the spice industry, promote food safety, and foster an engaged membership. Recently, ASTA’s advocacy efforts have focused on advocating for practical and achievable regulations. This session will explore ASTA’s latest initiatives with a focus on advocacy in New York state. Additionally, learn about how to get involved in ASTA, and feel free to raise issues of importance to you!
About our speakers:
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Long Point Advisors, Craig M. Johnson has been a long-respected figure in New York politics. He is regarded as an insightful leader and trusted counselor to individuals and businesses as they navigate the New York State government ecosystem. With over two decades of experience in elected office, government affairs, law, politics, and business, Craig has earned a reputation for being a skilled negotiator, accomplished lobbyist, seasoned campaign strategist, and savvy business evaluator who possesses a track record of accomplishments and success for his clients at various levels of government. He is the author of several articles, op-eds, and client alerts on a variety of topics. He has also been asked to appear on several podcasts to discuss his work as both an elected official as well as a government relations professional.
Craig has represented numerous clients on a wide range of issues before the State Legislature, the
Governor’s office and executive branch agencies, including the Empire State Development Corporation, Department of Agriculture and Markets, Department of Health, Department of Transportation, Department of Financial Services, Insurance Department, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Office of General Services. Craig has also represented clients before several local governments including New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties.
Previously, Craig served as a member of the New York State Senate for two terms, representing
the 7th Senate District (Northwest Nassau County). When he was elected to the State Senate in a February 2007 special election, Craig became the first Democrat to represent the 7th Senate District in over one century. During his first term, Senator Johnson served as the ranking Democrat on the State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. When the Democrats took majority control of the New York State Senate in 2009, Senator Johnson was appointed chairman of the Senate Committee on Investigations, Government Operations and Taxation. Senator Johnson also served on the Education, Health, Local Government, Insurance and Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committees. He also served as the Senate member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Review Board as well as a member of the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness.
During his tenure as Chairman of the Senate Investigations Committee, Senator Johnson undertook
several investigations and conducted hearings into several issues, including the investigatory practices of New York State’s Office of Medicaid Inspector General, the collection of Native American cigarette taxes, the modernization of New York State’s Alcohol Beverage law, the secondary ticket market in New York State, the financial condition of New York State’s racing industry and the water quality in Southwestern Nassau County.
Immediately prior to his tenure as a member of the New York State Senate, Craig served as a member of the Nassau County Legislature for three terms. During his tenure on the Nassau County Legislature, Craig served as chairman of the Finance Committee and played a significant role in helping to bring Nassau County back from the brink of municipal bankruptcy.
Larry Lichter has over 31 years of food industry experience with more than 29 of those years at McCormick. Larry has held significant roles in Quality Assurance, Supply Chain, and Commercial functions. In his current role as Vice President of Global Quality and Food Safety for McCormick, Mr. Lichter leads the global efforts to assure food safety excellence, quality systems performance, quality/business partnership, and technology development. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the American Spice Trade Association and is very active with charities supporting the homeless population of Baltimore. Larry graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelors in Biology and previously served 6 years on the Board of Directors of the Supply Chain Council. McCormick Brings the Joy of Flavor to Life as a global leader in flavor with more than $4.8 billion in annual sales. McCormick manufactures, markets, and distributes spices, condiments, flavors, seasoning mixes, and many other flavorful products to the entire food industry in more than 140 countries and territories. Larry also serves as the current President on ASTA’s Board of Directors.
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 a 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.
10:30am – 11:00am
11:00am – 12:00pm
Shipping Crisis: Is Smooth Sailing on the Horizon?
Dan Gardner, Trade Facilitators, Inc.
Importers have been struggling with escalating disruption throughout the last year from soaring freight costs, port congestion, labor shortages, container imbalance, and shipping delays, with seemingly no end in sight to this nightmare. This session will discuss the state of play on shipping and freight and provide insight on tools for navigating ongoing challenges.
About our speaker:
Dan Gardner is president of Trade Facilitators, Inc., a Los Angeles-based consulting firm dedicated to the fields of global supply chain management, logistics, and trade compliance. Mr. Gardner’s activities at TFI focus on consulting with Beneficial Cargo Owners, as well as providing strategic, operational, and commercial advice to technology startups in the logistics and supply chain space.
Prior to founding TFI, Dan worked in the 3rd Party Logistics industry where he held senior roles that include President of Latin America for Exel Global Logistics, President of Ocean World Lines, and SVP USA with DHL Global Forwarding. During his time in the 3PL industry, Mr. Gardner was directly involved in over fifteen acquisitions and subsequent integrations, including the $7b purchase of Exel Global Logistics by Deutsche Post (DHL). Dan was also part of the management team that successfully sold ATC Logistics & Electronics to Genco (later acquired by FedEx).
Mr. Gardner is also an adviser to the Global Trade Management software firm Mercado Labs, as well as the Trade Compliance and TMS software house, 3rdwave. Dan also serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board for STG Logistics, the largest bonded Container Freight Station operator in the U.S. In addition to his professional experience, Dan has been an adjunct professor of supply chain management his entire career. In 2002, Mr. Gardner was selected as the Professor of the Year in the Masters of International Business Program at Florida International University, and in 2014 he earned the “Top Instructor” distinction at the California State University Long Beach Center for International Trade & Transportation. Dan remains on the faculties of CSULB, Georgia Tech, and Long Beach City College.
A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, Mr. Gardner holds an MBA from the University of Miami and is a licensed Customs Broker in the U.S. Dan has also been certified in Production & Inventory Management (CPIM) by The American Production & Inventory Control Society (APICS), holds a Black Belt in Six Sigma and earned certification by the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) as a Physical Security Professional.
As an author and journalist, Dan’s work has appeared in The Journal of Commerce, APICS Magazine, CSCMP Global Perspectives, and Inbound Logistics magazine. His first book, Supply Chain Vector: Methods for Linking the Execution of Global Business Models with Financial Performance was selected by Inbound Logistics Magazine in2008 as part of its “Must Read List” for supply chain professionals.
12:00pm – 2:00pm
Lunch is on your own! Explore the many wonderful dining options Nashville has to offer with ASTA colleagues.
2:00pm – 3:30pm
Traditional & Emerging Treatment Methods Panel
Moderated by Dr. Jim Dickson, Dickson Consulting and Professor, Iowa State University
David Howe, Cosmed Group; Steve Lombardo, McCormick & Company; Steve Marcus, Sterigenics; and Doug Marshall, Eurofins
The spice industry heavily relies on the use of steam, ethylene oxide, and irradiation to ensure that spices are safe. At the same time, the industry is always on the lookout for novel developing technology that may offer additional future validated tools to promote safety and protect quality. Hear from industry experts on the latest trends and regulatory updates related to traditional spice treatment methods, learn more about emerging treatment methods, and join a dialogue about the critical factors to consider when evaluating new processes.
About our speakers:
Dr. Dickson is currently a Professor in the Department of Animal Science and the Inter-Departmental Program in Microbiology at Iowa State University. Dr. Dickson’s research focuses on the control of bacteria of public health significance in foods of animal origin. Dr. Dickson has developed a predictive model to estimate the growth of salmonellae during the cooling of beef carcasses. This model was used during an evaluation of proposed USDA regulations, to determine the relative probability of salmonellae growth under a variety of cooling conditions. Dr. Dickson’s studies of bacterial attachment, carcass washing, and sanitizing have been applied to animal processing environments, resulting in the development of an inexpensive, technology-neutral process which is very effective in controlling enteric pathogens on animals carcasses. Dr. Dickson has been involved in a variety of training courses, including hosting four International Atomic Energy Agency training fellowships in his laboratory, and teaching the principles of meat microbiology and HACCP to food industry audiences in Japan. He also traveled to the People’s Republic of China and Singapore, evaluating meat processing systems. Dr. Dickson served on the National Academy of Science’s panel on review of the use of scientific criteria and performance standards for safe food, where he served as chair of the Meat and Poultry sub-committee.
Prior to his appointment at Iowa State University in 1993, he was employed by USDA-ARS as a Research Food Technologist and lead scientist of the Meat Safety Assurance Program, located at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE. Dr. Dickson was employed in the food industry for three years before joining USDA-ARS.
He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology and is a Past President of the International Association for Food Protection. He is also active in the American Society for Microbiology and the Institute of Food Technologists.
David Howe is the Chief Operating Officer of Cosmed Group, Inc. For more than thirty years, Cosmed Group has developed and deployed pasteurization technologies for the agricultural and food manufacturing industries, and provided sterilization services and equipment for medical device manufacturers. The company has installed more than one hundred sterilization and pasteurization systems worldwide.
As COO of the company, Mr. Howe oversees multiple facilities providing contract services for post-harvest agricultural commodities including nuts, spices, and dried fruits. He directs the sales of equipment to food and medical device manufacturers. Mr. Howe has been involved in the development of technologies using steam, dry-heat, methyl bromide, ozone, ethylene oxide, and propylene oxide. He is a co-inventor of US Patent 6800246, “Bulk decontamination and degermination of materials in a sub-atmospheric saturated steam environment.”
Prior to working in the food pasteurization division of Cosmed Group, Mr. Howe spent years in medical device sterilization. He participated in the construction of five contract sterilization facilities. During that time his responsibilities included managing production and quality departments, process validation, and cGMP/QSR compliance.
Among other professional affiliations, Mr. Howe is a member of the International Association of Food Protection, the American Spice Trade Association where he formerly served on Board, the Ethylene Oxide Sterilization Association, and is a long-time member of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation.
He has enjoyed a close working relationship with several U.S. regulatory agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of State.
Dr. Stephen P. Lombardo is currently the Director of Materials & Process Technology for McCormick & Company, Inc located in Hunt Valley, MD. He is responsible for leading ground-breaking R&D research in the discovery, development, scale-up, and commercialization of the product, process, and flavor delivery technologies for global application.
Steve received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and received his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He has 30+ years of R&D experience in new product innovation, process development, and supply chain optimization for global CPG organizations working at Kraft Foods Inc, The Coca-Cola Company, and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.
Steve Markus is the Director of Food Safety and Commercial Products for Sterigenics. Steve graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Agriculture Economics. He has worked in the food industry for over 40 years in sales and procurement. He has been the Director of Food Safety with Sterigenics for 15 years, offering services for bacteria and pathogen reductions. His clients are in spice/seasoning, packaging, cosmetics, crop science, pet treats, and many other various markets. He is specializing in gamma irradiation and propylene oxide modalities but is also familiar with ethylene oxide.
Dr. Marshall is Chief Scientific Officer with Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories, Inc., a division of the global life sciences company Eurofins Scientific. He also is co-founder and Director of the Food Safety Institute, LLC, an integrated consulting and analytical services company affiliated with Eurofins. He has served as a professor in multiple disciplines of public health, nutrition, and food science at universities across the United States. He was Contributing Editor for the peer-reviewed scientific journal Food Microbiology and served four consecutive terms on the editorial board of the Journal of Food Protection. He is a frequent volunteer and consultant to trade associations, government agencies, and private companies. His research and expertise have been featured in popular media. With over 250 publications and over 180 invited presentations, his scientific research and outreach interests focus on improving the microbiological quality and safety of foods. He has been the recipient of a number of awards for his scholarly efforts. He is a Fellow and former member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Food Technologists, former Chair of the International Food Science Certification Commission, and former member of the Board of Directors of the American Spice Trade Association. On a personal note, early in his career he served as a deckhand on an Alaskan fishing vessel (well before Deadliest Catch) and prefers to spend his free time lost on a trail in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
3:30pm – 4:00pm
4:00pm – 5:00pm
Sustainability Panel: Preventing Forced Labor & Promoting Human Rights
Moderated by Greg Metschke with the Sustainable Spice Initiative
Chandri Navarro, Hogan Lovells; Pontus Mattsson, Silva International; and Abdullah Munir, SGS North America
Join this vital dialogue about due diligence within spice supply chains to promote ethical and fair labor practices. Learn the latest global developments related to areas/regions of concern and what these issues mean to the spice industry and consumers. Listen to experts discuss current best practices about how to protect your company and your customers, and expectations for future developments.
About our speakers:
For over 20 years, Chandri has advised clients on customs and trade issues in many different countries and before foreign trade and customs agencies. She helps clients evaluate risks, identify potential problems, and resolve them in a practical and efficient manner when they do arise. She works with companies to create effective trade compliance programs, and to find business opportunities in their import/export transactions around the world.
Chandri advises clients on tariff classification, customs value, country of origin, labeling, trade preference programs, free trade agreements, and trade compliance programs. She also helps clients respond to CPB and other government agencies on matters affecting imports. She works with companies in reviewing contracts, agreements, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) documents to help protect clients from trade compliance risks and successor liability.
Since her time as a U.S. State Department Security-Cleared Industry Adviser during the NAFTA negotiations, Chandri has helped companies and the U.S. and foreign trade associations navigate the intricacies of rules of origin, tariff phase-out schedules, and cumulation provisions in trade negotiations.
Pontus Mattsson is currently Vice-President, Supply Chain & Administration at Silva International, Inc. Through his 15 years at Silva he has held various procurement and supply chain functions. Pontus also currently serves as Vice President of ASTA. In his current role at Silva International, he oversees procurement, international operations, and quality. His responsibilities include oversight of agricultural sustainability as well as import/CBP compliance.
Pontus holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the American University of Paris.
Abdullah Munir is a Product Manager at SGS North America. He has been in his current position as Product Manager -Technical Accreditation Sustainability and Social schemes since November 2011. Abdullah has over 20 years of experience in project management and auditing of quality management systems, social responsibility compliance (human resource, social accountability, and anti-trafficking), and sustainability (environment, agriculture, food, and chemical) covering various international certification standards, ILO core conventions & recommendations and customer code of conducts in countries; Bangladesh, India, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Canada, Mexico, and the USA.
Abdullah’s key industry experiences are in food and ingredients, agriculture, seafood processing in vessels, chemical & waste management, readymade garments, restaurant and accommodation, shipbuilding, plastic, and paint. He has worked with Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, MARS, Coca-Cola, Henkel- Firmenich, General Mills, McDonald’s, Rembrandt, Mondelez, Kerry Ingredients, Conagra Brands, Kraft Heinz, Nation Pizza, Barry Callebaut, Darling Ingredients, Foran Spice.
In 2020 Abdullah developed a specialized remote audit module for a Nestle dedicated supplier who was challenged with IT inability and extreme remote access due to pandemics.
Abdullah holds an MBA in Human Resource Management and a master’s in Marketing.
5:15pm – 6:15pm
FASTA Happy Hour
Join the FASTA Exhibitors for a light happy hour reception featuring appetizers and beverages in the Exhibit Hall.
9:00pm – 11:00pm
Late Night Out on the Town! Nashville Pedal Tavern Tour Ticket required
Join the Membership Committee for a post-dinner event out on the town in Nashville for young – and young-at-heart – professionals. Hop on the Pedal Tavern with ASTA colleagues or make new acquaintances while exploring Nashville’s vibrant downtown Broadway area. You will pedal past many sites and make a pit stop to explore where country legends made their home. Tickets include beverages (beer, wine, seltzers, and water) on the tavern, and you may also bring your beverage of choice (no glass). You must arrive by 8:45 pm for check-in. This event is for registered FASTA attendees and their guests. Tickets are $30.00 per person and must be purchased by October 1, 2021.
8:00am – 9:00am
9:00am – 11:45am
ASTA’s members-only Quarterly Crop Reports will be presented live at the FASTA conference. The ASTA Crop Report Task Force curates the crop report calendar to align with the harvest and marketing seasons for specific spices. During FASTA, black pepper, Chinese chilis, coriander, allspice, cassia, cloves, ginger, and sesame will be covered. The reports will include informational presentations, videos, panel discussions, and live Q&A. The October crop reports are sponsored by Olam.
9:00am – 10:00am
- Introduction and presentation by Olam
- Chinese chilis
10:00am – 10:15am
10:15am – 11:45am
- Black pepper
- Allspice, cassia, cloves, and ginger
12:00pm – 3:00pm
ASTA Committee Meetings – Invitation required
More information coming soon.