Brian Antle is current President of PlantTape, a global automated transplanting system owned by Tanimura & Antle. The PlantTape technology is leading the way in reducing labor and cost while increasing yield, uniformity and sustainability.
As a 4th, generation farmer Brian began his career working on the ranch after school at the age of 14. Over the years, Brian has worked in all aspects of his families business, Tanimura & Antle, and was ultimately tapped to lead the global commercialization of PlantTape.
Brian gives back to the industry and community by serving as a board member of Tanimura & Antle, Stout Industrial Technologies, Monterey County Farm Bureau, First Tee of Monterey County and Salinas Police Foundation. He most recently served as a member of United Fresh, Grower Shipper Association of the Central Coast, Monterey County Agricultural Education is an alumnus of United’s Produce Executive Development Program at Cornell University and Western Growers Future Volunteer Leaders Program. In 2015, Brian received the Forbes Impact Award in Innovation at the AgTech Summit for the companies PlantTape technology. He received a degree in agricultural business from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2006.
Kari Armbruster, Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Program Manager, joined Kroger in 2013 and was promoted to her current role in 2018. In her new role, she develops objectives, strategies, and metrics to support the company’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan. This includes working closely with key external stakeholders and partners and launching and managing projects to help achieve Kroger’s goal to end hunger in our communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025. Kari sits on the board of Keep Cincinnati Beautiful.
David is responsible for marketing across the Houweling’s Group of Companies, based in Vancouver British Columbia. This includes all aspects of branding, communication, public relations, product development, sustainability, and crop planning. With a BA from the University of Western Ontario, David has over 15 years of marketing management experience in consumer-packaged goods, including the last 9 years in produce at Houweling. Having joined the company in 2011, he as been a guest speaker at various industry conferences and was named a 2014 Generation Next Award Recipient by Canadian Grocer and 2015 Farm Journal USA 40 under 40 recipient. Most recently, in partnership with Apeel Sciences, David led Houweling’s plastic-free cucumber project, replacing the traditionally used single-use plastic wrap with Apeel’s plant-based coating to maintain shelf-life.
Scott is a tenured leader with more than 25 years of organizational leadership experience. He has served in organizations ranging from the United States Army, to small boutique data warehousing consulting firms and large enterprises with diverse roles including Marketing, Operation, Business Systems, and Sales. Through these experiences he has honed and gained a diversity of skills including: strategic and sector operations; marketing, marketing research and competitive intelligence; enterprise planning and organizational development; business modeling and strategy; product development and delivery; and strategic business sales. He serves as the EVP & COO at Aimpoint Research.
Currently, Vice President of Marketing, Limoneira Company, a 126-year old California based global agribusiness and real estate development company. John has more than 30 years of marketing, brand development, and communications experience with global multinationals and was the former head of ABB Asea Brown Boveri’s External Communications Department. He lived and worked in Europe for 8 years and has provided marketing solutions for clients in Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia and Latin America. John also has entrepreneurial experience as the owner of Père Marquette Development, a real estate development company that successfully completed multi-family residential real estate projects in Santa Barbara and Ventura California. Additionally, John began Aficionado European Snack Foods in 1995 in Santa Barbara and Westwood California and sold Aficionado’s snack products throughout the United States before selling the Company in 2002. John is the Head of the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Sustainability Committee and is a member of United Fresh’s marketing committee. He is a board member of VCEDA (Ventura County Economic Development Association), the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, and the Boys and Girls Club of the Santa Clara Valley. He was a former member of the City of Santa Paula’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, and the Dean’s Leadership Council, Cal State University Channel Islands. He has an M.B.A. from Western Michigan University and a B.B.A. from Grand Valley State University. John speaks German and Italian.
“Louis has worked with Lipman Family Farms for over two years as Sustainability and Operations Analyst. His primary goal is to drive sustainability and operational efficiency improvements through the use of new technology that provides insights on these topics. Louis is passionate about innovations in the agriculture space. His approach to sustainability is to seek continuous improvement and industry collaboration, so that growers are supported in making operational changes that will make them, and the greater produce supply chain, as resilient as possible.”
Roland Fumasi is a vice president, senior analyst & manager for Rabobank’s RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group. Headquartered in Fresno, California, Roland is responsible for covering and analyzing the U.S. and North American fresh fruit, vegetable and tree nut industries, general California agriculture, and leads the Fresno research team. He combines a background in agribusiness research with international market development and finance experience in the agriculture industry. Prior to joining Rabobank, Fumasi served as a senior executive in the equipment industry beginning in 2008. From 2005 to 2008, Fumasi served as a Research Associate for the Agricultural & Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University, where his research focused on specialty crops and alternative energy (bio-fuel) production. Roland completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University in 2013. Prior to Texas A&M, Roland was an active researcher at the California Institute for the Study of Specialty Crops at the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), where he produced an award-winning thesis related to specialty crops. Roland received both his B.S. and M.S. in Agribusiness from Cal Poly. From 1998 through 2003, Fumasi served as a Financial Advisor for Morgan Stanley in Visalia, California, where his business focus was comprehensive financial planning for agricultural families. As a Marketing Director for various firms during the 1990’s, Roland was responsible for building distribution networks for the animal health industry in three countries.
Edgar Gutierrez is the Vice President of Agricultural Operations at Limoneira.
Wonderful Citrus where Prior to Limoneira, he was The Research and Development Director of Wonderful Citrus’ Mexican Division and oversaw 14,000 acres of land under production. He has extensive citrus experience in Mexico and Central America. Mr. Gutierrez has extensive experience in the produce supply chain.
Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms, a media brand and community of passionate fresh produce advocates with a mission to inspire everyone, especially children, to eat more fruits and vegetables. For ten years Lori worked in the supply chain and sold fresh produce to over 300 retail accounts. Today, Lori and her team are fully focused on educating consumers about fresh produce, introducing them to produce brands, engaging the produce industry with consumers in inspiring conversations, and promoting public policy to protect and increase the availability of fresh produce at American schools. Lori’s work has been featured on Oprah.com, Huffington Post, Real Simple Magazine, US Kids Magazines, as well as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates throughout the US. Lori has received numerous recognitions for her work and innovation with The Produce Moms, including Vance Agribusiness 40 Under 40, Produce Business Magazine Forty Under 40, and several keynote speaking engagements. Lori resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband, two sons, and their Great Dane. She serves as a member of the Indianapolis Public Schools Wellness Committee, community partner of the Indiana Department of Education Office of School & Community Nutrition, is a lifestyle morning show contributor on WISH-TV’s IndyStyle, is the host of The Produce Moms Podcast, and is a member of United Fresh Produce Association’s Marketing & Merchandising Council.
Barry Rogers, President of Rogers Agro Inc, has been active in the produce industry for 31 years. In his previous position, he served as President of the Sweet Onion Trading Company for 18 years in which he managed the distribution of sweet onions from around he globe. He also served as sales manager for Bland Farms, DNE World Fruit and Seald Sweet Growers International. Since he started his career in produce, Barry’s focus and passion has been quality. “I learned in my first few months as a salesperson, nothing mattered more than quality. If you have quality, everything else takes care of itself.” Rogers carries this philosophy forward in working with G&R Farms whose very strict quality control standards are integrated into the company’s blueprint for both their Vidalia and Peruvian sweet onions. “G&R is one of the leaders in the US market and for good reason. Their attention to detail is unsurpassed in the competitive sweet onion industry.” G&R has become a leader in sustainability because they have a passion to do the right thing. This includes ensuring the safety and well-being of their farm workers, a commitment to environmental stewardship and philanthropy. ” Two years ago, G&R tasked me to develop and manage their Rainforest Certification Program. In just our second year we have been able to increase the program by 30%. Better onions and a better world. It’s a win-win.”
Matt Rogers is co-founder and general manager of AgSocio, a new agricultural labor company serving the Salinas Valley and Central Coast of California. AgSocio’s purpose is to create value for farmers, farm workers, and the broader food industry by building a more just, safe, professional, and competitive agricultural labor employment system. Prior to starting AgSocio, Matt spent many years working on social and environmental issues in the produce supply chain for Whole Food Market.
Hugo Hays is Global Director of Compliance and Food Safety in Fyffes. He has his Diploma in Farm Management and MSc Diploma in Business Management in Food and Agriculture Industries at the Royal Agricultural College, UK. He was brough up on a farm in Uruguay and has since worked as a farmer, crop consultant, management consultant, food safety auditor, and standards development and capacity building expert in the UK, Spain and Portugal. He was Technical Director at EurepGAP from 2002, and then in 2008 to 2012 his family lived and worked in Southern Africa on a regional EU funded Sanitary and Phytosanitary Capacity Building project in collaboration with governments of 15 SADC member countries. Since 2013 he has managed a great team at Fyffes in Costa Rica and the region covering compliance in Food Safety, Compliance and Sustainability, with global responsibility within the company for these subjects. He also represent farmers in the Americas on the industry elected GlobalG.A.P. Board, since 2015.
Michael Schutt’s passion for produce has been evident since beginning his career with Raley’s back in 1986. He has worked as a produce clerk, produce manager, produce quality control and currently as a produce buyer. With a special interest in organics, Michael pioneered Raley’s program in the 1990s. As a produce buyer, his top measure for success is flavor, explaining, “That’s what the customer will remember and what will bring them back.”
Mark Koppang serves as Raley’s Director of Sustainability. In this role, Mark focuses on exploring and further expanding Raley’s commitment to sustainability with actions that are most meaningful to their team members, customers and communities. Mark works daily with individuals across the organization who contribute to Raley’s climate and sustainability driven efforts by helping to define, execute and measure opportunities for further impact. Prior to joining Raley’s in July 2020, Mark accumulated 25 years of experience as a corporate leader, with a background in packaging and recyclables.
Ryan Shadrick Wilson has been referred to as “the good food whisperer” because of the quiet yet significant role she has played in launching many of the innovative ideas and companies shaping the food revolution.
After a decade as a leading food attorney at international law firm Hogan Lovells, Ryan turned her energy to launching Michelle Obama’s health initiative, serving as the Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel of Partnership for a Healthier America. She then founded Boardwalk Collective, which advises CEOs, philanthropists, celebrities, and investors committed to creating a healthier, happier, and more connected world. Ryan serves on the board of directors or board of advisors for several companies, including Territory Foods, Apeel Sciences, Brightseed, RightRice, Treasure8, and Plenty, as well as several nonprofit organization boards, including the Executive Advisory Board of Feeding America.
As a Senior Advisor to the Milken Institute, Ryan developed and helped launch the new Feeding Change program which aims to catalyze a healthier and more sustainable food system. Through a series of events both private and public around the globe, Feeding Change engages policy makers, corporate leaders, investors, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and academics in groundbreaking conversations and partnerships to elevate sustainable solutions to improve the health of all people and the planet.
Ryan graduated with honors from Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
Kevin has been involved in agriculture on the Central Coast of California for 30 years in key leadership roles and is the former CEO of Driscoll’s Inc. Driscoll’s grows and markets fresh berries and are headquartered in California with operations in thirty countries. Prior to Driscoll’s, he served as President for Capurro Farms. Kevin’s career also includes working at Fresh Express for over 10 years. During that period, he held various jobs that included heading up strategic planning, marketing and operations for the company. Over the last few years, he has also been active in driving for immigration reform that will allow for undocumented workers to receive legal status in the US. His advocacy efforts have included testifying in Congress, writing an op ed piece in the WSJ outlining three key elements needed for effective change, being a member of the Immigration Forum Group and speaking at various conferences/organizations on the subject of immigration reform. He serves on several boards and provides advise to leading agricultural and food organizations around the world.
Kevin was born and grew up in South Africa. He has an undergraduate degree in agricultural economics from the University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa and an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, Herriot Watt University in Scotland.
David Rosenberg co-founded and leads AeroFarms, a mission-driven company that builds and operates advanced vertical farms in urban environments.
AeroFarms has been recognized as a Circular Economy 100 company, listed on Fast Company’s 2019 global list of Most Innovative Companies, and featured on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 25 Most Disruptive Companies. AeroFarms also received the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and ranked number one on the FoodTech 500 list, which highlighted global entrepreneurial talent at the intersection between food, technology, and sustainability. AeroFarms received the inaugural Global Sustainable Development Goal Award for Zero Hunger, was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 2019 Best Inventions, and received The Ethical Corporation’s 2020 Responsible Business Award in Sustainable Innovation.
David dedicates his time to several local and international organizations. As a member of the World Economic Forum, David co-chaired the Young Global Leaders Circular Economy Taskforce and is a member of the WEF Global IoT Council. David was also a member of the U.S. delegation to the B20 Sustainable Food System Taskforce, which advises the G20. In addition, David serves as a Managing Trustee of New Jersey’s Liberty Science Center, a prominent U.S. interactive science museum, and is on the Board of Directors of Aspire, a leader in insect protein, and Clara Foods, a leader in non-animal based animal protein. David is a mentor at Endeavor, as well, where he helps impact entrepreneurs, and previously taught a class on entrepreneurial finance at the New York University Stern School of Business. In 2017, David was privileged to co-chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Agriculture Transition Committee and in 2020 David accepted an honor on behalf of AeroFarms for its leading work with the New Jersey Reentry Corporation in providing second-chance opportunities to people previously incarcerated. David has been honored by the Liberty Science Center as a 2019 Genius Innovator, recognized as Ernst & Young’s (NJ) Entrepreneur of the Year (Food and Beverage), and was named one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs at Goldman Sachs’ 2019 Annual Builders and Innovators Summit. In 2018, the World Economic Forum recognized David as Technology Pioneer for his nanotechnology company and in 2010 as a Young Global Leader.
David received his BA from UNC Chapel Hill and holds an MBA from Columbia University. He competed for the U.S. in fencing where he was a finalist at a world cup and represented the NYAC, winning three U.S. National Team Fencing Championships and two individual silver medals.
Considered amongst the top experts in the field of distribution packaging globally, Jay has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles, 70 articles in conference proceedings, 30 trade journal articles, 4 book chapters, coauthored 2 books and edited 1 book. With citation indices at 22 (h-index) and 39 (i10-index), his readership for Digital Commons currently stands at 185,109 downloads from 11,418 institutions in 194 countries. A number of his publications have resulted in development/modification of numerous globally acknowledged packaging test standards such as ASTM, ISTA, DoT and FAA. Several of his research efforts have led to innovative packaging designs that have since been implemented in the field. His expertise includes teaching, training, testing services and contract research in distribution environment measurement and simulation, material and package testing, package design, product-package compatibility and life cycle assessment (LCA). His research streams of packaging dynamics and packaging value chain have progressively developed a focus on efficient/sustainable packaging solutions and reducing food loss.
Jay has consulted with over 200 companies on various packaging research projects over 23 years in the automotive, pharmaceutical, medical, food, beverage, furniture, appliances and several other product categories. He also serves as a consultant to various law firms by providing expert opinion in the areas of packaging machinery, damage and injury during transportation, package design, patents and evaluation of packages.
Jay’s strategic planning has led Cal Poly’s Packaging program to be considered amongst the best globally, leading to a growing portfolio of research projects funded by government and third-party organizations. With the key factors of affordability, reputation and ROI considered towards making the determination, Cal Poly’s Packaging Program is currently ranked as the Best Value Packaging Program in the US. The program currently offers a major, a concentration (Consumer Packaging) and a minor to Cal Poly undergraduates and has successfully launched a 100% online MS degree and Professional Certificates program in Packaging Value Chain.
Jay currently serves as the President of International Association of Packaging Research Institutes (IAPRI) and has served on the Global Board of Directors for the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), Division 1 Chair of Committee D10.18 of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Applied Packaging Research. Having undertaken numerous funded grants from state, federal agencies and industry as well as currently holding four patents, Jay was recognized with the Distinguished Scholarship Award in 2017 by Cal Poly.
Emilio Tenuta’s 36-year tenure at Ecolab includes 25 years of technical and marketing management experience in various industries including Food and Beverage, Pharmaceutical, Lodging, Healthcare, Primary Metals and Automotive. In the past eleven years Tenuta has led Ecolab’s strategic sustainability journey focused on corporate responsibility, internal environmental stewardship and helping customers operate more sustainably. He is actively involved in advancing global sustainability practices, with a significant focus on water stewardship and climate. In partnership with S&P Trucost – and a multi-stakeholder advisory group – Tenuta led development of the Water Risk Monetizer, industry’s first financial modeling tool to assess water-related risks, and the Smart Water Navigator, a free online tool to help businesses improve water management and achieve their water reduction targets.
Tenuta is actively involved in advancing industry sustainability practices. He sits on the board of director of the World Environment Center, a global non-profit, non-advocacy organization and the leadership council of the Corporate Eco Forum. He is also an active member of several industry organizations, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association sustainability work group. Over the past ten years, Tenuta has forged strong partnerships with a number of NGO’s to support management of water and energy risks in the industrial sector, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), UN CEO Water Mandate, The Nature Conservancy and World Economic Forum (WEF).
Tenuta holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Master’s Degree in Business from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.
For three generations the Braga family has been a titan in the agricultural industry, farming the Salinas Valley
to Yuma, Arizona. As a vertically integrated company, we continue to mix innovation with tradition to grow,
harvest and ship fresh vegetables and leafy greens year-round. With over 20 years of expanding our certified
organic program and meeting the highest food safety standards, we are bringing our expertise, authenticity,
and standard of integrity to the retail market through Braga Fresh and Josie’s Organics brands.
In the 1940’s Josie Braga hand-clipped baby lettuce and was focused on serving
only the best to her family. Little did she know, that 90 years later, her farm
would continue to grow a full line of fresh organic produce. Rodney Braga,
grandson, father, farmer, and CEO stays true to Josie’s core values and feels
humbled to have such a great responsibility to continue the family tradition.
He honors his grandmother by sharing her name and commitment to quality
and freshness by providing families all over the world with premium quality,
organic fresh and ready to enjoy vegetables and salad product line.
In 2012, Rodney Braga, had the vision to create the full line of premium organic
vegetables named after his grandmother Josie. Today we grow over 20 organic
commodities. We also have the largest line of organic chopped salad kits, baby
leaf, premium salad blends and value- added organic vegetable offerings
Our company headquarters, located at the Home Ranch in Soledad, CA, was
the home of our founders Josie & Sebastian Braga. In 1937, Sebastian and his
wife Josie bought the ranch and built a homestead on the property and settled
there to raise dairy cattle and grow sugar beets, tomatoes, onions, hay, corn,
as well as lettuce. Rod Braga, now our CEO, grew up on the ranch and worked
at nearly every task, from caring for beef cattle to growing and harvesting.
Today he spends most of his time running the family business. You can still find
him walking the fields caring for the crops as he remains dedicated to
continuing the family tradition.
Bruce grew up in a Salinas Valley produce family and graduated from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School. In 1981, Bruce joined Fresh Express and led the growth of foodservice fresh cut salads and the retail bagged salad category. In 1995, Bruce and several financial partners founded Taylor Fresh Foods and the Taylor Farms operating companies with Bruce as Chairman and CEO. Taylor Farms has grown to become North America’s largest producer of salads, fresh cut vegetables and healthy fresh foods. Headquartered in Salinas, California, Taylor Farms has 16 operating companies located throughout North America serving leading customers in foodservice, retail produce and retail deli segments and is proud to provide high quality, great tasting products to over 120 million Americans each week. Bruce and his wife Linda have four sons, Alex, Drew, Ted (Amy) and Bruce. Bruce currently serves on the boards of Mission Produce and Western Growers Association and is Past Chairman of the Produce Marketing Association, Western Growers Association, National Steinbeck Center, Ag Against Hunger and YPO’s Barbary Coast Chapter.
Alison Edwards is the Director of The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, a multi-stakeholder collaborative, which spans the food industry including brands, buyers, growers, industry groups, and environmental NGO’s. In her role, Alison facilitates collaborative solutions across supply chains, leading to measurable improvement of natural resource stewardship on the ground.
By helping companies design programs for competitive advantage and reduced environmental impact, her work builds policies and practices to enhance the resilience of the food industry. Ms. Edwards has a history of working at the center of collaborative efforts to build more resilient futures. Over the last 20 years, she has helped build more sustainable systems with corporations, communities, local and regional government agencies, and large nonprofits. Drawing from her experience at the intersections of food and agriculture, organizational development and leadership, and sustainability and resilience she helps organizations collaborate to build the healthy future they want to see.
A California native, Ms. Edwards holds a MA from UC Berkeley and a BA from UC Santa Cruz.
In her position, Amy is responsible for the development and administration of all food safety, occupational safety and sustainability policies for A. Duda & Sons, Inc. Amy serves on various food safety and technical committees through industry trade associations. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Florida State University and Food Safety Management Certifications from North Carolina State University. Amy is married to Mark Kinder, owner of RMI Financial Services, a risk management and insurance agency. They have three sons: August, Macon, and Hayden.
Kevin Kelly has been the chief executive officer of Emerald Packaging, Inc. since 2002. During that period the company has quadrupled in size by diversifying into fresh-cut, extended shelf-life packaging, making Emerald the largest produce flexible packaging supplier in the country. He also founded epac, the industry’s leading manufacturer of digitally printed flexible packaging. Kevin has helped champion sustainable packaging options in the industry, a commitment recognized by the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) with three awards in the Sustainable category since 2013. He sits on the boards of the Western Plastics Association, the industry’s trade and lobbying group along the coast, and the FPA. He has helped write legislation in California regarding the use of the term “biodegradable” in packaging, resin pellet containment, and store take-back programs. Recently, he has advocated for the produce industry on plastics legislation in Sacramento.
Kevin began his professional career as a journalist with BusinessWeek Magazine. During a 10-year career he covered the airline and manufacturing industries and the economy. He wrote for several publications about running a business after leaving the magazine and continues to write through his blog Musings of a CEO. He serves as board chair for Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland as part of a long commitment to Catholic education, mainly fundraising for financial aid programs. He has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. He is married with three children.
I’m Kim, 40, living in Seattle, WA. Married with 3 kids. I have a K-6 teaching degree, but am currently taking a sabbatical to see to my own children’s learning and due to covid challenges. My hobbies include anything outdoors, hiking to biking, camping, travel. I also enjoy reading, especially historical fiction. I love to chase the sun down with a golf club or tennis racket. I am teachable, easy to work with, enjoy being around people and learning from others.
Eric Miglietti is a project manager for Optum Analytic Services, which is a company that deals in medical data financial consulting and is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, for the last 10 years. In this position, he ensures processes are in compliance with data governance policies, proactively researches and resolves data issues that impact client success and collaborates with internal teams to improve data quality and integration. Before this company, he had served as a CEO and COO of a restaurant chain in Columbus, Ohio, for 5 years.
Briselda C. Gutierrez has been working for Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods, Inc. since November of 1998. She started as a labor worker in the fields, cutting and packing broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower and Romaine Hearts. She also held positions as a bus driver and foreman before becoming a supervisor. From 2005 to 2016, Briselda was involved in the Quality Control Department and was an integral part of the Food Safety Team as a quality assurance supervisor. Currently, she is housing supervisor at Spreckels Crossing. It is an amazing project created by Tanimura & Antle in April of 2016 to provide safe, suitable and comfortable homes at a low cost to the company’s harvest employees. Part of her responsibility in this position is to assist the residents and give them information about the housing policies and the emergency evacuation plan training. She also helps to run a small store and is involved in the purchases, sales and inventory for the store.
Jess Vieira leads the Sustainability Function at Apeel Sciences, where she is responsible for development and execution of the company’s sustainability strategy as it pertains to environmental and social responsibility. A core competency of sustainability at Apeel involves using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to make informed decisions around product development and business strategy that aim to maximize the environmental benefits of Apeel’s technology in the market. Prior to Apeel Sciences, Jess worked in the Environmental Technologies groups at both Apple Inc. and The Dow Chemical Company, where she focused on by product synergy, waste reduction strategies, green infrastructure initiatives and company-wide environmental targets. Jess earned a BS and MS in environmental engineering & water resources from Tufts University as well as a master’s degree in technology management (MTM) and PhD in environmental science & management from the University of California, Santa Barbara
Kevin Byers is the senior produce merchandiser for PCC Community Markets. Kevin has been with PCC for 18 years where he started as a cashier and has held various roles, such as produce manager and produce merchandiser. He currently oversees all aspects of the produce departments for 15 stores. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in 2006.
Ricardo Crisantes is the chief commercial officer and third generation co-owner of Wholesum, an over 90-year-old family farming operation and leading grower/shipper of certified organic farm-fresh vegetables. Ricardo has been in the family business since 1999. As a company leader, he spearheads the sales and marketing efforts of the company through deep industry knowledge and vision. He has dedicated much of his time driving efforts to position Wholesum as pioneers in ethical farming and responsible sourcing, maintaining a commitment to social and environmental responsibility in every aspect of the farm’s operations. As company leader and Fair- Trade ambassador, Ricardo has worked to create a market for Fair Trade produce by educating retailers and connecting consumers with farm workers through authentic story telling. Ricardo holds a BS in business administration from the University of Southern California. He currently lives with his family in Nogales, AZ.
Dr. Kamath is the founding Dean of the College of Business at CSU, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and has held academic and administrative positions at leading universities in the U.S., Canada, Asia and Europe. He is the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards and multiple outstanding professor and educator awards. Previously, he was an entrepreneur as a co-founder of three start-ups, has pioneered a number of academic start-ups and has worked for a national government agency and leading international firms in the energy equipment and consumer goods industries. He has been a consultant to four governments and over 100 companies and non-profits worldwide. He has published over 80 articles in leading peer-reviewed scholarly and trade journals and is the author or co-author of three books. He is currently leading the launch of the country’s first Agribusiness Supply Chain Management (ASCM) major at CSUMB focused on perishable commodities/produce and sustainability. Shyam serves on the boards of Rancho Cielo, the HOPE Collaborative (Boston, MA), LeaderJam (Boston, MA), and CSUMB’s College of Business Advisory Council, Sustainable Hospitality Management Advisory Council and the Advisory Council of the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (IIED). Previously, he served on the boards of the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Tetrex International Corporation and Engineering Project Consultants.
Nikki (Rodoni) Cossio is the founder and CEO of Measure to Improve. She is a recognized leader in the produce industry known for building successful sustainability programs and implementing innovative solutions. She is an industry educator and visionary with numerous awards and recognition for leadership and innovation in sustainability. Most recently, she was recognized in The Packer 25 Profiles in Leadership for the ag industry. As a member of a long- standing California farming family, Cassio understands what sustainability means across five generations. Her professional career has always been about building synergy between the three crucial aspects of a successful agriculture business: people, planet, and profit. Cossio currently serves on the sustainability committee of the international Produce Marketing Association (PMA).