Our Speakers

Scott Rasmussen

Editor-at-Large for Ballotpedia, Author

Co-Founder of ESPN

Publisher of Scottrasmussen.com

Long recognized as one of the world's leading public opinion pollsters, Scott Rasmussen is constantly measuring and analyzing the mood of the nation. Whether it's the upcoming election, underlying business trends, or the coronavirus pandemic, Scott has the data you need to know.

His latest polling results are released at ScottRasmussen.com and by various media outlets, but the numbers are just part of the story. His love of history and depth of experience help put that data in a meaningful context to act upon. His lifetime in broadcasting brings it alive during entertaining and informative presentations.

Additionally, Ballotpedia publishes "Scott Rasmussen's Number of the Day" featuring newsworthy and interesting topics at the intersection of politics, culture, and technology.

Innovation has been a hallmark of Scott's career. In 1978, the then-new technology of satellite communications dramatically reduced the cost of sending a broadcast signal around the nation. Building upon that opportunity, Scott and his father, Bill, founded ESPN, the cable sports network.

In the 1990s, the birth of the Internet provided the unique opportunity to capitalize on another ground-breaking technology. Scott launched his first website in 1994 and became the first pollster to offer data directly to the public rather than filtered through a network reporter. It was also this time that Scott saw the potential for the concept of automated polling and ultimately revolutionized the polling industry. In just over a decade, Scott's work attracted more Google searches than the long-established industry leader--Gallup.
That led the Washington Post to call Scott "a driving force in American politics." The Wall Street Journal described him as a "key player in the contact sport of politics."

Today, the era of phone polling is coming to an end and Scott is again looking to the future. He is developing next generation practices to deliver reliable polling for the digital era.

Rasmussen grew up in the broadcasting industry and did his first radio commercial at age 7. He served as an announcer for the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association and made his national television debut at age 20. In 1978, Rasmussen served as emcee for the 50th birthday celebration of his childhood idol, hockey legend Gordie Howe. "Nothing in my professional career will ever equal the thrill of standing at center ice in the spotlight with Gordie to celebrate his birthday."

Scott graduated with a degree in history from DePauw University and earned his MBA at Wake Forest University. He is married, has two grown sons and a daughter-in-law.

Mary Alice Cain

Manager of Allied Industry Relations

USA Poultry and Egg Export Council

Mary Alice Cain works as Manager of Allied Industry Relations for the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) where she liaises with the American Egg Board, multiple soybean and corn state commodity boards across the country, and USAPEEC’s  global offices to conduct marketing projects for U.S. poultry and eggs worldwide.

A Registered Dietitian, Mary Alice has a background in communications within the food industry and received her Masters of Health Science with a focus in Nutrition from Atlanta's Georgia State University in May 2018. Mary Alice holds her Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from The University of Alabama where she completed the Coordinated Program in Dietetics. Prior to USAPEEC, Mary Alice worked for PeachDish, a meal kit delivery service, as their Registered Dietitian & Communications Specialist. Before that she served as Marketing Team Leader for Whole Foods Market and as Whole Foods’ Cooking Coach where she emphasized making home cooking healthful, simple and approachable.

Maro Ibarburu-Blanc

Associate Scientist

Egg Industry Center

Iowa State University

Maro Ibarburu is a research associate with the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University. His main responsibilities are analyzing the economics of the U.S. egg industry, providing marketing and statistical information and flock projections to producers and allied industries. Maro holds an agricultural economics master degree from Iowa State University.

Emily Metz

President & CEO

The American Egg Board

Emily Metz is a professional communicator, marketer and strategist who has built her career around a passion for agriculture in roles supporting U.S. dairy, beef, pork and poultry farmers. An attorney specializing in food and drug law, Emily has held communications, marketing and advocacy positions at the USDA, the Animal Agriculture Alliance, National Milk Producers Federation and, most recently, at the world’s largest animal genetics company, Genus Plc.

Emily joined the American Egg Board as president and CEO in June 2020. In this role, she directs strategy and oversees national programs on behalf of the industry to drive demand for U.S. eggs and egg products domestically and abroad. She is delighted and honored to serve America’s egg farmers.

Travis Arp

Senior Director

Export Services

United States Meat Export Federation

Dr. Travis Arp is the Senior Director of Export Services/Access for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), covering the Asian and Middle Eastern markets. Travis started with USMEF in October, 2012. At USMEF, he is responsible for market and trade access issues while also working with USMEF members, USMEF foreign offices, and the U.S. government to improve market access for U.S. red meat exporting companies.

Dr. Arp has a Master’s and Doctoral degree in Meat Science from the University of Florida and Colorado State University, respectively, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Economics from the University of Missouri. Dr. Arp is originally from the Madison, Wisconsin area, where he grew up on a purebred cattle operation, which his family now owns and operates in northern Missouri.

Erin Borror

Economist

United States Meat Export Federation

Erin Borror is the Economist for the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Erin joined USMEF in July 2006 after receiving her M.S. in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. She received her B.S. in Agribusiness at California Polytechnic State University. As Economist, Erin is responsible for USMEF’s red meat export forecasts, trade policy related analysis, global market analysis for U.S. exporters, and U.S. market analysis for international customers. In 2014, Erin also became Chairman of the Economics Committee for the International Meat Secretariat.

Raised on a cow/calf operation in Colorado, Erin has a background in production agriculture and a passion for the red meat industry. Working remotely for USMEF, she and her husband, Bryce Borror, along with their boys Clayton and Nolan, raise purebred and commercial cattle at Tehama Angus Ranch in northern California.

Dan Roque

Account Executive

Commodity & Ingredient Hedging (CIH)

Corey Norton

Vice President of Supply Chain Legality

World Wildlife Fund

Corey L. Norton is an attorney based in Washington, D.C. and for nearly twenty years guided global companies, particularly in seafood, on strategies to deal with U.S. market access rules.  Through experience in private practice and as inhouse counsel at Thai Union, one of the world’s largest seafood companies, he developed unique expertise in import laws expanding to meet modern concerns like labor and illegal fishing and how overseas seafood supply chains can adapt to them.  His success in developing solutions for individual companies and industry platforms lead to his current position as Vice President for Supply Chain Legality at WWF, where he continues to engage companies and supply chains to promote practices avoiding illegality while also helping shape laws and organize resources to help companies.

Fernando Machado

Global Chief Marketing Officer

Burger King

Fernando is a global marketer with a passion for growing brands and businesses. With more than 160 Lions in Cannes (8 GPs, including 2 Titanium GPs), Fernando is known for pushing the creative boundaries to drive business growth. 

Currently as Global CMO at Restaurant Brands International, Fernando’s focus is infusing Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons with purpose (incl. sustainability), improving product quality, modernizing design, and inspiring the organization around tech, digital and brand development. Under Fernando’s leadership, Burger King became Client of the Year at the D&AD in 2016, Creative Marketer of the Year in Cannes 2017, Client of the Year at the One Show 2018 and 2020, Advertiser of the Year at the Clio Awards 2018 and 2019, and Creative Brand of the Year in Cannes 2019. Fernando led groundbreaking campaigns such as “Proud Whopper”, “McWhopper”, “Google Home of the Whopper”, “Burning Stores”, “Whopper Neutrality”, “Whopper Detour”, “Stevenage Challenge”, “Moldy Whopper” and “Cows Menu”.

Prior to joining BK, Fernando worked for 18 years at Unilever. Starting as an intern, he moved up the ranks working different product categories and brands, including Dove where he led the groundbreaking "Beauty Sketches" (Titanium GP in 2013).

Shelley Balanko

Senior Vice President

Hartman Group

Shelley Balanko has an informed understanding of social and cultural influences impacting the marketplace of today and tomorrow. Shelley regularly engages a diverse audience spanning the foodservice, consumer packaged goods and retail segments as she shares leading-edge consumer insights and implications from the field. As a member of The Hartman Group leadership team and head of business development, her focus is understanding industry challenges and needs.

Shelley graduated from the University of Windsor with a Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology. She has a MA in Applied Social Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan and a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia.

Leslie Sarasin

President and Chief Executive Officer

Food Marketing Institute

Leslie G. Sarasin is the president and chief executive officer of FMI – The Food Industry Association. FMI is a champion for the food industry and the issues that make a difference to our members’ fundamental mission of feeding and enriching society. The reach and impact of our work is extensive, ultimately touching the lives of over 100 million households in the United States and representing an $800 billion industry with nearly 6 million employees.

Under her leadership, FMI has emerged as a member-centered organization helping food retailing venues find new and future facing ways of feeding families and enriching lives. A committed collaborator, Sarasin has infused FMI with a vision of cooperative action that amplifies the association’s ability to assist its members in addressing the critical industry issues of the day.

Prior to joining FMI a decade ago, Sarasin spent 19 years at the American Frozen Food Institute, serving as president and CEO for the last nine of those years. She also held positions at the National Food Brokers Association, Crest International Corporation and Salomon Brothers. Sarasin holds a JD from the University of San Diego and a BA in economics from Smith College.

Sarasin is admitted to practice law in California and the District of Columbia. Her professional, social and personal commitments are reflected through service on the Boards of the Partnership for a Healthier America, National Chamber Foundation, the Congressional Hunger Center, Gonzaga College High School and the Food Marketing Program at St. Joseph’s University. Additional leadership roles include membership on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100 and active participation in the International Women’s Forum of Washington, D.C.

Sarasin has been recognized multiple times among Supermarket News’ “Power Fifty,” Progressive Grocer’s list of “Top Women in Grocery” and Mass Market Retailer’s “Most Influential Women.” She was awarded the prestigious Hospitality Good Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America in 2019. In 2012, Sarasin was named by CEO Update among the year’s 10 “Top Association CEO’s.”

Steve Sands

Vice President

Performance Food Group

Education: B.A. Yale University 1978 with Honors / Magna Cum Laude

Work History:
6/1/09 – Vice President of Protein for Performance Foodservice (3rd largest Foodservice Distributor in the U.S.).
1/1/09 – 6/1/09 Chairman Premium Protein Products, LLC
2003 – 2008: President / CEO of Premium Protein Products, LLC (an integrated beef packer and value-added processor specializing in natural, export, and source-verified products).
2000 – 2003: Executive Vice President / CEO of Meyer Natural Foods (a diversified foods company specializing in natural and organic meats for export, foodservice, and retail markets).
1989 – 2000: President and CEO Standard Meat Co.,LLC (100 year old family-owned processor of steak and ground beef products for the restaurant industry).
1979 – 1989: Sales (various capacities) Standard Meat Co., LLC
1978 – 1979: Freelance Journalist (Parade Magazine, AP, etc.)

Ongoing: Consultant and Board Member for a variety of companies involved in the food industry from producer groups to multi-national corporations.

Professional Associations:
Former Board Member of:
Lincoln Community Foundation,
Woods Charitable Fund (Pres.), Indian Center Inc.(Pres.)
Center for Community Change, Nebraska Corn-Fed Beef,
Nebraska Community Re-investment Coalition (Pres.),
Nebraska Food Industry Association (Pres.),
Nebraska Food Processing Center (Pres.);
Freshnex.com (an internet based distributor of high-end food products / co-founder) sold in 2001

Current Board Member of:
Capital City Housing Corp.,
InterAsset,Inc., (Pres.)
Royal Ranch Investments
Indian Center Trust
University of Nebraska Supply Chain Management Advisory Board
Zoetis Food Chain Advisory Board

Personal Information:
Married 35 years to Wife Mitzi, two children – Jon 26 and Stephanie 29. Hobbies include running, backpacking, skiing, and spending as much time as possible with family.


Steve Sands is Vice President of Protein for Performance Foodservice. He is a highly regarded foodservice industry veteran with over 35 years of experience in all phases of the meat business. In 1979, he became the fourth generation of his family to own and operate Standard Meat Co.  During the 1980’s Standard Meat became a leading supplier of steak and ground beef products to Sysco. The company focus expanded into export sales and branded beef programs during the 1990’s and was sold in 2000 to Meyer Natural Angus. Over the next several years, Steve helped to build Meyer into the largest natural and organic beef company in the U.S. In 2003, he left Meyer to form Premium Protein Products, a beef and poultry slaughtering and processing company dedicated to high value specialty protein programs. PPP was sold in 2006 and after helping to transition the company to a new management team, Steve left in 2009 to join Performance Food Group as Vice President for Protein.

Todd Thurman

Consultant

SwineTex

Todd Thurman is the owner of SwineTex Consulting Services. Mr. Thurman holds an A.S. degree from Clarendon College and a B.S. degree in Animal Science, Production Emphasis from Texas Tech University.    

Prior to founding SwineTex, Mr. Thurman spent over 22 years in the swine industry working either for or with large-scale Pork production systems in the USA and abroad. He spent 7 years working for one of the top five pork producers in the USA at the time, Cargill Pork. At Cargill Pork, Mr. Thurman was responsible for the performance, management and records for approximately 50,000 commercial sows.    

Mr. Thurman then joined Cargill Consulting Services and relocated to Russia where he served as Consulting General Manager for a successful 25,000 sow farrow-to-finish startup near the Ukrainian border. Upon his return from Russia, Mr. Thurman began working with Cargill teams and customers around the world providing consulting and training services. He has worked in 17 countries including significant experience in Russia, China, South East Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Upon leaving Cargill, Mr. Thurman spent 3 years working for a global genetics company managing strategic accounts in the USA, China and the Philippines.

Mr. Thurman is passionate about pork production and is excited about what SwineTex has to offer to the global pork production industry. SwineTex gives him the platform to bring his expertise to a broader group of clients and ensure excellent performance and profitability.

Richard Herzfelder

Consultant

GIRA Consulting

Richard Herzfelder is a senior adviser to Gira Consultancy and Research, one of the world’s leading meat, fish and dairy consultants. He first moved to China in 1990, and in 2000 joined China Food & Agricultural Services, one of the first consultancies to specialize in Chinese agriculture. After leaving CFAS in 2006 he spent two years organizing media coverage for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, then returned to consulting as senior China adviser to both Asian Agribusiness Media and Gira.

He has written and presented Gira’s comprehensive semi-annual reports on China’s meat industry since 2012, as well as producing numerous additional studies, articles and presentations. Mr Herzfelder, a graduate of Yale University, was born in the United States and grew up in South America and Spain

John Manzella

Founder

The Manzella Report

John Manzella (JohnManzella.com) is a world-recognized speaker, author, and a nationally syndicated columnist on global business and the latest economic trends. His views have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg, NPR, and other publications across the globe. John also is chair of the Upstate New York District Export Council, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and founder of both the ManzellaReport.com, a premier source for global business and economic analysis, and Manzella Trade Communications, Inc., a public affairs, publishing and consulting firm.

Lowell Randel

Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs

Global Cold Chain Alliance

Lowell Randel currently serves as Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs for the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA). Lowell has over 25 years of experience working on food and agriculture policy issues in Washington, DC ranging from private sector representation to government service. For the past 11 years, he has been responsible for advancing the cold chain industry’s interests with the government officials and helps association members deal with regulatory compliance. Lowell also actively works with GCCA development projects and advises on cold chain policies, standards and industry best practices.

Prior to joining GCCA, Lowell served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  While in this role, Lowell worked closely with the Secretary of Agriculture and across all USDA agencies to coordinate legislative policy and functioned as a primary contact between the Department and Congress.  

Lowell holds a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and Master’s degree in agricultural development, both from Texas A&M University.  He also holds a Juris Doctorate from George Mason University School of Law.

Michael Gunderson

Head of Agriculture Research and Strategy

MetLife Investment Management

Michael Gunderson is passionate about agriculture and strengthening the entire food value chain. He joined MetLife Investment Management as Head of Agricultural Research and Strategy in 2019. As director, Gunderson provides leadership to market analysis of annual and permanent agricultural crops, forest and timberland products, and agribusinesses to help drive investment strategy for MetLife Investment Management. In this role, Gunderson shares market insights regarding agricultural credit conditions, commodity price forecasts, and industry dynamics to support MIM’s agricultural portfolio.

Previously Gunderson was with the Purdue University and the University of Florida, both as a professor of agricultural economics. He has published research on agricultural credit, agribusiness management, and professional development. 

He holds a doctorate from Purdue, a master’s degree Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois.

Jack Bell

Director

Meat & Seafood

Save-A-Lot

Jack has over 30 years of retail experience leading teams within Safeway, Sam’s Club, and currently, with Save-A-Lot. Some of his past affiliations are listed below:

Annual Meat Conference, Planning Committee
National Pork Board, Retail Pork Advisory Council
Fresh Food Retail Council, Food Marketing Institute (FMI)
In his off-time Jack spends time with his wife Amy, daughter, and grandson. He enjoys running and cycling.

A resourceful and results-driven retail merchandising leader, with a demonstrated track record of achievement in meat and seafood procurement, merchandising, program design and implementation, metrics development and tracking, and inventory management.

Michael DiSabato

Associate Director - Protein Strategy

HelloFresh

Michael DiSabato is the Associate Director for Protein Strategy at HelloFresh US. He is a 25-year veteran of the food industry with background in Operations, Logistics, and Procurement. Throughout his career, Michael has emphasized primal and carcass utilization as a main driver of efficiency at production, with special interest in the reduction of food waste in the supply chains he has managed. His experience in the Food Service sector, as well as Retail, has given him tremendous insights in his current position guiding HelloFresh through the fast paced, rapidly changing Meal Kit landscape.

Randy Blach

CEO

CattleFax

Blach came to CattleFax in 1981 and served as Director of Market Analysis for 15 years. He was promoted to CEO in January of 2001, a role that he continues to serve in today. During his tenure, the company has enjoyed significant growth and has continued to lead the industry with timely market information, in-depth analysis and forecasts on cattle, protein and grain markets in the United States and globally. Blach has been a keynote speaker at thousands of cattle, beef and related business meetings, seminars and conventions.

A Colorado native, Randy Blach and his family remain actively involved in the cattle business and farming. He was raised on his family’s ranch in Yuma, Colorado and graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in animal science. Blach received the Honor Alumni award from its College of Agricultural Sciences in 2004 and the Livestock Leader Award in 2011. In 2016, he was awarded the Industry Leadership Award through the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.

Bruce Friedrich

Co-Founder and Executive Director

The Good Food Institute

Bruce is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Good Food Institute. oversees GFI’s global strategy, working with directors and international managing directors to ensure that GFI is maximally effective at implementing programs that deliver mission-focused results. Bruce is a TED Fellow, Y Combinator alum, and popular speaker on food innovation. He has penned op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Wired, and many other publications.

He has appeared on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, TED Radio Hour, New Yorker Radio Hour, and a variety of programs on MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN. Bruce's 2019 TED talk has been viewed two million times and translated into dozens of languages. He co-authored two books, contributed chapters to seven more, and has written seven law review articles. He graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown Law and also holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics.

Michelle Klieger

President

Stratagerm Consulting

Michelle Klieger is the founder of Stratagerm Consulting, an agricultural and business consulting firm. She has worked in the food and agriculture sector for over a decade. As an economist and a business consultant, she works with specialty meat companies, the global seed industry, agtech firms, organic livestock and grain companies, and philanthropic foundations. Her work has taken her around the world, helping industry leaders manage and grow their global businesses.

Michelle has spoken at workshops, meetings, and conferences in the United States, Asia, and South America, wrote The Demise of Free Trade and has been published in over two dozen publications. She is an professor of Economics at Bentley University. She holds a Masters in Agriculture Economics from Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. 

Lou Cooperhouse

President and CEO

BlueNalu

Lou is Co-founder, President & CEO of BlueNalu, with a mission to become the global leader in providing great tasting, cell-based seafood products that are healthy for people, humane for sea life, and sustainable for our planet. As a result, BlueNalu is able to support a more stable global supply chain of seafood, and help to preserve the health, sustainability, and biodiversity of our oceans. 

Lou is recognized as a leading global authority in food business innovation and technology commercialization, with extensive leadership experiences throughout his 35-year career in the food industry.  Most recently, Lou served as President of Food Spectrum, LLC, a consulting organization that specialized in corporate development and business transformation; and as Executive Director and founder of the Rutgers University Food Innovation Center, a nationally recognized business incubator and industry cluster based in New Jersey. Previously Lou served as President & COO of F&S Produce, and as Co-Founder, President and CEO of MenuDirect Corporation. Earlier in his career, Lou held positions of increasing responsibility at Campbell’s Soup, ConAgra, and Nestlé-funded Culinary Brands in areas of business development, product development, quality assurance, and operations.   Lou received his MS in Food Science and BS in Microbiology, both from Rutgers University, and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Rutgers Business School.

Paul Shapiro

CEO

The Better Meat Co.

Paul Shapiro is the author of the national bestseller Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, the CEO of The Better Meat Co., a four-time TEDx speaker, and the host of the Business for Good Podcast.

Other Speakers Include

Russ Whitman

Senior Vice President

Urner Barry

Richard Jelinek

Vice President

Global Education

StoneX Financial Inc. - FCM Division

Ryan Turner

Regional Director

StoneX Financial Inc. – FCM Division

Ben Parks

Risk Management Consultant

StoneX Financial Inc. – FCM Division

Dylan Hughes

Poultry Market Reporter

Urner Barry

Matt Busardo

Poultry Market Researcher

Urner Barry

Nicolò Cinotti

Secretary General

International Poultry Council

Brian Moscogiuri

Director of Egg and Egg Products

Urner Barry

Karyn Rispoli

Egg Market Reporter

Urner Barry

Randy Pesciotta

Vice President

Urner Barry

Gary Morrison

Vice President

Urner Barry

Courtney Shum

Staff Writer, Livestock

Urner Barry

Russell Barton

Director and Pork Market Reporter

Urner Barry

Laura Zinger

Host of Urner Barry's Market Digest Podcast

Urner Barry

Ron Hayden

Recruiting Consultant – Livestock Industry Specialist

Ag1Source

Allen Ligon

Director and Commodities & Strategic Procurement Team

BJ's Wholesale Club

Mark Richardson

SVP Global Supply Chain

OSI

Phil Laughlin

VP Sales

Dolco Packaging

Daniel Munch

Plant-Based Protein Market Reporter

Urner Barry

Elizabeth Gutschenritter

Managing Director

Global Alternative Protein Initiative

Cargill

David Ward

Vice President

Client Services

Commodity & Ingredient Hedging (CIH)