Pet Food Processing Exchange

Speakers

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Andrea Binder
Vice President of Retail Account Development
NielsenIQ

Andrea Binder has been with NielsenIQ for more than 10 years, supporting retailers across a wide variety of channels and store formats. She has a strong background measuring the retail market as consumers shift to purchasing online, store formats continuously evolve, and product innovation moves rapidly. Binder’s passion is helping her clients develop an understanding of the ever-changing consumer and the evolving and challenging retail landscape. She is a Minnesota native where she lives with her family and their adorable black lab, Breezy. She received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing Analytics from the University of Minnesota.

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Ali Boden
Senior Packaging Manager
Pet Sustainability Coalition

Ali Boden joined the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) as the senior packaging manager, focusing on the operations and growth of PSC’s strategic packaging initiatives while also providing technical packaging support for PSC members. Before joining PSC, Boden worked in project management and supply chain management roles that focused on material waste reduction and community engagement. Now, she has enjoyed the opportunity to combine her experiences and passion for the environment into her work at PSC. She holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from Arizona State University in Supply Chain Management and Sustainability, as well as a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University.

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Stephanie Clark
Companion Animal Nutritionist
BSM Partners

Stephanie Clark, Ph.D., CVT, PAS, CFS, Dpl. ACAS, VTS (Nutrition), serves as a board-certified companion animal nutritionist for BSM Partners. Clark is also a certified veterinary technologist. She has more than a decade of experience working in animal hospitals as an inpatient and outpatient nurse and providing nutritional consultations. Prior to joining BSM Partners, Clark completed her post-doctorate at Mayo Clinic, where she was the first to be awarded grant funding for animal welfare research and participated in developing new methodology for salivary oxytocin testing and canine saliva collection. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture, Animal Health Technology, and a Master of Science degree in Veterinary Toxicology and Pharmacology from Murray State University, as well as a Ph.D. in Animal Science, Food and Nutrition, from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

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Jeremy Couture
Director of Business Development – Pet Specialty Group
Nestlé Purina PetCare

Jeremy Couture has nearly 30 years of pet industry experience, working across mass retail, pet specialty, e-commerce and more. In that time, he has served many of the key business areas at Purina, with a focus on bringing industry-leading innovation in pet nutrition to retailers and consumers as part of Purina’s Market Development Organization and Global Strategic Business Unit. Couture received a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston College, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Rochester and is an alumnus of the Cornell University Food Executive program.

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Tyler Cundiff
President, Integrated Process Group Gray

In 1997, while attending the University of Kentucky, Tyler Cundiff began working at Gray as an intern. He continued his career at Gray as a project manager and business development manager. In his current role as president of the Integrated Process Group at Gray, he is responsible for the operations and strategy across Gray’s Food & Beverage endorsed brands. Cundiff received a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Kentucky.

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Andy Daly
Client Delivery Partner
Microsoft

Andy Daly is a Client Delivery Partner at Microsoft. He has more than 20 years of experience in the manufacturing industry across operations, supply chain, management systems and product development. Throughout his career he has worked for and collaborated with industry leaders in automotive, food, CPG, energy and chemical industries on ways to innovate and improve their businesses. Daly joined Microsoft in 2014, which allowed him to expand his knowledge base on the intersection of technology and manufacturing. In his current role as a Client Delivery Partner with Microsoft, he is focused on helping clients across industries adopt and adapt technology to meet their business needs and deliver value using technology. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Integrated Supply Matrix Management degree from Western Michigan University and a Master of Science in Manufacturing Operations degree from Kettering University. 

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Mallory Gaines
Director of Market Access and Trade Policy
American Feed Industry Association

Mallory Gaines is responsible for developing, implementing and communicating the American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) trade policy goals and activities and supporting the growth of trade-related policies that are in the best interests of expanding US exports. She also supports the work of AFIA’s International Trade Committee. In addition, she provides support to AFIA’s senior director of international policy and trade on international trade, regulatory and policy initiatives. Gaines joined AFIA in June 2019 after founding Gage Group Consulting, a boutique consulting firm based in Denver, which offered strategic advice, issues management and innovative initiatives for trade associations, university clients and for-profit companies. She received a Bachelor of Animal Science degree from the University of Delaware.

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Billy Gillispie
Client Delivery Partner
Microsoft
Billy Gillispie is the Client Delivery Partner at Microsoft. He started his grocery career as a bag boy at Jewel Osco in Chicago in 1979 and spent 30 years in the grocery business working almost every job available with his last role in grocery serving as senior vice president of Marketing and Merchandising at SUPERVALU. Before joining Microsoft in December 2021, Gillispie worked at IBM Global Business Services where he became known as the “Grocery Guy,” and worked with grocers in 26 countries transforming their customer and associate experiences with data and technology. At Microsoft, he serves as Client Delivery Partner bringing industry expertise, client focus and innovative solution selling to Microsoft. Gillispie also advises startups including Local Express, Snap2Insights, Behavior on Demand, AI Intent and Vici Robotics.
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Billie Johnson
Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance Manager
BHJ North America

Billie Johnson, Ph.D., is the food safety and regulatory compliance manager for BHJ North America, where she oversees nine pet food ingredient plants in the United States and Canada. Prior to this role, she worked at Menu Foods/Simmons Pet Food for 19 years overseeing food safety programs for five pet food manufacturing locations. She has extensive knowledge in recall processes, internal auditing, GFSI certified audits, HACCP/PC development and maintenance of supplier approval programs including supplier auditing, and development of raw material in-process food safety testing protocols. Johnson received a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Oklahoma.

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Michael Johnson
Principal
BSM Partners

Michael Johnson is a consumer insights and trends thought leader in the pet industry and a principal at BSM Partners, a full-service technical business services consulting firm with a primary focus in the pet, nutraceutical, human food and nutrition industries. BSM Partners provides customized, turnkey solutions for product development, nutrition, research, veterinary, engineering, manufacturing operations, business transformation, marketing, food safety, quality assurance, and regulatory. Johnson has more than two decades of experience advising and providing brands and investors with actionable consumer insights, and groundbreaking data and analysis on new industry trends. He regularly lectures on pet trends and presents his findings at key industry gatherings.

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Scott Krebs
President
Wenger Group

With more than 30 years of experience working with extrusion processing equipment, Scott Krebs currently serves as the president of Wenger Group, a manufacturer of extrusion and drying systems used in the production of pet foods and treats. Prior to this role, Krebs served as the president and chief operations officer of Wenger subsidiary Extru-Tech. Krebs holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University.

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Brian Lakari
Vice President of Operations and Engineering
Carnivore Meat Company

Brian Lakari is vice president of Operations and Engineering for Green Bay, Wis.-based Carnivore Meat Company.  Lakari is a leader in international business development, known for driving exceptional sales growth and profitability. With notable achievements such as a sixfold sales increase at a US operation and launching an international machining venture, his expertise spans strategic planning, negotiations and implementing cost-saving initiatives. In his role at Carnivore Meat Company, he spearheaded a production capacity increase from $19.5 million to $74.6 million and oversaw construction of a 235,000-square-foot production facility. Lakari has a Bachelor of Science degree in Manufacturing Technology from Northern Michigan University and a Master of Business Administration in Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University.

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Amy Patterson
President
Petsource by Scoular

As president of Petsource by Scoular, Amy Patterson led the creation and construction of the Petsource plant in Seward, Neb., which began operations in 2020 as a full-service turnkey contract manufacturer offering premium freeze-dried pet food and ingredients. Patterson oversees all disciplines within the Petsource organization, including operations, sales, supply chain, food safety and quality, marketing, and research and innovation. She is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity and leads several initiatives to support and develop leaders throughout the Scoular organization. Before joining Scoular in 2018, Patterson served as vice president and general manager of Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings, a value-add ingredient manufacturer owned by Conagra Brands. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame and received a Master of Business Administration from University of Nebraska, Omaha. 

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Jim Ritchie
Chief Executive Officer, RedStone Logistics, and Instructor
University of Kansas School of Business

Jim Ritchie has spent more than 35 years in the logistics and supply chain management industry. His experience includes running the retail and consumer products group for Ryder Logistics business unit before leaving to start up Meridian IQ Logistics. In 2012, Ritchie founded RedStone Logistics. In addition to his CEO role at RedStone Logistics, he has been an instructor for the University of Kansas graduate program for supply chain management. Ritchie instructs the capstone course for logistics officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He received a Bachelor of Industrial Design – Architecture degree from California State University at Long Beach.

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Tom Rychlewski
Vice President, Food and Beverage Operations
CRB

As vice president of Food and Beverage Operations, Tom Rychlewski is responsible for leading design, automation and construction operations across CRB’s Food & Beverage organization and advancing the company’s brand as an integrated, global leader in the food and beverage market. He previously served as market team leader and helped grow CRB’s Food & Beverage team from inception to an organization, driving some of the most innovative solutions in the industry. Rychlewski is a professional engineer and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics and Computer Science from William Jewel College.

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Fang Shen
Partner
Husch Blackwell

As a partner and transactional attorney at Husch Blackwell, Fang Shen concentrates on domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, loans and financing, corporate structure and joint ventures, global manufacturing and distribution, and trade compliance. Shen has significant experience representing a wide range of clients, including public and private companies as well as individuals, startups, emerging companies and large corporations. Shen offers services in corporate and finance, early-stage company, and animal health. She has also counseled a food, agricultural and ingredient company in its ESOP and related financing transactions. Shen received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Renmin University of China and a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

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Worth Turner
Chief Executive Officer
Custom Veterinary Services

Worth Turner is the chief executive officer of Custom Veterinary Services (CVS), a contract manufacturer of pet wellness solutions including nutritional supplement soft chews, liquid nutritional toppers and nutritional powders. Prior to joining CVS as an investor and CEO, Turner was the president and CEO of Colorado Quality Products (CQP), a contract manufacturer of skin and beauty products for the human CPG market. He led a team that acquired CQP and transformed it from a small, family-run operation into a market leader in natural and organic beauty manufacturing. Turner received Bachelor of Economics and Spanish degrees from Vanderbilt University.

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Brittany White
Senior Director of Product Development, Innovation and Applied Research
Simmons Pet Food

As the senior director of Product Development for Simmons Pet Food, Brittany White, Ph.D., leads a team responsible for formulation and ongoing maintenance of more than 2,000 formulas across 100 different brands. White has a strong background in food chemistry and ingredient functionality, with a continued interest to drive forward new innovative technologies and concepts. Her graduate work focused on the impact of processing on bioactive compounds in fruits and vegetables. White’s passion for pet food product development started when she served as a college intern with Simmons Pet Food. Before joining Simmons, White worked for the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) where her work centered on the chemistry and post-harvest quality of peanuts. She received her Bachelor of Science degree and Ph.D. in Food Science from the University of Arkansas.