The Passing Zone

Jon Wee and Owen Morse have been educating and entertaining audiences together for over 20 years; they have one of the longest standing partnerships in corporate entertainment, a true demonstration of The Power of Partnership. The message they deliver has such impact that they were inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame (CPAE). 

They are at the top of their craft, with performances at the White House and in London for Prince Charles. Their first feature film was “The Addams Family Movie,” where Jon and Owen doubled for Gomez (Raul Julia) and Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) in the climactic Mamushka dagger-passing scene.  The also appeared in the award-winning comedy documentary, “The Aristocrats.”  Recently they were seen on CNN’s Road Warriors, The Mike Hucakbee Show on Fox and made a special guest appearance with Gordon Ramsay on Hell’s Kitchen.

Add the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, The Great American Comedy Festival, MADtv, AOL’s “TV’s Top 5,” The Wall Street Journal, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, four Guinness World Records, their own theater show, “The Passing Zone Saves The World!” and you have one of today’s top comedy acts in the world. 

Carey Lohrenz

Carey Lohrenz knows what it takes to win in one of the highest pressure, extreme environments imaginable: in the cockpit at Mach 2.

As the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy, having flown missions worldwide as a combat-mission-ready United States Navy pilot, Lohrenz is used to working in fast moving, dynamic environments, where inconsistent execution can generate catastrophic results.

In her motivating and engaging keynote presentations, Carey shares her fascinating experiences operating in one of the world’s most challenging environments – an aircraft carrier.

Daniel Akinmolayan

Daniel Akinmolayan is Manager, IT Systems at the Safe Quality Food Institute where he oversees and supports SQFI’s IT and directory database management systems. Previously he worked at Whole Foods Market in Operational Support and Systems Administration. Daniel has considerable experience in database design, implementation, maintenance and regression testing and is an Oracle DBA professional with extensive work experience in Unix, Linux (Red Hat 6.5) environments.

Rafael Bombonato

Rafael Bombonato is Corporate Quality Manager at Curaleaf, a vertically integrated medical cannabis company headquartered at Wakefield, MA, where he manages the manufacturing the Quality Program and Quality Control laboratories. Previously, Rafael served as Quality Assurance Auditor at the Teva Pharmaceuticals, and QA Supervisor and as Senior Microbiologist at Nature’s Bounty. Rafael has more than 10 years of quality assurance and product safety experience. Rafael designed and implemented the Quality Management System that awarded Curaleaf Florida, LLC the first SQF Level II certificate in the industry.

Jeff Chilton

Jeff has over 30 years of experience in the food industry, specializing in food safety, quality assurance, and plant management. Prior to Alchemy, Jeff was the founder and President of Chilton Consulting Group for 18 years, helping clients achieve and sustain GFSI certification under the SQF, BRC, and FSSC 22000 standards along with USDA and FDA Regulatory Compliance services for HACCP and Food Safety Plan.

Jeff is a certified SQF Auditor, SQF Consultant, Preventive Control for Human Food Lead Instructor, and International HACCP Alliance Lead Instructor. Prior to starting Chilton Consulting Group, Jeff was a Plant Manager at two large food processing companies and a Director of Quality Assurance.

LeAnn Chuboff

LeAnn is Vice President of Technical Affairs for the SQF Institute responsible for the technical elements of the SQF program including the development, maintenance and technical support of the SQF code and supporting materials.

Previously, LeAnn worked for the National Restaurant Association Solutions as the Director of Science and Regulatory Relations, where she was responsible for the technical accuracy of the ServSafe food safety program. LeAnn has also worked for Long John Silver’s and Boston Market in corporate quality assurance where she developed food safety and vendor approval program. She is active with many organizations including GFSI, the Conference for Food Protection and the International Association for Food Protection.

Cathy M. Crawford

Cathy is the President of the HACCP Consulting Group and has over 25 years’ experience in food manufacturing, consulting and training. Previously, she was the Director of Regulatory & Technical Services for a privately-owned meat and poultry processing company where she was responsible for regulatory compliance, developing food safety strategies, ensuring appropriate export programs, and coordinating recall responses.

Cathy has provided HACCP and other food safety training to a wide variety of businesses including meat and poultry processors, bakeries, fruit and vegetable processors/packers, and food service establishments. She is a registered trainer and former auditor for SQF.

Steve J. Decker

Stephen Decker is the Senior Director of Technical Services for Mérieux NutriSciences and an accomplished microbiologist with over 40 years of food industry experience. He specializes in food spoilage investigations, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points and Good Manufacturing Practices, EM programs, risk analyses and due diligence evaluations. With over 750 consulting assignments across a broad spectrum of food plants and food matrices to his credit, Steve provides expert legal and regulatory support services to clients.

Natalie Dyenson

Based at the Dole Nutrition Institute Campus in Kannapolis, NC, Ms. Dyenson has responsibility for food safety and quality programs globally. Before joining Dole, she spent eight years at Walmart, Inc., most recently leading food safety across 6500 retail stores, 48 company owned manufacturing facilities and 220 fresh distribution centers in 26 countries for Walmart’s international division. Prior to Walmart, Ms. Dyenson spent eight years with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, where she held various roles in food safety and public health supporting Walt Disney World, Disney Regional Entertainment, Disney Cruise Line and the Parks and Resorts business globally.

Dave Evanson, CFS

Dave Evanson was the Corporate Vice President of Quality at Mérieux NutriSciences, overseeing a global network of 73 ISO 17025 accredited laboratories in 18 countries.

An experienced educator, he has developed and instructed numerous educational programs, courses, workshops and webinars related to principles of food microbiology, good laboratory practices, quality systems, environmental monitoring and method validation. Dave has consulted in a variety of food industry segments related to food safety including system pre-assessment, microbial risk assessment, environmental monitoring, food contamination and spoilage investigations, due diligence and process validation support.

Peter N. Fowler

Peter Fowler is Senior Counsel for Enforcement in the Office of the Administrator for Policy and External Affairs at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Peter has participated in numerous U.S. trade negotiations as well as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the current TransPacific Partnership Agreement. He has regularly participated as a technical advisor to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on the APEC IP Experts Group and the U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative, now Economic Harmonization Initiative.

In addition to his policy role, Peter has organized and conducted technical assistance, training and capacity-building in IP policy and enforcement, particularly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Matt Friedman

Matt Friedman is an international human trafficking expert with more than 29 years’ experience as a manager, program designer, evaluator and frontline responder. He is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Mekong Club, an organization of Hong Kong-based private sector business leaders who have joined forces to help fight human trafficking in Asia.

Previously Matt served as Regional Project Manager at the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) in Thailand, an inter-agency coordinating body that linked the United Nations system with governments and civil society groups in China, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Prior to this, he worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Thailand, Bangladesh and Nepal where he designed and managed country and regional human trafficking programs.

He also offers regular technical advice to numerous governments and corporations working to stop slavery and is the author of eleven books.

Justo A. Garcia

Justo Garcia is a health inspector for the City of Minneapolis Health Department. Originally from Tumaco Nariño in southwestern Colombia, he studied biology at Jorge Tadeo Lozano in Bogota University and Food Science at the University of Minnesota. Previously, he taught high school science and worked as an environmental consultant for Geo-Ambiental and for Hennepin County Public Health Department.

Justo is a registered environmental health specialist in the state of Minnesota and a certified HACCP trainer listed with the International HACCP Alliance. He is a Lead Instructor FSMC for PCQI and FSVP qualified.

Donna Garren

Dr. Donna Garren is currently Executive Vice President of Science and Policy for the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI). She leads the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs and Legislative Affairs programs for AFFI. Her extensive background and expertise in food safety, food science, nutrition, and regulatory affairs are instrumental in building and enhancing strong and effective regulatory programs for the food and beverage industry.

Prior to joining AFFI, Dr. Garren held positions with NSF Agriculture, a business unit of NSF International, the Consumer Goods Forum, the National Restaurant Association, United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and Boskovich Farms.

Steven Gendel

Dr. Gendel works to protect public health, food quality, and the integrity of the food supply as the Senior Director for Science at the Food Chemicals Codex, which is published by US Pharmacopeia. He has over 30 years of experience in food science and policy, including positions at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Harvard University, the University of Toronto, and Iowa State University.

He has over 90 publications and numerous presentations, including workshops and classes in food science and food regulation. He spent several years as a consultant helping companies of all sizes meet the requirements of the FDA Preventive Controls rule, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), and the requirements of various audit schemes.

Sanjay Gummalla

Sanjay Gummalla is VP, scientific and regulatory affairs, at American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) tackling Listeria monocytogenes prevention and control programs and policy efforts. Prior to joining AFFI, Sanjay was VP, product development at Zentis NA, a global fruit preparation manufacturer. Sanjay serves on key committees representing industry: advisor, U.S. Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee for Processed Foods; committee member, Journal of Food Protection; president, Capital Area Food Protection Association, and chair, International Food Science Certification Commission administering IFT’s Certified Food Scientists program. He is also a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual instructor and taught food microbiology as adjunct professor at University of Cincinnati.

Matt Henderson

Matt Henderson has worked with Land O’ Frost for the past eighteen years in multiple roles across the organization focused on food safety. As Sanitation Manager and Food Safety Manager, his job functions included managing the sanitation process, managing Listeria sampling programs, and chairing the Seek and Destroy and Facility Design Teams. In his current role as Director of Food Safety, Matt is responsible for leading the ongoing continuous improvement of food safety controls within Land O’ Frost.

Lone Jespersen, PhD.

Lone is the Principal of Cultivate Food Safety, a company focused on helping the food industry deliver safe quality food through culture-driven intervention. Lone holds a Ph.D. in Culture Enabled Food Safety and has spent the last 15 years of her career studying how culture impacts food safety.

Karen Leacock

Karen is passionate about providing food safety consulting and training services for food packaging converters and food manufacturers. She also conducts training for SQF, BRC, IFS PACSecure and HACCP courses, as well as customized in-house training for clients. Prior to NSF International, she worked for several packaging companies as QA Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. In addition to her degree, she is a certified Trainer for SQF standard, BRC Packaging standard and IFS PACSecure standard.

Jake Lewin

Jake Lewin is the CEO of Intact US, an international leader in certification and inspection technology. Mr. Lewin is an expert in auditing systems and has worked as a chief executive of an organic food and food safety CB prior to leading the US operations of the Intact group of companies. Under his leadership, he grew a CB to the largest in the sector while delivering superior service and innovation in the field. Lewin holds a master’s in business administration and has a background in horticulture. He is an avid bike rider who has reached the rational limits of bikes he can keep in the house. He lives in Santa Cruz, CA.

Jonathan Lewis

As a Senior Operations Manager in the Headquarters of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, Mr. Lewis’s focus is on Food Safety and he partners with the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Subject Matter Experts in the servicing of OCI’s criminal investigations related to Misbranded and Adulterated foods, as well as Food Borne illness outbreaks caused by negligence.

Mr. Lewis operated in the field as a Special Agent with OCI based in Miami, Florida where he investigated a broad variety of FDA regulated product violations. He also was formerly employed as a U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Miami and began his career with fifteen years in the mental health and social services arena as a program manager and front-line field staff in child welfare organizations.

Marie Maguire

Marie Maguire is a Senior Operations Manager with FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) at their Headquarters and partners with the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) on misbranded and adulterated foods.

Marie worked as a Special Agent with FDA-OCI in Miami, Florida and investigated violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Prior to joining FDA-OCI, she worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA OLE), where she conducted criminal investigations of seafood fraud in violation of the Lacey Act.

Bill McBride

Bill McBride is the Principal and Managing Director of Foodlink Management Services and has thirty years’ experience in food safety and quality assurance in the global food industry. He also serves as The Asia Pacific representative for the SQF Institute and is Chairman of the GFSI Auditor Competence Scheme Committee. Previously, Bill was the Vice President of Business Development for Advancing Food Safety Pty Ltd, a food safety training organization, General Manager Food Division for NCSI and Chairman of the personnel certification body QSA International. He is the project manager and author of Food Safety Auditor Competency – Proposed National Competency Criteria and Management Systems and Guidelines for Implementation of Eurepgap (GlobalGAP) in Australia for the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Bill is also a former accredited lead food safety auditor training provider and former accredited BRC trainer, an IFS trained auditor and Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) accredited training provider.

Jennifer McCreary

Jennifer McCreary is currently Technical Manager, Training and Education Services for NSF International. She is an experienced trainer on all aspects of food safety and quality and is trained as an ISO 22000 Lead Auditor, FSPCA Lead instructor for PCQI for Human Food and FSVP. Jennifer is a registered trainer with SQFI for the Implementing SQF Systems, SQF Quality and Advanced SQF Practitioner courses and a lead instructor for HACCP courses with the International HACCP Alliance.

As Technical Manager of Training Services at NSF International, Jennifer delivers courses in Employee Hygiene and Food Safety, GMP and Prerequisite Programs, Allergen Management in Food Processing, CCP Training, Quality Assurance, Food Defense, Food Safety Culture, Food Safety Training for Managers and Supervisors, Sanitation, Pest Control and Supply Chain Management.

Amy M. Moore

Amy Moore is an Owner and Principal of The Change Office based in New Zealand. Her company supports businesses to create and embed lasting individual and organizational change at all levels. Her career has spanned a wide range of industries and environments and having worked both within the dairy and fisheries industry, she understands the importance of compliance and food safety in a range of high-risk environments. Her strong background in human resources, coaching, organizational development, group facilitation and change project management, coupled with her passion for food safety being embedded through a culture, means she knows how to create maximum value for compliance teams by making this work effectively influence the culture.

Betty Murie

Betty Murie is the Global Compliance Manager for Wedderspoon Organic, based in New Zealand. With over 20 years’ experience in compliance management, encompassing health and safety, social justice, as well as regulatory and international standards compliance in automotive, food contact packaging, and food across the United States and New Zealand, Betty currently specializes in the apiculture industry.

Betty has a background in adult education in addition to risk management, and has conducted seminars, workshops, and webinars in both the US and NZ on social and emotional intelligence, compliance, and industry topics. Betty is an active member of Apiculture New Zealand, the peak industry body in NZ, is a member of the Biosecurity and Government Industry Agreement committee, and regional hub executive management.

Melanie Neumann

Founder of Neumann Risk Services and EVP / General Counsel for Matrix Sciences, Melanie provides regulatory, operational and brand reputation risk mitigation advice to the food industry, helping companies navigate these various risks in today’s ever-changing risk landscape. Melanie leverages her twenty years of industry experience as a food lawyer along with her master’s in food safety to help clients manage the risks impacting each step in the supply chain. She interacts with regulators in response to investigations, enforcement actions and recalls in the wake of threatened and actual crises and works with companies proactively to identify strategies to prevent or reduce risks before they arise. Melanie helps clients build programs to achieve a level of best practice– developing tools such as food safety risk maturity models, supply chain risk assessment and management programs, food safety culture assessments, customized benchmarking surveys, and robust recall and crisis management programs–all through the lens of enterprise risk management.

Goranka Platisa

Goranka has over 30 years of experience in training, auditing, and consulting government in food companies on food safety & quality systems. Working with clients’ cross-departmental teams, Goranka spearheads the establishment of effective food safety management programs.

She is a designated Certified HACCP Manager, and GFSI Consultant and Auditor. Goranka is also a Lead Instructor for SQF, BRC ATP, FSSC 22000, HACCP courses with the International HACCP Alliance and FDA Food Safety Preventative Control with FSPC Alliance.

Goranka is intimately familiar with North American legislation, specifically with identifying gaps between BRC & SQF and FSMA for products being imported into the U.S.

Roger Roeth

Roger has been conducting audits for EAGLE since 2008. He draws upon his 38 plus years of experience in the food industry to ensure the audit meets the standard and is constructive for the client. Roger is a certified trainer for ISO 9001 and FSSC 22000. He helped develop the programs for EAGLE’S food auditing division. Roger is also a certified lead auditor for FSSC 22000, SQF, ISO 9001 and Gluten-Free Certification Program and can audit to the McDonald’s and Costco Addendums. In addition, Roger was the 2014 SQF Auditor of the Year.

Previously, Roger served as director of technical services for Freshway Foods in Sidney, OH, where he developed and implemented a Good Agricultural Practices program for their suppliers and a corporate food safety program addressing challenges of the fresh cut product industry.

Frank Schreurs

Frank Schreurs has more than 30 years of management and leadership experience in the food and beverage industry. He began his career in food manufacturing with the Kellogg Co. and transitioned into the services sector with the Guelph Food Technology Centre (GFTC). Over the course of 18 years there he established and grew the consultancy and auditing business units into the number 1 service provider to the F &B sector in Canada. In 2013 he successfully transitioned GFTC through a merger with NSF International.

During his 18 years Frank lead his team of seasoned industry professionals in the delivery of consultancy and auditing services to the entire supply chain. Frank is currently operating a consultancy business as well as being the Canadian and Pacific North West U.S.A. representative for the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI).

Tracie G. Sheehan

Tracie Sheehan is currently the VP Technical Services for Merieux Nutrisciences, leading teams in auditing, consulting, and nutrition labeling. Tracie was previously the CEO of TGS Quality Consulting, LLC, assisting food companies in food safety, quality, sanitation, regulatory, and sanitary design engineering. Prior to this role, she led a team in people safety, food safety, regulatory, engineering and sustainability as Chief Health, Quality & Sustainability Officer for ARYZTA. She previously worked for the Sara Lee Corporation as Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Scientific Affairs, leading global food safety, quality and regulatory policies and programs for meat, bakery, coffee, tea, and ice cream. Before Sara Lee she held a similar food safety role at Kellogg Company for cereal, bakery items, canned, and frozen foods. Tracie has served on the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program (FARRP) Board at the University of Nebraska for 25 years.

Dejan Spasic

Dejan Spasic is a Director for the Toronto based Certification Body – dicentra Global Certifications..He oversees all certification activities at dicentra and manages both accounts and auditors to create a symbiotic relationship. Prior to this role, Dejan has been consulting in the food industry for 10 years touching on essentially all food formats. Dejan is a certified SQF Lead Auditor for 13 food sector categories. Recently, with the inception of cannabis legalization in Canada, Dejan has used his background, experience and knowledge to build a reputation as a highly qualified consultant in this newly formed sector for growing and processing of cannabis. He has helped clients meet strict regulatory requirements, achieved licensing for dozens of facilities and has provided gap assessments for some of the biggest players in the cannabis industry in both Canada and the United States.

Bob Strong

With more than 44 years of experience and leadership in the food industry, “Dr. Bob” as he is known to his customers, holds a Ph.D. and BSC in Chemistry from the University of Liverpool. With extensive professional experience in the areas of consulting, training, auditing, corporate quality assurance and product development, he can go into an organization, analyze the landscape, and develop business solutions that work.

Dr. Bob is a Senior Food Safety Consultant who helps companies navigate the complexities of achieving compliance with the latest food standards to create sustainable value beyond certification. His areas of specialty include SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000, HACCP, GMP, Food Defense, GFSI, and FSMA, as well as process improvement techniques. Prior to his work as a consultant, Dr. Bob has held a variety of operational roles including a Manager for Product Development at Kroger, as well as a Manager for Nestle’s Regional Quality Assurance Laboratory.

Andrew Swift

Andrew Swift

A highly successful entrepreneur in science and technology expert services, Andrew joined Capita in August 2015 to lead the establishment of Capita’s global science business.

Taking the role of CEO of Fera Science Ltd (Fera), Andrew is responsible for all aspects of Fera’s business, in its support of Defra and its affiliates as well as its commercial services. Early work has focused upon the transition to public-private-partnership and setting and implementing its growth strategy. In 2015 Fera successfully led the consortium bid for the new UK Agri-Tech centre in Crop Health and Protection which he established acting as its interim CEO and where he continues to serve on its Board.

Andrew joined Fera from Intertek where he had built its global Lifesciences Division over the previous decade. He returned to the UK after 3 years in the Middle East where he led the strategic development across all of Intertek’s services in the region.

Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS

In her role as the Chief Food & Product Safety Officer & Senior Vice President of Food Safety Programs for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Dr. Hilary Thesmar provides leadership for all safety programs for FMI’s retail and wholesale members and provides support for members on food safety training programs, FSMA training, recall plans and management, crisis management, research, and overall safety and sanitation programs. She also works with the FMI Foundation on food safety education and research projects.

Hilary has a Ph.D. in Food Technology from Clemson University, a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from Winthrop University, a bachelor’s degree in Food Science from Clemson, and is a Registered Dietitian. She has almost two decades of experience in scientific and regulatory affairs with food trade associations. Hilary is an active member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the International Association for Food Protection and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Partnership for Food Safety Education.

Kelly Vest

Dr. Kelly Vest is Vice President, HACCP Consulting Group, and devotes his efforts to public health, infectious disease epidemiology, surveillance, and food safety. His roles included clinical management, assisting food industry partners, negotiating with host nation representatives, and overseeing DoD food procurement throughout Central and South America, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Dr. Vest is a Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine; and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University and the Uniformed Services University. He is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit and was awarded the Army Surgeon General’s “A” Proficiency Designator. He served 20 years in the US Army Veterinary Corps. He is serving as the Past President of the American Association of Food Safety and Public Health Veterinarians.

Dr. Vest received his DVM degree from Oklahoma State University, a Master of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins University, and a Doctor of Public Health degree at Uniformed Services University.

Tyler Williams

Tyler Williams is the Vice President of Operations at ASI, one of the leading food safety auditing companies in the U.S. In this position Tyler is responsible for the certification process of over 3000+ audits annually and manages ASI’s employees and contracted auditors around the world. Recently, Tyler has taken on the development of an entirely new division dedicated to cannabis (ASI Cannabis Safety and Quality).  Tyler worked with several industry stakeholders and conducted sample audits on several cannabis manufacturers and growers. After his industry research was complete, he developed the Cannabis Safety and Quality audit that ASI uses today. This new audit form has allowed cannabis manufacturers and growers to improve the safety and quality of their product and ultimately protect the health of the consumers.

Sharon Wood

A graduate of Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Biomedical Science and a M.S. in Microbiology, Sharon has had over 25 years of experience in the food industry. As a lead microbiologist for the Department of Defense, she provided expertise in the Food Testing and Diagnostic Laboratory to all branches of the military. Sharon served as Vice President of Laboratory Services for Food Safety Net Services, an ISO 17025 Accredited network of food testing laboratories and food safety consultants. Sharon currently serves as Sr. Director of Food Safety for H-E-B, a Texas and Mexico based retailer. She oversees Food Safety, Technical Services, Regulatory Affairs, Recall Management, and Supply Chain for the company. Industry involvement includes the Conference for Food Protection where she is current Chair of Council II and Vice Chair of the Food Protection Manager Certification Committee. She is active in the FMI Food Protection Committee and the FDA Retail Food Safety Partnership.