Speakers 2017

Key Note Speaker:
Ronald Clark, Co-founder and Chief Supply Officer, Imperfect Produce, SPC

Ron is a co-founder and Chief Supply Officer of Imperfect Foods, SPC. He is a nationally known leader in promotion of ugly produce for the purpose of increasing farmers yields, lowering food waste and feeding more people. He has over fifteen years’ experience working directly with growers and shippers to identify and distribute cosmetically challenged produce. Previously Ron designed, implemented and managed the California Association of Food Banks' statewide Farm to Family program beginning in 2006. This innovative program was highly successful in the acquisition and distribution of over 125 million pounds per year of ugly produce that fed over 400,000 needy families per week.


Key Note Speaker:
Quint Marini, Packaging Engineering Manager, UPS Customer Solutions

Quint is the Packaging Engineering Manager within UPS Customer Solutions.  Over his 24 years, Quint has been helping customers design packaging with the ever changing supply chain demands.  But in the end the goal doesn’t change:  to provide clients with optimum packaging solutions – products complete protection during transport and reduce excess waste.


Last mile package delivery has sprouted new opportunities in Cold Chain Packaging, especially in the Food Industry.  Special care in delivering food within the products acceptable temperature range is a challenge.  Integrating appropriate evaluation activities are necessary.  Activities such as package development and thermal testing bring on a more important role in capturing total cost.

Key Note Speaker:
Cory Zavagno - Director, National Replenishment, Blue Apron

12 years of experience in food operations and procurement. An execution level expert in network optimization, strategic demand planning, and S&OP creation - Chiquita/Fresh Express

Specialties: Feasibility Analysis, Cost Reduction and Service Improvement, Capacity Improvement, Manufacturing, Distribution and Fulfillment Solutions, Alternative Change Service Methodologies, IT Integration

Rebecca Anderson,
Technical Key Account Manager, GLOBALG.A.P. North America Inc.

At GLOBALG.A.P. North America Inc., Rebecca serves the Technical Key Account Manager for North America. In this role as the technical advisor, she is responsible for overall implementation of GLOBALG.A.P. standards for certified producers, certification bodies, and market representatives. Rebecca develops and provides training and workshops, and participates in multiple cross-sector produce committees. Rebecca has been with GLOBALG.A.P. since 2016.

Rebecca is a former certification body scheme manager for two certification bodies, serving as food safety director, scheme manager, trainer, and auditor. She has developed food safety auditor training programs for both domestic and international markets. Prior to entering auditing for food safety, Rebecca’s experience includes orchard management, organic vegetable production, greenhouse production, dairy herd business management, food service, and teaching various agriculture courses. She has a B.Sc. in Agriculture Science from California Polytechnic State University with a Specialist in Agriculture Teaching Credential, and is pursuing her M.Sc. in Agriculture. Additional coursework includes Farm Business Management from Cornell University.

Karen Marie Feliz,
Vice President of Supply Ecosystems, Aggrigator

Agriculture is an Industry that impacts all people, all over the world, their entire life with no exceptions. It is my great passion to help small farmers become solvent, sustainable, and Independent. It has been my privilege to share the gifts that God has bestowed upon me, and I have been blessed enough to hone my skills in the agricultural Industry my entire career. I have been given an amazing platform to accomplish this goal with my current company Aggrigator, Inc., which specializes in aggregating small famers to bring them into the big buyer sector.

Agriculture is the family business.  I learned the best part of me from my father. I also attended U.C. Davis specializing in Ag Science Management with an emphasis in Agronomy.

Peter A. Hill, Operations Manager for North, Central, and South America,  Zespri International

Peter A. Hill is the North, Central, and South American Operations Manager for Zespri International. This year the Zespri brand has a big birthday!  To help kick of our celebration of 20 years of Deliciousness, Zespri has opened its a new USA Headquarters in Newport Beach, California. Zespri International is the largest shipper of fresh kiwifruit globally with $2.1 Billion in Sales.  Zespri's 5 year forecast shows sales exceeding $5 billion by the year 2025. The twelve-month supply being a key part of Zespri’s strategy that aligns increased offshore production along with strong increases in New Zealand's SunGold volumes.

Peter’s current position focuses on Operations, packaging innovation, risk management, government relations, and the enforcement of company policies.   Peter manages communications and develops affiliations with regulatory agencies (FDA, USDA, MPI, etc.) and other centers of influence. He also serves as a member of several industry associations including the PMA, United Fresh, CPMA, & GS-1. He is currently a member of the Produce Traceability Initiative’s Executive Leadership Council, PMA’s Science and Technology Committee, and United Fresh’s Food Safety & Technology Committee and also their Supply Chain and Logistics Council. Peter is an alumni of United Fresh’s Leadership Program (Class 19) and also attended the Executive Development Program at Cornell University. Peter is a PCQI trained individual and will soon take part in PMA’s Executive Leadership Symposium

Peter’s main responsibilities include Demand Planning, Market Access, both Food Safety and Crisis Management Plans, Sustainability, and the integration of these programs both internally (Management, Sales, IT, QC, Accounting, Warehouse, etc.) and externally (Growers, Buyers, Final Consumers, etc.). Peter’s passion is to provide a safe, healthy, and positive experience to those consuming produce.  To find out more, please goto his LinkedIn page at http://www.linkedin.com/in/peterahill.

Thomas Karst, Senior Editor, The Packer

Tom Karst is national editor for The Packer and Farm Journal Media, covering issues of importance to the produce industry including immigration, farm policy and food safety. Karst is also manager and founder of the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group, which brings together 17,000 fresh produce professionals in a social media forum.

He began his career with The Packer in 1984 as one of the founding editors of ProNet, a pioneering electronic news service for the produce industry. Tom has also served as markets editor for The Packer and editor of Global Produce magazine, among other positions. Tom is also the main author of Fresh Talk, www.tinyurl.com/freshtalkblog, an industry blog that has been active since November 2006. Previous to coming to The Packer, Tom worked from 1982 to 1984 at Harris Electronic News, a farm videotext service based in Hutchinson, Kansas. Tom has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from Kansas State University, Manhattan. He can be reached at tkarst@farmjournal.com and 913-438-0769. Find Tom's Twitter account at www.twitter.com/tckarst.

Cynthia Klein, CEO for CK Solutions Group

Cynthia began her food industry career in 1980 in the almond and pistachio industry working for Tenneco West/Dole Dried Fruit and Nut Company as their Quality Engineering Supervisor, where she found her passion for innovation and received a technical patent for developing an inspection algorithm to sort almonds.  Cynthia also worked as an Engineering Analyst with Nestle Ice Cream Company, an Operations Manager with Gist-Brocades, a baker’s yeast facility, a Vice President with Skincare Research USA, a Quality and Food Safety Manager at Grimmway Farms in the “RTE” (Ready to Eat) baby carrot division, General Manager for Munger Farms where she again proved her passion for innovation.  Cynthia’s vision and insight was the key in the development and delivery of Berry Quick Snacks which won multiple awards for innovation, convenient packaging, and food safety.  Under her leadership, Munger Farms became the first Fruit and Nut Company to achieve SQF 2000 level-3 certification in the United States. Cynthia served as a Board Member of the Pistachio Federal Marketing Order, United Fresh’s Food Safety and Technology Committee and continues to support Women in Agriculture for Mentoring & Empowerment (WAME) as a speaker for the World Ag Expo educational seminars.  Prior to building her own marketing and consulting company, Cynthia was the Director of Operations and Distribution for Sun World International.

With over 30 years in the business, Cynthia’s cross-functional experiences have allowed her to expand her knowledge and her understanding of how a food business operates and has been able to achieve the numerous objectives in assisting her clients innovate, build, lead and maintain a successful and profitable organization.  You can join Cynthia’s network at http://www.linkedIn.com/in/cksolutionsgroup.

Captain Brent Patterson,
U.S. Marine Corp, Officer- in-charge for West Coast Food Management Team

Captain Patterson is assigned to the West Coast Food Management Team, Marine Corps Installations Command in Camp Pendleton, California, where he was responsible for the inspection and assessment of more than 20 different dining facilities and more than 30 operating units across the continental Western Region, in ensuring compliancy with food service policies and directives. Additionally, Capt Patterson served as the Lead Technical Requirements Generator for the Marine Corps Regional Garrison Food Service Contract III.

Capt Patterson currently resides in Camp Pendleton, California and is married to Onesti Patterson with two children: one boy and one girl. His awards consist of (2) Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, (3) Good Conduct Medals, (2) Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, (1) Global War on terrorism Service Medal, (1) Navy Unit Commendation, (1) Humanitarian Service Medal, (1) National Defense Service Medal, (6) Certificates of Commendation, (2) Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, (1) Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, (2) Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and (1) Korean Defense Service Medal.