Annual Convention Speakers

sharing their expertise and insight

NARA Opening General Session Keynote Speaker

Jim Wiesemeyer

American Sugar Alliance

Jim will present "2022 Mid Term Elections, Farm Bill, Future Agricultural Policies, Regulations and Trade Trends" during the Wednesday NARA Opening General Session.

From his office near Washington, DC, Jim Wiesemeyer contributes daily to Pro Farmer’s online website at profarmer.com, providing members with the latest information on agricultural policy and trade developments. He also is a participant in Farm Journal’s Agri-Talk radio program, has his weekly Farm Journal podcast each Monday called Signal to Noise, and serves as a Washington analyst for Pro Farmer and Farm Journal.

Since 1978, Mr. Wiesemeyer has frequently reported on and interviewed senior government officials, including presidents, as well as USDA Secretaries since Earl Butz. He has traveled extensively in his assignments and is a frequent speaker on farm policy and trade issues. Wiesemeyer rejoined Pro Farmer in June of 2017, after serving as their Washington consultant for 19 years while at Informa Economics, and before that an employee of Pro Farmer, then owned by Oster Communications. Mr. Wiesemeyer also is one of the writers for the Agriculture Letter, formerly the Kiplinger Ag Letter, now owned by Farm Journal Media

NARA Welcome Luncheon Guest Speaker

Mark Scharenbroich

Worldwide Speakers Group

Part motivational speaker, part thought-provoker and pure comedic entertainer – Mark will inspire, teach and engage you with Nice Bike during the Wednesday's NARA Welcome Luncheon.

Nice Bike acts as a powerful catalyst to help build stronger, more unified teams. The message inspires audience members to be more engaged and passionate about connecting with others. Join Emmy award-winning speaker, Mark Scharenbroich of the Worldwide Speakers Group as he takes you for a fun ride on how to be effective at making meaningful connections in both your professional and personal life. His Nice Bike principle is supported by three strong actions: Acknowledge, honor and connect.

Mark has spent his career working in both industry and education discovering how some of the best organizations and team leaders build a culture that encourages people to perform at a higher level through greater engagement.

FPRF INNOVATE Conference

Dr. Dominique P. Bureau

University of Guelph

Dominique will present "Digestibility Determinants of Rendered Products for Fish and Animal Nutrition" during Tuesday's FPRF INNOVATE Conference.

Dominique P. Bureau became interested in aquaculture when he was an undergraduate student visiting Thailand on an exchange trip. He saw fish thriving in flooded rice field and became intrigued about the possibility of integrating fish production with agriculture production to improve the productivity of agricultural lands and help provide a good source of nutrition to a rural population. Upon completing his degree, he returned to Thailand to work on a MSc research project on this topic. He soon realized that nutrition and feed formulation were key factor in productivity in fish culture. He decided to make this the focus of his academic career and came to the University of Guelph in 1992 to work with Dr. C. Young Cho, one of the world leading experts in this field.

Over the past 20 years, Dominique developed broad research interests that included studying nutrients requirements and utilization (essential amino acids, phosphorus) by different fish species, the development of cost-effective feed formulation, the evaluation of the nutritive value of economical feedstuffs, the management of environmental impacts of aquaculture operations, and the development of mathematical models of growth and nutrient utilization for fish and shrimp. One of the long-term objectives of his research program is to improve our understanding of nutrients utilization and deposition and, in turn, develop approaches to describe and predict the growth, feed and nutrient requirements, and waste outputs of fish and shrimp.

FPRF INNOVATE Conference

Dr. Craig Coon

Four Rivers Kennel

Craig will present "Measuring the Impact of Oxidation of Ingredients on Dog Health" during Tuesday's FPRF INNOVATE Conference.

Four Rivers Kennel was founded as a facility designed for investigating canine nutrition and performance. Four Rivers Kennel offers a variety of nutritional feeding and research services for the pet food industry. Our goal is to provide the pet food industry with accurate and precise nutrition information.
The objective of the kennel is to provide pet food companies and the allied pet food industry with a USDA approved facility for developing canine nutrition information and AAFCO adequacy testing for complete foods, treats and ingredients for dogs.

The kennel is co-owned and operated by Dr. Craig N. Coon, a world renowned nutritionist. Dr. Coon established Four Rivers Kennel in 2011 for the purpose of performing canine nutrition and performance studies. Dr. Coon received his B.S. degree in Animal Science, M.S. in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, and Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Texas A&M University. Dr. Coon has been a faculty member involved in research, teaching, and extension at the University of Maryland, Washington State University, University of Minnesota, and University of Arkansas. Dr. Coon’s main focus has been poultry nutrition but he is now applying his extensive knowledge to canine nutrition, specifically in large breed working dogs.

FPRF INNOVATE Conference

Dr. Rhett C. Smith

Clemson University

Rhett will present "Chemical Engineering of Rendered Products—Possibilities for Sustainable Materials and Recycling Plastics" during Tuesday's FPRF INNOVATE Conference.

Dr. Rhett C. Smith is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Clemson University. Prior to joining the faculty at Clemson in 2006, he attended the University of Toledo, Case Western Reserve University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Dr. Smith’s group works in the broad areas of sustainable building materials. The team is especially interested in valorization of lower-value or waste materials, plastics recycling, and replacing traditional plastics with agriculture-derived alternatives. He holds patents for preparation of plastics and cement products from plant waste and high fatty acid-content feedstocks.

Industry Issues Forum

Kevin Good

Cattlefax

Kevin will present "U.S. Livestock and Protein Markets Situation and Outlook" during Thursday's Industry Issues Forum. Details on this presentation are coming soon.

Kevin is Vice President of Industry Relations & Analysis at CattleFax, an organization focused on helping member cattle producers make more profitable marketing and management decisions. Kevin joined CattleFax in 1982 and works with agricultural companies to explain changes taking place in farm commodities, with an emphasis on animal proteins. He analyzes interactions between supply, demand, production trends, weather and other factors affecting markets. 

Kevin grew up on a purebred cow/calf operation and graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. At Kansas State, he was a member of the meats and the livestock judging teams. Kevin and his wife have three grown children.

Industry Issues Forum

Andrew Harker

The Russell Group

Andrew will present "Congressional Update" during Thursday's Industry Issues Forum.

Andrew joined The Russell Group in 2007 following an internship with the House Agriculture Committee. Andrew grew up working for the family business Harker Painting, Inc. He has a degree in Animal and Poultry Science from Virginia Tech.

Andrew has led a number of The Russell Group’s coalition efforts, including management of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, which successfully preempted Vermont’s GMO labeling law, and shepherded the federal rulemaking of a workable uniform disclosure standard. Andrew has also managed Coalitions dealing with key federal policies related to animal health and welfare standards, consumer product labeling, and international trade. Andrew currently lives in Virginia with his wife and children.

Industry Issues Forum

Eugene D. Seroka

The Port of Los Angeles

Eugene will present This Ship is Getting Real: Global Sea Logistics Update during Thursday's Industry Issues Forum.

Gene is the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, the busiest container port in North America. Nominated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on May 27, 2014 and confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council on June 11, 2014, the Port of Los Angeles has experienced historic, record-breaking performances since his appointment.

As Executive Director, Gene interacts with a wide range of stakeholders, including Port customers around the globe, industry partners, elected and appointed officials at all levels, business leaders and local residents. A respected global trade expert, he has advocated for rules-based trade agreements that benefit American exporters and manufacturers.

Since the pandemic-induced buying surge generated by American consumers in the second half of 2020, the Port of Los Angeles has eclipsed nine monthly records and had its two highest-performing quarters and top four individual months in its 114-year history. The Port set two new milestones for the Western Hemisphere in June 2021 as the first port to process 10 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in a 12-month period and the first port to process 1 million TEUs in a single month.

Industry Issues Forum

Dr. Jack Shere, DVM, PhD

APHIS

Jack will present "APHIS Update: Animal Disease Prevention & Preparedness" during Thursday's Industry Issues Forum.

Jack was appointed Associate Administrator in August 2019. He works in partnership with Administrator Kevin Shea and fellow Associate Administrator Dr. Mike Watson to carry out the Agency’s day-to-day operations, represent APHIS on Department-level and cross-Agency working groups, and oversee the activities of every APHIS program area and support unit on behalf of employees and stakeholders. In particular, Jack concentrates on emergency preparedness and planning, as well as homeland and national security issues, with a special focus on the emerging African swine fever threat.

Between 2016 and 2019, Jack was Veterinary Services’ (VS) Deputy Administrator, where he served as the nation’s Chief Veterinary Officer and led VS in protecting and improving the health, quality, and marketability of U.S. agricultural animals, animal products, and veterinary biologics. He joined VS in 1990 as a field veterinary medical officer in Nebraska and Wisconsin and has held many leadership positions since then, including VS’ Associate Deputy Administrator, Eastern Regional Director, and Associate Western Regional Director.

Jack has extensive experience with animal disease outbreaks, including salmonella enteritidis, foot-and-mouth disease in England, low pathogenic avian influenza, exotic Newcastle disease (END), and highly pathogenic avian influenza. During the extensive 2002-2003 END outbreak in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Utah, he served as the Joint Area Commander and Incident Commander, leading a massive 9-month federal and state eradication effort until the disease was eradicated from the United States.

NARA Sustainability Committee Meeting

Matt Sutton-Vermeulen

The Context Network

Matt will present Meeting the Sustainability needs of NARA Members Efficiently and Effectively during Wednesday's NARA Sustainability Committee Meeting.

As a partner at The Context Network, Matt has a breadth of experience spanning 30 years including working with domestic and international clients in all aspects of responsible food chains, including crops, animal health, genetics, nutrition, production, processing, retail, associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). He provides clients with the following areas of expertise: Strategic planning, Facilitating multi-stakeholder engagement, Continuous improvement in responsible food chains, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability reporting, and Product development and market launches.

NARA Welcome Luncheon

Gerald Phillips

Canine Companions

Gerald Phillips will speak on behalf of Canine Companions during Wednesday's NARA Welcome Luncheon.

Gerry was born in 1947 and was raised in central New York. His working career started in Mutual of Omaha New York as a computer operator. Gerry then spend 6 years in the New York Air National guard as an aircraft mechanic. In 1975, he started his career in Xerox as a software installer and in 1983 he was transferred to California as a data center manager, finally a property manager and retired after 30 years.

In 1998 he was diagnosed with breast cancer (the 1%er). In 2008, Gerry developed Acoustic Neuroma in his right ear and had balance and hearing issues. He survived the cancer but the neuroma took out his hearing and balance on his right side.

Skipping forward to 2016 Gerry was introduced to Canine Companions and decided to apply for a hearing dog. After many meetings and interviews, in late 2016, he was accepted into the hearing program. On Christmas Eve 2019, after a 2-year wait, Gerry received a call from Canine Companions and he was matched with Hearing dog, Colbert ll. And the rest is history.