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Kristi Block
Kristi Block
NAMI
Strategy Director
Kristi Block is the Strategy Director at the North American Meat Institute. In this capacity, she is responsible for assisting members in their sustainability journeys as evidenced by their participation in Protein PACT, which is the industry’s commitment to continuous improvement and transparency for healthy people, healthy communities, healthy animals and a healthy planet. She joined NAMI in March 2022. Block brings experience in the ag tech, grain elevator, ethanol, and animal feed manufacturing industry. She is part of a third-generation family farm in Nebraska that grows corn and soybeans and raises cattle. Block received a Master's of Business Administration from Midland University and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Journalism from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Block is a Nebraska LEAD Alumni graduate.

Sandy Eskin
Sandy Eskin
USDA
Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety
Sandra Eskin was appointed Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety on March 16, 2021. In this role, Mrs. Eskin leads the Office of Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, overseeing the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which has regulatory oversight for ensuring that meat, poultry and egg products are safe, wholesome and accurately labeled.

Prior to joining USDA, Mrs. Eskin was the Project Director for Food Safety at The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C., a position she held since November 2009. She also served as the Deputy Director of the Produce Safety Project (PSP), a Pew-funded initiative at Georgetown University from 2008-2009. While at PSP, she was a senior scholar with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University.

Mrs. Eskin spent nearly 20 years as a public-policy consultant to numerous consumer advocacy and public-interest organizations, providing strategic and policy advice on a broad range of consumer-protection issues, in particular food and drug safety, labeling, and advertising. She has served as a member of multiple federal advisory committees related to consumer information on prescription drugs, meat and poultry safety, and foodborne illness surveillance. During her career, she has written numerous reports and articles on food-safety topics. Mrs. Eskin received her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law, and her B.A. from Brown University.

Barb Masters
Dr. Barb Masters
Tyson Foods
VP Regulatory Policy Food and Ag
Dr. Barb Masters is the Vice President of Regulatory Policy, Food and Agriculture at Tyson Foods, Inc., where she provides regulatory vision and support for food safety and quality policies and procedures. She serves on the Board of Directors for GFSI and the Partnership for Food Safety Education. Dr. Masters spent nine years as a Senior Policy Advisor at Olsson Frank Weeda, where she worked closely to advise with the meat and poultry industry to ensure regulatory compliance. She served as Administrator of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service where she established a solid infrastructure of science-based policies and data analysis to reduce foodborne illness and product recalls. Dr. Masters holds her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Mississippi State University and a Food Animal Internship from Kansas State University.

Carmen Rottenberg
Carmen Rottenberg
Groundswell Strategies
Managing Director
Carmen Rottenberg recently departed USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service after thirteen years of service. She held several leadership roles at the Department, including as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Office of Food Safety from August 2017 through January 2019, and Administrator from May 2018 to March 2020. From April 2016 to August 2017, Carmen served as FSIS Deputy Administrator. Carmen is credited with spearheading and implementing several key agency initiatives in recent years including modernizing food safety inspection systems, and establishing and updating pathogen performance standards. Through her leadership and oversight, an unprecedented level of collaboration was achieved with federal, state, and municipal agencies, as well as other Stakeholders.

Paul Kiecker
Paul Kiecker
USDA-FSIS
Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service
Paul Kiecker was named Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in March 2020. In this role, Kiecker executes a budget of over $1 billion, advancing the Agency’s vision and goals, and leading innovative solutions to challenges in FSIS. He has spearheaded strategic planning and implementation of FSIS’ Strategic Goals 1: Prevent Foodborne Illness and Protect Public Health; 2: Modernize Inspection Systems, Policies, and the Use of Scientific Approaches; and 3: Achieve Operational Excellence. His efforts are strategically moving the Agency forward.

Kiecker has been with FSIS for more than 34 years and, throughout that time, he remained committed to ensuring the Agency meets its food safety public health goals.

In 1988, Kiecker joined FSIS as a food inspector and served as Deputy District Manager in Madison, Wisconsin; and District Manager in Madison, Wisconsin, and in Springdale, Arkansas. He also served as Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations and Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Field Operations in Washington, D.C. From August 2017 through January 2019, Kiecker was the Agency’s Acting Administrator followed by serving as Deputy Administrator from January 2019 to March 2020. In these roles, Kiecker oversaw the modernization of the Agency’s slaughter inspection systems for swine and poultry.

In his current and past roles, Kiecker continues his dedication to a robust public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, efficiently manage resources and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness.

Francisco Zagmutt
Francisco Zagmutt DVM, MPVM, PhD
EpiX Analytics
Managing Director
Dr. Francisco Zagmutt has conducted work that directly informed health policies in the United States and abroad. While Dr. Zagmutt’s experience in risk analysis spans many fields, his core expertise is in epidemiology and risk analysis of the intersection of human health, animal health, and food systems. This includes projects in food safety, nutritional epidemiology, infectious disease epidemiology, antimicrobial resistance, public health, animal health, One Health, outcomes research, and early drug development. Additionally, he has applied risk analysis to other areas of knowledge such as operations, natural resources, pharmaceutical strategy, finance, and invasive species modeling.

Francisco is a managing director at EpiX Analytics and affiliate faculty at Colorado State University, where he also lectures in Risk Management. Francisco is an appointed member of the US National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods where he provides impartial scientific advice to multiple US federal agencies.

Jim Bono
Jim Bono
USDA-ARS
Research Microbiologist
Dr. Jim Bono is a Research Microbiologist with the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service in the Meat Safety and Quality Research Unit at the Roman L Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. The research objectives for the Unit focus on foodborne pathogens and anti-microbial resistance associated with the production of red meat. Jim’s primary interests are understanding how genome diversity influences Shiga toxin-containing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7 and other STEC non-O157 serogroups' ability to cause disease in humans. In addition, Dr. Bono’s work has identified serotype-specific DNA markers used in commercially available detection kits for STEC O157:H7 and six other STEC serotypes. Jim received his Ph.D. in Biology from Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. He was an NIH Intramural Research Training Award Fellow at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, for four years, where he worked on Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, before joining USMARC in 2000.

Mindy Brashears
Mindy Brashears
Texas Tech University
Associate Vice President for Research
Mindy Brashears is a Professor of Food Safety and Public Health and holds the Roth and Letch family Endowed Chair of Food Safety and serves as the Director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University. She is the former Under Secretary of Agriculture in Food Safety where she served the USDA from 2019-2021. She is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors having 3 companies based on her research. Her research focuses on mitigation strategies in pre-and post-harvest environments and on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance. Her interests are primarily in meat, poultry and vegetable products. Her work has resulted in the commercialization of pre-harvest feed additives that reduce E. coli and Salmonella in cattle and she has 27 patents/patents pending. She teaches courses in food microbiology and food safety and offers industry training in food sanitation, recalls and food security.

Kathleen Glass
Kathleen Glass
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Distinguished Scientist, Associate Director
Kathy Glass joined the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 and currently serves as Associate Director. Her primary role is to work with the food industry to develop and validate formulation-safe foods. Kathy is an active member of several advisory committees and professional associations including the National Advisory Committee for the Microbiological Criteria of Foods and the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). She has served as Past-President of IAFP and its Wisconsin affiliate, is the recipient of the 2011 IAFP Fellow Award, the 2017 National Cheese Institute Laureate Award, and 2019 Wisconsin Meat Hall of Fame. In addition, Kathy is a regular instructor at workshops on challenge studies, Listeria control methods, preventive controls for human foods, and dairy and meat safety. She earned her Doctorate in Food Microbiology and Safety at the UW-Madison, has more than 145 invited presentations, 88 technical abstracts, 57 peer-reviewed publications, and three book chapters.

Jeremiah Johnson
Jeremiah Johnson
Hormel Foods Corporation
Corporate Manager Food Safety
Jeremiah Johnson is the Corporate Manager of Sanitation, Regulatory Compliance and HACCP at Hormel Foods, where he is responsible for implementing and training food safety and regulatory expectations in both USDA and FDA regulated facilities. He is also a PC lead instructor for both human and animal food. Jeremiah has worked at Hormel for 15+ years and previous roles have included management of QA departments at a dry sausage production facility in Iowa and a pork slaughter and further processing facility (Farmer John) in California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Iowa State University.

Jerrad Legako
Jerrad Legako
Texas Tech University
Associate Professor
Jerrad Legako, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Animal and Food Sciences Department at Texas Tech University. Dr. Legako’s research and teaching specialization is in meat science. His research program addresses pre- and post-harvest factors, which influence meat quality and safety. His research is supported through federal grants, foundations, and private industry, totaling over $6 million. To date Dr. Legako has authored or co-authored 69 peer reviewed manuscripts, 1 book chapter, and over 100 abstracts. He is frequently invited to speak at national and international conferences, including the Reciprocal Meats Conference, American Society of Animal Science Annual Meeting, and Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting. Dr. Legako has advised numerous graduate and undergraduate students who now work in various capacities within the meat and food industries, as well as academia. Currently, Dr. Legako serves as advisor for 4 PhD and 3 MS students and 4 undergraduate researchers. Dr. Legako has instructed courses, such as Food Analysis, Food Chemistry, Meat Technology and Processing, and Experimental Techniques in Meat Chemistry and Muscle Biology. Dr. Legako serves as a reviewer for multiple scientific journals and is an active member within the American Meat Science Association, American Association of Animal Scientists, and Institute of Food Technologists. Dr. Legako also frequently delivers HACCP and GFSI courses to food industry personnel as a contributor to Food Safety Net Services education team. Since June of 2021 Dr. Legako also began serving as Interim Associate Department Chair.

Pat Mies
Pat Mies
National Beef
Director of Regulatory Affairs
Patrick Mies is the Director of Regulatory Affairs at National Beef Packing Company, where he manages all regulatory compliance issues related to three beef slaughter/processing plants, 2 case ready facilities, a beef grinding establishment and a foodservice facility. Patrick has spent his entire career in beef food safety starting in 2003 after graduating from Texas A&M University going to work at Booth Creek Natural Foods as a QA manager. From there Patrick was named the Director of Quality Assurance at Harris Ranch Beef in charge of animal welfare, export programs, quality assurance and food safety. He then went to work for Elanco Food Solutions as a Senior Technical consultant in charge of industry applicable research on food safety products from farm to fork in the protein industry prior to National Beef. Patrick has served as a Scientific Affairs Committee chairperson for NAMI as well the BIFSCO executive committee.

Mick Bosilevac
Mick Bosilevac
USDA-ARS
Research Microbiologist
Mick Bosilevac is a Research Microbiologist in the Meat Safety and Quality Research Unit at the USDA-ARS US Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center Nebraska. He joined the staff at USMARC in 2001 to solve problems in food safety. He has focused his research efforts on controlling E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and non-O157 Shiga toxin producing E. coli at all points (pre and post harvest) of red meat production. Since that time has worked closely with the members of the meat industry, producer groups and regulators (FSIS) to design projects that address food safety problems relevant to their needs. The focus of these projects has been the development of methodology to assess the prevalence of key foodborne pathogens and intervention strategies to reduce and/or eliminate them from the red meat supply. He is the Lead Scientist on the USDA-ARS funded project titled “Holistic tactics to advance the microbiological safety and quality of the red meat continuum” which focuses on control of pathogens and spoilage organisms in beef, veal, pork and lamb. He received his Doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology.

Angie Siemens
Dr. Angie Siemens
Cargill, Inc
VP FSQR
Dr. Angie Siemens is the Vice President of Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory for Cargill in Wichita, Kansas. She is responsible for food safety issues and quality management systems and processes in approximately 49 beef, turkey, egg, case-ready and processing facilities in North America. She also oversees the food safety issues of meat co-packers and meat and ingredient suppliers.
Prior to her tenure at Cargill, she worked for Smithfield Packing Company in Smithfield, Virginia and Oscar Mayer Foods Division of Kraft Foods in Madison, Wisconsin, and Beatrice Cheese. She served a year as a Congressional Science Fellow to the US House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture, Washington, DC.
Angie received a Ph.D. in Meat Science and M.S. in Animal Science from the University of Missouri, Columbia and a B.S. in Animal Science from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

Jennifer Williams
Jennifer Williams
Tyson Foods
Vice President- FSQA
Jennifer is responsible for leading the Food Safety & Quality Assurance Team Members within the Fresh Meats Business Unit. Providing for her family, serving our work family and contributing safe, nutritious food for millions of families world-wide is the driving force in her life.
Prior to her current role, Jennifer held several positions over a 21-year period related to food safety, quality, and regulatory compliance. During her tenure within the Tyson Fresh Meats Corporate FSQA Team, Jennifer has been part of a world-class team partnering in food safety research and innovation ideas, including development of pathogen risk mitigation systems recognized by industry, academia and regulatory experts as gold standards and basis of industry wide best practices.
Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Graceland University and a Masters of Science degree from the Kansas State University. She and the Tyson Fresh Meats FSQA team serves on several industry food safety and regulatory leadership groups. Jennifer has served as an executive committee member of the International Consortium of Antimicrobial Stewardship in Animal Agriculture [ICASA] as well as a co-chair of the NAMI joint FSIAC committees.

Tom Smith
Tom Smith
Jennie-O Turkey Store
Vice President of Quality Management
Tom Smith is the Vice President of Quality Management of Jennie-O Turkey Store where he is responsible for Quality and Process Control for the Jennie-O enterprise. Tom has worked for Hormel foods for 28 years with the last 8 years spent in his current role. Previously Tom severed as Manager of Quality and Process control for numerous Hormel facilities including dry sausage, harvest and further processing operations. Tom has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Kansas State University. Tom resides in Spicer, MN with his wife Donna and his three children.

Rob Thomas
Rob Thomas
Maple Leaf
Lead Food Safety and Compliance Auditor
Robert Thomas is the Sr. Lead Auditor, Food Safety and Compliance at Maple Leaf Foods, where he is responsible for assessing compliance of GFSI and regulatory food safety and quality programs for plants producing CFIA, USDA and FDA regulated foods such as animal and plant-based proteins. He is also a certified Approved Training Partner with BRCGS for delivering training to delegates in auditing, HACCP, Gluten-Free Management Systems and BRCGS Food and Storage/Distribution Standards. Robert has worked for Maple Leaf Foods for 9+ years with previous roles including FSQA management of co-manufacturers for various acidified, fermented and IQF food products produced globally and within Canada. He has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Waterloo and a Masters of Science in Crop Science from the University of Guelph.

Kathleen O'Donnell-Cahill
Kathleen O'Donnell-Cahill
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
Director, Food Science and Regulatory Affairs
Kathleen O’Donnell is the Chief Food Scientist at Wegmans Food Markets. Her responsibilities include food safety, emerging issues, and developing quality/food safety programs for various operations at manufacturing and retail. Kathleen is responsible for regulatory compliance at Wegmans. Wegmans Food Markets is a family-owned supermarket chain with 108 stores in the US Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states.

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson
University of Minnesota
Professor
Dr. Tim Johnson is a Professor at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He received his BS in Microbiology in 2000 and PhD in Molecular Pathogenesis in 2004, both from North Dakota State University. His PhD and postdoctoral research at Iowa State University were completed under Dr. Lisa Nolan, where he developed a passion for avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) and published some key articles describing and defining the APEC pathotype. From there, he joined the University of Minnesota in 2007 and has been working in the areas of poultry health and disease since that time. Dr. Johnson has published more than 150 peer reviewed articles in this area, including studies involving APEC, Salmonella, ORT, Pasteurella multocida, antimicrobial resistance, plasmid biology, the poultry microbiome, and development of host-adapted probiotics for poultry. His research approach is to utilize high-throughput and high-resolution genomics to track pathogens. Dr. Johnson is the 2022 recipient of the Evonik Award for Achievement in Poultry Science, presented through the Poultry Science Association.

Sally Staben
Sally Staben
Hormel
Director of Laboratory Services
Sally Staben is the Director of Laboratory Services at Hormel Foods, where she is responsible for leading and supporting food safety research, laboratory testing, and thermal processes for both USDA and FDA regulated facilities. Sally has work at Hormel for 6 years and has held previous roles in food safety and regulatory compliance for 20+ years. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and a Master of Science degree in Food Science from Kansas State University.