Karen Mills is Director of Quality Assurance for High Liner Foods Inc. (Canada) and operates out of High Liner's processing facility in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. She leads teams that are responsible for internal food safety and compliance as well as supplier/ vendor import and regulatory compliance. She and her team members work corporately with other High Liner facilities based in the US.
Karen received her B.Sc. in Animal Science from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro, Nova Scotia.
Nicole Bouchard-Steeves is currently the Executive Director of the Operations Modernization Project Office (OMPO) for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). She is leading a team in the development of streamlined business processes and electronic tools to support them. This work is part of the larger CFIA Transformation Initiative which includes a number of projects, such as CFIA’s Regulatory Modernization.
Nicole holds a Bachelor of Science, with a specialization in Biochemistry and a certificate in Food Science from Laval University. She also holds certifications in ISO Auditing and HACCP Principles.
Nicole has been with the CFIA since its creation in 1997. Her career began as an Inspection Officer and has remained focussed on the core delivery of the CFIA’s operational mandate. She has held various positions throughout her career, but most recently, she was the Director General for the Atlantic Area prior to accepting the new challenge of Executive Director for OMPO. This position targets Nicole’s strengths – keen understanding of CFIA’s business and building relationships with external partners.
Nandini Natrajan is employed as Sr. Director for Global Science Operations for Keystone Foods; a global food processing company based in West Chester, PA. She has over 20 years’ experience in the area of Food Safety and Risk Mitigation. Nandini holds a Master’s degree in Food Science from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in Food Microbiology from North Carolina State University. Nandini sits on research advisory committees on public health and food safety for various Trade Organization. Additionally, Nandini served 2 terms on a National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, working on Control Strategies for Reducing Foodborne Norovirus infections. Nandini serves as community board member on Virtua health system’s Quality and Safety committee In NJ. She also sits on the Board of the Samaritan healthcare and hospice in NJ.
Brian is an award-winning food safety and quality expert with twenty years of experience in large, multinational food corporations. His global experience with creating and implementing food safety programs for a variety of product lines gives him a broad range of knowledge regarding current food safety and quality issues. In Brian’s current role, he leads Food Safety and Quality efforts at TreeHouse Foods, providing private label food and beverage offerings to retail grocery and food away from home customers across North America.
Brian holds a BS degree animal science from Auburn University.
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Craig Wilson is the Vice President, General Merchandising Manager of Quality Assurance/ Food Safety, Non-Foods Quality Assurance, Environmental Services/Haz Mat and Merchandise Services for Costco Wholesale Corporation. Costco Wholesale Corporation operates membership warehouses world-wide, that offer a selection of branded and private label products in a range of merchandise categories.
Costco is a global leader when it comes to food safety, and all suppliers must meet their strict compliance requirements. Costco’s food safety audit systems, STEC testing of fresh foods, x-ray product inspection, and unique positions on the Global Food Safety Initiative and the global regulatory environment, is well known industry wide.
Prior to joining Costco Wholesale, Craig worked as a Special Projects Director for Frigoscandia Equipment Food Safety Systems for over 24 years. During his time with Frigoscandia, Craig published numerous research papers in the areas of food safety and food processing and holds many patents, the most notable for steam pasteurization of food, and is the recipient of the Gia/Matek, Global Excellence in Food Safety Award.
He currently serves on the Global Food Safety Initiative Board, the Center for Produce Safety Board, the Center for Food Integrity Board and the Steering Committee for the National Food Safety Consortium.
Fiona Birch is founder of Tonic Global – a boutique digital and social media agency that specializes high-risk, high-stake accounts and campaigns in the health and sporting industry. As Chief Digital and Social Strategist, she advises companies how to develop and execute high-risk social media campaigns, often in heavily regulated industries. Her guidance has helped companies go beyond their initial comfort zone with social media, resulting in not only groundbreaking but also award winning campaigns.
She managed the execution of McDonald’s Canada Your Questions, was the Social Media Strategist for the rebuild of Telus.com, was Senior Advisor on CIBC FIFA’s Soccer Nation for the 2014 World Cup and ran the real-time response campaign for CIBC’s PanAm initiative.
Her background includes a degree in Exercise Physiology, 8 years as a fitness consultant/physiologist, 17 years building more than 140 brands and is a sought after speaker in social media risk.
Albert Chambers has more than 40 years’ experience as an advisor to companies, national organizations, cabinet ministers and parliamentary committees.
In 1995, he established Monachus Consulting to provide policy and communications advice to organizations in the agri-food industry. Most of his work since then has focused on food safety. For example, he has been a leading expert in in the development of a new Canadian approach to food safety and the establishment of industry-led, HACCP-based programs.
Since 2001, the firm has provided services to the Canadian Supply Chain Food Safety Coalition and its thirty-six (36) member associations. In 2008 Albert was appointed its Executive Director and since 2011, he has led the Coalition’s negotiations with CFIA and Health Canada on the development of the new Safe Food for Canadians Act and its regulations.
Albert is a member of AAFC’s Agri-food Subcommittee on Food Safety and the CFIA’s Ad Hoc Industry Advisory Group on the Safe Food for Canadians Act and has been a member of Health Canada’s Food Expert Advisory Committee. He also sits on committees of the Global Hygiene Initiative, the World Bank’s Global Food Safety Partnership, the National Environmental Health Association, National Registry of Food Safety Professionals and the Global Food Safety Initiative.
Since 2003, he has led the Canadian delegations to ISO meetings on the ISO 22000 family of standards food safety management systems (ISO 22000, ISO 22003, ISO 22002-3, ISO 22004, ISO 22005). He chairs the Standards Council of Canada’s advisory committee on agri-food (CAC/ISO/TC34) and its subcommittee on food safety managements systems (CAC/ISO/TC34/SC17) and is as a member of its advisory committee on accreditation standards/conformity assessment. He represents the International Accreditation Forum’s Working Group on Food on the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s electronic Working Group revising the General Principles of Food Hygiene and its HACCP Annex.
Gaurav is a Food Process Chemical Engineer, with 25+ years of Global Food Industry experience. He holds
Bachelors of Engineering from GB Pant University [India] and a Masters and PhD in Food Process Chemical
Engineering from the University of Manitoba, Canada. A key accomplishment in his career is his invention of
the “ZERO-OxTechTM” processing System (5 US Patents Pending), which revolutionized the $ 3 billion United
States Centralized Meat & Poultry Operations. Zero-OxTechTM Process has been adopted by various suppliers
to Wal-Mart, for extending shelf-life of case-ready meats in their centralized meat distribution system.
Prior to joining Sargent Farms, Gaurav worked as the Global Director of Quality, Food Safety & Research with
Marcatus QED, which has its world-headquarters in Toronto, Canada, and offices in different parts of the world.
During his work, Gaurav managed the co-manufacturing of several products for Unilever (Europe), Pinnacle
Foods (USA) and Mount Olive (USA), and oversaw quality assurance and continuous improvement of process
operations of over 20+ global manufacturing plants with GFSI certifications, and led several multi-million
dollars product launches from pilot to full production.
Gaurav also worked as Director-Quality; Research Engineer; Senior Research Scientist; Adjunct Professor of
Engineering; Vice-President (Global Operations) with different institutions and companies, such as Silani
Sweet Cheese Ltd., University Of Manitoba, Lacombe Meat Research Centre, University Of Illinois UrbanaChampaign, United States Food & Drug Administration’s The National Centre for Food Safety and Technology [Chicago, IL], University of Guelph, Guelph Food Technology Centre, ESL Global [Texas, USA] and De-Ox Systems, Inc. [Texas, USA]. Gaurav’s field of expertise include: Thermal & Non-Thermal Food Processing, ZeroOxTech process, Liquid nitrogen freezing, Modernized Operations Management and Process Strategies, and
effective Food Safety & Quality Systems.
Gaurav has over 50 publications (refereed and non-refereed) and over 100 presentations in national and
international conferences. He also wrote a book, titled “Advances in Thermal and Non-Thermal Food Preservation” (Publisher: Blackwell Publishing, Iowa, USA), which is being used as a reference in several R&D
institutions in different part of the world. He is also a faculty with the Institute of Food Processing Technology, Conestoga College, Cambridge, Canada, and teaches OPERATION MANAGEMENT FUNDAMENTALS.
Gaurav is passionate about implementing Robust Food Safety & Quality Management Systems and modernization of Global Food Process Operations.
Vice President, NA Food Safety, Weston Foods, a GWL Canadian company and North American leader in bakery products. Over 25+ years of food safety and quality experience, after holding successive positions with Colgate-Palmolive, Coca-Cola, Unilever Bestfoods NA, and YUM! Brands. Prior to joining Weston Foods, held position of Quality Director with Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods) in Europe, (Zurich, Switzerland) and Cadbury as QA Chocolate Director (Quality, Environmental, and Health & Safety) for NA/Europe/Global. Previous leadership positions included extensive technical competencies in global oversight for Regulatory Compliance, Supplychain, Environmental and Quality Assurance, as well as other Operational roles.
Leadership roles have also included:
Education: MBA (Dual), International Business; Management; BS, in Business Administration Mgt., St. Peter’s University
Personal/Professional Affiliations: Previous Adjunct Professor St Peter’s University Graduate Business Program. FTRAC (Food Technical Regulatory Affairs Committee) American Baker’s Association 2017 Co-Chair; Technical & Nutritional Policy Committee, Baking Association of Canada, Board Member; FARRP(Food Allergy Research & Resource Program) Board Member; GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) Member; International Association for Food Protection/Food Defense PDGMember; Metropolitan Association for Food Protection-Member; Institute of Food TechnologistsProfessional Member; Member St Peter’s University Business Leadership Board
Certifications/Awards/Publications: Food Defense, ISO, SPC. Tribute-to-Women-in-Industry Recipient, 2000. Author of several White Papers, Managing-Up, as well as published numerous industry analysis. Further information please contact
Lauren DiMenna is thrilled to be at the forefront of an evolving food industry and regulatory environment, working as the Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Manager – CFIA Lead at Kraft Heinz, the
largest food company in Canada. Lauren grew up in Leamington, Ontario and has been immersed in the food industry since a young age, spending many of her childhood days with her grandparents at their
vegetable farm and at her father’s tomato processing plant. She pursued her formal education at the University of Western Ontario and holds a Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree with Honors
Specialization in Microbiology and Immunology. Summers off from her university studies were spent as a member of the agriculture research team at the HJ Heinz Company. After completing her degree,
Lauren continued the immunology research she undertook for her undergraduate thesis at Robarts Research Institute. She then accepted a position at Campbells officially beginning her career in the food
industry. She joined the HJ Heinz Company in late 2010 and has held various manufacturing quality and corporate quality positions during her tenure. Following the Kraft Heinz merger, she assumed her
current role, supporting many Kraft Heinz factories throughout Canada and the US, working closely with both the CFIA and FDA. Lauren is grateful to have a career that allows her to exercise her passions for
food, continuous learning, broad thinking, and tackling new challenges.
Mike Horwich has recently retired from the position of Director, Agriculture and Food Protection , Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture. In that position, he directed a pasture to the plate food protection program within the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, holding the position of Administrator of both the Health Protection Act and Nova Scotia Meat Inspection Act. He was also responsible for departmental emergency preparedness and was a member of the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Team.
Over his career, Mr. Horwich has worked in the Nova Scotia Departments of Health, Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries. He was extensively involved with legislative, regulatory and standards development both nationally and provincially in the field of food safety.
Mr. Horwich trained in public health at Ryerson Polytechnical University and also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and Master of Public Administration Degree from Dalhousie University.He currently is a sessional lecturer in the International Food Business Program,Dalhousie University, Agriculture Campus in Bible Hill ,Nova Scotia.
After a very successful career in public health protection,Mike was approached to work with Dalhousie University in the International Food Business Program.He is a sessional lecturer teaching food policy, human resource management and food safety and quality assurance and customer relations management. His animated teaching style has earned him excellent reviews from students and academic colleagues alike. He is an accomplished conference speaker particularly in the area of addressing food safety policy and management issues for both industry and government.
Steven is a Corporate Microbiologist for Packers Sanitation Services Inc. He provides microbiological technical support for all PSSI cleaning/sanitation teams. He leads risk-reduction sanitation efforts for food production/packaging facilities by ensuring potential microbial niche environments are addressed. Steven is responsible for the coaching and training of PSSI and food production staff to increase awareness of microbiological control measures.
Robin leads strategic IoT solutions and partnerships at TELUS including the food safety solution from Digi International. As a key stakeholder in launching the TELUS Internet of Things Marketplace in 2014, Robin helps Canadian businesses across a wide array of industries become more efficient, productive and profitable with ready-to-implement wireless network solutions. Prior to TELUS, Robin worked as a management consultant and in a business development role, with leading global technology and engineering companies. He is an alumnus of the Ivey Business School at Western University.
Jamie Williams is the vice president and general manager responsible for guiding the development of the recently formed Digi Cold Chain Solutions, which is focused on the continuous temperature monitoring of perishable goods in the food industry. He joined the company in November 2015.
Prior to joining Digi International, Mr. Williams served for fifteen years as President of PeopleNet Canada, a leading provider of Internet-based onboard computing and mobile communications systems to the transportation industry, including truckload, less than truckload (LTL), private and service fleets. Its product and services are used by more than 2,000 fleets, including several Fortune 500 companies.
Jamie has held numerous industry board positions including The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, and was also member of Team Canada Elite for the CTA.
Carlo has over 16 years of experience working with radiation and sterilization. Carlo oversees Nordion’s Gamma Centre of Excellence. He has worked on multiple collaborations involving radiation processing—from medical devices to food packaging. Carlo is a member of ASTM
David Staniforth's Bio: David Staniforth was appointed Vice President, International Expansion with BDC Advisory Services in 2016.
In this role, he leads BDC’s initiatives aimed at supporting Canadian entrepreneurs as they access international markets.
Having lived and worked in Canada and four other countries over the past 25 years, Mr. Staniforth has gained extensive experience in international business and trade as well as a broad understanding of global competitive markets.
Before joining BDC, he held several executive roles abroad with companies such as SAAB, GM Europe, Fiat and PSA. In these various roles, Mr. Staniforth developed market entry and expansion strategies in Europe, China, South America and the United States. He also gained significant experience with entrepreneurs, including auto dealers, parts suppliers and customers for fleet vehicle sales.
Mr. Staniforth started his career at CN Rail in network planning. He then joined SAAB in Sweden, taking on positions of increasing responsibility in strategy and program management. In 2000, he was appointed General Manager for SAAB Canada, the equivalent of a mid-sized firm, with more than 40 dealerships in eight provinces. He subsequently built global B2B sales organizations for Fiat and PSA.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from INSEAD in France. He is fluent in English, French and Swedish, and proficient in German and Italian.
Dave McLeod joined BDC as a Partner Consulting in 2015 having spent many years in the supply chain and logistics industries. As a business owner himself, Dave brings first-hand knowledge in growing a successful business, focusing on developing and improving operational efficiencies, driving sales via digital marketing strategies, and building strategic plans to ensure success. Before joining BDC, he most recently was a founder of an ecommerce business, leading to a successful merger with a US company. In addition, Dave has led business development teams at FedEx Express as well as other leading logistics providers. Dave holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Claudio Bauza is a food and beverage management executive with over 17 years of experience in the industry. He is currently the Senior Director of Sales, Marketing and Business Development at Nexcor Technologies. Prior to joining Nexcor, Claudio founded and managed two food manufacturing facilities and ran North American sales for a leading seafood importer. Claudio joined Nexcor in 2016 and leads the company’s efforts to grow their KLEANZ Food Safety Compliance solution in multiple sectors along the food supply chain in the Americas and beyond. His areas of expertise include business strategy, sales and marketing, food safety, and operations management. Claudio holds an M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Puerto Rico. He also volunteers as a mentor and adviser for food business startups. Nexcor Technologies, Inc. has been at the forefront of technology-enabled solutions for food safety compliance and sanitation management for over 20 years.
Frank Schreurs has more than 30 years of management and leadership experience in the food and beverage industry. Frank began his career in food manufacturing with the Kellogg Co. and transitioned into the services sector with the Guelph Food Technology Centre. 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. His knowledge of risk and quality management throughout the supply chain was illustrated through the hundreds of completed client projects. Food safety projects included systems auditing (HACCP, BRC, SQF) as well as development and implementation. Quality projects included SPC applications to overweight control, ROI on asset purchases and specification compliance as well as ISO 9000 systems development and implementation. 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).
Deanna Zenger is the Ontario Regional Coordinator for the Food Processing HR Council. In addition to representing Food & Beverage Processors across the province, Deanna is a training instructor, develops courses and programs and helps to coordinates industry focus groups. Her career spans over 25 years in our industry. Particular areas of interest include food safety and security, innovation, education and introducing recent graduates and new immigrants into the world of Canadian food manufacturing.