May 8, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association’s (FEMA) 2019 Annual Leadership Conference, held May 5 – 7, 2019, in Naples, Florida, featured timely sessions on business management and leadership to help FEMA member companies address challenges facing the flavor industry.

Keynote speaker Jeff Eggers, Executive Director of the McChrystal Group Leadership Institute, used his experience as a Navy SEAL and White House security advisor to explain the value of servant leadership and how humility and support are key to motivating your team. Attendees also gained insights from Paul Earle, principal of Earle and Company and a Northwestern University professor, who highlighted research and case studies to understand how companies can disrupt marketplaces to initiate change. In addition, Chester Elton, author and employee engagement expert, used humor and heart to underscore the important ways to build a productive workplace culture.

In a new era of economics, attendees learned valuable indicators to predict how the economy will fare and how businesses can prepare and thrive in an uncertain environment from market analyst Alex Chausovsky of ITR Economics. Chief Technologist Michael Sechrist of Booz Allen Hamilton also shared how companies can protect themselves from evolving cybersecurity threats.

Finally, Marc Wulfraat of MWPVL International Inc., shared a macro look at the future of our increasingly technology-driven supply chain, while Laura Loughran explored blockchain as one way to increase transparency and safety in the supply chain through data from IBM Food Trust.

This year, FEMA’s outgoing president Tom Buco of Excellentia International was honored to present awards to volunteers who have made a great impact on the organization and the flavor industry.

Kevin Renskers, Vice President of Corporate Safety & Regulatory Affairs at Takasago was presented with the Dr. Richard L. Hall Distinguished Service Award for a career marked by unique commitment and service to the advancement of the flavor industry. He has served FEMA as a Past President, Governor and committee leader, and has dedicated much if his time and talents to the industry.

Dolf DeRovira, President of Flavor Dynamics, Inc., earned the President’s Excellence in Service Award for helping build the pillars of the organization in all areas. He has served on numerous scientific committees and working groups and is currently serving as the Membership Services Committee vice-chair.

Nicole Berzins, Director of Regulatory Affairs for Mycotechnology, received the Emerging Leader Award for demonstrating valuable leadership qualities early in her time as a FEMA member. She has coordinated numerous compliance materials, resources and in-person workshops as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Task Force Chair.

Each year, The FEMA Annual Leadership Conference offers flavor industry professionals the opportunity to share insights, learn from experts, inspire new ideas, and expand their network. Next year’s event will be held May 3 – 5, 2020, in Palm Beach, Florida. For more information on this and other FEMA events, please visit the website.

About FEMA

The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States (FEMA) is composed of flavor manufacturers, flavor users, flavor ingredient suppliers, and others with an interest in the U.S. flavor industry. Founded in 1909, it is the national association of the U.S. flavor industry. FEMA is committed to assuring a substantial supply of safe flavoring substances. More information about FEMA is available at


Anna Carver


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