President & CEO, Blue Pacific Flavors
Donald Wilkes has more than 40 years of experience in the food and beverage industries through his work in innovative food flavor development in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Prior to founding Blue Pacific Flavors in 1993, Donald established a food technology and licensing consulting firm and worked in management for several flavor businesses. He serves on the Board of the International Organization of Flavor Industry and is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, American Association of Cereal Chemists and the Chemists Club in New York. He has been a featured columnist in food and beverage trade magazines and has been quoted as an industry expert in top-tier media. Donald graduated from Parsons School of Design with a B.F.A. in Illustration.
President Flavors Division, Givaudan
At Givaudan, Louie D’Amico has provided leadership for the company on global strategy, marketing, business development and sales, mergers and acquisitions, business optimization and other key areas. During his 30-year tenure at Givaudan, he has been engaged in the work of several business units spanning the United States, Europe, LATAM, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Louie earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Michigan State University and he completed a variety of courses at Mahler Executive Development, Kellogg Business School, University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Suzanne Johnson
FEMA Vice President & Secretary
Vice President R&D, McCormick and Company
Dr. Suzanne Johnson provides strategic leadership for product and package development teams for the Americas as the Vice President of R&D at McCormick and Company. Over the course of almost three decades, Suzanne has worked in corporate research, flavor manufacturing, quality control, and R&D to direct and manage product development across business units. As an adjunct faculty member and speaker, Suzanne taught several chemistry courses at William Rainey Harper College. For six years, she also developed and presented the Flavor 101 Course for the Flavors of North America organization. She earned her Ph.D. in Physical Analytical Chemistry from Northwestern University and her B.S. in Chemistry from Bradley University.
President Flavors North America, Symrise
Paul Graham has more than 30 years of international experience in general management, innovation, marketing and business development, and new product development for B2B and consumer markets in Australasia, Europe and the United States. In addition to his current flavor industry experience at Symrise, he has worked at Allied Domeq and he held various sales and marketing roles at Unilever. He earned an MBA from the University of New England and the Australian Graduate School of Management.
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Product Safety, Flavors – NOAM Region, MANE Inc.
Janet Aho has more than 30 years of experience in regulatory affairs and compliance, quality assurance and flavor safety. As Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Product Safety, she oversees the North American region for Mane Inc. Janet is a member of the Institute for Food Technologists and The Ohio State University Food Science and Technology Advisory Board. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Health from Wright State University and has earned certificates from executive programs at Cornell University and The Ohio State University.
Vice President, North America Beverages Research & Development, PepsiCo
Danielle Barbaro is the Vice President for PepsiCo’s North America Beverages Research & Development with over 20 years of experience in product development and innovation. She serves as the primary R&D point of contact for all North America business partners and is responsible for the technical development of all domestic brands. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Danielle was a product developer for Nabisco Foods/Kraft, focusing on formulation requirements and process commercialization. She also partners with multiple universities and organizations to help provide educational opportunities in STEM. Danielle holds a double major in Nutrition Dietetics and Food Science from the University of Delaware and an M.S. in Food Science from Rutgers University.
Chief Integration Officer, IFF
Shawn Blythe has an extensive background in cross-functional leadership, including engineering, IT, finance, manufacturing, supply chain, regulatory, procurement, R&D and others over the course of his 30-year career at IFF. He is currently serving as the Chief Integration Officer overseeing the integration related to the merger of IFF with DuPont Nutrition & Bioscience. In addition to his board position at FEMA, Shawn is currently serving as the Chair of the Research Institute of Fragrance Materials (RIFM) board of directors, and as a member of the IFRA Executive Technical Committee. He has previously served on the boards for Fragrance Creators Association, the Personal Care Products Association, and the New Jersey Chemistry Council. He also taught Finance as a graduate school Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland for four years. Shawn completed his M.S. in Financial Management at the University of Maryland and his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Grove City College.
President, CEO and Owner, Excellentia International
Tom Buco has gained more than 40 years of experience across all aspects of the flavor industry, including strategic development, general management, marketing and sales, consulting and technical services, customer service and analytical chemistry. His work has involved a variety of industries such as flavor and fragrance, food and beverages, personal care and nutritional products, pharmaceutical and tobacco categories. Tom is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists and the International Society of Beverage Technologies. He holds an MBA from Farleigh Dickinson University and a B.S. in Chemistry from Seton Hall University and he has completed a variety of management programs at Columbia University, Wharton School of Business and Yale School of Management.
Dr. John Cavallo
Senior Vice President, Technology and Commercial Development, Citromax, Inc.
Dr. John Cavallo began his 35-year career in the flavor industry as a flavor business manager and has worked in sales, technology commercialization and development, manufacturing and global business management. At Citromax, he oversees the development and implementation of global citrus offerings, U.S. ingredients, and established and manages Citromax Ingredients Shanghai. John has authored over 15 publications on surface and colloid science and has presented on micro and nanotechnology, ingredient delivery and other global industry topics. John participates in the American Chemical Society, Institute of Food Technologists, National Association of Flavors and Food-Ingredient Systems, and Scientific Advisory Boards for MTC Industries, Inc., and NanoSphere Health Sciences, LLC. He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from The City College of New York, his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from The City University of New York, and his MBA from the New York Institute of Technology.
Dr. Markus Eckert
Vice President of Flavor Creation and Technology, Takasago International Corporation
Dr. Markus Eckert is an executive with over 30 years of international experience in flavor commercialization, taste modulation and encapsulation systems and new process technologies. Before taking his position of Vice President of Flavor Creation & Technology at Takasago International Corporation, he held various managerial and executive positions with leading international flavor and fragrance corporations. Markus is a member of the American Chemical Society, Institute of Food Technologists, British Society of Flavorists, and the Association of German Food Technologists. Markus studied at the University of Hohenheim in Germany, earning a Ph.D. in Natural Sciences with an M.S. in Food Engineering and Nutrition.
Vice President of Marketing, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.
Kelli Heinz directs and manages global marketing teams at Bell Flavors & Fragrances with a primary focus on establishing communication and marketing networks. As part of her industry affairs role, she serves on the boards for Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce Chicago Chapter, the Fragrance Creators Association, and FEMA. Kelli earned both an M.A. in Journalism and a B.A. in Communications from DePaul University, and she completed an executive program at Harvard Business School.
Group Director, Ingredient and Product Governance, The Coca-Cola Company
In her current role at The Coca-Cola Company, Lucy Reid is responsible for strategic leadership for flavor regulatory, regulatory stewardship for Coca-Cola trademarked beverages, and governance for ingredients and formulas used worldwide. Lucy has held various leadership and technical positions in scientific and regulatory affairs, R&D and quality for Minute Maid and North America business units. She has been a Member of the Institute of Medicine Food Forum, University of Massachusetts Food Science Strategic Policy Alliance, Juice HACCP Industry Coalition, and the U.S. delegation for Codex Alimentarius Intergovernmental Task Force for Fruit Juices, as well as a board member for the Juice Products Association. Lucy has also made presentations at multiple industry events and served as a guest lecturer for her alma mater. She holds an M.S. in Food Science and B.S. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.
President & CEO, The Edlong Corporation
Laurette Rondenet has more than 25 years of experience in the food ingredient industry. As President and CEO of Edlong since 2008, she has led the largest independent, certified woman-owned flavor house in the world. She began her career in consumer affairs, followed by positions with several food manufacturers. She serves on the boards of Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network, President’s Forum (SAGE), the Society of Fellows of the Culinary Institute of America, Women Business Enterprise National Council Enterprise Forum, the International Women’s Forum, National Association of Women Business Owners, and the C200 Women’s Executive Leadership Organization. Laurette has a B.S. in Food and Nutrition from Purdue University.
Roderick W. Sowders
President & CEO, Synergy Flavors, Inc.
Roderick Sowders joined Synergy (formerly U.S. Flavors & Fragrances) as CEO in 2003 when it was acquired by the Carbery Group. As the current President and CEO of Synergy Flavors, he leads strategy development and overall general management of the company while also serving on the Carbery Group Leadership Team. He has over 25 years of experience in the food and specialty chemical industries, including experience at Sensient Technologies North America and Monsanto. He is a long-standing member of the Institute of Food Technologists, Juice Products Association, National Confectioners Association, and the Candy Production Club of Chicago. He holds an MBA from Emory University and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.