Advisory Board Details

Michelle Biggs
Senior Vice President Commodity Trade Finance, Agriculture 
Wells Fargo International Group

Michelle has 25 years’ experience in trade finance with a focus on agricultural trade.  She started her career in 1987 in international trade operations and credit in Philadelphia.  She then spent seven years in international trade finance for CoBank, part of the US Farm Credit System, including two years in the Asia regional office in Singapore.  Michelle spent the next four years in Washington State, where she led a team at one of the region’s largest agribusinesses, Sainte Michelle Wine Estates, in managing credit, export, foreign exchange and other treasury responsibilities.  She returned to banking in 2007 to manage a trade finance team for KeyBank in Seattle.  She also spent some time on the corporate foreign exchange desk there.  She moved to JPMorgan Chase in 2010 to grow a trade finance portfolio and participate in a national agriculture industry team.  Michelle joined Wells Fargo in July 2012 to lead the North American Agriculture portion of the Commodity Trade Finance Division.

 

Michelle has an undergraduate degree in economics and international relations from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and an MBA from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.   She and her family now reside in Denver.  

 
Kurt Collins 
Vice President, Commodity Risk Management & Energy 
RSCS - Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions, LLC. (formerly Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-op)

Kurt Collins is the Vice President of Commodity Risk Management & Energy at Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions, LLC (RSCS), which is the purchasing cooperative for domestic KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and A&W restaurants.  Mr. Collins oversees the analysis of commodity markets and government affairs and is responsible for managing the commodity risk management portfolio for the cooperative.  Prior to joining RSCS, Mr. Collins was the Director of Research at Brock & Associates in Milwaukee, WI and was the grain analyst for Informa Economics (Sparks Companies) in Memphis, TN.  Mr. Collins holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University.

 
Vincent Cloutier
Chief Economist
La Coop fédérée

Vincent Cloutier is the Chief Economist at La Coop fédérée, the largest agri-food enterprise in Quebec. La Coop fédérée ranks amongst the top 100 largest cooperatives and mutual societies in the world, across all sectors and represents more than 100,000 members grouped into 102 cooperatives with operations located across Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

 
Parry Dixon
Director of Economic Research
ADM

Parry Dixon is ADM Economist at ADM Corporate headquarters in Decatur, Illinois. Parry joined ADM in 1984. As ADM Economist, he is responsible for economic analysis in addition to price forecasting for commodities. Prior to joining ADM, Parry worked for a large brokerage firm in Chicago, Illinois. In total, he has 26 years of experience in agricultural economics. Parry grew up on a small crop farm in Idaho with dairy and beef operations. He received a bachelor of science degree in agronomy from Brigham Young University. Parry went on to graduate with both a masters of science degree and a doctorate degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 
Bahar Gökçe
Regional Manager of Americas
Westford Trade Services Ltd.

Bahar Gökçe is an executive level manager at Westford Trade Services Ltd. serving as Regional Manager of Americas. She is also heading the Global Soft Commodities Division at Westford - a specialist provider of international trade solutions for businesses throughout the world, ranging from conventional trade transactions and supply chain management services to structured trade solutions that my require trade finance. She has structured trade finance services in combination with supply chain management to clients dealing with oilseeds, animal feed, vegetable oils, pulses, grains, tobacco, fertilizers and steel materials in Americas, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Turkey. Prior to joining WTS, Bahar gained experiences working as Assistant General Manager at Metalden Foreign Trade&Shipping LLC in USA, as Assistant General Manager at Ayhan Sezer Oil&Food Industry (an oilseed crusher) in Turkey and as Finance Specialist at Hyundai-Assan Automotive Industry in Turkey. She holds a BA degree on Economics from Boğaziçi University and an Executive MBA degree from same college. 

 
Curt Goulding
Sr. Vice President of Global Sales 
FCStone, LLC.

Curt Goulding is Sr. Vice President of Global Sales for FCStone, LLC.  Curt is a 1977 graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in Agricultural Economics.  His career started with Cargill Nutrena Feeds.  In 1982 he began working for Farmers Commodities Corporation (now FCStone, LLC) in Denver, Colorado.  In 1992 he started developing risk management programs for consumptive demand in Mexico.  In 1996 the Latin American Division was formed with Curt as the director.  In February of 2005 Curt moved to Campinas, São Paulo in Brazil to start FCStone do Brasil.  Curt served as president until his return to the US in June of 2009.  Upon return to the US, Curt focused on business development in Australia and Asia.  Currently, Curt is responsible for identifying and developing new talent.

 

 

Ahmet Hepdogan 
Vice President of Procurement  
Ferrara Candy Company

Ferrara’s portfolio of iconic brands includes Brach’s, Lemonheads, Black Forest, and Trolli.  Ferrara Candy with annual sales of $1 Billion is in a leadership position in non-chocolate confectionary segment, and is headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, IL.

Prior to joining Ferrara Candy, Ahmet has held supply chain related positions at C. H. Robinson, Global Risk Management, U.S. Foods, and ARYZTA.  Ahmet has a Masters of Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.  Ahmet, a native of Izmir Turkey, and currently resides in Chicago.

 
Eric Jackson 
President, Ag Services 
Conservis Corp.

Eric Jackson, President-Ag Services at Conservis Corp: Mr. Jackson is responsible for identifying and developing the market for the suite of Conservis agricultural solutions. With 25+ years of commercial agriculture experience, Mr. Jackson brings a depth of knowledge and industry contacts, and a unique perspective to the opportunities and challenges facing participants in the agricultural supply chain. Mr. Jackson has previous corporate experience as Manager, Market Development for The Pillsbury Company; CEO & President of International Proteins Corporation; and SVP and on the Board of Directors of The Scoular Company. In 2007 Jackson co-founded CP Holdings LLC to help agricultural landowners capture opportunities in the evolving carbon offset markets. He was also on contract as CEO-in-Residence for Renewable Energy with the University of Minnesota Office for Technology Commercialization. Mr. Jackson has a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois and currently serves on the boards of the American Fats & Oils Association, Cheetah Development, and The Yield Lab .

 
Tom Kowalski
Vice President Procurement 
Kellogg Company

Tom currently is a Vice President of Procurement for the Kellogg Company.  Tom and his team manage over $1.7B in North America of Ingredients and Energy encompassing sourcing, and sustainable agriculture for major materials such as grains, edible oils, sweeteners, cocoa, dairy products, natural gas and diesel.  In addition, his team liaise with commodity risk management and global category teams.  Kellogg, is a global cereal and snack food company with 30,000+ employees and revenues of approximately $15B worldwide. He has a demonstrated track record of successfully leading Procurement activity for billion dollar brand portfolios, including Tyson Foods/Hillshire Brands, and Sara Lee externally manufactured meat and frozen bakery products.  He has led cross-functional teams that delivered profit, revenue, share and volume growth in mature categories facing significant commodity pressures. A multi-faceted executive leader well versed in supply management across the value chain encompassing Risk Management, Agricultural and Energy Derivative Markets.Prior to joining Kellogg, Tom was with Tyson Foods (formerly Hillshire Brands), based in Chicago, with responsibilities for Commodity Risk Management, Ingredients, Packaging and Energy.  He also served in the Frito-Lay/PepsiCo system, holding a number of key management positions of increasing responsibility in Supply Chain, Procurement, Operations & Engineering.  He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Denver – Daniels School of Business with a focus on Entrepreneurial & International Studies.

 
David D. Lehman
Managing Director, Commodity Research and Product Development
CME Group

David Lehman is a Managing Director in the Research and Product Development Division of CME Group.  Lehman is responsible for leading efforts to identify and develop new CME Group product and services opportunities related to both exchange-traded and over-the-counter (OTC) markets, maintaining viability of current product offerings and providing strategic insight into new markets, business development and research within the commodity space.  Prior to joining the company in 1989, Lehman held the position of Industry Economist with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.  He holds both a bachelor's and a master's degree in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland.

 
Daryn McBeth
Government Relations Specialist
Gray Plant Mooty

Daryn is an experienced food and agriculture industry professional specializing in government relations, state and federal politics, industry relations, and legislative and regulatory services. He excels at effective advocacy before federal and state legislative bodies and regulatory agencies.

 

For nearly ten years, Daryn led the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council. Most recently he served as a director of state affairs and industry relations at a $14B farmer-owned cooperative, where he led the company’s state government relations strategies as well as its federal Political Action Committee (PAC).

 

In Washington D.C., Daryn has worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s General Counsel’s office and a lobbying firm. He has also served as legislative counsel, advising a congressman on legislative and constituent issues.

 

Daryn enjoys spending time with his family and coaching sports with his kids, and is an avid pheasant hunter.

 
Paul Smolen 
Principal 
AgriNetworks

Paul Smolen is an Agribusiness leader with expertise in commodity risk management, marketing strategy, new business development, and industry logistics. An accomplished and sought after speaker at Agribusiness industry groups worldwide addressing value capture and joint venture management, Paul has held executive and senior advisory positions at Bunge, United Soybean Board, and Continental Grain. Paul has led market development for enhanced output trait soybean meal and oil for the Bunge Dupont Biotech Alliance, coordinated Bunge’s global food and feed safety and quality programs, and developed animal nutrition expertise to improve protein and byproduct valuation. For USB, Paul utilized USB’s neutral platform to improve recognition and utilization of soymeal attributes and value capture from grower to feeder and continuously challenged directors and administrators to improve effectiveness and efficiency in both domestic and international marketing programs by developing closer alignment with commercial stakeholders. At Continental Grain as VP and General Manager, Paul led one of the most profitable trading businesses in terms of capital committed and consistency of performance and set the pace for industry in the export of processed feed ingredients. Paul was also active in creating, implementing, expanding, and managing a succession of joint venture export trading companies involving Continental Grain Company and its soybean processing partners, Quincy Soybean Company and Bunge Corporation. Paul holds an MBA from New York University and a B.A. In Economics from Cornell University

 

Dave Smoldt

President Commodities Division

INTL FCStone Financial Inc.

David began his career with INTL FCStone in 1985 after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in Agricultural Business.  He currently serves as President - Commodities Division for INTL FCStone Financial Inc.  David held previous roles within the company as a Commodity Risk Management Consultant, Regional Director and Vice President - Operations.  He has worked with clients in the grain and renewable fuels industries, concentrating on commodity risk management for grain companies and ethanol plants in the United States.  INTL FCStone offers customers a comprehensive array of products and services, including exchange execution and clearing services; physical trading; inventory financing; OTC execution and clearing services; managed futures; facility management; Commodity Network and market intelligence.  INTL FCStone Financial Inc. is one of the largest U.S. - based commercial brokerage firms, working with more than 900 commercial grain companies.  

 
Jan van Eys
Industry Expert/Consultant 
GANS

Dr. van Eys has been active in various capacities in international animal nutrition for more than 35 years; much of this time in the international feed business. Following his undergraduate studies in Agronomy in the Netherlands he completed a M.Sc. in Rangeland Nutrition at the New Mexico State University and a Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition from West Virginia University (USA). Between his BSc and graduate work he worked five years in Bolivia and Somalia on Government and FAO development projects. After completion of his graduate studies he worked as an Assistant Professor in Ruminant Nutrition for North Carolina State University. In this capacity he collaborated with USAID on international ruminant research projects in Indonesia, Morocco and Brazil. He joined Ralston Purina International in 1986 holding research and technical positions in Portugal and France. Within this company he held the position of European Research Director and upon the creation of Agribrands International he became Vice President for Research and Development based in St. Louis, MO. He left the company in 2001 to establish GANS Inc. an independent consulting company in Animal Nutrition concentrating on research and technical support to the international feed industry. He currently works with a wide range of companies covering all aspects of the feed and livestock industry.During his career, Dr. van Eys has served on an important number of scientific commissions and study groups in the EU as well as the USA. His publications include 30 senior-authored and more than 40 co-authored manuscripts alongside material in the form of industry proceedings and industry press articles. Dr. van Eys has been invited to numerous international and national presentations.

 
Tom Williamson 
Consultant 
Transportation Consultants Co.

Thomas Williamson on has started seven small companies and manages three currently, including Transportation Consultants Co. and Iron Horse Railcar Management.Williamson owns Transportation Consultants Co. (TCC), which was started in 1984. TCC is used by many major agriculture firms for the outsourcing of some or all of their corporate transportation functions. TCC specializes in negotiation of rail service and track agreements and rail costing and rate negotiation. TCC charters both barge freight and ocean freight. Tom has extensive experience in transportation of bulk and consumer commodities on every Class I railroad and on every navigable river in the U.S. Iron Horse Railcar Management manages private rail car fleets and provides management reports to control rail fleet costs.He graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a major in Transportation and Utility Regulation in 1967. Completed MBA course work at Northern Illinois University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Columbia University. Williamson graduated from the New York Academy of Advanced Traffic in 1973.Tom grew up on the family farm in West Texas and has one son that is married and lives in Boston, MA.