The 2022 Speakers
Store Brands Manager
Federated Co-operatives Limited
Sav Bellissimo is the Store Brands Manager for Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), the largest non-financial co-operative in Canada, which is owned by 160 autonomous retail co-operatives across Western Canada.
Sav has been in the food industry for 30 years with a key focus on product and brand development. A graduate of the University of Guelph, Sav has a reputation as an adaptive strategic leader with a proven ability in identifying and capitalizing on emerging market trends.
Sav is passionate about local producers and the importance of establishing closer ties between the products on the shelf and the farmers who grow the ingredients.
Project Manager -
Labour Market Information,
Food Processing Skills Canada
Kevin Elder serves as Project Manager Labour Market Information at Food Processing Skills Canada.
He studied International Development at the University of Calgary and went on to live and work all over the globe. His introduction to food and beverage processing was working as a Vapour Heat Treatment Facility Manager at a mango plant in Australia.
Kevin joined Food Processing Skills Canada in 2017 and has been working on their Labour Market Information studies ever since.
Kevin is a big sports fan and grew up in Alberta & California but spent a lot of time in Saskatchewan and learned to water ski on Buffalo Pound Lake. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and son.
Associate Director, Food & Drink
Joel serves as Associate Director - Food and Drink at Mintel, specializing in the Canadian food and drink industry. Joel has 20 years of experience working in market research, 16 of which have been focused on what matters to Canadians in terms of how they eat and drink.
Before joining Mintel, Joel worked at OMD, Loblaw Companies Ltd, where he generated insights for the company’s private label brands, including President’s Choice, and The NPD Group, where he tracked consumer eating patterns and presented to top tier clients. Joel is primarily responsible for Mintel’s Food and Drink content in Canada and has personally authored over 60 reports on various topics during his tenure. Joel also contributes to various publications.
Despite Joel’s expertise in understanding what Canadians eat, he’s still trying to figure out what to feed his kids for dinner. You can connect with Joel on Twitter at @JoelDGregoire.
Blair is a cross-sector, creative innovator focusing on establishing the solid business foundations necessary to bring new technologies and ideas to the marketplace with deep expertise in capital raising, operations, financial modeling, strategy and human capital development.
He was CFO (2015 to 2020) of, and General Manager (2020) for, Verdient Foods leading to its ultimate sale to Ingredion Incorporated in in late 2020.
Blair continues to serve Ingredion as a Senior Advisor and is a General Partner of a new Canadian-based private equity fund seeking to raise $200M CAD for plant-based food and ingredient processors.
Immigration & Career Training
Government of Saskatchewan
Randy began his career with 19 years in the municipal civil service as a Property Evaluator and in Management. He then went on to run the Saskatchewan branch and grow a Property Evaluation company from 85 files to more than 1300 files with owners of commercial and industrial properties across Saskatchewan in 3 short years.
After five years and being acquired by Deloitte, he began coaching and mentoring the Deloitte professionals and Firm on business growth. After 10 years, he moved over the Saskatchewan’s only national law firm to guide their marketing, business development and continue to mentor and coach their legal professionals.
Randy joined the SaskJobs, Employer Services team in Feb 2021 to lead the evolution of the team towards helping employers with their workforce via source, attract, retain and train strategies & actions.
Myles spent the first six years of his career at Procter & Gamble (P&G). Following P&G, he spent most of his 15-year career as the Western Canada Vice President at Frito Lay Canada (now called PepsiCo Foods Ltd).
Always having the dream to be an entrepreneur, at the age of 45 he left his role as Vice President of PepsiCo Foods Ltd to purchase an equity position in Spitz Sunflower Seeds.
Following the successful exit at Spitz Sunflower Seeds, Myles, along with Hokanson Capital from Edmonton bought Regina based CanMar Foods Ltd. CanMar Foods is the largest producer of Food Grade Flax in Canada with 30 employees. These products are sold in 20 countries around the world including all major Grocery stores in Canada, Costco Canada, USA, Japan Spain. The company has a fully integrated 20,000-acre Farm operation growing their own conventional and organic Flax and Hemp.
Myles holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Washington State University, College of Business and Economics graduating with Honors in 1984. He also completed an Executive Management Program from Harvard Business School in 2010.
Big Ideas Ventures
Tom is a Venture Partner with Big Idea Ventures (“BIV”), a New York and Singapore-based firm focused on solving the world’s greatest challenges by backing the world’s best entrepreneurs. Prior to joining BIV, Tom was a Founding Partner and Chief Financial Officer of Tyson Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Tyson Foods. While at Tyson, Tom led investments in Beyond Meat, FoodLogiQ, New Wave Foods and BIV’s New Protein Fund.
Tom has over fifteen years of experience in alternative asset management and prior to joining Tyson, held a number of CFO positions at New York investment firms. He received a BS in Accountancy from Villanova University. Tom is a Certified Public Accountant (NY) and holds the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation from the AICPA. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Erin and their four children, Juliana, Alexis, Patrick and Elisabeth.
Senior Director of Supply Chain
Ingredion North America
Rodrigo Palma is a Senior Director of Supply Chain for Ingredion North America. He leads all aspects of Supply Chain within the North American Region, including Customer Support, Sales and Operations Planning, Logistics, Supply Chain Analytics, and Tolling Operations to continuously improve all facets of the order-to-delivery process.
Prior to joining Ingredion, Rodrigo worked at Cargill for 10 years, serving in supply chain and operations positions of increasing responsibility in Latam and the United States. Most recently, he held the role of North America Regional Supply Chain Director for the Cargill’s Global Edible Oil Solutions group.
Prior to Cargill, he served in supply chain and operations positions at Bunge and Votorantim. Rodrigo holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from the State University of Campinas – UNICAMP in his native Brazil. He is also certified in CSCP and CPIM by APICS Chicago (Association for Supply Chain Management).
VP, Strategic Insights
Innova Market Insights
Tom Vierhile is VP of Strategic Insights North America for Netherlands-based Innova Market Insights and has 20+ years of experience in packaged goods reporting and analysis. Based in Fairport, New York, he is a new product marketing expert and has been quoted by Bloomberg, Ad Age, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR.
Tom has given presentations on new product trends at conferences in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South America. A regular contributor to Prepared Foods magazine, Tom has a bachelor's degree in marketing from St. Bonaventure University and an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Global Institute for Food Security
Steven joined the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) as Chief Executive Officer in 2019, following a 23-year career with Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences) in Indiana, United States.
His most recent role at Corteva was Research and Development Director of External Technology, where he led many research collaborations with private sector companies, research institutes and universities around the world.
Steven earned a PhD in immunochemistry (1998), a Master’s degree in biochemistry (1992) and a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology (1990) from the University of Guelph, Ontario.