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Speakers

Vivek Verma
Managing Director 
Coffee, Dairy and Commodity Financial Services
Olam International Ltd

Vivek Verma is the Managing Director (MD) for Olam International Ltd, heading the Coffee, Dairy and Commodity Financial Services divisions.  

Vivek joined Olam Group in 1992 as a Business Manager in India and in 1994, he was made the Country Manager of Olam India responsible for establishing the start-off operations in India.  He moved to Olam Headquarter in Singapore in 1996 and was instrumental in establishing the coffee business.

Over the last twenty years, Olam’s coffee business has grown from a mere start up to one of the largest green coffee business in the world.  Apart from being a major shipper of conventional coffee, Olam has built up a significant business in the specialty coffee sector.  In the last 5 years, Olam has also moved upstream into coffee farming with plantations in several countries as well as into midstream processing with two soluble coffee factories in Vietnam and Spain.

Vivek is also responsible for the start-off of the Dairy and Commodity Financial Services operations and continues to oversee these businesses.  Throughout his career in Olam, he has held a number of different positions from General Manager, Vice President and his current role as Managing Director.  He also headed the Risk Function from 2005 – 2008 and is a member of the Executive Committee and Strategy Committee of the company.

Vivek graduated from Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi in 1985 and holds a Bachelor of Technology degree.

Carlos Mera
Senior Commodity Analyst
Rabobank


Carlos Mera joined Rabobank’s Agri Commodity Market Research team in January 2015 as a senior commodity analyst, having spent over seven years at Neumann Kaffee Gruppe. Carlos has visited over a thousand coffee farms and is an experienced crop forecaster. Carlos holds a BSc economics from University of Buenos Aires and a MSc Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Kimberly Easson
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships | Gender Program Advisor
Coffee Quality Institute (CQI)


Kimberly is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Gender Program Advisor for the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) where she is spearheading the Partnership for Gender Equity and other strategic alliances for the organization. Previously, as the Director of Producer Services and Relations at Fairtrade International in Bonn, Germany, she held responsibility for producer capacity building services for over one million producers in 63 countries. Her efforts with Fairtrade over nearly ten years were instrumental in securing high value market linkages for producer organizations with traders, manufacturers and retailers in the US, Canada and Europe. She is a past board member of the SCAA, member of the Sustainability Council, Co-Founder and past-President of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) and Co-Founder of the JavaJog for a Cause which in 3 years has raised nearly $70,000 to invest in coffee women in producing countries.

Keith Flury
Head of Coffee Research
ED&F Man Holdings Limited


Keith Flury is Volcafe’s Head of Coffee Research. He has been a researcher for 13 years, focusing primarily on soft commodities. He has worked in the retail, banking, trading and consultancy aspects of the coffee business. His first interaction with the coffee market was as a barista at Café Roma in Davis, California. From there he branched into the development industry after studying International Agriculture Development at UCD. Understanding how farmers can access markets and reap more of the supply chain margin was the focal point of studies. Diving more into the economics of the market Keith received his MSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Hohenheim in Germany and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Covering all aspects of the coffee market while working with F.O. Licht in Germany he came to understand the market and retail forces. After this he worked at BNP Paribas as an Agricultural Strategist in London, supporting the brokerage desk and with Rabobank International helping build strategy and analysis in the soft markets. Currently at Volcafe he is charged with understanding the supply and demand dynamics that impact price as well as the industry as a whole.

Mark DiDomenico
Director, Client Solutions
Datassential


Mark DiDomenico has been following trends in the Foodservice Industry for 25 years.  He started his career with The NPD Group, analyzing restaurant traffic trends and foodservice manufacturer shipments.  From there, he transitioned to the manufacturer side, providing insights guidance for the foodservice divisions of Kellogg USA and Sara Lee. 

In 2011, Mark transitioned back to the supplier side, joining Datassential, another leading insights provider for the foodservice industry.  As Director, Business Development, Mark is leveraging his significant experience helping foodservice operators and manufacturers develop critical insights for their strategy, sales, marketing and new product development efforts, across all menu categories. 

​Mark has presented insights and trends at conferences and meetings for several organizations, including International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, The Research Chefs Association, Hillphoenix’s Supermarket Sense, the National Coffee Association and CSP Information Group (FARE and Foodservice Directory Magazines).  Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.  

Mark Williams
Senior Vice President
Brown Brothers Harriman


Mark Williams is a Senior Vice President in Brown Brothers Harriman’s Private Banking division and oversees the Northeast Regional and Food & Beverage lending groups. Prior to relocating to Boston in 2014, Mr. Williams spent eight years in the New York office where he led a team that financed and advised commodity importers, exporters, and processors, with a particular concentration in green coffee.  Mr. Williams joined BBH in 2003 in its Investor Services division.  He holds a B.A. in music from Middlebury College and an MBA in Finance from the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College.  Mr. Williams serves on the board of directors of the Green Coffee Association and the advisory board of the Cutler Center at Babson College.  

Keizo Sato
Managing Director
WATARU


Mr Keizo Sato is a Managing Director in Wataru & Co., Ltd, (a leading specialty coffee importer in Japan) and oversees all purchases and sales division of the company.

Mr Sato joined  Nichimen Coporation (general trading house in Japan) soon after graduating university in 1975 and worked there for 28 years as a chief coffee trader dealing mainly east African origins and other arabicas.

Then he Joined WATARU in 2003 and has boosted specailty coffee business in Japan market until now.

José Ramirez
Vice President of Coffee Sourcing 
Farmer Brothers Coffee


José Ramirez has been recently named Vice President of Coffee Sourcing for Farmer Brothers Coffee in Torrance, California. Jose is responsible for green coffee sourcing, coffee product development, and quality for Houston, Texas and Portland, Oregon. He joined Farmer Brothers in 2009 as Director of Coffee where he spent a lot of time working with the National and DSD sales groups developing coffee programs for new and current customers. From December 2012 to June 2015 he was Vice President of Manufacturing overseeing all coffee roasting facilities, distribution and logistics.
 
Prior to joining Farmer Brothers, Jose worked for Diedrich Coffee holding various management roles including Director of Manufacturing and Director of Coffee Procurement & Development. He helped managed the tremendous growth of the Keurig Kcups during the early 2000s.
 
Jose serves on the Board of Directors for the Pacific Coast Coffee Association as Past President. He has been a member in various committees for the Specialty Coffee Association of America and has also been a speaker at their Expo. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Brian Loughman
Vice President
Atlantic USA (ECOM), On behalf of the Green Coffee Association


Brian Loughman is a Vice President of Atlantic (USA) LLC, a Division of ECOM, based in New York City where he works on the Coffee Trading Desk.  He has been with the ECOM Group since 1991, spending two years at ECOM’s Mexico City office of AMSA. He started his career in the coffee division of ACLI International in 1981 after graduating from Yale College with a Bachelor’s degree in Asian History. He has served for 8 years on the Board Of Directors of the Green Coffee Association including two years as Chairman. He has served on various committees of the GCA as well as serving for almost 30 years as an Arbitrator.

Dan Belliveau 
CEO and Founder
CF Global Holdings 


Dan Belliveau has over 30 years of engineering and management experience in automotive, snack food and other food related businesses.
He is the team lead for engineering consulting, with expertise in process and package manufacturing, systems and controls integration, procurement, and vendor management.
Dan has held senior leadership roles in some of the world’s foremost consumer goods manufacturing companies, including General Motors, Frito-Lay and Starbucks Coffee. He has designed, built, and started-up highly automated manufacturing facilities, assembly plants, process and packaging lines, and distribution facilities in domestic and international markets.
In addition, he has been instrumental in new product development projects, from conception through full scale manufacturing.
He is now the CEO and Founder of CF Global Holdings (aba Coffee Flour).

Dan is a licensed professional engineer with a degree from: University of New Brunswick, Canada BS in Electrical Engineering.

Aaron Davis  
Senior Research Leader, Plant Resources, Royal Botanic Gardens


Dr Aaron Davis is Senior Research Leader of Plant Resources at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK). Aaron is a graduate from the University of Reading, where he received a BSc and PhD in Botany. After various postdoctoral positions, he became a member of the Kew staff in 1997, researching tropical botany with a focus on the coffee family plant group. His work on coffee includes the naming and classification of species, molecular (DNA) studies, conservation, climate change, sustainable development, and pests. Aaron is a leading authority on wild coffee species, and has travelled widely in Africa and Madagascar to study coffee species in situ. His recent research on coffee is focused on climate change, climate resilience, and short to long-term sustainability.