List of Participants
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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.

Manuel Antonio Barrantes
Cafetalera Herbazú

Manuel Antonio Barrantes Zúñiga, known as Toño, teaches us that working together with enough effort and determination we can achieve all our goals. 

He was born in Lourdes and has 13 brothers and sisters.  When he was 14 years old, he used to carry the coffee in the traditional ox cart to the mill, being he and his brothers and sister the third generation of coffee producers. 

In 2000-2001 they started building their micro mill, being one of the very first in Costa Rica. Due to the good work in the farm, the quality of the coffee and the excellent work in the milling process, they have achieved much recognition. 

In 2004 Cafetalera Herbazú obtains Starbuck's Special Reserve award.

In 2005 Toño's family participates in the Roses Parade of Pasadena, California, in the carriage Starbucks had dedicated to the golden bean. Toño and his family participated on behalf of all the producers from Costa Rica. 

In 2007 the region of Naranjo stands out in a global level. The English barista, James Hoffman, brings to the competition Herbazu's coffee, and wins first place in World's Championship in Tokio, Japon. 

In 2011 obtains second place in Cup of Excellence, and in 2015 wins first place. 

As Toño says, "it is incredible what a coffee bean from Costa Rica can do".

Carlos Mera
Senior Commodity Analyst

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.

Ellen Jordan Reidy 
President and Founder of America’s Food Technologies, Inc. (AMFOTEK®) 

Ellen Jordan Reidy is President and Founder of America’s Food Technologies, Inc. (AMFOTEK®) a privately held blending and packaging operation specializing in product development and manufacturing of custom and private label beverages for the foodservice and specialty coffee arenas. Prior to founding America’s Food Technologies, Ms. Jordan Reidy spent seventeen years with Wechsler Coffee holding numerous positions including President of the firm's specialty coffee division and Vice President of Operations overseeing the company’s roasting facilities and quality assurance initiatives. 

During her 34 year coffee career, Ms. Jordan Reidy has served on numerous coffee industry boards and committees. She is a past chair of the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to improving the quality of coffee and the lives of the people who produce it. She is also a past director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and is a recipient of the SCAA’s Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award. Ellen is a member of the National Coffee Association’s Scientific Advisory Group and also serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH). 

In the field of education, she is a member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the Illinois Institute of Technology and serves on the board of advisors of IIT’s Stuart School of Business and the Knapp Entrepreneurship Center. 

Ms. Jordan Reidy is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the World Presidents’ Organization (WPO). She is a member of the board of directors of The Chicago Network and chairs the organization’s entrepreneur committee. She is also a member of The Economic Club of Chicago, and The Executives’ Club of Chicago.

Ms. Jordan Reidy holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology and is an alumna of Harvard Business School. 

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

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

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.

Geoff Watts  
VP of Coffee, Intelligentsia Coffee

Geoff has spent the last 20 years in pursuit of better coffee as a co-owner of Intelligentsia.  He’s served as an official judge in over 30 international coffee competitions and is a well-known and outspoken advocate for quality in coffee as a mechanism for creating opportunity for farmers. As a pioneer of the Direct Trade approach and the principle architect of Intelligentsia’s coffee sourcing program, he has spent more than half of his time over the last decade working closely with coffee growers in East Africa and Latin America to improve quality and build systems for ensuring traceability and transparency in the supply chain.  
He is a past president of the Roaster’s Guild and currently serves as Chairperson of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE).  More than anything else, he wants to see great tasting coffee become a worldwide standard and contribute to making the coffee industry a more sustainable and rewarding place for both consumers and coffee farmers.

Christian Lesage
General Manager Bon Cafe SA
Vice President, ADECAFEH

Christian is the General Manager of Bon Café, a coffee exporter subsidiary of Cofiroasters S.A.   He is the current Vice President and former President of Adecafeh, and also former Vice President of SCAH. Christian is committed to quality improvement and competitiveness in Honduras where he has participated and co-sponsored in many development projects.  He enjoys travelling through the backroads of Honduras, talking coffee with anybody, and cupping good coffees.

Prior to coffee Christian worked in the food industry at two multinational companies.  He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA. He began his coffee career in 1997, where he got hooked on coffee and never looked back.

Nelson Carvalhaes
President Cecafe, Brazil

Nelson Carvalhaes, graduated in Attorney-at-Law by the Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, in São Paulo, with subsequent specialization in Foreign Trade and Agribusiness by the USP - Universidade de São Paulo, in São Paulo, started to work in the coffee segment 36 years ago, at the Escritório Carvalhaes de Café Ltda., based in Santos City, São Paulo, a privately-owned company of his family that will be 100 years in 2018, being its Partner Director until the present date.

At the same time, Mr. Carvalhaes is also Partner Director of the company Porto de Santos Comércio e Exportação Ltda., specialized in exporting high quality Arabica Coffees for 25 years. This year, he was appointed President of the Deliberative Council of CeCafé - Council of Brazilian Coffee Exporters, starting to participate as a Member of the Brazilian Delegation at International Coffee Organization (ICO) meetings representing the entity.

Craig Holt
Founder of Atlas Coffee Importers

Craig Holt is the founder of Atlas Coffee Importers. He is a certified Q Grader and a Q Trainer, and is the Chairman of the Board at the Coffee Quality Institute. He is also an SCAA instructor and a cupping judge for international auctions and competitions, as well as being an active volunteer for the Coffee Corps.
At Atlas Coffee Importers, LLC Craig is primarily responsible for origin relationship development, coffee selection and the creation of baffling magazine ads. The two things he fears most in this world are sharks and clowns.