2019 Speakers

Smithers is proud to showcase the 2019 speakers for the AgChem Summit: 

  • David Beaudreau

    Executive Director U.S. BioStimulants Coalition

    David Beaudreau Jr. is a government relations expert with 15 years legislative and regulatory experience, managing agriculture, alternative and renewable energy, biofuels, sustainability, transportation, climate change, and tax policy issues. David has expertise on multiple political campaigns including the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign. He has in depth understanding of federal legislative and regulatory processes, and technical proficiency in policy research, analysis, and presentation. He is co-founder and Executive Director of the U.S. Biostimulant Coalition – a coalition comprised of 22 biostimulant companies, which promotes regulatory consensus between state and federal regulatory agencies and is working to develop standards for biostimulants products. David holds a Master of Professional Studies in Political Management from the George Washington University, and a BA in Political Science from Allegheny College.

  • Jay Byrne

    President v-Fluence

    Jay Byrne is president of v-Fluence, a strategic communication and research agency.  Jay has more than 25 years of experience in public affairs, crisis and issues management.  He has held senior communications positions in industry and government including the Clinton White House and U.S. Agency for International Development.  He’s advised dozens of multinational organizations on crisis communications, issues management and science advocacy.

  • Antony D.G. Jones, PhD

    Senior Managing Health Scientist Cardno ChemRisk

    Dr. Antony Jones is a microbiologist with 18 years of experience in the sampling, analysis, assessment, epidemiology, exposure, and risk assessment of microorganisms. He earned a BSc. in Biology and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology. He has focused his academic and consulting experience in the fields of microbial risk assessment, contaminant biodegradation and site assessment. Dr. Jones also specializes in biotechnology regulatory compliance, public and occupational health, and risk assessment. He has expertise in quantitative and qualitative microbial risk assessments of contaminants in food and beverages, and recreational and drinking water, as well as safety evaluation of contaminants associated with consumer products and public exposure to microorganisms. His experience includes investigating the causes and health effects of exposures to a variety of microorganisms including Legionella, Hantavirus, molds, Salmonella, Hepatitis, E. coli, as well as assessing the persistence and prevalence of antibiotic resistance. In addition, he has extensive experience conducting site assessments and assessing the rate of biodegradation of a number of contaminants in differing environments.

    Notable contributions that Dr. Jones has made to the field of environmental microbiology includes research on quantifying the rate of microbial degradation of polyaromatic hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents in groundwater, characterization of contaminant degrading microbial communities in pristine and contaminant-impacted environments, and investigation of consumer and industrial exposures to Salmonella . In addition, Dr. Jones has evaluated regulatory compliance issues associated with USEPA TSCA MCAN, USEPA FIFRA antimicrobial pesticide registration, FDA GRAS submittals and BMP/GMP food safety-related compliance. His research interests have focused on the characterization and assessment of microorganisms, the identification of sources of microbial pathogens, and the expression of contaminant degradation pathways. More recently, his research has focused on mechanisms used by microorganisms to survive stress environments, including biotechnology regulatory compliance, consumer product safety, microbial risk assessments, and the use of antibiotic resistance genes and other stress-survival techniques. Dr. Jones has published over 24 abstracts, book chapters, presentations and peer-reviewed papers on various microbial assessment, site assessment and risk-related topics.

  • Kevin Diehl

    Director Seed Regulatory Business Platform Corteva Agriscience

    Kevin Diehl leads the Global Regulatory Seed Platform for Corteva Agriscience, the Agriculture Division of Dow DuPont. He and his team develop and implement the strategic regulatory and advocacy plans to move products thru the research pipeline to the commercial business, and ultimately, to farmer customers around the world. They develop and execute the scientific studies and dossiers that are used by regulatory agencies around the world to assess product safety.

    Growing up on his family’s diversified crop and livestock farm in central Iowa, Kevin was focused on a career connected to agricultural. His interest evolved from working on the farm to working for DuPont, starting in 1993, to bring new science and technology to farmers globally. He has held research, agronomy, business improvement, marketing and sales management positions within DuPont, DuPont Pioneer and now Corteva Agriscience.

    Kevin earned his Ph.D. in plant physiology and weed science from the University of Illinois and earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and agricultural studies from Iowa State University. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt.  Kevin participates in various leadership capacities in industry associations including Crop Life International (CLI) and Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).  Outside of work, he is active in the Johnston community, serves on the board as Treasurer for the ALS Association, Iowa Chapter.

  • Vonnie Estes

    VP of Technology Produce Marketing Association

    Vonnie pours her passion for agriculture, technology and sustainability into her role, bringing technology to the produce industry across the entire supply chain. She’s spent her career working intimately with tech companies and industry to identify problems, invent solutions and increase efficiencies—with some of the largest organizations (DuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta) along with many agricultural and bio-industrial start-ups. Vonnie is a sought-after voice in the ag industry; speaking and publishing frequently.  She holds seats on company, advisory, industry and government boards; and, in 2017, earned the coveted Rosalind Franklin award for leadership in Biotechnology. 

  • Maximilienne Giannelli, Ph.D.

    Intellectual Property Attorney Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP

    Maximilienne Giannelli, Ph.D., represents clients in complex matters involving patents and trade secrets. She counsels clients on how best to protect and defend their intellectual property and provides opinions on patent validity/invalidity and infringement/noninfringement. Max has extensive experience and expertise in a wide range of chemical and biological technologies, including agrochemicals.

    • (202) 408 4147
  • Tyler L. Harp, PhD

    Technical Development Lead Syngenta

    MS degree University of Arkansas, PhD University of FL in Plant Pathology, employed with Syngenta for 19 years within R&D organization. 

  • Joshua Haslun

    Analyst - Agro Innovation Team Lux Research

    Joshua Haslun is an Analyst on the Agro Innovation team at Lux Research. In this role he monitors and evaluates emerging and innovative agricultural technologies from sectors including crop genetic improvement, precision agriculture, and soil microbiome management to drive future innovations, while navigating challenging regulatory frameworks.

    Joshua has extensive experience across numerous scientific disciplines including quantitative genomics and transcriptomics, immunology, isotope systematics, and microbial ecology. Prior to joining Lux, Joshua was a Research Associate for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at Michigan State University, where he developed methods to apportion nitrogen losses among diverse soil microbial processes, fostering soil microbiome management methods to improve biofuel feedstock production.

    Joshua obtained a dual-degree Ph.D. in Integrative Biology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior from Michigan State University and has contributed more than 13 publications to top peer-reviewed journals on diverse subjects. He also holds a B.S. in Biology from Siena College, and an M.S. in Biology specializing in Marine Science from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi.

  • Scott Jackson

    North American Regulatory Lead Knoell USA

    Dr. Scott H. Jackson the North American Regulatory Lead for knoell USA located in Research Triangle Park North Carolina where he coordinates more than 15 regulatory scientist to help clients with registration needs.  Prior to that he worked for more than 30 years in various technical and managerial roles for BASF and Valent USA.  In his role at knoell USA, he has focused on registration questions at EPA OPP, BPPD, AMD as well as Mexican, Canadian, and state regulatory authorities. 

    Dr. Jackson is active in ACS at both the local and national levels and has served as the American Chemical Society’s AGRO Division program vice chair, program chair and division chair.  He has authored many refereed journal papers, refereed book chapters and taught at the university level.  He received his B.S. degree in natural resources from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA, his M.S. degree in soil science from Fresno State University in Fresno, CA, and his Ph.D. degree in environmental science from Union Institute in Cincinnati, OH. 

  • Christopher S. Jordan

    President JRX Biotechnology

    Chris Jordan is President and Co-Founder of JRX Biotech, a specialty biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing novel technologies for skincare, dermatology and agriculture.  An entrepreneur for over 20 years, Chris has been fortunate enough to help develop and commercialize innovative technologies.  These include patented specialty chemicals for oil & gas and novel biotechnologies for skin penetration & skin hydration.

  • Robert Kennedy, PhD.

    Chief Scientific Officer Vestaron

    With over 25 years of research management experience, Bob leads Vestaron’s molecular biology and chemistry development teams. Management positions in Fortune 500 companies (Pfizer), academic appointments (Columbia, Michigan) and start-ups add to the leadership and technical experience he brings to Vestaron’s Research and Development success.

  • Jason Lotter, MS, CIH

    Senior Health Scientist Cardno ChemRisk

    Mr. Jason Lotter is a Senior Health Scientist with Cardno ChemRisk in Chicago. His principal areas of training and expertise include industrial hygiene, exposure and risk assessment, and occupational safety. He has been involved in researching, measuring, and reconstructing exposures, and assessing risks to consumers and workers from a variety of chemicals such as formaldehyde, asbestos, MTBE, diacetyl, silica, lead, hexavalent chromium, and various metals. He has also conducted indoor air modeling for formaldehyde, assisted in the completion of various simulation studies and peer-reviewed manuscripts, and has conducted exposure and risk assessments in response to chemical spills.

    Mr. Lotter completed his master’s degree in Public Health Science, with an emphasis in industrial hygiene, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. For his master’s thesis, he evaluated groundwater arsenic and the potential risk to local residents. He currently co-leads the Cleaning and Disinfectant Product initiative, focusing on peracetic acid and various other relevant chemicals. Mr. Lotter is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Local Section of AIHA. He has been as a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) since 2016.

  • Kenneth M Unice, MS

    Principal Science Advisor Cardno ChemRisk

    Mr. Ken Unice is a Principal Science Advisor with 18 years of quantitative human health risk, exposure assessment, and environmental modeling experience. His expertise is in the areas of environmental modeling, biokinetic modeling, indoor air modeling, occupational exposure assessment, human health risk assessment, environmental fate and transport analysis, computer programming and database design. Mr. Unice has co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 100 conference abstracts on the topics of biokinetic modeling, biomonitoring, environmental fate and transport models, metals exposure, pathogen risk assessment, exposure reconstruction, and subsurface bacterial transport. He has expertise in the implementation of various numerical integration methods and has developed finite-difference computer models in programming languages such as Visual Basic, C++, Fortran and MATLAB and has performed several probabilistic assessments. Mr. Unice is proficient in a variety of mass-transfer theories used to estimate the fate of chemicals in the environment.

    Mr. Unice has managed exposure assessments, risk assessments, and risk ranking evaluations for a variety of occupationally and commercially important compounds, and has particular expertise in applying modeling techniques in the areas of product stewardship, toxicology, occupational health, and human health risk assessment. He has served as an invited peer reviewer of several U.S. EPA technical approach documents or proposed models, and recently served on the peer review panel for the U.S. EPA technical approach document entitled “Approach for Estimating Exposures and Incremental Health Effects from Lead due to Renovation, Repair, and Painting Activities in Public.” Mr. Unice has completed third-party reviews for state environmental agencies, and has performed critical reviews of a variety of modeling assessments.

    In addition, Mr. Unice also has extensive experience in applied research and study design, as well as managing contract research organizations. He has published methods for the characterization of tire and road wear particles (TRWP) in air, soil and sediment, as well as methods for characterizing the fate of individual chemicals used to formulate tire tread. Mr. Unice has also published methodologies for assessing the distribution of cobalt in the human body, estimating chemical exposure during consumer use, reconstructing human exposures associated with historical stack emissions, and modeling of dispersion and blocking of bacteria in subsurface media. Mr. Unice is proficient in both deterministic and probabilistic exposure assessment methods for metals, volatile organic compounds, and inhalable fibers. He has performed modeling evaluations or analytical assessments in a number of industries, including the rubber, energy, chemical manufacturing, household consumer product, paper products recycling, and construction.

  • Dr. Andrew Maier

    Senior Managing Health Scientist Cardno ChemRisk

    Coming Soon

  • Clayton Myers, Ph.D.

    Ecological Risk Assessor and Entomologist USDA

    Dr. Clayton Myers is an Ecological Risk Assessor and Entomologist with USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy. Prior to joining USDA, Clayton worked for 9 years at EPA as a senior biologist and IPM specialist, focusing on usage and benefits analyses for pesticides, alongside characterization of EPA risk assessments in comparison to real-world agricultural practices. Prior to his work on the benefits of pesticides, Clayton worked as a reviewer of pesticide labels and pesticide efficacy data for product registration at EPA. Prior to earning his Ph.D. in Entomology at Penn State University, Clayton grew up on a small family fruit farm in central Pennsylvania and has a lifetime of experience in pest management and production agriculture.

  • Clint Nesbitt, Ph.D.

    Senior Director of Science & Regulatory Affairs Biotechnology Innovation Organization

    Dr. Nesbitt is the Senior Director of Science and Regulatory Affairs in the Food and Agriculture Section of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).  BIO is the world's largest trade association representing more than 950 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 nations.  Before joining BIO in late 2014, he worked for more than ten years as a regulator of agricultural biotechnology in the Biotechnology Regulatory Services of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  Prior to this, he worked for Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension Program, where he was director of a public outreach and education project on agricultural biotechnology.  Dr. Nesbitt has a Ph.D. in plant breeding and plant molecular biology from Cornell University, where he studied tomato genetics.

  • Arthur M. Nonomura, PhD

    Carbon Reactions of Photosynthesis Sector BRANDT iHammer

    Dr. Nonomura received his MA and PhD from University of California, Berkeley, 1977/1980. Since then, he has greatly expanded our knowledge of the carbon reactions of photosynthesis, achieved over a period of three decades 1985-2015, with Professor Emeritus A. A. Benson, at University of California San Diego, where Nonomura served as Research Faculty. At present, Nonomura is a founder of BRANDT iHammer, a joint venture with BRANDT Consolidated, where the companies are dedicated to nimble development of rigorous scientific breakthroughs into transformative agricultural innovations

  • Kelly Smith, PhD

    Director of Microbials Development AgBiome

    An experienced biotechnology innovator, Kelly Smith returned to the entrepreneurial community in 2014. She formed the fermentation and formulation research team at AgBiome, after serving as Head of Pasteuria Bioscience for Syngenta Crop Protection. She was a co-founder of Pasteuria Bioscience, where she was principally responsible for development of the proprietary Pasteuria manufacturing process.  She served as CTO prior to its acquisition by Syngenta in 2012. Prior to Pasteuria Bioscience, she worked in research and development for Entomos, Inc, developing an early version of the Pasteuria fermentation process, and Hercules Chemical, developing biocides and biological diagnostics for the paper industry.  She holds an MS and PhD in Environmental Engineering Science from the California Institute of Technology and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University.  

  • Terry Stone

    Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Sustainability Programs Agrinos

    Terry joined Agrinos with over 30 years of experience in plant biotechnology, regulatory affairs and sustainable agriculture.  As Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Sustainability, he directs regulatory initiatives for Agrinos, working closely with government agencies, industry initiatives and other stakeholders on a global level.  Terry also leads the development of Agrinos’ sustainability programs, partnering with customers and other organizations to demonstrate and quantify the value of Agrinos products as a component of their sustainability programs.

    Prior to joining Agrinos, Terry held leadership roles with Syngenta, The Scotts Company and Monsanto working in research and development, global regulatory affairs, sustainability and industry relations. He has earned Master’s degrees in International Business and Entomology.

  • Fate Thompson, Jr., PhD.

    President iAdvantage Software, Inc.

    Dr. Thompson founded American Agricultural Services, Inc. and iAdvantage Software, Inc. following a distinguished career in both academia at the University of Kentucky and North Carolina State University, and in the commercial world with CIBA-Geigy (now Syngenta). Dr. Thompson possesses a unique understanding of research, development and registration of agricultural products. A decisive, results-oriented, bottom-line leader, Dr. Thompson provides the passionate entrepreneurial drive for these companies to create value in the industry. Dr. Thompson has reached the ultimate level of creating value in the industry with Global Agricultural Development Corporation.

    Dr. Thompson received his undergraduate degree from N.C. State University and his Ph.D. from University of Illinois.

  • Craig Thomson

    Director The National Chemical Emergency

    Craig Thomson is an Associate Director working with Global organisations across all sectors. Providing advice on their emergency response provision, incident response and crisis management, and their compliance with the European Poison Centre notifications.

  • Marco Toapanta, PhD

    Global Director - Science & Technology AgriThority

    Dr. Toapanta has more than 18 years of experience in agricultural research and crop management. He is recognized for his expertise in developing biologic and conventional crop protection programs including seed and genetics, seed applied solutions, and plant health programs in agronomic crops, high value vegetables, tropical fruits, and perennial crops. Dr. Toapanta is a proven expert in guiding teams to design, develop and commercialize innovative solutions for different crop production businesses from start-ups to multinationals companies. As AgriThority Global Director of the Science & Technology Division, Toapanta oversees and defines strategic development programs to better understand the technical and financial value of a product or technology in preparation of market launch. He also manages regulatory affairs and strategic business relationships related to technical crop production challenges. Prior to joining AgriThority, he worked with DuPont-Pioneer as the North America Research and Development Lead for Seed Applied Technologies.

  • Rene van Schaik

    Head of Digital Seeds & Traits Technologies and Analytics BASF

    Dr. René van Schaik studied biophysical chemistry and informatics at the VU University of Amsterdam and the University of Groningen. His PhD research (RU Groningen/ETH Zürich) focused on 3D structure refinement of bio-macromolecules using NMR or X-ray data. In 1993 he joined Unilever where he held several research and project management positions. In 1998 van Schaik became Program Leader Bioinformatics and Head of IT at Keygene NV, responsible for bioinformatics tools to support Technology Development & Marker Assisted Breeding and Database Development. In 2001 he joined Organon NV as Section head Bioinformatics. In 2004 he was appointed Head Molecular Informatics Technologies and in 2006 he joined the newly formed Integration Informatics Team (IIT) reporting to CIO R&D Organon. In 2008 he became Head of Molecular Informatics and Profiling for Europe at Schering-Plough (now MSD).

    July 2011 he started as CTO at the Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC), responsible for the development and implementation of innovative eScience solutions in multidisciplinary research projects, additionally in October 2013 he became acting CEO of NLeSC.

    Since June 2014 he is based in Gent. First at Bayer CropScience as Site head Computational Life Sciences and since November 2015 as Global Head CLS Project & Platform Management to support data driven R&D and plant breeding and crop protection application platforms.

    In August 2018 he became Head of Seeds Technologies and Analytics at BASF Agricultural Solutions, executing the digital R&D strategy in Seeds, delivering new technologies, and supporting R&D with Crop Analytics, Crop Genetics and Biometrics data analysis.

  • Alan S. Wicks

    Director of Application and Technology Development LiveGrow Bio LLC

    Alan Wicks did his graduate work in Plant Physiology/Viticulture at UC Davis.  While in graduate school he started to consult on problems in plant nutrition, soil chemistry, water relations, and general grower practices.  He has been a private consultant for the past 40 years in the western US, Mexico, and Nicaragua.  From the mid-90s to 2012 he headed R&D for a small niche market fertilizer and specialty products company in eastern Washington where he developed numerous new products designed to answer specific crop production problems.  While there he was also active in the establishment of a microbiological products laboratory which later developed two EPA registered microbial pesticides.  He is still active in limited agricultural consulting both in conventional and organic agriculture.  Six years ago, he and two other people started AGPW LLC to develop a completely new growth and formulation technology to easily and quickly create agronomically viable microbial products derived from region and crop specific Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and fungi. This has proved successful.

  • Dr. Jordan Winkler

    Director of Business Development Descartes Labs

    Dr. Jordan Winkler leads business development for the Descartes Labs Platform - where his primary focus is helping customers create actionable business intelligence with geospatial data. Jordan's passion is bringing geospatial analytics solutions to new industries and helping to develop the next generation of geospatial products. Jordan has a rich background in spatial analysis and statistics, and holds a PhD in Geography from Boston University, where he pioneered new techniques for assessing the risk of climate change to agricultural productivity in China.