Friday, April 21 – Educational Sessions

Fresh Produce Rx

8:00 am – 8:30 am
Salon K (6th Floor)

We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us – but change agents and doctors are proving just how good by writing prescriptions for fruits and vegetables and pairing them with education for at-risk patients battling health issues like heart disease and diabetes. Learn how food is the new medicine and drives not only consumption but better health. Learn how prescription dollars are being translated into fruit and vegetable dollars and how you can help support a program that works for your business and your customers.


Michel Nischan
Michel NischanFounder and CEO, Wholesome Wave Chef, Author and Food Equity Advocate
Michel Nischan is a three-time James Beard Award winning chef with over 30 years of experience advocating for a more healthful, sustainable food system. He is Founder and CEO of Wholesome Wave, Co-Founder of the Chefs Action Network, as well as Founder and Partner with the late actor Paul Newman of the former Dressing Room Restaurant. Along with his team at Wholesome Wave, Nischan has successfully influenced legislative language for the recently passed Federal Farm Bill, supporting affordable access to healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables for low income consumers. He’s also the author of three cookbooks and a variety of articles focused on sustainable food systems and social equity through food. In spring 2015, the James Beard Foundation honored Nischan with the Award for the 2015 Humanitarian of The Year.

To learn more about Chef Nischan, visit:

To learn more about Wholesome Wave visit:

How Technology and Marketing Drive Growth

8:40 am – 9:10 am
Salon J (6th Floor)

This short session will feature the new wave of marketing and how keeping pace with the industry is vital—that’s where technology comes in. Learn how to reach key decision makers, and drive purchase orders as well as get the right message to the right audience using the right tools.


Whit Grebitus
Whit GrebitusVP of Sales, Vantage Point Media
Whit Grebitus is the Vice President of Sales for Vantage Point Media (VPM), parent company of trade news publications AndNowUKnow, The Snack Magazine, and DeliMarket News. From developing relationships with accounts of all sizes, to providing creative content across each publication, Whit has been an integral part of conceiving the vision behind one of the produce industry’s definitive information sources. Born in 2007, each facet of VPM has helped push forward a number of industry agendas, using web content, promotional videos, and product showcasing to further the scope of how digital technology and marketing can be used to reach crucial decision makers.

Know GMO’s

9:15 am – 10:15 am
Salon K (6th Floor)

From genetically modified apples and potatoes to Round-Up Ready Corn, social media has driven a sometimes fear based campaign against genetically modified organisms. Join Rob and get to Know GMO’s and come to understand the truths of GMO’s, what they are, how they are being used and how to have an informed conversation about the conversation about the challenges and opportunities of GMO’s.


Rob Saik, P. Ag., C.A.C.
Rob Saik, P. Ag., C.A.C.Professional Agrologist, Certified Agricultural Consultant
Robert Saik, Founder of The Agri-Trend® Group of Companies (now part of Trimble Navigation), is a Professional Agrologist and a Certified Agricultural Consultant. In his capacity as Founder and now Global Business Development for Agri-Trend, he has been involved in the development of many new business processes and spearheaded several advancements in technology integration in agriculture. In addition to being a keen entrepreneur, Rob’s technical strengths lie in soil chemistry, plant physiology and crop nutrition.

He is a passionate keynote speaker addressing audiences on the importance of modern agriculture. His 2014 TEDx talk, entitled “Will Agriculture be ALLOWED to feed 9 Billion People” is a popular on-line reference and has been viewed over 90,000 times. He is the Executive Producer of KNOW GMO the MOVIE, which is a full feature movie project looking at the advancements of technology used in agriculture. This global documentary is currently being filmed with planned release in 2017.

He has travelled extensively through North America, South America, the EU, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East as well as Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan working on technology integration and agriculture advancements.

Ripening Education with the National Mango Board

10:30 am – 11:15 am
Salon J (6th Floor)

Dive Into Mangos! Mangos are the most popular fruit in the world, but here in the U.S, they have not yet made the top ten list for fruit consumption. What part will you play in the transformation of mangos from specialty fruit to mainstream staple? Join us for an engaging and fast-paced session that will touch on all points from receiving and ripening to store level and the consumer. Expect to see hands-on how-to’s, get great ideas to build your mango business, and engage in mango taste-testing opportunities.


Wendy McManus
Wendy McManusRetail Program Manager/SE Retail Account Manager, National Mango Board
As the Retail Program Manager for the National Mango Board, Wendy oversees all aspects of the board’s retail marketing and promotion efforts. She works with the NMB’s team of Retail Account Managers to ensure that mangos are consistently promoted and are handled for optimal quality and sales at the retail level nationwide. As the Southeast Retail Account Manager, Wendy has direct responsibility for the board’s relationships with regional retailers such as Publix, Southeastern Grocers, Harris Teeter and Food Lion, and with national players such as Walmart and Kroger Corporate.

In 2006, Wendy joined the NMB staff as the first Marketing Director of the fledgling organization where she guided them through the process of establishing successful marketing strategies and developing the brand. She currently resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband and three cats.

Dennis Kihlstadius
Dennis KihlstadiusPrincipal Produce, Technical Service
Dennis began his career in the produce department of the local supermarket in high school. He earned a BS from the University of Connecticut, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as well as served in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, and eventually in the US Navy Reserves and the US Army National Guard.

For nearly 30 years, Dennis has specialized in post-harvest handling of climacteric fruit. In this role, he works with retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers to improve their handling practices and implement fruit ripening programs. He helped to implement the California ripe avocado initiative and his clients have included the California Avocado Commission and California Tomato Commission among many others. Currently, Dennis is focused on mangos for the National Mango Board and pears for the Pear Bureau Northwest. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and strives to learn something new every day

Luncheon Keynote Speakers: Dr. David and Catherine Katz

11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Salon FGH (6th Floor)

Back by popular demand, Dr. David Katz is returning to Austin and this time he’s bringing his accomplished wife Catherine Katz. Together this power couple will share their personal and professional experience with nutrition, preventative medicine and healthy eating. The couple co-authored the book, The Flavor-Full Diet.

Dr. Katz is best known for his work with Preventative Medicine and his wife Catherine puts this work into practice with Cuisinicity, a collection of healthy recipes that have been widely featured on national media. The result is an approach to optimal eating they refer to as “loving food that loves you back.”

The Keynote Session will take place on Friday, April 20 during the luncheon starting at 11:15 am.

CATHERINE KATZ IN KITCHENCatherine S. Katz, Ph.D., President of Cuisinicity

Catherine Katz received her BA (psychology) from the University of California, Berkeley and her PhD in neuroscience from Princeton University.  She went on to complete post-doctoral training at Yale University.

Born in North Africa and raised in southern France, Catherine learned Mediterranean French cooking from her mother and aunt. After marrying nutrition expert, Dr. David Katz, Catherine applied her scientific acumen to the systematic reconciliation of great cuisine and great nutritional quality, recipe by recipe. The result is an approach to optimal eating she and David refer to as “loving food that loves you back,” an approach on which their five children have been raised. Catherine Katz is the founder of, a healthy cooking website where good food and good health come together in a way that is actually feasible for today’s busy families.

Her recipes have been widely featured in national media, including ABC News, O Magazine, Eating Well, Prevention Magazine, Woman’s World, Fitness, Shape, and many others. She is the co-author, with David, of ‘The Flavor Full Diet’ (Rodale, 2005), and a contributor to several other books including ‘The Way to Eat’ (Sourcebooks, 2002), ‘Cut Your Cholesterol’ (Reader’s Digest, 2003), and ‘Disease Proof’ (Hudson Street Press/Penguin, 2013). Her recipes also appear in many blogs geared toward busy health-conscious mothers.


Dr. Katz is the founding director (1998) of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and current President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

He earned his BA degree from Dartmouth College (1984); his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1988); and his MPH from the Yale University School of Public Health (1993). He completed sequential residency training in Internal Medicine, and Preventive Medicine/Public Health. He is a two-time diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and a board-certified specialist in Preventive Medicine/Public Health. He has received two Honorary Doctorates.

Dr. Katz has published roughly 200 scientific articles and textbook chapters, and 15 books to date, including multiple editions of leading textbooks in both Preventive Medicine, and nutrition. Recognized globally for expertise in nutrition, weight management and the prevention of chronic disease, he has a social media following of well over half a million.

Dr. Katz has an extensive media portfolio, having worked for ABC News/Good Morning America as an on-air contributor, a writer for the New York Times syndicate, and a columnist to O, the Oprah Magazine. Currently, he is a blogger/medical review board member for the Huffington Post, a health contributor to U.S. News & World Report.

In 2015, Dr. Katz established the True Health Initiative to help convert what we know about lifestyle as medicine into what we do about it, in the service of adding years to lives and life to years around the globe.


Virtual Field Tour with Red Sun Farms

We’re bringing the farm to you! Explore as technology brings you live to the field to have the chance to see and speak in real-time with the growers.

Red Sun Farms

Red Sun Farms
Friday, April 20, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Salon AB (4th Floor)

This year’s tour will focus on hi-tech greenhouses with Red Sun Farms and the vegetables they produce.   We’ll showcase how greenhouses work to provide consistent quality and supply.  The tour will feature the growing cycle, sustainability and the materials used by various levels of greenhouses to produce higher-yield farming. Come join us inside the world of greenhouses.

The Impact and Future of NAFTA

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Salon K (6th Floor)

In a dynamic political environment the new administration is exercising new policy positions including possible renegotiation of existing international trade deals including NAFTA.  Join experts in trade policy to learn more about the far reaching and broad impacts of NAFTA for various industries including agriculture and where produce fits in the full scope of trade benefits for Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Panel Moderator

Robert L. Guenther
Robert L. GuentherSenior Vice President, Public Policy - United Fresh Produce Association
Robert Guenther is the Senior Vice President of Public Policy for United Fresh Produce Association headquartered in Washington, DC, where over the last 17 years Robert has led the government and public affairs staff in representing the fresh fruit and vegetable industry before Congress, the Administration, regulatory agencies and the media. Prior to United Fresh, Robert’s worked on Capitol Hill for 10 years as a Legislative Aide and Policy Director focusing on agriculture, environment, trade, water, and food policy. He also spent a year in the Office of Pesticide Programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Highly regarded for his bipartisan approach and strategic advocacy initiatives, Robert has testified before Congress on a number of important issues including trade, small business, and agriculture related programs.

With a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Bachelor’s degree in Government, both from the University of Maryland, Robert has been interviewed by CNN and C-Span and has been quoted in major media publications including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NY Times, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, and U.S. News and World Report.


Dr. Luis A. Ribera
Dr. Luis A. RiberaAssociate Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University
His areas of interest are international trade, transportation, risk analysis and biofuels. Dr. Ribera is the Director of the Center for North American Studies and also serves as the Program Director for International Projects with the Agricultural and Food Policy Center. Dr. Ribera has been an invited speaker in over 250 conferences around the world and has brought over $22 million in research and extension funding for his programs.
Ron Lemaire
Ron LemairePresident, Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Mr. Lemaire brings 25 years of extensive experience from a not-for-profit association perspective with a focus on vertically integrated supply chains, government relations and a food systems philosophy.

For over 16 years and in his role as CPMA President, Ron has worked to represent the needs and interests of over 830 international and Canadian members to enhance the Canadian market and facilitate trade of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Mr. Lemaire’s professional background brings a range of diversified experiences ranging from government relations and advocacy, association management and governance, strategic planning, marketing and communications, as well as public private partnerships and capacity building.

Ron holds a combined Bachelor’s Degree from Carleton University in both Law and Sociology.

Luis Martinez Senties
Luis Martinez SentiesCounselor for Agricultural Affairs in the Agricultural Office at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C.
Prior to his current position, in 2006 he was appointed Agricultural Counselor for the Agricultural Office at the Mission of Mexico to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. Since 1999, Mr. Martinez has been an official for SAGARPA, the Ministry of Agriculture of Mexico, at different Directorate level positions, heading various marketing and financing scheme programs for grains and pulses, covering agriculture policy and markets and most recently international trade, promotion as well as multilateral activities related to cooperation. Luis Martinez Senties is an Agribusiness and Management graduate from Tarleton State University.