Evan Driscoll has spent over 10 years working in local food systems and small business development. His experience growing on farms for 7 years led him to explore distribution and sales as a potential solution to the bottlenecks he saw on the farm. Collectively, Evan has worked with hundreds of farm and food businesses to strengthen their businesses, helping them sustain and increase their positive impacts across social, economic, and environmental outcomes. Evan serves as Treasurer for the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA), Board Member with Common Market Texas, and is a Co-Founder and Advisor of the Central Texas Young Farmer Coalition. At KTC, Evan specializes in business development, financial analysis, and fundraising readiness for food and farm businesses.
Prior to joining KTC in 2014, Rebecca has been a business owner and a marketing and management professional. She specializes in working with established start-ups in their first or second growth phase, but also enjoys working with nonprofits and more mature businesses. Rebecca’s practice in business planning, financial analysis, marketing execution plans, sales coaching, and operations management touches on nonprofit and for profit organizations, urban farming, pastured livestock operations, veggie farms, retail stores, direct marketed farm products, artisan food product manufacturing businesses, E-commerce, and feasibility studies related to potential outcomes for farms or regional food systems planning. Rebecca holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development from George Washington University, and an undergraduate degree in Marketing from Penn State University.
Chris Fuller of Fuller Consulting focuses his consulting services on meat processing operations and business development. Fuller Consulting has worked with clients across the country on everything from plant design and business planning, to staff training, equipment and supply sourcing, and HACCP consultation. Chris has director level experience in both sales, and running abattoirs and further processing facilities.
Greg Gunthorp, along with his wife and three kids, own and operates a pasture based livestock operation in North East Indiana. Greg’s family has raised pigs on pasture for at least four generations. They had one of the largest pastured poultry operations in the country. Their operation includes an on-farm full USDA inspected slaughter and processing plant performing slaughter, processing, curing/smoking, rendered fats. They supply pasture raised antibiotic free pork, chicken, duck and turkey to some of the best restaurants in the region as well as an online store. He is a board member of the American Grassfed Association and was selected in 2020 to serve on the National Advisory Committee for Meat & Poultry Inspection.
Ted LeBows’ first business venture (in 1980) was a farm in Idaho where he bought his first tractor, signed his first loan with the Production Credit Association and started waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the rain ruining his hay crop. In 1989 he graduated from Cornell University School of Agriculture with a Business Management Degree. He’s run eleven small businesses, six of which he owned all or part of. Since 2008, he’s grown two small business management consulting firms. Ted’s two passions are financial sustainability and growing entrepreneurs and their teams. He is driven to help entrepreneurs to understand HOW they make a profit, not how much profit they make. He has worked with hundreds of small business owners, all over the country, creating and helping them execute against their financial goals and has helped entrepreneurs and nonprofits raise over $60 million in debt, equity, and donations.
After leaving her role as the owner and operator of a diversified organic vegetable farm Elaine Lemmon joined KTC at the beginning of 2017 with hope and excitement for helping strengthen local farm and food businesses to create statewide, contagious consumer awareness – and most importantly, to keep small businesses economically healthy. Her client work includes forensic accounting, financial management training, and coaching and strategy for small businesses.
With over 15 years of experience, Oliver Lee is a Human Resources practitioner, coach, and consultant who enthusiastically helps organizations create, build, and sustain high performing teams that get exceptional work done and on time.
He previously was the HR Director at Belcampo, Nourish Inc, Aramark, Live Nation, and other multi-million dollar companies.
Denise Perry earned her M.S. and PhD. in Meat Science focused on physiology of beef cattle production from the University of Missouri--Columbia. She served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville for five years before realizing she missed having a direct connection with the Meat Industry. Having poked her head over the meat counter at Lorentz Meats as a young child, Denise was elated to have the opportunity to join Lorentz Meats in a professional role in 2013 and was shortly thereafter tasked with further strengthening their existing Food Safety and Regulatory programs. In 2019 Denise accepted the Plant Manager position at Lorentz Meats agreeing to continue to support and drive positive leadership visions for the business. In 2020 she was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection.
Brian Sapp,Director of Operations at White Oak Pastures, knows good beef. Growing up on a caladium farm in Lake Placid, Florida, Brian threw himself into the study of agriculture and food production at a young age, eventually earning a B.S. in Food and Resource Economics, as well as a Masters in Animal Sciences from the University of Florida. During his studies, he also got the opportunity to work in several different roles at the university's meat processing center. In 2008 Brian brought his wealth of knowledge to White Oak Pastures' brand new certified humane beef processing plant where he is in charge of day-to-day operations. Recently Brian's domain widened when he was put in charge of constructing the new White Oak Pastures poultry processing plant.
Arion Thiboumery, PhD, was most recently the General manager of Vermont Packinghouse, a medium-small meat processor in Vermont. Before that he was VP at Lorentz Meats in Minnesota. He received his doctorate from Iowa State University in Sustainable Agriculture and Meat Science. Arion co-founded the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network in 2008 with Lauren Gwin.
Kurt Vogel, PhD. is an Associate Professor in Animal & Food Science at University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He is head of the Animal Welfare Lab there and teaches course in animal welfare and animal physiology. One of his research areas is on the impact of management strategies on animal welfare, physiology, and product quality.
David Zarling is a career butcher with extensive boots-on-the-ground experience in humane handling and slaughter, whole animal fabrication and value-added processing, both as an operator and plant manager. Most recently, David has been traveling the country training small to mid-sized producers and processors to build and maintain profitable businesses while staying true to their values. He provides consulting services to processors, always looking through the lens of 'our people are our greatest asset'. He specializes in plant management training, food safety and operations program management, and new product development. David is currently the Director of Operations for Cured Processing in the North Cascades, a value-added meat processing facility focused on old-world techniques and modern manufacturing values, and the new half-time Program Manager for NMPAN.
Funding provided by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Local Food Promotion Program grants.
The Meat Processor Academy is a project of the Niche Meat Processsor Assistance Network at Oregon State University.
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