October Purchasing Seminar Speakers
Vice president of economic research
The Gavilon Group, LLC
Mr. Bhandari is vice president of economic research at The Gavilon Group, LLC, a leading agriculture, fertilizer and energy commodities management firm. He is responsible for the company’s grain, oilseed and biofuel industry research and analysis. He began his career with ConAgra Trade Group, Gavilon’s predecessor, in 1997 as a research analyst and later moved into a financial trading role for nearly 10 years. He has been a keynote speaker and presenter at various conferences in the United States, Europe, South East Asia, Mexico and South America. He has also delivered market outlook presentations at various industry associations and roundtables. He received both his bachelor and master of business administration degrees in finance from Emory University in Atlanta.
Vice president and director of fixed income and chief economist
The Commerce Trust Co.
Mr. Colbert is the chief economist and director of fixed income management with The Commerce Trust Co. He joined Commerce in 1993 and has investment responsibilities for over $28 billion in fixed income assets. He directly manages the Commerce Short-Term Government and the flagship Commerce Bond strategies. Prior to joining Commerce Bank, he worked for The Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company, Fifth Third Bank, and ARMCO Inc. He received his bachelor of science degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a master of business administration degree from Xavier University.
Robbie Fraser is a senior commodity analyst for Schneider Electric’s Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) business, specializing in crude oil, natural gas and global energy trends. Robbie leverages a combination of qualitative and quantitative market intel in order to provide fundamentally-driven forecasts and insight into the commodity side of energy. His commentary on oil and energy markets at large has been featured both online and in print by The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Fox Business, Bloomberg and a number of other global publications.
Hugo van der Goes
Mr. van der Goes is the vice-president of cocoa, North America, for Barry Callebaut. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s North American cocoa business, including leadership of the commercial team, risk management and financial performance of the business. He is a member of Barry Callebaut’s global cocoa and the Americas leadership teams. Before joining Barry Callebaut, Mr. van der Goes worked for 16 years at Cargill in different senior management positions within the cocoa and chocolate division. His roles included responsibility for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate commercial and cocoa sustainability functions. He currently is Chairman and board member of The Cocoa Merchants’ Association of America. Mr. van der Goes attended Erasmus University, Rotterdam (The Netherlands), where he received a master’s of science degree in economics and international marketing management.
President and owner
Global Risk Management
Director of procurement
Advanced Economic Solutions
Mary Keough Ledman
Global sector strategist—dairy
RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness
Mary Keough Ledman has more than 20 years of experience in the dairy industry that includes production, processing and policy. She grew-up on a dairy farm in southern Wisconsin and has worked on farms in Germany, Japan and New Zealand. Her past work experience includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kraft and Stella Foods. In 1995, she founded Keough Ledman Associates, a dairy economic consulting firm that provides monthly dairy product and milk price forecasting, economic and policy analysis, dairy product and milk sourcing strategies and domestic and international dairy market information. In April 2012, she took over the Daily Dairy Report when the CME discontinued their sponsorship of the report. She received a master’s of science degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University and also received a Fulbright Fellowship to study the European Community’s dairy policy in Germany.
World Weather, Inc.
Mr. Lerner is president and senior agricultural meteorologist of World Weather, Inc. He has been forecasting international weather for 40 years. He began his meteorology career in 1978 as he participated in an international effort to collect data and improve weather forecasting for the Asian monsoon. Since then, he has been supporting the agricultural industry by providing detailed short- and long-range weather predictions for each major crop area in the world. His daily assessments of crop and weather expectations supports commodity market trade and helps many companies make better agricultural business decisions. Mr. Lerner started World Weather, Inc. in 2001 after leading Global Weather Services in the late 1990s. Based in the Kansas City area, World Weather, Inc. supports an expanding group of clientele residing in North and South America, India, Europe, Africa and Australia.
Foresight Commodity Services, Inc.
Mr. Meyers is the vice president of commodity analysis for Foresight Commodity Services, Inc., which was formed along with Robert Lindon when The Connell Co. discontinued its commodity advisory service. Earlier, he was vice-president of commodity analysis at Connell Co., where he was responsible for commodity research, analysis and consulting services to segments of agribusiness. He has particular expertise in cocoa, sugar, corn, wheat, the soy complex and corn sweeteners. Before joining Connell, Mr. Meyers was a grains analyst for the World Agricultural Outlook Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was an economist with the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota.
Director of food and beverage
Ms. Nielsen is director of the food and drink trends platform at WGSN, a global trend forecasting firm. An established food trend expert, Ms. Nielsen leads WGSN’s team of strategists in creating insightful reports and forecasts on global food and drink trends. She has years of experience in the strategic innovation sector, researching, writing and speaking about how to translate trends for new product development. She previously worked at CCD Innovation, Sterling-Rice Group and CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights. She has experience as a restaurant pastry chef and holds a master’s degree in food studies.
Milne Fruit Products, Inc.
Mr. Nugent is director of IQF, dried and export sales, at Milne Fruit Products, where among other duties he is responsible for international business development. Prior to Milne, he was executive vice-president at Otsuka Foods, and earlier was national sales and marketing manager at Graceland Fruit. He also has worked at Holnam, Inc. and Arthur Andersen. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Michigan Technological University.
President and chief executive officer
RedStone Logistics, LLC
Mr. Ritchie is president and chief executive officer of RedStone Logistics, LLC. He has more than 35 years in the logistics and supply chain management industry. Prior to Logistics Resource he was president of CHEP, president and CEO of YRC Logistics, and vice-president and general manager of Ryder. He also co-founded Meridian IQ, which he helped build into a $1.4 billion logistics company with 4,500 employees and operations in 26 countries. He received a bachelor’s degree in industrial design — architecture at California State University at Long Beach.
Mr. Ruffolo is vice-president – commodity specialist of McKeany-Flavell, where he manages the information area of the business. He joined the company in 1995 and since that time has assisted domestic and multi-national clients in the commodity ingredients sector, including sugar and corn sweetener markets. Prior to McKeany-Flavell he spent two years at California Bancshares in Alameda, Calif., where he was an auditor of commercial and residential bank loans. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.
Vice President – Global Dairy & Food Operations
StoneX Financial Inc. – FCM Division
Advanced Economic Solutions
President, Sosland Publishing
Editor, Milling & Baking News and Food Business News
Risk Management Consultant
StoneX Financial Inc. – FCM Division