October Purchasing Seminar Speakers

Scott Colbert

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 the company in 1993 and has investment responsibilities for more than $19 billion in fixed income assets. He directly manages the Commerce Short-Term Government and the flagship Commerce Bond strategies. Prior to joining Commerce, he worked for The Cincinnati Gas and Electric Co., Fifth Third Bank, and ARMCO Inc. He received a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in business administration from Xavier University.

Robbie Fraser

Senior commodity analyst
Schneider Electric

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.

Steve Freed

Vice president of research
ADM Investor Services, Inc.

Mr. Freed joined ADM Investor Services in 1992 as director of research. Prior to that he was with Dean Witter Reynolds as vice president of futures research. He also has held positions as oilseeds analyst for Frazier Parrott and as field crop analyst for Continental Grain Co., covering the United States, Canada, Brazil and Argentina. Mr. Freed received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Illinois State University.

Emily French

Global Ag Protein

Ms. French has been a part of the world’s agriculture revolution over the past 25 years as a trader, analyst, broker and presently the founder of Global Ag Protein. Her clients are non-US commercial producers and end users, hedge funds, private traders, US producer associations and commodity exchanges. She began her career with Cargill in 1996 as a senior trader. Following Cargill, she worked for the US Grains Council as manager of international operations and later as vice president of World Perspectives. She shifted to investment banking and the OTC markets with National Australia Bank and Macquarie Bank in New York and Australia. In 2009, she formed ConsiliAgra – a strategy group and brokerage firm. In late 2020, Global Ag Protein was born out of ConsiliAgra.

Hugo van der Goes

Vice president of cocoa, North America
Barry Callebaut

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.

Lauren Jia

Managing director
Macquarie Bank

Lauren Jia is a Managing Director at Macquarie Bank, where she is responsible for providing commodities risk management solutions for consumers in the Food & Beverage, Consumer Products, and Industrial spaces. Her expertise includes designing financial hedging strategies, with special focus on resin and paper packaging, as well as agriculture, energy, and metal products. Prior to joining Macquarie, she worked at Barclays Bank and Lehman Brothers on the commodities trading desks. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in international economics.

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.

Drew Lerner

Senior agricultural meteorologist, Founder and President
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.

Paul Meyers

Vice president of commodity analysis
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.

Kara Nielsen

Director, food and drink

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. Ms. Nielsen has years of experience in the strategic innovation sector, researching, writing and speaking about how to translate trends for new product development. She has shared insights with numerous food brands and previously worked at CCD Innovation, Sterling-Rice Group and CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights. Based in San Francisco, she has experience as a restaurant pastry chef and holds a master’s degree in food studies.

Steve Nugent

Director of IQF, dried and export sales
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.

Craig Ruffolo

Vice president – commodity specialist
McKeany-Flavell Co.

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.

Josh Sosland

President, Sosland Publishing
Editor, Milling & Baking News and Food Business News

Josh Sosland is president of Sosland Publishing Company and editor of Milling & Baking News and Food Business News magazines. An editor for the past 35 years, Mr. Sosland was named assistant editor in 1983 and became associate editor of markets in 1985. Coverage of ingredient markets was Mr. Sosland’s principal responsibility for the next 12 years. He was promoted to senior editor, markets, in 1990, and in 1997 was named executive editor of Milling & Baking News. He was promoted to editor in 2004 and has been editor of Food Business News since that magazine’s inception in 2005. He was named president of Sosland Publishing in 2015. Mr. Sosland is a 1982 graduate of Harvard College with a A.B. degree in economics.

Adam Stout

Risk management consultant

Mr. Stout is a Risk Management Consultant for Stonex, where he specializes in offering risk management services to the livestock and meat industry. He joined the company back in 2005 and today helps his customer base of livestock producers, meat processors, and end users such as retail outlets and restaurant chains by providing consulting and advisory services as well as the execution of hedge strategies using exchange-traded futures and options and over-the-counter (OTC) instruments. He received both his Bachelor of Business Administration and mathematics degrees from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO.

Hayden Wands

Vice president of global procurement, commodities
Grupo Bimbo

Mr. Wands is vice president of global procurement, commodities, at Grupo Bimbo. In this role he oversees and coordinates purchasing for all commodity-based ingredients as well as the corporation’s energy requirements. Earlier, he held various roles in grain trading, wheat procurement, flour sales and bakery ingredient procurement with Bimbo Bakeries USA, Sara Lee, Horizon/Cargill, Farmland Grain, ADM Milling Co. and Bartlett & Co. He is chairman of the Commodity and Agricultural Policy Committee of the American Bakers Association and a member of the executive leadership team of the Wheat Foods Council. He also has served on the Kansas City Board of Trade, the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and the Wheat Quality Council. He is a graduate of Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in flour milling science and in business marketing.

Jim Warner

Owner and President
J Warner, Inc.

Mr. Warner is the owner and president of J Warner, Inc., an industrial brokerage and importing firm based in Chicago. The company specializes in globally sourced tree nuts and dried fruit. Mr. Warner has more than 39 years of experience in the industry, servicing the confection, snack, cereal, baking and other ingredient industries both in the United States and internationally. He received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Business at Southern Illinois University.