October Purchasing Seminar Speakers
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
President, Sosland Publishing
Editor, Milling & Baking News and Food Business News
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.
Vice president of global procurement, commodities
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.