AFIA Pet Food Conference

January 25, 2022
7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET
Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta, Ga.
AFIA Header Image


The speaker line-up will be available on October 10. Please check back later.

Dr. Dave Edwards is the Director of the Division of Animal Feeds at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). The Division regulates animal food, including premarket ingredient approvals, medicated feed and post-market feed safety monitoring. He joined the office as the Deputy Director in 2014.    

Prior to joining the CVM, Dr. Edwards served as the Director of animal biotechnology at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) in Washington, D.C.  BIO is the world’s largest biotechnology trade association. He has also worked on the majority professional staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and as a congressional science fellow with the Federation of Animal Science Societies on the same committee.   

Dr. Edwards grew up in Iowa and raised pigs, sheep and specialty crops. He received his bachelor’s in genetics and agricultural biochemistry from Iowa State University and his master’s and Ph.D. in animal science breeding and genetics at Michigan State University. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Federal Executive Institute. 

Col. John T. Hoffman is a Senior Research Fellow with the Food Protection and Defense Institute, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence at the University of Minnesota.   He served in the United States Army in Military Law Enforcement, Intelligence and Anti-Terrorism roles including the protection of military supply systems against attack.   With a strong background in protecting the nation’s food supply infrastructure, he has also served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Justice, and as a post-9/11 Appointee during the Bush Administration with U.S. Department of Homeland Security, prior to Joining FPDI. His current areas of focus are on improving the resilience of the nation’s food supply systems and to reduce risks to the complex supply chains that support the food and agriculture infrastructure. John has extensive experience in developing, operating, hardening and sustaining extensive cyber systems.   With the recent growth in cyber-attacks targeting our nation’s critical infrastructures, including the food and agriculture sector, John has focused on protecting the nation’s food supply chains from the impact of system disruptions, cascading consequences of cyber attacks on critical industries and the reduction of vulnerability to such attacks. 

EAS Consulting Group’s Carolyn Kennedy works with pet food companies on new and innovative product development and formulae, helping them to meet market needs and demands. As an independent consultant, she assists with brand management and nutritional support, incorporating new trends into pet food lines in compliance with AAFCO regulations. Carolyn organizes lab testing, analysis and procedures to ensure products comply with required criteria and offers complete regulatory reviews relating to new products, product challenges and industry changes.

Thembi Machaba has over 20 years of experience in the Human Resources and Organization Effectiveness field. She has held a number of functional leadership roles within FMCG organizations, and across different geographies. Thembi is an accomplished senior executive with specific experience in Human Capital Strategy, Organization Design and Talent Management.  She has designed and led large scale business transformation projects and has extensive knowledge and experience working with Executive and Senior Management teams in formulating strategy, identifying and managing their capability challenges and developing appropriate Human Resource programs.

Thembi currently holds the role of Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Freshpet in Pennsylvania. She is most passionate about creating sustainable solutions to complex and recurring business challenges and bringing simplicity to organizational chaos. She has a great appreciation for the role leadership plays in shaping and directing the culture and performance of any organization.

Thembi holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree in Economics and Industrial Psychology from the University of  Kwazulu-Natal , South Africa.

Gina Tumbarello is the American Feed Industry Association’s senior director of international policy and trade. Tumbarello is responsible for leading the development of priority import and export issues for the feed industry globally. She serves as the industry advocate, addressing trade constraints and communicating the interests of the feed, feed ingredient and pet food industries to various government agencies. Tumbarello is the staff contact for the AFIA International Trade Committee. In 2014, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack appointed Tumbarello to the Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee for Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds, where she represents AFIA and advises the secretary of agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on international issues relevant to the industry. Tumbarello brings with her an extensive background in international trade, joining AFIA in 2011 from the U.S. Grains Council, where she served as manager of international operations, managing the council’s market development and access programs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Prior to the U.S. Grains Council, she served as the manager of government contracts administration for CEVA Freight Management and as project manager for J.E. Austin Associates, where she worked on economic development projects for World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Tumbarello holds a master’s degree in international policy studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in Monterey, Calif., and a bachelor’s degree in diplomacy and foreign affairs and German from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
Facebook instagram LinkedIn Twitter YouTube

Contact Us


Contact Louise, AFIA’s director of regulatory affairs, for any questions regarding conference agenda, committee questions and event expectations. 

SARAH NOVAK     (703) 558-3574       SNOVAK@AFIA.ORG

Contact Sarah, AFIA’s vice president of membership and public relations, for any questions regarding AFIA membership opportunities. 


Contact Lynette, AFIA’s specialist of meetings and events, for any questions regarding sponsorships and registration.