Pet Food Conference

January 30, 2024 | 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. ET
Georgia World Congress Center | Thomas B. Murphy Ballroom | Atlanta, Ga.
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Nathan Bingaman

Nathan “Nate” Bingaman is the Director of Operations and Co-Owner for D1 Resources, Inc. Nate is a 2003 graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in Feed Science & Management.  Nate has been involved in the industry since high school with plant and project management across the United States as well as multiple projects internationally. He has worked on projects for animal feed, pet food and premix, and human food processes.

Dave Edwards

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. 

George Ferguson

George Ferguson is the agricultural feed administrator with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and is responsible for the management of the Food and Drug Protection Division's Feed Section and execution of the North Carolina Farmer Feed Testing Service. He has served in this role for over 6 years. Prior to serving as the administrator, he was the feed safety officer and feed compliance officer.

Mr. Ferguson has been very involved in the Association of American Feed Control Officials since 2013.

Before joining NCDA&CS, he worked for Blue Seal Feeds as a dealer development and sales manager, Family Home & Garden as a director of retail operations as well as a drill instructor with the U.S. Army.  He received is bachelor’s degree in poultry science from North Carolina State University.

John  T. Hoffman

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. 

Clare Hsu

Clare Hsu is originally from Taipei City, Taiwan where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy in 2019. After graduation, she moved to Champaign, Illinois to pursue her studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Dr. Maria Godoy’s companion animal nutrition laboratory. Clare has been working on several projects since she started, including resistant starch in feline nutrition, hydrolyzed and plant protein in canine nutrition, and extrusion effects on protein quality.

Carolyn Kennedy

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.

Samuel Kiprotich

Samuel Kiprotich is a doctoral student supervised by Dr. Greg Aldrich in the Department of Grain Science & Industry at Kansas State University. Samuel’s research focuses on the use of non-thermal technologies and food additives to control foodborne pathogens in semi-moist and raw meat-based diets for companion animals. He earned a B.S in Food Science and Technology from Makerere University, Uganda, and an M.S in Food Science and Technology with a focus in food safety and microbiology from Iowa State University. Samuel has presented at an at an annual meeting for the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), Arkansas Association for Food Protection (AAFP) and Pet Food Forum (PFF).

Thembi Machaba

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.

Erin Mies

Erin Mies is Co-Founder of People Spark Consulting, where she works with business leaders in ag. and food manu. throughout the U.S. to develop straightforward, practical solutions to help businesses grow sustainably. In this role, she works with businesses on supervisor and leadership development and practical change management. She began her career with General Mills, working in several manufacturing facilities as HR leader. She then spent several years with Land O’Lakes, Purina Animal Nutrition as a HR leader. 

Erin and her co-founding business partner Kristen Ireland are frequent guest speakers on practical HR and change management topics. Their first book will be released 2022. 

Erin is also an adjunct instructor and career consultant with the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s School of Labor and Employment Relations. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Wittenberg University and her Master of HR and Industrial Relations, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Todd Renner

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Todd Renner leads a team of investigators focused on imposing risk and consequences on nation state cyber actors and a team pursuing international financially-motivated cyber criminals. Prior to his promotion to the Atlanta Field Office, he was the FBI Assistant Legal Attaché in London, England, integrated with United Kingdom and Irish authorities, investigating complex international counterintelligence and computer intrusion activities. 
SSA Renner served in a joint assignment as the FBI’s representative to NSA. He was promoted to the role in FBI Headquarters Cyber Division Technical Operations Unit and Operational Technology Division Remote Operations Unit. In this role, he developed and implemented intelligence generating opportunities for the U.S. Govt. 
He has served as a case agent, forensic examiner and SWAT operator in multiple field offices within the U.S. holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and a Master’s in business administration.  

Pawan Singh

Pawan graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Business. In Fall 2020, she began her Master's degree in companion animal nutrition with Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller. The focus of Pawan's research is grain-free diets for dogs, specifically the implications that varying levels of pulse inclusion have on canine metabolic health parameters and cardiac function. This year at AFIA, she will be presenting data from a six-month feeding trial that investigated the effects of pulse inclusion ranging from zero to forty-five percent in canine diets on echocardiographic and blood cardiac parameters.

Gina Tumbarello

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.
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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 manager of membership & engagement, for any questions regarding AFIA membership opportunities. 


Contact Lynette, AFIA’s specialist, meetings and events, for any questions regarding sponsorships, registrations, travel and hotel accomodations.