Advisory Council

The Advisory Council for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Food Science serves as an external advisory group to the Chair, faculty and students of the department. Members are asked for counsel and advice concerning programs in teaching, research and extension for the Department of Food Science. The Council represents the variety of stakeholders with whom the department, through its programs, interact. It serves as a two-way communication channel providing advice and counsel on those issues which the Chair brings to the Council and serving as a mechanism by which concerns from the stakeholders can be brought to the attention of the Chair.

Advisory Council Members

Director of Executive Team Governance and Enterprise Strategic Planning, Rich Products Corporation

Kristin Alongi is the Director of Executive Team Governance and Enterprise Strategic Planning at Rich Products Corporation, a frozen food manufacturer, in Buffalo, NY. She is responsible for fostering the development and heightened performance of Rich’s Executive Leadership Team and driving organizational change through the effective governance of the executive activities within the enterprise portfolio.

Prior to this role, Kristin was the Director of Portfolio Management, overseeing Rich’s New Product Development & Innovation portfolio management and go-to-market process strategy. Other past experiences include: go-to-market process oversight for the Pizza Category and four years as an R&D product developer for Rich’s Innovation and Bakery Teams.

She was the Valedictorian of Hamilton College, with a BA in Chemistry, and holds both an MS in Food Science from Cornell University, and an MBA from SUNY Oswego. Past research expertise includes Juice Processing, and Computational Chemistry.

Kristin sits on the Massachusetts’s Avenue Project Board of Directors and two Cornell University Advisory Councils: Food Science and Cornell AgriTech at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY. Previous leadership includes serving as member (2010-2014) and Chair (2012) of the Western New York Institute for Food Technologists.

Co-Founder/Technical Manager with g-works, General Mills

Illeme is a Co-Founder/Technical Manager within g-works at General Mills, where she is leveraging capabilities within the company and applying an entrepreneurial mindset to identify opportunities and create new business in high growth spaces to accelerate General Mills growth initiatives. Most recently, she was an Associate Manager in the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition at General Mills, where she had accountability for Nutrition, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for the Convenience and Food Service Business Segment, as well as Omnichannel Acceleration through Child Nutrition Programs. In the last 12 years at General Mills, she has held various positions, including management roles in Product Development, External Innovation, Health and Wellness Communications.

Illeme serves on the Board of Directors for Provider’s Choice Inc, an organization that supports Childcare professionals who serve healthy meals and snacks. She is also the Founder and Managing Owner of ShoMikks Custom Jewelry and Accessories.

Illeme has an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Food Science from Cornell University, where she conducted her research under the Mentorship of Professor Olga Padilla-Zakour. She has a B.S. in Food Science, with a Minor in Chemistry from Alabama A&M University.

Advisory Council Incoming Chair; Senior Technical Services Manager, TIC Gums

Tim Andon is the Senior Technical Services Manager at TIC Gums, Inc. He has more than 11 years’ experience in a variety of functions including purchasing, technical sales, business development, and R&D.

His current role in R&D focuses on working closely with customers to address technical issues and develop customized solutions. He is also heavily involved in training new food scientists for future roles in the company. Tim has a B.S. in Food Science from Cornell University.

CEO, American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI)

Alison Bodor is President and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), the member driven national trade association that advances the interests of all segments of the $50 billion frozen food and beverage industry.

As president and CEO Bodor is working to deliver member value by ensuring that AFFI’s activities contribute to both the individual company and collective success of the industry. Bodor is leading efforts to deliver on AFFI’s strategic plan to advance food safety, advocate for frozen, increase consumption and grow resources. Her mission is to ensure that frozen foods and beverages are proudly chosen to meet the needs of a changing world.

Prior to her tenure at AFFI, Bodor served as executive vice president of the National Confectioner's Association (NCA) where she provided strategic leadership across multiple disciplines while directly leading the association’s public policy and advocacy team. In this capacity, she oversaw NCA’s legislative, regulatory and research priorities around health, food safety, agriculture and trade policy, and the cocoa supply chain.

Bodor also held positions in domestic and international regulatory compliance at McCormick & Company and the U.S. Dairy Export Council before joining NCA in 2000. Early in her career, Alison worked for Technical Assessment Systems and then Environ International Corporation conducting dietary risk assessments for the food and agricultural industries.

She holds an MBA from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in Food Science from Cornell University.

Manager of Sensory and Sample Collections, Synergy Flavors, Inc.

Bryson C. Bolton manages a team that integrates sensory understanding into the flavor and application design process by ensuring that methods are aligned with objectives to provide sensory insights at Synergy Flavors, Inc. He also leads a team that selects and sends flavors and applications to domestic and international customers.

Before joining Synergy, Bryson was the Sensory & Consumer Research Manager at Product Dynamics. There he provided leadership, guidance, and insight on sensory and consumer research activities. He was also a primary customer contact and served as a key client advisor and resource to many food, beverage, and ingredient companies. Bryson has also worked as a Sensory Scientist at Kraft Foods and the Kellogg Company (Intern).

Bryson is a former IFT Board of Director and active volunteer. He is a former Adjunct Sensory Evaluation Instructor at Dominican University, an active member in the American Society for Testing Materials, E-18, and the Society of Sensory Professionals; and he is currently serving on Cornell’s Food Science Advisory Council.

Bryson holds a BS in Food Science with a minor in Chemistry from Alabama A&M University, and an MS in Food Science with a concentration in Sensory Science and a minor in Enology from Cornell University. Bryson has a passion for food, culture, sensory, and travel; and he resides in the Chicago area with his wife Khara.

Vice President, Applications and Technical Services, Tate & Lyle

James M. Carr, Ph.D. has over 30 years of experience in the food and dietary supplements industry and is currently Tate & Lyle’s VP Applications & Technical Service. Before joining Tate and Lyle, Jim worked for Degussa Food Ingredients and was responsible for Global Marketing and Sales for the company’s BioActives business. The majority of Jim’s career has been in Research and Development as head of SKW BioSystem’s Research Group and Sanofi’s North American Technical Function. Jim started his career with the General Mills and Mondelez in new product development and ingredient research. He has authored a variety of scientific publications and has served on technical boards for the International Food Additives Council, the Association for Dressings and Sauces and Dairy Management Inc. He holds a B.S. degree from Cornell University, M.S. degree from the University of California Davis, Ph.D. degree from Cornell University and MBA degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Senior Global Brand Manager, Unilever

Michelle Colban is a Senior Global Brand Manager at Unilever, with experience in Brand Management and New Product Development. Her career experience spans across a range of CPG categories including food (beverages, soups, sauces, spreads) and personal care (skin cleansing, skin care, hair).

Michelle graduated from Cornell with a B.S. in Food Science and received an MBA in Marketing from The Johnson School. She is now an active Cornell volunteer, has served as President of the CALS Alumni Association Board of Directors, is a visiting lecturer in CALS, and leads Unilever's on campus recruiting team.

VP of Viticulture, Chemistry and Enology, E&J Gallo Winery

Dr. Nick Dokoozlian is the Vice President of Viticulture, Chemistry and Enology at E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto, CA. He also serves as the Research Chair for the National Grape and Wine Initiative, as well as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Viticulture and Enology.

Prior to joining E&J Gallo, Dokoozlian was a member of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, where his research focused on the effects of cultural practices and environmental factors on grape and wine composition. Dr. Dokoozlian received his PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of California, Davis.

Partner of AUA Private Equity Partners, LLC

Steven Flyer is a Partner of AUA Private Equity Partners, LLC, a lower middle-market private equity firm with a sector focus on consumer products and services. Mr. Flyer serves as a member of AUA Equity’s Investment Committee. Mr. Flyer is currently Chairman of the Board of Raymundos Food Group, LLC and currently serves on the board of directors of Gourmet Culinary Holdings, LLC, Indulge Desserts Holdings, LLC, Tijuana Flats Restaurants, LLC, Associated Foods Holdings, LLC and Two-Twenty Records Management, LLC. Mr. Flyer is also a mentor for AccelFoods, a food and beverage accelerator offering resources and guidance to emerging consumer companies.

Director of R&D for Water+ and Food Service, PepsiCo Beverages North America

Julia Fritsch is the Director of R&D for Water+ and Food Service at PepsiCo Beverages North America. She is responsible for executing Product, Packaging and Food Service Equipment launches across North America acting as a liaison between R&D, Marketing, Finance and Supply Chain for both categories. Julia has been working for PepsiCo for 17+ years.

Prior to this role, Julia spent eight years with PepsiCo Latin America Beverages where she led New Product Development for Water+, New Sparkling and Energy categories with teams in Brazil and Mexico, while also leading Innovation Portfolio Management across all beverage categories for the LATAM region. Additional experience gained in earlier roles at PepsiCo R&D were in Product Development across multiple product categories: Colas, Dairy, Enhanced Water and Juice.

Julia holds both a B.S. and M.S. degrees in Food Science from Cornell University and is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Innovation Lead - Global Gum & Candy R&D, Mondelēz International

Hazel Fromm Tatosian is a highly collaborative R&D leader with 15 years of experience in the food and snacks industry. She currently leads the North American Gum category team at Mondelēz International and is responsible for creating a robust innovation pipeline for U.S. and Canadian markets. Hazel is recognized by her peers for her ability to motivate and build high performing teams and lead through change.

President, The Gellert Global Group

Andrew Gellert is the President of Gellert Global Group headquartered in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he has worked for the past 30 years.

The Gellert Global Group consists of many of the leading North American food importing companies, and has been involved in importing food products for nearly 100 years. The family member companies of the Gellert Global Group bring a broad variety of imported food products to all aspects of the food industry. The combined revenues of the Group exceed $1 billion. The combined resources of the Group companies provide strength in sourcing, insurance, finance, logistics, and information technology.

The Group supplies the needs of retailers, distributors, foodservice chains, hotels, cruise lines, and food manufacturers alike. The Group is also active in restaurant operations and non-food operations, as well as real estate investments in the greater metropolitan NY area.

Andrew M. Gellert is an active member of the Cornell Institute of Food Science Advisory Council. He is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Food Industries Incorporated (AFI). He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) New York Metro Chapter. Andrew is married to Stacy and has three children Samantha 20, Ben 18, and Adam 16. He resides in Randolph, New Jersey and is a 1989 graduate of Cornell University with a degree in food marketing.

Senior Vice President-Product Research & Food Safety, Dairy Management Inc.

Bill Graves is Senior Vice President- Product Research & Food Safety at the National Dairy Council. Dairy Management Inc. is the parent group to the National Dairy Council, U.S. Dairy Export Council and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. He leads the product research program to drive innovation and sales of dairy products and ingredients on behalf of U.S. dairy farmers. He is responsible for all aspects of product research including developing the strategic agenda, working with stakeholders to set national priorities, and providing oversight for the National Dairy Foods Research Center program.

Bill has over 30 years of industry experience in R&D, Quality, and Innovation working at Kraft Foods leading and commercializing a large number of food and beverage innovations in more than 10 different categories.

Bill received his undergraduate degree in Food Science at Cornell University, M.S. in Food Science at Rutgers University and M.B.A. from New York University.

Advisory Council Past Chair; VP of Operations and Research Services, The Understanding & Insight Group, LLC

After graduating Cornel University with a BS in Food Science and obtaining an MS in Food Science at Rutgers University, Leslie joined Unilever. During his career he has worked on an extensive portfolio of products including soups, side dishes, peanut butter, frozen complete meals, and beverages (both tea and non-tea based). At his retirement in 2014 after 35 years of service, he became the Vice President of Operations & Research Services for The Understanding & Insight Group, LLC.

Leslie has been active in both the local section of IFT, as well as national IFT activities.

During his career, and even more so after his retirement, he has mentored students and industry professionals.

He currently sits on Advisory Councils for University of California at Davis, Cornell University and Michigan State University’s Department of Food Science.

Director Quality & Regulatory Affairs, 3M Center

Global Vice President of Food Safety, Quality, and Regulatory Affairs, Cargill

Sean Leighton is Cargill’s Global Vice President of Food Safety, Quality, and Regulatory Affairs. With a career spanning more than 15 years in the food and beverage industry, Sean has intimate knowledge of the science and standards that make food safe, and the strategies to ensure the quality of
supply chains that feed our world.

Before joining Cargill in 2017, Sean served as Vice President of Quality Assurance, Safety, and Environmental Sustainability at The Coca-Cola Company, where he spent 12 years in roles of increasing responsibility. He also worked at Land O’ Lakes Incorporated.

Sean’s passion for food safety and quality extends beyond Cargill. He currently serves on advisory boards of the Global Food Safety Initiative, Institute of Food Technologists, and the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety. In these leadership roles, and in his daily work at Cargill, Sean is leading cutting edge work to nourish our world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way.

Sean holds a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master of science degree in food science from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from Emory University. Sean and his wife have two children and reside in Minnesota.

Vice President of Qimei Organic

Jinzhou Li (Joel) is currently the Vice President of Qimei Organic, a multinational organic farming and food processing company in China and the US. Joel is also the founder of Whole Healthy Food, which focuses on therapeutic food ingredients for food, beverage, and dietary supplement applications. Joel has experience in start-up, export/import, e-commerce, farming, food processing, and marketing in the Chinese and American food industries. Joel has significant experience and expertise in plant-based products, including plant proteins, plant extracts, dried and frozen fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Joel got his Ph.D. degree in Food Science from Cornell University, MS degree in Human Nutrition from Columbia University, and BE degree in Food Science and Engineering from Tianjin University in China. Joel's main interests include discovering, developing, and supplying healthy food ingredients and final products from natural and organic food sources. He is devoted to promoting effective communication between food industries that span across different countries.

Research Industry Lead - Consumer Products, Business Solutions and Mathematical Sciences, IBM Research

Robin Lougee is the IBM Research Lead for Consumer Products & Agriculture. She is a senior industrial research scientist with a strong track record of delivering innovation to IBM and its customers. Robin pioneered the creation of COIN-OR, an open-source foundry for computational operations research, and led its growth to an independent non-profit that has served the scientific and business community for over 15 years. She currently serves as the Steering Committee Chair for the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture and an Advisory Board Member for the Cornell University Department of Food Science.

CEO/President, New England Natural Bakers, Inc.

Chuck Marble is an experienced executive in the food industry, with the capacity of managing all facets of a corporation both domestically and international. He has over 25 years experience in the Food Industry, including Executive Management, Sales, Marketing, and Plant Operations.

Most recently, Chuck has been working for New England Natural Bakers, Inc., as their new CEO/President. Formerly, Chuck was CEO for Elevation Brands, LLC and impacted the business by providing leadership and experience with pioneering Allergy Friendly/Gluten Free products, and value added sustainable seafood with the Ian’s and Blue Horizon Wild brands respectively. Prior employment includes Weetabix/Barbara’s Bakery as Executive Vice President North America, responsible for managing their North American business for Weetabix Food Company headquartered in UK. He is credited for quickly re-energizing their brands utilizing innovation, new sales strategy and leveraging operational synergies resulting in increased sales in US, Canada and Mexico. His experience spans meat, snacks, baking, and specialty CPG goods.

Chuck received his M.B.A. from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He achieved a B.S. from Cornell University in Food Science and an A.A.S. degree from Alfred State College in Animal Science. He is currently serving on the Cornell University Food Science Advisory Council. His lifetime Eagle Scout achievement provides his foundation of leadership, values and business ethics.

Senior Vice President of Global Quality, Food Safety & Regulatory Affairs, Chobani

Dr. Alejandro Mazzotta was appointed Vice President of Global Quality, Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs with Chobani in 2013. Prior to joining Chobani, Dr. Mazzotta worked for Campbell Soup Company, McDonald’s Corporation, Pillsbury/General Mills, and National Food Processors Association (currently GMA, Grocery Manufacturers Association).

Dr. Mazzotta was elected to serve in the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Executive Board for a five-year term of successive positions, assuming the IAFP presidency in 2016. He is currently serving as IAFP Past President. Dr. Mazzotta was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) from 2004 to 2009. He serves on the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia (CFS) and the BioMerieux Industry advisory boards, and is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists.

Dr. Mazzotta has published more than 25 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals in both English and Spanish, and has spoken at numerous international meetings and symposia. He served on the Editorial Boards of Applied and Environmental Microbiology from the American Society for Microbiology and the Journal of Food Protection from International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).

Dr. Mazzotta has been appointed as Adjunct Professor at Cornell University’s Department of Food Science. A native of Argentina, he earned a B.S./M.S. (1985) degrees in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires, and a Doctoral Degree (1997) in Food Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

 

Director, Division of Milk Control & Dairy Services, NYS Dept. of Ag & Markets

Casey McCue is the Director of Milk Control and Dairy Services at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Casey has been involved in the dairy industry his entire life. Growing up, he was deeply involved with his grandparent’s dairy farm in Lewis County.

Casey attended SUNY Canton and earned his Associates Degree in Dairy Foods. Before entering public service, he worked for Kraft General Foods in their cream cheese facility in the Quality Assurance Department and as a Certified Milk Inspector for Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative. Casey started with New York State in 2000 as a Dairy Products Specialist, then in 2006 as the Compliance and Enforcement Coordinator. In 2009, he became Program Manager; in 2012, the Director of Milk Control, and added Dairy Services in 2015. Currently, Mr. McCue supervises a staff of approximately 50 and is responsible for the statewide dairy regulatory program as well as dairy services functions at the Department, such as licensing and producer security.

In addition, Casey participates in a number of industry organizations, serving in several leadership roles: past president of NADRO (National Association of Dairy Regulatory Officials), Executive Board member for the NCIMS (National Conference of Interstate Milk Shipments), Chair of the Liaison Committee between the NCIMS and FDA and as an Executive Board member of the NYS Association of Food Protection.

Director, R&D Cheese, US Refrigerated BU at Kraft Heinz

Meghan Mcilroy is the Head of Canada Research and Development at Kraft Heinz, a trusted food producer of a wide ranging food and beverage portfolio, based in Glenview, IL. She is responsible for driving growth and ensuring business continuity through product, packaging, and process R&D for Kraft Heinz Canada’s portfolio including brands such as Kraft, Heinz, Maxwell House, Philadelphia, and Renee’s.

Prior to this role, Meghan led major US product launches such as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Renovation, Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Innovation, and Jell-O Refrigerated Ready to Eat Gelatin Renovation. Other past experiences include global research programs, portfolio management tools and commercialization processes, consumer research, product development, and quality system exposure.

She has a BS in Food Science from Cornell University. Past research includes Listeria characterization and milk spoilage.

She is active in Girl Scouts as a Troop Leader and Elementary School Organizer. Previous leadership includes Kraft Employee Fund Council Member (2005-2007) and IFT Scholarship Jury (2016, 2017).

Chief Food Scientist, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

Kathleen O'Donnell started her career at Wegmans as a part-time employee in the bakery. Following her graduation from Cornell University (B.S., M.S.), she became a member of the quality assurance team at Wegmans Meat Center, focusing on product quality assurance, environmental monitoring programs and product development. She developed the first HACCP program for the Wegmans Meat Center. Kathleen is now Chief Food Scientist and addresses issues of a regulatory, technical or scientific nature for food and non-food products.

Director - FSQA & Sanitation, POM Wonderful, LLC

Ashish currently serves as Director of Food Safety & Quality Assurance at POM Wonderful LLC. Before POM, he worked in different FSQA roles at Saputo Cheese and Leprino Foods. He holds a BS and MS in Dairy/Food Science and is passionate about continuous improvement, food safety, and leadership. He currently resides in Fresno with his wife (also a food scientist) and a daughter.

VP Food Safety and Public Health, Ecolab, Inc.

Dr. Ruth Petran is Vice President, Food Safety and Public Health at Ecolab. She provides technical expertise and consultation to internal and external customers on food safety and public health issues, by identifying and tracking emerging food safety trends and new control strategies.

Prior to joining Ecolab, Ruth held several food safety positions at Pillsbury and General Mills. Ruth has served two terms on the National Advisory Committee for the Microbiological Criteria for Foods, chairs the Minnesota Food Safety and Defense Task Force and serves on the Executive Board of the International Association for Food Protection. She is a recognized HACCP instructor in Ecolab’s Advanced HACCP course which is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance.

Dr. Petran has a Bachelor of Science degree in Consumer Food Science from Cornell, a, MS in Food Science from the University of Minnesota, and PhD in Public Health from the University of Minnesota.

Vice President of Sales, North America, IFF

Erica Reiner is Vice President of Sales, Flavors, North America at IFF. She is a people focused strategic leader with a track record of driving growth, value and profitability across a global portfolio. Her career experience includes middle market and large cap flavor houses with a focus on innovation and cross functional collaboration.

President & CEO, International Food Network, Inc.

In 1987, Mr. Salmon founded the International Food Network (IFN) to provide advisory services to the food, beverage and supplement industries. He is a Certified Food Scientist, a Certified Packaging Professional, a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists and a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science & Technology (UK).

Peter earned his B.S. in Food Science & Human Nutrition from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), his M.S. from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in Food Science (Food Microbiology) and his M.B.A. from Fordham University (Gabelli Graduate School of Business) in Marketing & Finance.

In addition to founding and managing International Food Network, Mr. Salmon has held various research and group management positions at large multinational food companies, including General Mills and General Foods (now Kraft Foods) where he was involved with developing and launching several successful food and beverage products that are recognized and used domestically in North America and around the world.

Mr. Salmon served as Vice President of Consulting Services for Covance Laboratories, a global leader in nutritional chemistry, food microbiology and safety testing and product design and consumer acceptance testing. He is a life-time member of Phi Tau Sigma, the honor society for food science graduates as well as Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society for M.B.A. graduates. He serves on the University of Massachusetts Food Science Advisory Board as well as the Cornell University Institute of Food Science Advisory Council. He was the 2012 Chair of the Institute of Food Technologists’ Packaging Division Competition Committee and twice served as Division Co-Chair. He served 9 years on the Board of Directors of Sensient Technologies Corporation, a multi-national publicly traded company with shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and the world’s leading manufacturer of natural food colors. He also served on the Sensient Technologies Scientific Advisory Committee and the Finance Committee. He currently serves on the IFT Finance Committee. His education and career has included extensive world-wide travel and residence in England, Belgium, Switzerland, Argentina, Mexico and throughout the U.S.

Throughout his career, Mr. Salmon has combined technical expertise with entrepreneurship and hands-on international business management emphasizing the development and commercialization of innovative foods and beverages, dietary supplements, nutritional additives and related packaging and food safety matters.

Mr. Salmon is a U.S. citizen whose primary residence is in Ithaca, New York and secondary residence in Naples, Florida. He is married and has four children and three grandchildren. He is very involved in the Ithaca community where he has served as Board Chair for the Tompkins County United Way, as well as Chair and member of various United Way committees (Personnel, Finance, Planning) and Board member of various not-for-profit social service organizations.