2022 Speakers

Doug Baker

Vice President, Industry Relations, FMI

Doug Baker is the vice president of industry relations at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), a leading trade group for the grocery sector. He assists FMI's member communities in growing and thriving in various domains, such as private brands, technology, supply chain, and asset protection. He leads the Asset Protection Council, which strives to reduce merchandise loss and establish safe and healthy stores and workplaces, as well as the Technology Leadership Council, Supply Chain Council, Private Brands Council, and cross-industry efforts focused on transparency and data accuracy. Doug has more than 35 years of experience in food retail, working with Fry's Food Stores, Kraft/Nabisco, and Federated Foods in roles related to retail operations, consumer packaged goods, and private brand creation and marketing.


Shelley Balanko

Senior Vice President, Hartman Group

With a first love in understanding people, Shelley relishes her role in guiding business development efforts, fostering client relationships across the food and beverage industry landscape and matching clients' business needs to The Hartman Group's customized solutions-oriented offerings.

Shelley graduated from the University of Windsor with a Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology. She has a MA in Applied Social Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan and a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia.

Cheryl Baldwin,Ph.D.

Vice President of Sustainability Consulting and Marketing and Business Development, Pure Strategies, Inc.

Roger Davidson

President, Oakton Advisory Group

As President of his own advisory firm, Oakton Advisory Group, Mr. Davidson currently advises retailers and investment groups in the US and abroad on a host of issues to include mergers & acquisitions, private label development, organic and specialty food markets, as well as sustainable sourcing and production across supply chains. 

He also serves as Board Chairman and Chief Operating Officer at Magi Foods, an innovative food manufacturer focused on bringing affordable oat and grain products to market at many of the top US retailers.  

Mr. Davidson has held senior-level executive roles at many of the nation's largest supermarket chains, including Walmart Inc., Wild Oats (acquired by Whole Foods), SUPERVALU, and Ahold USA. The foundation of his career was built at HEB Food/Drug in San Antonio, Texas where he spent 20 years before departing as Senior VP of Grocery Merchandising, Procurement and Own Brand.

Christopher Durham

President, Velocity Institute

Christopher Durham is a retailer, thought leader author, consultant, and strategist with close to 20 years of experience creating, launching and building billion-dollar Private Brands. His influential organization, the Velocity Institute, seeks to drive the changing Private Brand landscape, focusing on the emerging art and science of Private Brand management.

He is a trusted consultant for many of the world’s leading retailers, including Petco, Family Dollar, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Grainger.

While working at Lowe’s Home Improvement, he developed and implemented the strategy for their multi-billion dollar portfolio of Private Brands, as well as creating and managing many of those brands. Before Lowe’s, he served as brand manager at Delhaize America, where he developed and delivered retail brand marketing as well as Private Brand strategy and development for Food Lion.

In 2017 Durham released the follow-up to his much-acclaimed first book “Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project.” His new book “Vanguard: Vintage Originals” presents a rich photographic look at Private Brand in America dating back to the mid-1800s and its implications for today’s retailers.

He has been featured in columns and interviews in the Washington Post, Brand Packaging magazine, The Dieline, Global Retail Brands, Food Processing magazine, Retail Leader, and PLMALive.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife Laraine and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.

Keisha Grell

Senior Consultant, Deloitte

Keisha is a leader in Deloitte’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Practice. She is a trained Industrial / Organizational Psychologist and leverages her expertise to help clients accelerate their DEI impact by designing and delivering across the full spectrum of Deloitte’s DEI solutions. Over the last 3 years, Keisha has focused her efforts on the intersection between DEI and the Future of Work, ensuring that as clients prepare, strategize, and adapt to the Future of Work – DEI efforts are a top consideration.

Andy S. Harig

Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development, FMI

Andrew S. Harig currently serves as Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development at FMI-The Food Industry Association. In this position, he is responsible for lobbying Congress and the Administration on behalf of FMI members, with a primary focus on agriculture, taxes, trade, sustainability, food waste, and pensions. Prior to joining FMI, Andy was an associate trade advisor and speechwriter for the Senate Finance Committee under its Chairman, Max Baucus (D-MT).  From 1999-2001, he was the senior research associate for the Global Economic Policy Project at the New America Foundation, a Washington, DC-based think tank. Andy holds a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

Stephanie Harris

General Counsel & Chief Regulatory Officer

Jennifer Hatcher

Chief Public Policy Officer & Senior Vice President, Government Relations, FMI

Jennifer Hatcher serves as Chief Public Policy Officer and Senior Vice President, Government Affairs for FMI - the Food Industry Association, overseeing federal, state and regulatory efforts on public policy, legislative and political issues impacting the supermarket industry.  She has held this position since April 2009 and has been at FMI in the government relations area since March 1998. 

Prior to coming to FMI, Jennifer served as Chief of Staff to United States Congressman Spencer Bachus (AL).  Jennifer also served as Special Assistant and White House Liaison at the Department of the Treasury during President George H.W. Bush’s Administration.  Jennifer has an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Communication from Vanderbilt University and a Masters in Government from Johns Hopkins University.

Jennifer has participated in a variety of congressional briefings and panels and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Committee on Ways and Means and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Edward Kerrigan

Principal Client Advisor EMEA (Retail & CPG), SAS

Ed Kerrigan is an industry expert with SAS who has been in the food retail industry for over 27 years. He has worked on both sides of the desk – both in Consumer Packaged Goods companies supplying Grocery Retailers, and subsequently as a Grocery Retail Buying Director. His global experience work spans from development of the Guinness Brand Portfolio in both the On-Trade & Off Trade Food Retail Sectors in Germany to product sourcing & buying responsibility for 20% of the Ambient Grocery Range & Fresh/Chilled Product Categories at Aldi UK/I. He spent many years in product development from concept to shelf for private label and national brands and developed award-winning own-label products. Currently Ed advises retail and consumer goods clients on how to accelerate their business transformation.

Steve Markenson

Steve Markenson, Vice President, Research, FMI

In his role at FMI, Markenson oversees the research & insights practice. He leads the discovery process on the latest industry trends and operational insights that champion FMI as a credible voice of the food retail industry. Markenson is a market research executive with 30 years of progressive experience in his field. His diverse experience includes research design, information/data collection and analysis and strategic planning.

Markenson was formerly the president of WBA Research, a national market research firm founded in 1987, where he oversaw more than 30 full-time professionals, along with a part-time staff of more than 100 telephone interviewers, field interviewers and support staff. Earlier in his career, Markenson worked at Snyder Communications, where he directed all aspects of more than 90 annual market research studies and presented results to brand management, market research departments, advertising and promotion agencies.

Kyle McKillop

Head, FoodData Central, USDA

Kyle McKillop is the lead on USDA's FoodData Central, an integrated data system that provides expanded nutrient profile data and links to related agricultural and experimental research. He has a Bachelor's in Computer Science and a Master's in Information Management with a specialty in Technology Development and Deployment. He previously worked for the University of Maryland's Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition where he worked on developing food database systems, including modernizing USDA's food composition database. Kyle is now with the USDA/ARS Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center to lead FoodData Central's data collection efforts and manage future application developments. He is an active participant of the public private partnership that works to expand the Global Branded Food Products database, published on FoodData Central.

Paul Mills- Hicks

Chairman, Curatyx

Paul Mills-Hicks is Chairman of Curatyx, a solutions led sourcing platform.  Previously he served as an Executive Board member at Sainsbury’s for seven years.  He was Commercial Director for Sainsbury’s Group, Chairman of Argos and Chairman of Nectar; the UK's largest digital loyalty programme. Mills-Hicks was responsible for all Buying & Merchandising, Own Brand, Supply Chain and Logistics across £30bn of sales in supermarkets, high street convenience and digital e-commerce as well as Marketing Propositions with a budget in excess of £600m.

David Orgel

Principal, David Orgel Consulting LLC

David Orgel is a food industry expert, business journalist and speaker who was the longtime chief editor of Supermarket News. He is principal of David Orgel Consulting LLC, focused on enhancing content and thought leadership for organizations in the food, retail and consumer packaged goods industries. 

Gaurav Pant

Chief Insights Officer, Incisiv

Alex Tosolini

Board Member, Strategic Advisor, Professor, Investor

Alex had a successful career at Procter & Gamble for 24 years (1990-2014), working across multiple categories and geographies in a variety of roles related to strategic planning, general management, strategic partnerships, and eCommerce leadership. Following P&G, Alex took on a role at Kroger as SVP of New Business Development – an officer of the company reporting directly to the CEO. After Kroger, he became CEO of PDC Brands. Now Alex works as Board Member, Strategic Advisor, and/or Investor with a number of entities – Cluep, Electrada, Invrsion, Gruppo Food, Qiibee, Crown Cincinnati and SDA Bocconi. He also teaches within the MBA programs at both Xavier University and Miami University. Alex received his Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) with a focus on International Business from Universitá Bocconi.

Spencer Wicks

CEO, Mintec

Spencer Wicks is the CEO of Mintec, the world's leading provider of global pricing data, price forecasts and intelligence for food ingredients and associated commodities. With significant experience in the commodity markets specializing in metals, Spencer has developed a wide range of innovative tools and bespoke data sets. Prior to his current role, Spencer has for many years led diverse global teams in the development of commodity price benchmarks, price forecasting and indexes to help organizations and markets operate more effectively.

Spencer earned his degree from the University of Lancaster following which he went on to achieve a master's degree from the University of Sussex.

Richard Widdowson

VP Retail Solutions, SAS

Richard Widdowson is the Vice President, Global Retail and Consumer Goods Solutions for SAS. In this role, he guides retailers and consumer goods companies along their digital transformation journey, using analytics to turn a world of data into a world of intelligence.  

Widdowson has 25 years of leadership within multi-retail environments, including mass merchants, grocery stores, national chain drug stores, and department stores. While working in the UK, US, and Canada and overseeing operations in 14 countries, he has led technology implementations and business transformations using Oracle, JDA, IBM, and SAS to improve processes and efficiencies resulting in significant top and bottom-line increases. 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/widdowson