Previous Expert Speakers

Meet the expert speakers who presented thought-provoking content at our 2017 event.

  • Dr. Stephen Klump

    Global Head of Packaging Quality and Safety Nestlé

    Stephen Klump is the Global Head of Packaging Quality and Safety for Nestlé. The responsibilities include leading Nestlé’s packaging safety and compliance program.

    Stephen has 10+ years’ experience in the packaging food safety area. Dr. Klump earned a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Ohio State University in the USA. After a several years working in the chemicals industry and a transitional role in the beverage industry, Dr. Klump moved to Nestlé. During his 17+ years with Nestlé, Stephen worked at several Nestlé locations including the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne Switzerland developing methods to test for migrants from packaging materials. Following, Dr. Klump supported packaging safety for Nestlé at a zone/regional level and now at a global level. He is now based in Marysville Ohio in the USA.

  • Adrian Varela Alvarez

    Team Leader Americas Decernis GmbH

    Adrián Varela joined Decernis in 2012, working first as a Junior Researcher focused on Latin American countries, then as a Senior Researcher on all customer questions related to Food Standards and Product Safety.  In addition, Adrian has been a Project Manager for several special projects covering the Latin American region. Adrian was recently promoted to Team Leader for the Americas in June 2016 and now leads the research endeavors of a group of Researchers covering North America, South America, and the Caribbean.

    Mr. Varela also works closely with Kevin Kenny, the COO of Decernis, and has accompanied Mr. Kenny to various Smithers - Pira conferences throughout Europe in recent years.  Mr. Varela and Mr. Kenny co-presented at a conference as recently as December 2016 in Brussels, Belgium on the regulation of Paper & Paperboard in Latin America.

    Currently Mr. Varela is based in Madrid and works closely with the Decernis European teams. He is a graduate of a degree program in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Valladolid (Spain), and he has continued his studies at the University of Salzburg (Austria), the Institut Libre Marie Haps (Brussels, Belgium), and the University of Florence (Italy). Mr. Varela is a native speaker of Spanish and is also fluent in English, French and Italian. His professional background has always been focused on International relationships, through his experiences in the Consulate body of Florence (Italy) collaborating with the Consulate of Spain, Mexico and Burkina Faso, together with the Association Italy-Kuwait and the Court of Florence as sworn translator.

  • Dr. Kirk Arvidson

    Supervisory Chemist, Division of Food Contact Notifications FDA

    Kirk Arvidson received a B.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Iowa State University.  Dr. Arvidson is currently a supervisory chemist in the Division of Food Contact Notifications in FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety and an expert in assessing human exposure to food additives.  In addition to his duties as a chemist, Dr. Arvidson serves as team leader for the Office’s structure activity relationship (SAR) Team. The SAR Team performs computational toxicology modeling of new food additives and their impurities to support FDA’s safety assessment of these materials. The team also conducts research in the area of applying new computational toxicology models and paradigms such as the toxicological threshold of concern (TTC) to the safety assessment of food additives and their contaminants. Dr. Arvidson is the lead for the development of the food additives knowledge-base, CERES; a chemical centric database that captures the Office’s institutional knowledge, including dietary intake values, regulatory history and supporting safety data, on food and color additives, GRAS ingredients and biotech derived foods.  Dr. Arvidson served as an expert for a number of workshops on the threshold of toxicological concern and for the Joint FAO/WHO Project to assess the benefits and risks of the use of "active chlorine" in food production and food processing.

  • Deborah Attwood

    Associate Steptoe & Johnson LLP

    Deborah C. Attwood is an associate at Steptoe, where she is a member of the Regulatory and Industry Affairs Department. She concentrates her practice on food and drug law. In particular, Deborah advises both domestic and international clients on product compliance with FDA regulations pertaining to direct and indirect food additives, food packaging, and labeling issues.

    • USA
  • Leslie A. Beyer, M.S., DABT, CIH

    Principal Scientist Gradient Corp

    Ms. Beyer is a principal scientist and toxicologist with over 20 years of experience. Her projects have covered a variety of topics including exposure assessment, GRAS evaluations, safety assessments of adulterated food and dietary supplements, and food contact evaluations.  She reviews and interprets toxicological and epidemiological literature and exposure data (for arsenic and pesticides, for example) and conducts risk assessments to assesses safety. Ms. Beyer has also been an invited speaker on dietary supplements. She presented "Safety Testing for Dietary Supplements" at the annual meeting of the Genetic Toxicology Association, 2012 and she was a reviewer of the scientific content for the American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition (2013).

  • Dr. Mitchell Cheeseman

    Managing Director Environmental and Life Sciences Steptoe & Johnson LLP

    Dr. Mitchell Cheeseman is a managing director in the Washington Office of Steptoe and Johnson LLP, where he is a member of the Regulatory Affairs Department.

    He has 20 years of experience as an official in Food and Drug Administration's Foods program.

    His primary experience is managing the food ingredient and packaging programs including experience in the regulation of direct food additives and food contact substances, color additives, Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) food ingredients, and bioengineered food.

    He held a leadership position over all of these regulatory areas as either the deputy director or acting director of the Office of Food Additive Safety for over five years and has held leadership positions over FDA's Food Contact Notification Program for the program's first 13 years of operation.

    During his FDA career, Dr. Cheeseman has been a lead in the development and implementation of FDA's Threshold of Regulation process for food contact substances and FDA's Food Contact Notification Program.

    He also served in the development of FDA's GRAS Notice Program.

    • USA
  • Sandi Childs

    Director of Film and Flexible Programs Association of Plastic Recyclers

    Sandi Childs is the Director of Film and Flexible Programs for APR, the Association of Plastic Recyclers. She is leading APR’s efforts to expand plastic bag and flexible film recovery to supply the needs of APR’s members, and to promote the recyclability of film plastics. Prior to APR, Sandi worked for Coca-Cola Recycling as a Recovery Development Manager for six years, developing models for brandowner investments in the recycling value chain. Sandi started her career recycling PET plastics, as Recycling Manager for Southeastern Container and then as Eastern Regional Director for NAPCOR. Sandi has a BS in Human Ecology from Ramapo College of New Jersey and a Masters in Environmental Science from UNC-Chapel Hill.

  • Dr. Teresa Croce

    Consumer Safety Officer FDA

    Teresa Croce joined FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) in 2010 as a Consumer Safety Officer in the Division of Petition Review where she is responsible for managing and coordinating the scientific and safety review of food additive and color additive petitions. In that capacity, she has worked on a variety of issues related to food ingredients, including considerations around whether their manufacture includes nanotechnology. She is a current member of FDA’s Nanotechnology Task Force.

    In 2012, Dr. Croce served as Program Manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist and was actively involved in coordinating nanotechnology regulatory science research across the agency. In this role, she was responsible for the management and oversight of the nanotechnology regulatory science program to help support the responsible development of nanotechnology in products regulated by FDA.  Prior to joining FDA, Dr. Croce earned a PhD in chemistry from Vanderbilt University where she designed and synthesized polymeric drug delivery systems.

  • George Fuchs

    Director Regulatory Affairs and Technology National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers NAPIM

    George, who is a graduate of Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ began his career with the Allied Chemical Corporation in Morristown, NJ in the late 1970's in their newly formed chemical toxicology unit. Following this assignment George worked in the regulatory compliance departments in both the Industrial and Specialty Chemicals divisions of the Corporation. Between 1985 and 1989 George headed up the laboratory safety area for the research and development laboratories located at Allied's corporate headquarters in Morristown.

    George left the Allied Corporation to join Pennwalt Corporation in King of Prussia, PA as environmental, health and safety manager for the Research and Technology division. While at Pennwalt George was responsible for regulatory compliance for the Pennwalt King of Prussia labs as well as numerous manufacturing facilities which were also part of the Research and Technology division.

    After leaving Pennwalt George joined ENI America - a division of the European chemical conglomerate - AGIP) where he was the facilities and safety, health and environmental manager for their North American operations.

    George was named Director – Regulatory Affairs and Technology for the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers in January 2011. 

    • USA
  • Alistair Irvine

    Manager, Food Contact Compliance Smithers Pira

    Alistair manages the Food Packaging Safety Section within Smithers Pira. This involves advising clients on the safety legislation which applies to food packaging in a wide range of different countries throughout the world and coordinating work programmes to ensure that clients' products meet these requirements. His expertise spans all the EU countries, USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, Russia and all the South American countries.

    Alistair graduated with a degree and PhD in Chemistry from Birmingham University. After working for BP and the Department of Health, he joined Pira in 1994, taking up his current position in 1995.

  • Kevin C. Kenny

    Chief Operating Officer Decernis, USA

    Kevin is co-founder and owner of Decernis and is an experienced regulatory attorney who has worked and consulted for 20+ years in the food and consumer products space.  He advises some of the world’s largest manufacturers on Food, Food Contact and Supply Chain Compliance challenges globally. Working with a team of native speaker experts in all major markets, Kevin has led a Decernis team effort to expand regulatory coverage to over 200 countries.  He spends much of the year meeting with clients to identify and satisfy their needs across the Decernis global client base. Kevin builds cooperative and partnering relationships with governmental agencies and organizations (today 40+ countries across five continents, including US FDA, European Union, Canada, China and Japan).

    An expert on food contact and food additive regulation globally, Kevin is a frequent speaker at international conferences and an active participant in the Regulatory Affairs Committees of food, cosmetic and consumer product associations.  Kevin also attends the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Additives in China annually as a member of the International Food Additives Council.

    Prior to founding Decernis, Kevin worked as a regulatory attorney and later VP, International Operations at Ariel Research, which managed product safety regulations globally for chemical manufacturers.

    Kevin has lived and worked for seven years across five European and Asian countries and is fluent in German, French and Spanish. He possesses an honors Juris Doctor, an LL.M. in International Law and the Hague Diplôm de Droit International.  In 1992, he was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship in Bonn and later taught International Law courses at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany.

    • USA
  • Dr. Emilia Lonardo

    Principal Consultant StatRegAssociates

    Emilia C. Lonardo, Ph.D. a Principal with Lonardo StatReg Associates, LLC, advises and lectures on topics regarding ingredient safety and FDA regulatory requirements. Dr. Lonardo brings over 30 years of professional experience. From 2012 to 2015, Dr. Lonardo served as Vice President of Consumer Product Safety and Science Policy at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) in Washington, DC.  At GMA she led programs to modernize regulations and manage emerging ingredient issues. Prior to joining GMA, she was Head of External Engagement and Policy at Johnson & Johnson, leading regulatory programs for Rx drugs, Rx to OTC switch, dietary supplements, and cosmetic portfolios.  Emilia also served as Global Head of Regulatory Strategy at Novartis Consumer Health, leading emerging issue management and product stewardship. Before that at the Exxon Corporation, she held the position of Sr. Toxicologist, assessing and ensuring product safety, and authoring food additive petitions.  Earlier in her career, as a board certified Medical Technologist at the Cleveland Clinic, she supervised the Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility Laboratory.  Dr. Lonardo received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from State University New York, Master of Science degrees in Immunology & Toxicology from Colorado State College, holds a Ph.D. from LaSalle University and a law degree.

  • Martha Marrapese

    Partner, Specialist on Consumer Goods Wiley Rein LLP

    Martha is a recognized authority on chemical products regulation in the United States under the evolving Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and other federal and state laws.  With over 25 years of experience counseling companies that manufacture, process, use and recycle plastics, Martha’s work regularly brings her before the U.S. Government agencies responsible for oversight of chemicals in industrial and consumer products, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


    • American Bar Association (ABA)
    • Co-Chair, Special Committee on Congressional Relations
    • Past Chair, Pesticide, Chemical Regulation and Right-to-Know Committee, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources

    Environmental Law Institute

    • Board Member
    • Executive Committee Member
  • Nhat Nguyen

    Chief Analyst Chemical Watch

    Nhat Nguyen is a US licensed attorney with over 9 years of global regulatory compliance. He currently serves as the Chief Analyst for Chemical Watch Research Ltd. He leads a new department at Chemical Watch which provides further insights and solutions to Chemical Watch's customers on regulatory compliance, technology, and scientific data regarding chemical and chemical products. Mr. Nguyen is a recognized speaker at global conferences on a wide variety of issues.

    Mr. Nguyen is a U.S. licensed attorney with over seven years of regulatory experience. Prior to 3E, Mr. Nguyen worked as an attorney and consultant, advising multi-national corporations on a variety of issues involving EU, US and Southeast Asian laws and regulations.   He earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a law degree (J.D.) from American University Washington College of Law.   Mr. Nguyen is fluent in Vietnamese and has a working knowledge in French.

  • Dr. Ioan Paraschiv

    Regulatory Affairs Manager Knoell NL B.V.

    Dr. Ioan Paraschiv is a Regulatory Affairs Manager at Knoell NL B.V. in the Netherlands. He advises on the registration of food ingredients and food contact materials (FFCM) in the EU and the US and also supports knoell clients in the preparation of registration dossiers for the industrial chemicals in Europe (REACh).

    He received his Ph.D. degree in Physical-Organic Chemistry from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, in January 2007. His thesis focused on the synthesis, characterization and opto-electronic properties of H-bond stabilized columnar discotic liquid crystals.

    Following his Ph.D. he has worked with several Contract Research Organizations (CROs) in the Netherlands, Scotland and Romania, with focus on solid state chemistry studies applied to small molecule pharmaceuticals, as well as on registration of agro-chemicals (PPP) in the EU.

    During the last 5 years he has been providing scientific and regulatory support to customers on the analytical and physical chemistry sections of REACh, food ingredients and FCM registration dossiers. 

  • Dr Roger Pearson

    President Analytical Services Aspen Research Corporation

    Dr. Pearson received his B.S. in Chemistry from Montana State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. Dr. Pearson joined Aspen Research in 1997 from a post-doctoral position at the University of Minnesota. His prior professional experience includes positions as a Research Chemist and Production Superintendent for Celanese Chemical Corporation. Dr. Pearson has extensive experience in gas chromatographic analysis of volatile and semi-volatile compounds, has coordinated many studies of off gassing phenomena at elevated process temperatures, and is an expert at coupling analytical results back to their process chemistry. He is an industry recognized expert in Food Contact and Extractables and Leachables techniques whose studies have been instrumental in assisting risk professionals in providing guidance for companies navigating in various regulatory arenas.

  • Katja Tuomola

    Business Development Director Metsä Board

    Katja Tuomola works as a Business Development Director in Metsä Board Finland. Her days are filled with managing the new barrier board product development including boosting the sales, creating new businesses, finding new application areas, networking and training personnel, creating great customer experiences and building up materials to do all this. She is also a known speaker in international conferences as well as in customer events.

    Prior she has worked for over 19 years in the global product safety and sustainability, product development, formulation and application areas both in paper and paper chemical industry giving her plenty of experience in teamwork and leadership. Katja graduated from Jyväskylä University, Finland with a Master of Science in the field of Applied Wood and Paper Chemistry.

    Being a very active and joyful person, she enjoys travelling and discovering new places with her family and friends. You can read more about her

  • Riëtte van Laack, Ph.D., J.D.

    Director Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C.

    Riëtte van Laack, Ph.D., J.D., is an attorney with Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C., a law firm that specializes in FDA regulatory matters.  Riëtte counsels domestic and international clients on a broad range of regulatory issues regarding over-the-counter products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and over-the-counter drugs.  Riëtte’s food practice focusses on all aspects related to food, including those pertaining to labeling, advertising claims, organic regulations, and food ingredient safety.

    Riëtte graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2004.  She completed her undergraduate and graduate work in the Netherlands, obtaining a M.S. in Human Nutrition from the Agricultural University of Wageningen, and a Ph.D. in Meat Science from the University of Utrecht.  Immediately before law school, she was a professor at the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Tennessee, where she taught food chemistry and meat science/muscle biochemistry and researched meat and poultry quality, including meat safety.  Riëtte is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Georgia.

  • Gyorgy Vas, Ph.D.

    Technical Scientific Liaison Intertek

    Gyorgy Vas has over 20 years of experience in scientific research, product development, and laboratory management. Much of that time has been spent in a cGMP environment, where he has provided his expertise to solve problems related to finished pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

    In his current position, he advises on regulatory filing strategies for multiple clients, and his group provides solutions for mitigating deficiency letters. Gyorgy led the implementation of state-of-the-art solventless sample preparation techniques into the cGMP laboratory processes, and is one of the few in this field with expertise in method development and validation for ultratrace (parts-per-trillion) level impurities in finished pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

  • Xiaolu Wang

    Regulatory Research Analyst - Asia Pacific Verisk 3E

    Ms. Wang brought extensive legal and regulatory knowledge and expertise in the field of environmental, health, and safety (EHS) compliance to the 3E Company. Before joining 3E Company as a regulatory analyst for the Asia Pacific region, she worked for a regulatory consulting firm based in DC as a senior regulatory specialist, monitoring and analyzing regulatory changes in Asia on EH&S related issues, including renewable energy, air/water pollution prevention, hazardous chemicals, food contact materials, natural resource restrictions, cosmetics, and medical devices. In addition, she worked as a litigator in Beijing, advising her clients on corporate law matters and contracts.

    One of the major topics that Ms. Wang closely monitors and analyzes is food contact material-related regulations in multiple Asian countries, including China, Japan, and Korea.  Ms. Wang recently conducted an in-depth analysis of a total of 160 Chinese technical standards for food contact materials, including national and industrial standards that are currently in force. She identified applicable migration limits for food contact materials from these standards and ensures that they are reflected in the regulatory compliance tool that 3E offers.  Ms. Wang also researched specific legal issues concerning food contact materials, such as the required format of expression of migration test results for food contact materials.

    Ms. Wang obtained her Bachelor of Laws (JD equivalent) from the Capital Normal University (CNU) in Beijing, China and a Master of Laws degree (LL.M) from American University in Washington DC. She is a licensed attorney admitted to the bars of China and the State of New York. She is a native Chinese (Mandarin) speaker and fluent in English.

  • Dr. Shayla West-Barnette

    Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer (OFAS) FDA

    Dr. Shayla West-Barnette has served as a Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer in FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety (OFAS), Division of Biotechnology and GRAS Notice Review (DBGNR), since 2013. She oversees a team of five regulatory scientists who coordinate scientific and regulatory reviews of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) notices and serve as liaisons to consumers, the regulated industry, and other regulatory agencies. Prior to taking on the management role, Dr. West-Barnette served as a Consumer Safety Officer for five years, leading multidisciplinary teams in the reviews of GRAS notices describing manufacturers’ uses of food ingredients, as well as biotechnology notices describing developers’ new plant varieties. During this time she also served as a Microbiology Reviewer, evaluating technical data supporting the safety of the uses of microbes, microbially-derived substances, and antimicrobials in foods. She joined the division after a postdoctoral research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Microbiology and Immunology from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Bennett College.

  • Stephanie Wicks

    World Wide Food Packaging - Regulatory Program Manager Hewlett-Packard Company

    Stephanie Wicks is the World Wide Food Packaging Regulatory Program Manager for HP.  Stephanie brings a unique skill-set to her role in HP’s Stewardship Organization. In her role, she is establishing regulatory strategies and guidelines for HP’s Graphic Arts Businesses, while also providing technical information to customers, industry associations and regulators to ensure digital technologies are competitive in this business market.  Stephanie and her team have been responsible for many of HP’s social and environmental responsibility leadership efforts, including achievements such as lifecycle assessment and enabling circular economy solutions.

    Stephanie joined HP in 2002.  She holds a MBA and BS in Chemical Engineering.  She is based in Boise, Idaho, USA 

  • Weldon Williams

    Sr. Director, Quality Assurance, Packaging HAVI

    Weldon Williams is the Sr. Director, Quality Assurance at HAVI. HAVI is a global, privately owned company focused on innovating, optimizing and managing the supply chains of some of the world’s leading brands, offering services in supply chain management, packaging, logistics and recycling & waste. Weldon is responsible for North American food packaging safety, compliance and quality assurance. He provides strategic oversight of packaging suppliers for the major brands that HAVI represents within the quick serve restaurant industry. With over 25 years of experience in manufacturing split between the Food & Beverage industry and commercial printing/packaging, he specializes in the development, implementation and management of robust processes and systems focused on ensuring regulatory compliance, customer satisfaction and product safety. Weldon is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.