Alex Trott is merchandising lead consultant responsible for natural foods at 84.51°, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co. She previously worked with dunnhumbyUSA. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University. 84.51° helps companies create sustainable growth by putting the customer at the center of everything. Using a sophisticated suite of tools and technology and more than 700 talented and fearless associates, 84.51° works with some of the world's leading CPG manufacturers and partners.
Carl Germano CNS, CDN is a board-certified clinical nutritionist, president of CGCI Consulting and vice president for Verdant Oasis. He holds a masters degree in clinical nutrition from New York University and has more than 35 years of experience in product development for several of the largest vitamin supplement companies in the trade, including Bluebonnet Nutrition, Solgar, Country Life, Nutratech and Ajinomoto. In addition, he has been instrumental in bringing cutting-edge nutritional materials and finished product formulations to a variety of markets including dietary supplements, medical foods and functional beverages in the health food trade, medical and mass channels. Today, Carl continues his efforts in product development and research and is responsible for providing the industry with the next generation of clinically important phytocannabinoid ingredients. Previously, he had spearheaded the new Phytocannabinoid Initiative for Inergetics where he served as Chief Science Officer for 14 years.
Annie Brown has worked at the Rodale Institute, the global leader in organic research, since 2012 serving as Development Director for the past three years. Her passion for food began as a young girl where she learned how to cook in her mother’s country kitchen. She created her first cookbook at age six and made her very first dollar selling handmade pimento cheese sandwiches at a local public auction at age eight. Since then she has been involved in the food industry as a part-time caterer, restaurant critic and cookbook reviewer for the Albuquerque city magazine, director of a cooking school in New Mexico, co-founder of an artisanal pasta company in Baltimore, sales/marketing director of a nationally distributed pasta company out of Denver and public relations director for several Boulder restaurants and specialty food products. At one time she owned more than 300 cookbooks and subscribed to seven different food magazines. Multiple cross-country moves necessitated a smaller library, yet her thirst for trends, recipes and new products in the natural and organic food industry is as strong as ever. When the stars align, she finds time to write for her blog: www.aboulderkitchen.com
Steve Young is the EVP, managing director for Sunrise Strategic Partners, a $200 million venture fund based in Boulder, Colorado that provides growth capital and operating expertise to emerging brands in the consumer products/food space, with strong proofs-of-concept and sales velocities of $10-$100+ million annually. Steve has more than 20 years of experience in both large cap food companies and early stage start-ups focused on the natural/organic space. Prior to joining Sunrise, Steve had a successful general management career at General Mills, leading businesses across all segments including cereal, snacks, yogurt and baking. He also served as lead for the Annie's Homegrown acquisition, an iconic natural/organic company that General Mills acquired in 2014. Steve provided central leadership of General Mills’ broader $800+ million portfolio of natural/organic businesses, working with its operating divisions to accelerate growth on brands like Cascadian Farm and Larabar. He also led the acquisition of Epic Provisions, a fast-growing meat snacks brand that General Mills acquired in 2016. Steve is originally from Montana and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Montana and an MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA.
Jamie Vespa, RD, is a registered dietitian, nutrition and food journalist, and digital influencer who operates the health-centric food blog and social media account Dishing Out Health. She grew up in the Tampa area but moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 2016 to work as the Assistant Nutrition Editor at Cooking Light magazine. Prior to that, Jamie worked as a Clinical Nutrition Specialist with a focus on counseling organ transplant recipients at a hospital in Tampa. She completed both her undergraduate dietetics degree and graduate clinical nutrition degree at Florida State University. Jamie recently relocated to Denver, Colorado where she works as a recipe developer and health influencer who champions the idea that food and the power of cooking can heal, inspire and help us thrive.
Adam Spriggs founded Nucleus Maximus, a boutique branding and design agency that works exclusively with grocery brands, in 2015. Nucleus Maximus is an instinct-driven agency with perspectives are continuously sharpened by observance of best practices from the food industry's emerging brands, as well as ground-level exposure to cultural, design and culinary shifts that shape consumer interests and expectations of food and brands. Its core expertise and specialties include brand strategy, product positioning and package design. Adam's work and thought leadership have been covered by notable trade groups including New Hope Netwrok, BevNet, Nosh, Rabo Foodbytes, Naturally Boulder, The Dieline and Packaging World.