Michael Worthington retired as CEO of Produce Marketing Association of Australia New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) in October 2016. Michael was extensively involved with Robyn McConchie of the University of Sydney in the establishment of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre.
Michael has 30 years of senior management experience in large scale fresh produce businesses with operational experience in a broad range of enterprises particularly in production, processing, supply chain logistics, sales & marketing and investment.
Professor Robyn McConchie is Head of the Department of Plant and Food Sciences in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney. She has been involved in postharvest research and education for over 30 years working on minimising pesticide use, and more recently food safety, grain storage and development of functional foods from waste. Robyn has led many international research and capacity building projects in postharvest and linking farmers to markets across SE Asia, the Pacific and Africa. For the past three years she has been working to address food security issues across 22 African countries, through improved storage and safety of grains.
From 2006 to 2010 Robyn was Director of the University’s Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific. Robyn was a convener of the 7th International Symposium on Education, Research Training & Consultancy at the International Horticultural Congress in Brisbane, August 2014. Robyn is currently a nonexecutive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.
Darren Keating is the CEO of PMA A-NZ, representing buyers and sellers from every segment of the fresh produce and floral supply chain. PMA-ANZ strives to assist businesses to increase their sales of fresh and safe produce to regional and global consumers, while also assisting with the development of internal business capabilities.
Darren has nearly 20 years of experience in development, management and executive roles in the agricultural sector, and holds a Bachelor of Science (Rural Science) from the University of New England.
Joseph Ekman is Fresh Produce Group’s Technical Director, responsible for leading the team responsible for food safety and quality compliance, product technology and quality control. His role is to provide technical security for Fresh Produce Group’s diverse and innovative fresh produce programs.
With an honours degree in postharvest management of fresh produce and 28 years of research, extension and industry experience, Joe brings a unique blend of theoretical and practical knowledge to his role.
Joe has extensive knowledge, skills and sector experience in on-farm and supply chain food safety, quality and environmental issues. Joe is a qualified food safety trainer and auditor. He is a founding member of the national horticulture industry working group that researched, designed and delivered fresh produce sector food safety guidelines and contributed to the design and development of the Freshcare on-farm food safety program.
Joe’s history in research, extension and technology transfer roles plus direct industry experience means he understands the opportunities and challenges for identifying risks and translating scientific research into industry practice.
Roger Gilbertson is the Technical Manager (Market Access & Regulatory Affairs) for New Zealand Apples & Pears and consults to a range of businesses in the fresh produce sector. Roger has worked at the forefront of New Zealand horticulture and the broader plants industry for nearly 30 years since graduating with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) in the late 1980s.
After an initial grounding with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) in the Coromandel Peninsula and latterly Bay of Plenty as a technical/grower advisor, he moved his attention to export systems development and business process improvement. Roger’s move to ENZA in the mid-1990s saw him and his teams develop bespoke customer assurance programs at a pivotal time when food safety, residue assurance and GAP were just beginning to make their mark in export and domestic requirements.
He has transitioned a number of companies since the early 2000s to very customer focused businesses and successfully integrated market and customer requirements in these businesses as part of everyday practice. In late 2011 he left Zespri as their Market Assurance Manager to work more broadly in the fresh produce sector including his current role.
Roger appreciates how the FPSC role looks to shaping the part food safety plays in the bigger fresh produce picture. He wants to ensure the risks for the fresh produce sector are well understood, and programs are efficiently implemented in line with managing these risks.
He brings practical experience in implementing assurance programs and a technical understanding of risk in the supply chain. His involvement in a variety of fresh produce sectors in various business/technical manager and consultant roles has meant he’s seen food safety evolve from a passing interest in agrichemical use in the early 1990s to an integral component of the fresh produce supply chain now.
Dr Anthony Kachenko
Anthony Kachenko is the Research & Development Team Leader at Horticulture Innovation Australia. He is responsible for leading a team that manages research projects that drive innovation within Australian horticultural industries.
Anthony has lived and breathed Australian horticulture for 20 years with extensive experience along the agribusiness value chain including technical production, strategy development, project management, communication and successful delivery of results, outcomes and solutions with customers and employees.
In 2013, Anthony was awarded the prestigious Kendle Wilkinson Young Outstanding Horticultural Scientist Award which recognised his commitment and enthusiasm to bridge the gap between science and farm best practice.
He holds a Diploma of Quality Auditing and Lead Auditor training and has developed and audited on-farm best practice programs in Australia and New Zealand. In 2015 he was named the inaugural Young Leader by Standards Australia for his commitment to standardisation having led the drafting of a new Australian Standard.
Anthony holds a PhD in Agricultural Science, a Masters in Agribusiness and an Honours Degree in Horticultural Science. He is an Affiliate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been a Director of the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network since 2015.
Anthony believes building and maintaining strong relationships with key stakeholders is imperative in delivering tenable outcomes and is passionate about implementing strategies to enhance the adoption of research that leads to meaningful change.
Dr Jocelyn Eason
Jocelyn Eason is the General Manager Science – Food Innovation, at The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research. She has a PhD in Plant Physiology from Otago University and an MBA from Massey University and is a member of the Institute of Directors. Dr Eason has over 25 years’ experience as both a practising and leading researcher in the field of postharvest science of horticultural crops. Over this time Dr Eason’s achievements include developing and implementing a new product development system for premium fresh vegetable products, launching nutrition and health benefit labelled fresh vegetable products in NZ, implementing a communication strategy for nutrition & health benefits of horticultural foods, and developing a mechanism (process and series of tools) to manage investment in science.
Since 2012, Dr Eason has managed 140 scientists focused on food production from horticultural, arable and marine bioresources. They apply world-leading expertise in consumer insights, postharvest quality and traceability, food safety & packaging, bioresource engineering, biological chemistry, and bioactive discovery to investigate human responses to food, undertake food evaluations and develop nutritionally-rich functional foods, and measure the influence of food on health and wellness. A recent focus has been strengthening the value proposition for future plant-based foods. The teams’ expertise in biological chemistry and bioactives, bioresources engineering, materials science and polymer functionality enables the team to work with partners and achieve value creation from the whole bioresource (100% utilisation). Dr Eason’s team has strong relationships with both domestic and international food and beverage companies and industry bodies. Dr Eason is a member of Plant & Food Research’s Investment Committee, responsible for managing the Institutes internal investment fund of approximately NZ$58M.
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