Summit Speakers

Bob McNaney

Senior Vice President of Crisis + Critical Issues – Padilla Company

“Being Your Best During Your Organization’s Worst Days: Crisis Communications Management”

Bob McNaney is a globally minded crisis management and crisis communications strategy counselor who drives results by supporting organizations of all sizes through crisis and issue response, crisis-preparedness management, executive and senior leadership counseling, and media coaching.

Bob serves as trusted outside crisis counsel to CEOs, boards and executive leadership teams before, during and after situations which may impact the bottom line and reputation of their enterprises. Bob supports organizations in various sectors, including food, health care, higher education, financial and retail.

Prior to joining Padilla, Bob was a National Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist with more than 24 years of international reporting experience.   About Padilla Company


Darlene Clabault

Senior Editor, HR – J.J. Keller & Associates

“EEO Compliance in the Age of Covid”

While employers don’t have a specific standard or regulations to follow regarding how to keep the workplace safe from the COVID-19 virus, they do have guidance. Steps taken based on that guidance and other best practices can go a long way in keeping not only keeping employees safe, but also keeping your company out of the courts. 

 Having workplace policies that involve employee screening, distancing, hygiene, confidentiality, leave, etc., for example, can give employers a basis for taking appropriate steps. Employees have been filing claims regarding issues such as disability and leave related to safety; therefore, employers need to remain vigilant in keeping up with the guidance and the science behind it.

Join us as we discuss how you can help keep your employees and company safe and sound.


Denise Bode

Partner – Michael Best Strategies

“Federal and State Regulations and Issues Update”

Denise Bode, Partner, Michael Best Strategies and Patrick Firth, Associate, Michael Best Strategies will be presenting at the Midwest Food Products Association Virtual Summit. MBS will start their presentation by introducing the American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition (AFVPGC). AFVPGC is a coalition of the growers and processors of fruits & vegetables, as well as the industry trade associations and supporters of the fruit & vegetable industry supply chain, such as can manufacturers. The mission of the AFVPGC is to educate and represent to Members of Congress and other policymakers about issues of importance to growers and processors of America’s processed fruit & vegetable industry. In their presentation MBS will give an All-Forms Update, covering the work that they are doing with AFVPGC as it relates to All-Forms issues. MBS will also give an agricultural advocacy overview, highlighting the robust advocacy that they have done and their plans for the future. Finally, MBS will finish their presentation with a 2020 Recap & 2021 Forecast. In the 2020 recap they will discuss the COVID-19 Impact on Food & Agriculture as well as an agriculture review for each quarter of 2020. For the 2021 forecast, MBS will cover the following:  

  1. President-elect Joe Biden Agriculture Priorities & Team 
  2. Congressional Leadership 
  3. Various Ag Policy Priorities o Crop Insurance Programs 
  4. Short-Term Visas 
  5. Farm Program Payments

Taylor Fritsch

Regulator Attorney – Michael Best Strategies

“Water Policy Update for Food Processors

This session will provide regulatory and legal updates relating to water quantity and quality, with a focus on Minnesota and Wisconsin. We’ll discuss agency actions to address PFAS, nitrates and groundwater quality, developments surrounding high capacity well permitting, and a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision.  


Dr. Marco Better

Vice President Analytics Services – OptTek Systems

“Optimal Production Scheduling: A Tutorial”

The optimization experts at OptTek Systems, Inc. will provide a tutorial about the different approaches to production scheduling, with a focus on the utilization of mathematical modeling methods to optimize production schedules.  Instead of single threaded rules-based approaches, optimization-based methods can address multiple objectives simultaneously, while accounting for any number of physical and logical constraints.  The tutorial will inform production managers and planners about methodologies that use optimization and simulation (“digital twin” models) to obtain not just a good schedule, but the best schedule given their process’s specific objectives and constraints.


Panel Discussion: Sustainability & Processing Crop Projections for Food Processing in 2021

Our experts will discuss the latest trends in sustainability of food packaging and processing crops from this year and what to expect in 2021.

Meghan Stasz

Vice President Packaging & Sustainability, Consumer Brands Association

Dr. Paul Mitchell

Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics

Wayne Hill

U.S. Regional Health & Safety Manager, Bonduelle USA