Beyond the Basics Seminar – The Heat Is On: The Use of Heating & Cooling in Confectionery Manufacturing

Jan Schnitgerhans

Jan Schnitgerhans, Sollich

Presenting: Control Your Temper(ature): Best Practices for Handling Chocolate
Jan is an experienced senior process engineering manager at Sollich with consolidated knowledge in the chocolate business. In this role, he works in troubleshooting, process optimization, process development and technical sales support, and is internationally operative. He is the head of the training department and holds experience in the planning and standardization of process sequences. Jan is also a chocolate tempering, enrobing and cooling specialist. Prior to his current role, he worked as a design engineer and industrial mechanic at Sollich, where he has been for more than 15 years.

Nina Puch

Nina Puch, Knechtel, Inc.

Presenting: Fahrenheit 300: Amorphous & Crystalline Forms in Confections & Specifically High-Boiled Sugars
Ms. Nina Puch is a senior food scientist at Knechtel Inc. Nina has more than 12 years of confectionery experience and officially started her confectionery career at 16 years old making hard candy, taffy and caramel at Primrose Candy Company. In 2018 she transitioned to her current position at Knechtel, where she consults for the confectionery industry to innovate and develop new confections and supplements. In her time at Knechtel, Nina has diversified her candy background to cover all confections. Nina is a Marie Kelso Award recipient for her paper titled Advancements in Gummies.

Mike Koch

Mike Koch, retired, Sanders & Morley Candy Makers

Presenting: The Many Degrees of Caramel
Mike Koch began his career with Morley Candy Makers in 1973 as a high school student sweeping and mopping the chocolate factory floors each night. Before becoming vice president of manufacturing, Koch took on several roles within the organization including candy maker, maintenance supervisor, quality control director, warehouse manager and director of research and development. In 2008, he also became part owner of the company. Under his leadership, Sanders and Morley Candy Makers became ISO certified and attained SQF Level 3 certification. Mike recently retired from the company after 49 years.

Mike’s passion for confections extends far beyond his accomplishments at Morley and Sanders Candy. He has been a member of the Confectionery Education Advisory Board and is often a speaker and educator at Retail Confectioners International and American Association of Candy Technologists education forums and conventions. He has also served on the RCI’s board of directors and is a past president of the organization. Mike has served as a board member of the National Confectioner’s Association. Recently, Mike completed his term on the Board of Directors for the National Confectioners Sales Association.

Mike has been a member of the NCA Candy Pac and he participates annually in the NCA’s Washington Forum, visiting members of Congress and the Senate to help promote the needs and interests of the confectionery industry. His tireless efforts to help propel the candy industry have not gone unnoticed. Mike received the RCI President’s Award in 2012 and in 2013 he was inducted into the National Confectionery Sales Association Candy Hall of Fame. In 2016 he had the honor of receiving the Confectionery Industries Kettle Award.

Koch has been Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader for more than 30 years and earned the Spark Plug Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He has served as chairman for the local American Cancer Societies, Relay for Life and is active in the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network advocacy program.

For 30 years, he has also volunteered with the Lake Shore Public Schools, serving on the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee and has been the president of athletic boosters. He is the current president of Saint Clair Shores Goodfellows, an organization that is dedicated to ensuring that “No Child Goes Without a Christmas.” Koch is an avid sailor and sits on the North Star Sail Club’s board of directors.

Emily Flatau

Emily Flatau, Kenny’s Candy & Confections

Presenting: The 7-Day Forecast: A Climate for Gummy Manufacturing
Emily is a graduate of North Dakota State University. After earning her master’s in cereal science, she started as a food technologist at Kenny’s Candy & Confections. She has helped commission two moguls and her development work on licorice, panned, gummy and dietary supplement gummy products has brought her to her current role as R&D manager at Kenny’s.

Emily lives with her husband and three young children. They have five goats, a couple dozen chickens, a cat and a dog. Every spring Emily can be found in the alfalfa fields, as she is an avid pocket gopher trapper.

Tuesday Morning Technical Sessions

Kevin Boyd

Kevin N. Boyd, PhD, DABT, The Hershey Company

Presenting: A Journey to the Center of the Shelf: Regulatory Impacts Along the Way
Kevin Boyd has been with The Hershey Company since 2017 and currently leads the Regulatory Center of Excellence at The Hershey Company. The team is responsible for staying abreast and responding to a dynamic global regulatory environment, conducting risk assessments and managing global food safety and regulatory programs around areas such as allergens, ingredients, contaminants and claims. Prior to joining The Hershey Company, Dr. Boyd worked as a toxicologist at SC Johnson providing global support for a wide variety of well-known brands. Dr. Boyd is a board-certified toxicologist who received his BS degree in biochemistry from Virginia Tech, his PhD in toxicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Penn State College of Medicine Hershey Medical Center. He has published several book chapters and scientific papers and is currently involved in numerous working groups and associations addressing various topics in toxicology, allergens and food safety.

Virginia Deibel, PhD,  Deibel Labs

Presenting: Environmental Troubleshooting

Jenna Derhammer

Jenna Derhammer, Blommer Chocolate Company

Presenting: How Sweet it is! Formulating with Alternative Sugar Ingredients in Chocolate

Jason Schmid

Jason Schmid, Burns & McDonnell

Presenting: Conquering Labor Challenges with Productivity Solutions & Technology
Jason Schmid is the chocolate and confectionery market leader for Burns & McDonnell with more than 20 years of experience working in the food industry across North America and Canada. While spending 15 years at Clasen Quality Chocolate, Jason advanced from plant manager to vice president of engineering and vice president of sales. During his time as a valued member of the leadership team, he executed more than $100 million in capital projects.

His accomplishments included the design, purchase, and construction of more than 1 million square feet of food manufacturing, as well as the design, procurement and installation of chocolate manufacturing equipment. His technical experience spans chocolate manufacturing, confectionery coatings, dairy-free and organic processing, material handling, co-extrusion, pasteurization and continuous processing. Jason is Six Sigma Green Belt certified.

Liz Kamei

Liz Kamei, Fuji

Presenting: Evolution to Revolution: Journey to Global Innovation
Liz Kamei obtained a PhD in biochemistry from Birmingham University, UK, and then moved to Japan to work as a research scientist for a major Japanese brewing company. She then held an academic post in the Faculty of Engineering, Gunma University before returning to the UK and the food industry. Since returning to Europe, Liz has held a variety of roles in business development and open innovation in companies active in food ingredients, chocolate and contract research in both the UK and The Netherlands. She joined the Fuji Oil Group in The Netherlands 2018 as director of open innovation and external partnerships and more recently heads the new Fuji Oil Global Innovation Center Europe, which will focus on developing new technologies and products for the group working closely with internal and external partners and collaborators.

Tuesday Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Faridah Khan

Faridah Khan, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Presenting: DE&I in Confections & Snacks Part I
Faridah Khan was born and raised in Seattle, Washington to Fijian-Indian parents. She attended the University of Washington where she received a degree in HR management. She has since worked at several large companies including Amazon, Microsoft and Continental Mills in various human resources roles. In 2018, she moved to California and joined Ghirardelli Chocolate Company as a corporate recruiter. From an early age, Faridah was passionate about racial and gender equality. When she arrived at Ghirardelli, she saw an opportunity to bring diversity, equity and inclusion to the company, creating a stronger organization through holistic representation and equitable practices. She developed the first employee resource groups in the organization, which have since become intertwined in the overall company strategy for creating a welcoming and vibrant workplace. Faridah has always seen people as the greatest asset and loved to celebrate different cultures and backgrounds. Her vision is to foster an inclusive workplace where all employees can come as their authentic selves.

Tory Niceswander

Tory Niceswander, The Hershey Company

Presenting: DE&I in Confections & Snacks Part II: Continuing to Build Engagement
Tory, a member of the human resources team since 2021, leads the employee relations team, executing enterprise DEI strategy and driving HR ESG initiatives and reporting. He is responsible for championing strategies to ensure the organization’s culture, systems and process support an inclusive environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging. He is responsible for coaching and counseling leaders on complex employment matters to maintain compliance and promote accountability. Tory drives external partnerships with HBCUs & HSIs, reinforcing Hershey’s commitment to expand recruitment and retention of a diverse and culturally competent global workforce.

Most recently, Tory joined Hershey from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, where he served as the diversity and inclusion program lead. Tory was the primary lead for the employee resource network (ERN) program. He oversaw 10 ERNs, the ERN annual conference, ERN leader training and summer intern projects involving executive sponsors, volunteer leaders and employees.

Tory obtained his Master of Science degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati, a graduate certificate in law enforcement intelligence and analysis from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and social psychology from Western Michigan University. Tory serves on the Michigan Diversity Council Advisory Board and the Criminal Justice Advisory Board at Wayne State University.

Christine Binner

Christine Binner, Omni Solutions

Presenting: Trends in Confectionery & Snack
Christine leads NIQ’s Small and Medium Business Omni Solutions sales team. She has been with NielsenIQ since 2021.

The NielsenIQ Omni Solution sales team enables its partners to understand sales and share, consumer behavior and market segmentation across all points of consumer interaction, in store and online.  Working across all product verticals, with manufacturers of small to medium sized businesses, Christine and her team provide the insights needed for the full product cycle, development to market execution.

Prior to NIQ, Christine has spent her entire career in the consumer packaged goods industry in either a sales or marketing role, as well as overseeing product development. In her spare time, plays volleyball and enjoys family and friends.

Scott Kubik

Scott Kubik, NielsenIQ

Presenting: Trends in Confectionery & Snack
Scott leads NIQ’s Omni Solutions sales team. He has been with NielsenIQ since 2006.

The NielsenIQ Omni Solution sales team enables its partners to understand $ Sales & Share, Consumer Behavior and Market Segmentation across all points of consumer interaction, in store and online.  Working across all product verticals, with manufacturers and retailers, Scott and his team provide the insights needed for the full product cycle, development to market execution

Outside of the Omni world, Scott focuses on youth development activities and is currently a senior leader in the Girl Scouts of Northern California.

JoAnn Fritsche

JoAnn Fritsche, Firmenich

Presenting: Transforming Sugar Reduced Confections to Satisfy Your Consumer’s Sweet Tooth
JoAnn is the business development director for Firmenich’s Sweet Goods, Taste & Beyond Division. She holds a degree in food science from Rutgers University and an applied sensory certificate from UC Davis. Joann has more than 25 years of experience in the food and flavor industries, supporting sweet and savory categories. JoAnn is excited to be returning to the PMCA Annual Production Conference and co-hosting a breakout session with her colleague, Craig Savage.

Craig Savage

Craig Savage, Firmenich

Presnting: Transforming Sugar Reduced Confections to Satisfy Your Consumer’s Sweet Tooth
Craig M. Savage has more than 30 years of experience serving global sweet goods and refreshment markets in a variety of roles from product/process development, technical sales support, project management and flavor innovation.

Craig currently serves as the technical program leader (TPL) for Firmenich’s global sugar reduction innovation program. Throughout his eight-year tenure with Firmenich, Craig has also served as the TPL for Firmenich’s delivery systems innovation program and managed several global innovation launches including clean[er] label spray dried flavors, FREEZESTORM® and most recently TasteCompass®, a predictive modeling tool designed to guide users in the selection and optimal dosing of our extensive portfolio of sugar reduction modulation technologies.

Previously, Craig served as the confectionery solutions manager for FONA International, where he managed the applications and creation teams in the US and China. During this time there, Craig also served as a member of PMCA’s Board of Directors for two full terms. Craig held the role of R&D manager, new ventures with Kerry, where he served the needs of confectionery, cereal and bakery clients. As a project leader within Danisco’s confectionery applications group, Craig provided technical support for confectionery accounts throughout the Americas. Prior to joining Danisco, Craig was a senior research scientist with Mantrose-Haeuser, where he was involved in the development of new coatings, confectionery polishes and glazes and provided technical support for the business’s accounts throughout the Americas, Europe and Australia. Craig served as Just Born’s product development manager, where he was responsible for process and product development initiatives for the business’s jelly bean and marshmallow brands, including Hot Tamales®, Mike & Ike® and Peeps®. Early in his career, Craig spent four summers with Alpo Pet Foods, where he served as a product development intern. He also interned with M&M/Mars in their sugar-shell product development team.

Craig holds a BS and an MS in food science from Penn State, where he was the recipient of PMCA’s Graduate Fellowship and studied cocoa butter nucleation and crystallization phenomena under the guidance of Dr. Paul S. Dimick.

Dan Fox

Dan Fox, Nielsen-Massey

Presenting: Complexities of Vanilla
Decades spent under the vanilla roof of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas have given Dan Fox a unique historical and application perspective of the ever-changing landscape of the world’s second most expensive spice and, in his eyes, single most useful food ingredient.

Dan came to Nielsen-Massey in 2000 from a brief stint as VP sales of Pacific Fruit Processors and much longer stints with ingredient manufacturer Guernsey Bel and ice cream maker Dreyer’s and Edy’s Grand Ice Cream. The transition from ice cream to inclusion to vanilla helped round out a knowledge base set firmly in dairy applications and allowed it to expand beyond that to confectionary, baking and the food flavoring industry in general.

In his thus far 23-year stint at Nielsen-Massey, Dan has headed industrial ingredient sales. He has helped grow the European sales operation and production facility headquartered in Leeuwarden, Nederland.  He established an agent base in Asia, Australia and Africa has grown the company’s presence and brand across the globe.

Dan’s winding route to vanilla took him through Marquette University and a B.A. in journalism. Reporting and editing for newspapers in Illinois and California led him to a food industry venture capital startup and soon to ice cream, inclusions and now since 2000, vanilla. He currently resides in Bradenton, FL and is married for the past 28 years to Dawn, his supportive wife. He has two sons, Connor, 25, and Ian, 21, who is attending the University of Tampa. There’s also their dog Cajun, a rambunctious but loving three-year old Catahoula. Most dogs of this breed aren’t, and neither were we, until we rescued him as a pup and have watched him grow to a strapping 85 lbs. of love.

Lisa Jackson

Laura Jackson, FlavorSum

Presenting: Charting Flavor Innovation Pathways to Sweet Success in Confections
Lisa Jackson, director of marketing at FlavorSum, brings more than 30 years of market and consumer research experience to PMCA attendees. She has supported innovation activities for major CPG and private brand organizations by providing insights that help create connections and build brand loyalty. Her goal with this presentation is to equip attendees with a productive innovation framework.

The Heat Is On: Environmental Pressures on Businesses

Leigh Horner

Leigh Horner, The Hershey Company – Moderator

Leigh Horner

Virginia Deibel, PhD, Deibel Labs

Panelist – Micro, Recalls & Environmental Concerns

Jason Schmid

Jason Schmid, Burns & McDonnell

Panelist – Energy- & Cost-Efficiency in Facilities

Jason Schmid is the chocolate and confectionery market leader for Burns & McDonnell with more than 20 years of experience working in the food industry across North America and Canada. While spending 15 years at Clasen Quality Chocolate, Jason advanced from plant manager to vice president of engineering and vice president of sales. During his time as a valued member of the leadership team, he executed more than $100 million in capital projects.

His accomplishments included the design, purchase, and construction of more than 1 million square feet of food manufacturing, as well as the design, procurement and installation of chocolate manufacturing equipment. His technical experience spans chocolate manufacturing, confectionery coatings, dairy-free and organic processing, material handling, co-extrusion, pasteurization and continuous processing. Jason is Six Sigma Green Belt certified.

Ann Vaughn

Ann Vaughan, USAID

Panelist – The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture

Ann Vaughan is the senior advisor for climate change in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). This bureau works with a host of partners to advance inclusive agriculture-led growth, resilience, nutrition, water security, sanitation and hygiene in priority countries to help them accelerate and protect development progress, including against the impacts of climate change. Ann leads efforts to integrate climate change considerations across the bureau’s work and co-leads the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE). Prior to joining USAID, Ann worked at Mercy Corps, served as a field officer for USAID in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a Congressional staffer working on foreign aid appropriations and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. She has her master’s in international development studies from George Washington University and undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary.