GRMA Summit Speakers
Thank you to the speakers and panelists who presented at this year’s Summit.
Global Food Safety Initiative
Consumer Goods Forum
Rishi is an experienced government affairs and food policy professional based in Washington, DC. He currently serves as Senior Manager for the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), operated by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF).
Prior to joining CGF, Rishi served as Consulting Manager at Savan Group, a premier management consulting firm, where he worked with numerous federal agencies to advise their rulemaking activities. Previously, Rishi also served as the Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs at the American Frozen Food Institute where he focused on advocacy initiatives relating to food safety, nutrition and environmental regulations.
Rishi began his career in the Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While at USDA, in support of federal food safety regulations, including the development of FSMA, he successfully designed and conducted various food safety related scientific studies to determine food borne human pathogen transmission rates from contaminated soil, water and pests.
Dean R. Cirotta, MBA
President & COO
EAS Consulting Group, LLC
Dean Cirotta is the President and Chief Operating Officer for EAS Consulting Group where he is responsible for the day to day management of the technical aspects of the company with responsibility for client relations and personnel management.
Mr. Cirotta has 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and dietary supplement industries, including executive management roles with responsibility for regulatory affairs, compliance, quality assurance, laboratory operations and overall corporate management. In addition, Mr. Cirotta regularly speaks on GMP compliance and initiatives and is a lead trainer for EAS. He often performs audits of manufacturers and works with clients in responding to FDA 483 observations and warning letters.
Mr. Cirotta works with the Pharmaceutical, Dietary Supplement and Tobacco companies in assessing quality systems, identifying gaps and implementing quality improvements and systems to ensure compliance with all applicable FDA laws and regulations.
Immediately prior to joining EAS, Mr. Cirotta was president and COO of UPM Pharmaceuticals in Baltimore, Md. and prior to UPM he was Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs for the pharmaceutical division of Bausch & Lomb.
Mr. Cirotta has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Vice President Corporate Accounts,
Paul Damaren joined SAI Global in August 2010. He began at SAI Global as the Sales Manager overseeing Agri-Food for Canada. In 2013, Damaren was promoted to Sales Manager, Strategic Accounts in in 2015, the Head of Retail Agri-Food Americas and in 2019, Vice President, Corporate Accounts.
In his role, the Corporate Accounts team work with global food processors, retailers, manufacturers, restaurant chains and hospitality groups who have a corporate head office in the Americas or wish to be managed from the Americas.
Prior to joining SAI Global, Damaren worked for 6 years at another Certification Body as a Senior Sales Manager in Canada working with clients for their quality, environmental, health & safety, automotive, aerospace, medical and information technology requirements.
Before working in the Certification industry, Damaren was a professional Chef/consultant for 20+ years working in major hotel chains, restaurants, private golf courses and food service organizations such as Aramark. Further, Damaren was a member of the National Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks (C.F.C.C.) for 14 years, member of the Region of Waterloo Culinary Association (R.W.C.A.) for 14 years, President of R.W.C.A. (Region of Waterloo Culinary Association) for 3 years, special Events chairman – R.W.C.A. – 1998 – 2000 and National Culinary Ambassador to Russia for 5 years.
At SAI Global today, Damaren is responsible for developing the SAI Global brand through multiple service offerings including 1st, 2nd and 3rd party food safety auditing, consulting, training and risk solutions to industry.
Angela Diesch, Esq.
Diesch Law Group, APC
Angela Diesch has extensive experience representing cosmetics companies, in broad-based commercial, products liability and class action litigation, as well as regulatory advice and counsel.
Angela helps companies navigate regulatory hurdles to ensure compliance with California state law and the statutes and regulations enforced by the FDA, FTC, and other agencies. Angela provides outside General Counsel services to cosmetic companies to help them meet the daily challenges that arise in the dynamic and competitive cosmetic industry.
Industry media refer to Angela as the “attorney to the cosmetics industry” for a reason. Her unique focus on cosmetics, particularly in the natural and organic sector, includes extensive experience assisting with product packaging and labeling, certification and resolution of disputes regarding Organic compliance, as well as defending companies from both public and private litigants, including class action litigation.
Benjamin L. England
Benjamin L. England & Associates
Mr. England is the CEO and Founder of Benjamin L. England & Associates, LLC and FDAImports.com, LLC . He routinely represents domestic and foreign companies of all sizes, assisting them in identifying FDA, USDA, FTC, EPA, and state requirements.
His representation enables his clients to better understand and fully comply with federal and state requirements, and thereby reduce the risk of regulatory interference with products being imported, exported, or distributed in interstate commerce.
A 17-year veteran of FDA, Mr. England served as the Regulatory Counsel to the Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. Before this, he served in scientific, inspectional, compliance and criminal and civil enforcement capacities as an FDA Consumer Safety Officer, Compliance Officer, a Senior Special Agent with FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) and an analytical regulatory microbiologist.
Technical Manager, Assurance, Americas,
Yuksel Eyyuboglu joined SAI Global in October 2009 as a contract food safety auditor. In 2016 he began as a full-time as Technical Manager for the Americas for the select programs.
His responsibilities include implementing new programs, transitioning existing program versions, providing technical support to Sales and Operations, as well as training, and managing programs to assure that SAI Global as a Certification Body meets expectations of the Certification Program Owners (CPOs) and Accreditation Bodies (ABs).
With M.Sc. Degree in Industrial Microbiology, Food Science & Technology – Agri-food Engineering, Yuksel has worked in food industry 35+ years, covering a large variety of sectors of the industry in various technical capacities. Prior to SAI Global, he worked 8 years at another Certification Body as auditor for the Americas.
Between travels, Yuksel lives in Toronto (Ontario, Canada).
Vice President Quality and Regulatory Affairs
Michael has over 30 years’ experience in medical device industry. His responsibilities have been in the areas of quality systems, quality assurance, compliance and regulatory affairs.
He currently serves as the Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs for Ranir in Grand Rapids Michigan. Ranir is an oral self-care company that develops and manufactures oral healthcare products for private label.
The Ranir portfolio includes medical devices, cosmetics, OTCs and consumer goods. Ranir services over 200 retail and D2C customers world-wide.
Prior to Ranir, Michael has held quality and regulatory positions with Hill-Rom, Ethicon and Medtronic and spent 10 years with a medical device start-up.
Michael has a B.S. from The Ohio State University. He resides in Grand Rapids Michigan with his wife and two children.
Senior Manufacturing Audit Manager
Julia Love is senior manufacturing audit manager at Walgreens, part of the Retail Pharmacy USA division of Walgreens Boot Alliance Inc. In her role she supports Global Brand and Owned Brand supplier quality management. She joined Walgreens in 2010. Previously, she was the director of quality audit services at AIB International for 11 years.
She is a senior member of American Society of Quality (ASQ), premier member of Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and listed in Who’s Who of Flexographic Technical Association (FTA).
Love earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. She holds certifications in Total Quality Management, ISO 9001 Lead Auditor, Food Safety Auditor, HACCP Certifications in Seafood HACCP Alliance, Basic Principles of HACCP and Advanced HACCP, Preventive Control Quality Individual (PCQI), Statistical Process Control as well as Lean Six Sigma White and Green Belt.
Love is the recipient of the 2018 GRMA Founder Award and WBA Global Brand Makers. Her latest role as project lead for WBA Global Supplier Quality Assessment (SQA) transformation brings her to this panel discussion…..and then much needed vacation time with her 1967 Cardinal travel trailer named BEV.
Douglas ‘Duffy’ MacKay, N.D.
Senior Vice President
Duffy MacKay is senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs for CV Sciences. CV Sciences is a market leader in consumer products that contain hemp extracts with cannabidiol (CBD).
Dr. MacKay is responsible for CV Sciences scientific and regulatory affairs, functions that drive product quality, safety, and regulatory compliance. Dr. MacKay comes to CV Science after a ten-year career with the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) where he served as the senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs.
Dr. MacKay oversaw the scientific and regulatory affairs department, ensuring that the association’s scientific, policy and legislative positions were based on credible scientific rationale.
Assistant General Counsel
Council for Responsible Nutrition
Ms. Olsen provides legal counsel and advice to CRN’s staff and members in the areas of legislation, regulatory compliance and advocacy, and international policy development.
In addition, she works with CRN’s science department to prepare challenges to dietary supplement advertising through CRN’s Advertising Review Program with the National Advertising Division (NAD).
Prior to joining CRN, Ms. Olsen held the position of special counsel for Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C. She earned her J.D. from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in Washington D.C., and received her B.A. in Business Management from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.
Senior Lead Attorney
Benjamin L. England & Associates
Ms. Rifkin practices in the area of customs and international trade law, with a special emphasis on food, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices. She is the senior lead attorney for Benjamin L. England’s growing Customs and Trade Practice. She regularly represents clients before U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), and the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
With over 15 years of experience in the customs and trade area, Ms. Rifkin provides guidance on all aspects of the import and export process, including tariff classification and valuation of imported merchandise, country of origin determinations, country of origin marking, NAFTA and other free trade agreements, Customs penalties, antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings, and intellectual property issues. She routinely assists clients with prior disclosures of violations, mitigation of liquidated damages and penalties, protests, requests for binding rulings, and antidumping and countervailing duty scope ruling requests.
Ms. Rifkin regularly litigates cases before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and has obtained a number of favorable decisions for her clients, including decisions overturning adverse classification determinations by CBP and adverse scope rulings issued by the DOC.
Randall G. Slikkers
Chief Executive Officer
Global Retailer and Manufacturing Alliance
Randall (Randy) G. Slikkers is the CEO of the Global Retailer and Manufacturer Alliance. He has been working at the executive level of nonprofit management for over three decades. He is recognized for establishing new programs, leadership development, and managing top performing teams.
He has been the CEO/Executive Director at a local, state and national level. His passion is helping nonprofits meet the need for high-level organizational infrastructure, which leads to long-term sustainability. Randy is skilled in business development, coalition building, project management, and operations. He has helped to start over 20 nonprofits at the local, state and national level.
In addition to the nonprofits he has worked for, he has consulted with dozens of others to help them reach their full potential. Randy holds a BS in Psychology and an MBA. He has served and continues to serve on several non-profit boards. He is an avid triathlete and has competed in dozens of races including the coveted Ironman. He is the proud father of his 22-year old daughter, Savannah Rose Slikkers.
Jessica Slomka is the Senior Manager of the National Center for Sustainability Standards at NSF International. She oversees NSF’s sustainable standards development services and program assurance and management services.
She has extensive experience designing, improving and managing standard systems and compliance programs for schemes. She oversees a team that helps diverse groups of stakeholders advance the development of leading environmental and social practices through the creation of sustainable programs and multiple attribute leadership standards.
She has over 8 years of experience bringing together industry, government, NGOs, public health and academia to create performance objectives to drive informed sustainable purchasing decisions in the areas of sustainable electronics, regenerative agriculture, chemical assessment, and various building products.
She is an active member of USGBC’s LEED Advisory Committee, ASQ, Standards Council of Canada and the EPA’s Recommendations of Specifications, Standards and Ecolabels. She is also a contributing author for various publications including ANSI’s Standardization Roadmap: Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment and Sustainability in the Workplace: A New Approach for Advancing Worker Protection. Her BS is in Architecture and her Masters of Architecture is in sustainable systems, both from Lawrence Technological University.
Global Business Development
Director Health Sciences
David Trosin has been a key member of NSF’s Dietary Supplements program for a decade. As Director of Business Development David leads of team of experts that assist large retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, and international brands achieve the most appropriate and best facility and product certifications, risk management and compliance services available for their facilities, suppliers, and products.
To do this, David and his team work with NSF International’s group of skilled auditors, scientists and specialists to manage Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility inspections for nearly 600 facilities globally.
NSF has also tested and certified nearly 1,000 products to the only American National Standard for Dietary Supplements – NSF/ANSI 173. This includes nearly 400 products certified to the NSF Certified for Sport® program, which include additional lot-by-lot testing for over 700 athletic banned substances.