Workshop on Food Supply Chain During the Pandemic

August 27, 2020  1:30 pm – 3:00 pm EDT

Food Supply Workshop News Story

Organizing Committee:

Greg Pompelli, Director, CBTS Center, Texas A&M University  (chair)

Ross Maciejewski, Director, CAOE Center, Arizona State University

Fred Roberts, Director, CCICADA Center, Rutgers University

Preliminary Program:

Introductory Remarks: Gia Harrigan, Acting Director, DHS Office of University Programs

Introductory Remarks: Fred Roberts, Director, COE COVID-19 Supply Chain Initiative, Director of CCICADA COE

BIO: Fred S. Roberts
FRED S. ROBERTS is a Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University and Director of the Command, Control, and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA), founded as a University Center of Excellence of DHS. He is Emeritus Director of DIMACS, one of the original National Science Foundation science and technology centers, with 14 academic and industrial partners and some 350 affiliated scientists. Among his current research interests are resilience of supply chains, challenges of disasters and pandemics, stadium and large venue security, resource allocation, maritime cyber security, and the homeland security aspects of global environmental change. Roberts has authored four books, edited 24 additional books, and authored 200 scientific articles, some translated into Russian and Chinese, included the first book on maritime cyber security. Among his awards are the Commemorative Medal of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists, the Distinguished Service Award of the Association of Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory, Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Centers Pioneer Award, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Paris-Dauphine.

Panel I: Hunger Relief Supply Chain

Introduction: Dr. Lauren Davis, (North Carolina A&T University) Panel Chair – Introductions (confirmed)

Food Bank Experience: Blake Thompson – Feeding America Food Bank

Bio: Blake Thompson     Slides
As Chief Supply Chain Officer, Blake Thompson is responsible for leading Feeding America’s strategic work to increase the amount of nutritious food available through the network for people facing hunger. Blake joined Feeding America in September of 2018.

Blake has built a long career in the food industry and has extensive end-to-end supply chain experience. He has had responsibility for every function of the supply chain He comes to Feeding America from Swisher Hygiene, where he served as SVP & Chief Operating Officer where he was tasked with integrating over 163 acquisitions into a single supply chain and national service organization.

Previously, Blake served as Chief Supply Chain Officer, at Tasty Baking, Co., where he led the planning and re-engineering of the company’s branded product manufacturing platform, as well as the DSD operations.  He also served as Senior Vice President, Supply Chain at Snyder’s-Lance, Inc., based in Charlotte, NC.  In 2010 Lance, Inc. merged with Snyder’s to become Snyder’s-Lance, Inc.  It was purchased in 2018 by The Campbell’s Soup Company.

During his 23 years at Frito-Lay, Blake developed experience across all aspects of supply chain and manufacturing operations. Blake was also heavily engaged in the cultural transformation process, driving change leadership excellence and continuous improvement programs.

Blake holds a Bachelor of General Studies Degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Kansas.

Meals to You Experience: Katie Nye – Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty

Bio: Katie Nye     Slides
Katie Nye has over 10 years of experience in nonprofit management with a background in social work. Since 2013 she has served the Texas Hunger Initiative.  She currently supervises all 7 Texas field offices as Statewide Field Director, as well as coordinating the strategy for reducing child hunger. She received a Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 with a concentration in Community and Administrative Leadership. She is mom to a 4 year old and has lived in Austin for 13 years.

State Food Insecurity Experience: Mr. Kevin King – Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets

Bio: Kevin S. King     Slides
Growing up in the farm fields of Western New York, Mr. King developed an early passion and interest in farming and forestry. His formal education is in resource management and forest biology and included stops in the Catskills, Central New York, Adirondacks and ultimately the Capital District, where he has lived and worked for the last thirty years.

Mr. King is currently serving as Deputy Commissioner at the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. His responsibilities include oversight and strategic direction for agricultural development programming, weights and measures inspection, metrology services, food systems policy, and farm labor issues.

Mr. King joined the Department in 2010 as Director of Department’s Division of Plant Industry. He was asked to reorganize the Division of Agricultural Development in 2013 and served as its Director until his recent appointment to Deputy Commissioner. Prior to that he was Executive Director for the statewide, trade association representing forestry and forest products manufacturers in New York.

In his current capacity, Mr. King has had the privilege to play a key role in the design and implementation of several noteworthy and successful initiatives advanced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, including Taste NY, NYS Grown & Certified, and Nourish NY.

Question and Answer Session: Dr. Lauren Davis

Closing Remarks and Next Steps: Dr. Lauren Davis

Session Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic created significant increases in food insecurity across the U.S. at a time when the farm to fork food supply chain was stressed in many areas.  Federal, state, and private efforts helped mitigate some of the most urgent needs, but food insecurity remains a significant health and national security issue. This session’s panel will reflect on lessons learned in the past six months and identify significant issues that need to be examined for the current pandemic and to prepare for disruptions.

Workshop Plan:

This virtual workshop brings together DHS thought leaders, their operational partners, industry, and academic experts to assess food supply chain vulnerabilities. In the weeks following the workshop, vulnerabilities identified during the workshop will be used to create a call for 5-page white papers that will briefly outline research projects on given vulnerabilities. Based on a review those white papers, selected researchers will be asked to submit more complete proposals and budgets that will be reviewed for scientific merit and submitted to DHS for funding consideration.

Read Ahead Links:

FEMA –  COVID-19 Best Practice Information: Food Assistance Programs for Low-Income Households with School-Age Children, June 12, 2020 –

Congressional Research Service:   Food Banks and Other Emergency Feeding Organizations: Federal Aid and the Response to COVID-19, June 25, 2020  –

FEMA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Purchase and Distribution of Food Eligible for Public Assistance FEMA Policy FP 104-010-03, April 11, 2020 –

Achieving Equity, Effectiveness, and Efficiency in Food Bank Operations: Strategies for Feeding America with Implications for Global Hunger Relief

Panel II: National and Industrial Perspective

Introduction: Dr. Dan Sumner, Frank H. Buck, Jr. Distinguished Professor, and Director UC Agricultural Issues Center (University of California, Davis) Panel Chair – Introductions (confirmed)

National Perspective:

Dr. Michelle M. Colby, DVM, MS  Chief, National Security Division, Office of Homeland Security Co-Chair Food and Agriculture Sector Government Coordinating Council, USDA

Bio: Michelle M. Colby, DVM, MS     Slides
Dr. Michelle M. Colby is currently serving as the Chief of the National Security Division in USDA’s Office of Homeland Security where she provides guidance and direction for national security programs related to homeland security, agroterrorism, biodefense, disaster response and recovery, and efforts to coordinate national-level homeland security policy initiatives.  She also serves as the USDA co-chair of the Food and Agriculture Sector Government Coordinating Council.

From 2017-2019 Dr. Colby served as the National Program Leader for Animal Biosecurity in the Division of Animal Systems at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).   Prior to joining NIFA, Dr. Colby served as the Branch Chief for Agricultural Defense in the Chemical and Biological Defense Division (CBD) of DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate where she directed all of  CBD’s research and development efforts related to agricultral defense.  Before joining DHS in 2009, she  served as the Assistant Director for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures in the Homeland and National Security Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) where she managed all of OSTP’s work on coordinating research and development on countermeasures to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

Dr. Colby completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Maryland campus of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VRMCVM), as well as a M.S. in Epidemiology and three-year applied veterinary epidemiology residency program.  Dr. Colby received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from VRMCVM and a B.S. degree in Animal Science from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.

Dr. LeeAnne Jackson, CFSAN Food Lead – 2019 Novel Coronavirus FDA IMG FDA Co-Chair, Food and Agriculture Sector Government Coordinating Council

Bio: LeeAnne Jackson, Ph.D.     Slides
Dr. Jackson earned her Bachelor of Science, Master’s Degree and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Kentucky.  She completed a post-doctoral assignment with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service in Wyndmoor, PA and subsequently joined the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA/CFSAN) in 1991 in a laboratory position.  She has held a variety of policy positions within FDA/CFSAN.  To ensure the defense of the nation’s food supply, she serves on a variety of government working groups to discuss food defense activities.  She was instrumental in the formation of the Food and Agriculture Sector and currently serves as the FDA Co-Chair for the Food and Agriculture Sector Government Coordinating Council.  Most recently, she serves as the CFSAN Food Lead for FDA’s COVID-19 Incident Management Group.

Industry/Academic Perspective:

Jeremy Jackson, Anneal Initiative, Inc.

Bio: Jeremy Jackson
Jeremy Jackson is a founder of Anneal Initiative, Inc. an analysis and strategic planning business. Previously, Jeremy was the Director of the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center (KIFC). Jeremy stood up and led the KIFC’s unique integration of cyber and biological threat experts from industry, government, and academia into intelligence analysis operations. Prior to directing the KIFC, Jeremy designed and developed homeland security capabilities for Kansas, including the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center.

Jeremy also serves in the Kansas Air National Guard at the 184th Wing Headquarters. He previously performed strategic analysis and planning regarding intelligence and cyber capabilities for the Kansas Adjutant General and Kansas Joint Forces Headquarters. His military experience also includes development of cyber threat intelligence and vulnerability assessments, as well as supervising analysts providing intelligence support to deployed forces. He previously served in the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard.

Jeremy has nearly 10 years private sector engineering and project management experience, focusing primarily on electronic building systems and industrial controls for the power industry. Jeremy graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1996 from Kansas State University and graduated with a Master of Arts in Intelligence Studies from American Military University in 2013.

John Hoffman, Senior Research Fellow, Food Protection & Defense Institute (COE), University of Minnesota

Bio: John Hoffman     Slides
After a thirty year military career, Col. Hoffman served as the first Food and Agriculture Infrastructure Program Manager within the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Infrastructure Protection Directorate from 2003 to 2005.  In 2007 he joined the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, later the Food Protection and Defense Institute, at the University of Minnesota as a Senior Research Fellow.   In this capacity Col. Hoffman has worked with government and industry to document and assess vulnerabilities within the national food and agriculture sector, identify effective mitigation steps and build resilience into these critical national supply chains to assist in the implementation of our national health security.

Dr. Will Martin, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Bio: Will Martin     Slides
Will Martin is an IFPRI Senior Research Fellow and immediate Past President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. In the early 2000s he led a large research project with the Development Research Center of State Council on economic impacts of China’s WTO accession. His recent research has focused on the impacts of changes in trade policies and food prices on poverty and food security in developing countries; and impacts of productivity growth on poverty. He was the World Bank’s research manager for agricultural and rural development before joining IFPRI in 2015.

Question and Answer Session: Dr. Dan Sumner

Closing Remarks and Next Steps: Dr. Dan Sumner

Closing Discussion: Next Steps

Back to: COVID-19 Supply Chain Initiative Main Page

Back to: COE COVID-19 Supply Chain Initiative Calendar of Events

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