FEBRUARY 2, 2022

Join Western Growers, 
Center for Produce Safety and Yuma Center 
of Excellence for Desert Agriculture for a


Four Points by Sheraton Yuma 
2030 S. Ave 3E, Yuma, AZ 85365


If you have any additional questions please reach out to Dennis Donohue at ddonohue@wga.com

The Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology, Center for Produce Safety and Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture have partnered to host AgTechX Food Safety. This event kicks off a yearlong initiative aimed at food safety technology acceleration to improve the toolkit of rapid diagnostics and prevention technologies. 

AgTechX Food Safety features panels on industry issues, regulatory views and food safety innovation. Plus, you’ll hear from the AgTechX Food Safety Cohort of Agtech Companies!

Register for this unique industry event to help move the needle on food safety!

For more information please contact
Dennis Donohue
Director of Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology
(831) 594-4883   |   f: (831) 751-3580

Karen Ross 
Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture

Check-in and Registration

Lennor M. Johnson, Ed.D. 

Imperial Valley College

Networking Break
Meet the Innovators
Keynote Conversation: 
006-2022… What Have We Learned

Jonathan Sierra 

Yarok Microbio Ltd.

Mike Hogan PH.D. 
Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer 


Panel: Industry Issues

Sonia E. Salas 
Assistant Vice President 

Western Growers 
Food Safety, Science & Technology

Jeremy Vanderzyl 
Director Of Technical Services 

Duncan Family Farms, LLC

Sébastien Boyer 


Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli  
Executive Director

Center for Produce Safety

Channah M Rock 
Professor & Water Quality Specialist 

University of Arizona

Amy Tomlinson 
Director of Project Development
Concentric Power


Panel: Regulatory Views

Tom Sidebottom 
Research Scientist and Consultant
(formerly with U.S. Food 

& Drug Administration)

Tanya Hodges, EdD 
Regional Academic Programs Manager 

University of Arizona-Yuma

Victor Smith 
President and CEO

JVSmith Companies

Barbara Cassens 
Director for the Office 

of Partnerships
U.S. Food & Drug Administration




An enlightening and in-depth analysis on food safety technology and innovation.
The reception will include: 
  • A showcase with cutting-edge start-up companies
  • Appetizers and snacks 

Chip Starns 
Co-Founder, EVP

ScanTech Sciences, Inc.

Lawrence Cox 
Coastline Family Farms

With special introduction from


Dennis Donohue 

Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology


KAREN ROSS was appointed Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture on January 9, 2019, by Governor Gavin Newsom. 

In re-appointing Secretary Ross, Governor Newsom cited her unmatched leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally and in California, in areas including environmental stewardship, climate change adaptation and trade. 

Secretary Ross was initially appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 2011.

An introduction of the AgTechX Food Safety Cohort – a group of innovators specializing in food safety prevention technologies and rapid diagnostics who will receive exclusive resources to help them launch and scale.
A regulatory panel will delve into what steps can be done to improve the toolkit.
A star-studded panel of growers and processors who will discuss the issues with food safety on the farm and provide an analysis on the burgeoning opportunities to prevent foodborne illness.
Event check-in and an opportunity to meet with some of the start-up companies who are developing technologies aimed at rapid diagnostics and prevention.
More panelists to be announced. Check back for updates.
More panelists to be announced. Check back for updates.

Paul E. Brierley 
Executive Director 

Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture

An event welcome by leadership from the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology, Center for Produce Safety and Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture. 
Keynote Speaker: 
David W. K. Acheson, M.D., F.R.C.P. 
President and CEO - The Acheson Group
Dr. Acheson is the President and CEO of the Acheson Group; he graduated from the University of London Medical School in 1980, and following training in internal medicine and infectious diseases in the United Kingdom, moved to the New England Medical Center and Tufts University in Boston in 1987.  As an Associate Professor at Tufts University, he undertook basic molecular pathogenesis research on foodborne pathogens, especially Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

In September 2002, Dr. Acheson became the Chief Medical Officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.  Following several other positions at FDA he was appointed as Associate Commissioner for Foods, which gave him an agency-wide leadership role for all food and feed issues, including health promotion and nutrition.

Dr. Acheson was a partner at Leavitt Partners and managed Leavitt Partners Global Food Safety Solutions from 2009 to 2013.  In 2013 Dr. Acheson founded The Acheson Group, a consulting firm which provides strategic advice as well as recall and crisis management support to food companies and ancillary technology companies on a global basis on all matters relating to food safety and food defense.

Dr. Acheson works with a many food and beverage companies globally to assist them in managing the complexity of modern food safety. This includes both well established global companies as well as technology providers, startup businesses and private equity firms.  

Marc Petitpas 
Senior Director, 

North America  Sales
ScanTech Sciences, Inc.

Tom Jacobs 
VP Sales and Marketing


Javier Atencia
CEO & Founder


Alex Athey 

En Solución Inc.

Carl "Skip" Rapp 

TeraBAT, Inc.

Dr. Eyal Gerecht 
President & CEO 

TeraBAT, Inc.


Rafael Davila 

Priority Sampling