James’ Bio: 

A hands-on Food Technology Leader, who has created lasting value for food companies by launching new and improved products, developed technology create new ingredients and enable superior product, and configured and executed technical strategies.  A leader who recognizes the value of partnership with suppliers and customers.  A leader who identifies, recruits and develops high value talent.

·     Ingredient & Process Innovation

·     Expert in Aseptic Processing and Packaging

·     Technical Problem Solving

·     Industry Board Advisor, Professional Association Leadership & Community Volunteer

·     Building and Leading R&D and QA Teams

·     Food Safety Expert & Food Safety Culture Change Agent

·     Product Expertise in Nutritional and Plant Based Beverages, Savory Broths, Soups & Sauces, Refrigerated & Shelf Stable Juices, Frozen, Prepared Fruit and Fruit snacks

PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS & EXPERTISE

SUNOPTA, INC. | Minneapolis, MN                                                                                                      2014-2019

A $1B+ food ingredient and product company focusing on healthy and organic, plant-based foods.               

Company Leader, Research, Quality & Innovation

  • Process Engineer, Product Developer, Food Safety & Quality Systems Builder
  • Lead Food Safety Officer accountable for Quality Assurance, Food Safety and Regulatory Operations (2016 – present)
    • Re-designed and established improved quality systems and preventive food safety plans in all plants, built out quality assurance staff at 2 corporate sites, implemented supply quality management, sanitation and allergen preventive control, audit readiness programs.
    • Overhauled entire company specification program resulting in savings, searchability and loss reduction
    • Created technical problem-solving partnerships with sanitation and microbiological services to reduce company risk.
    • Drove down loss due poor quality to fractions of previous levels
      • double digit process deviation reduction to single digits
      • Product loss from millions to less than a million.
      • Aseptic Uptime expansion by 10%+
    • R&D leader accountable for Product Development and Technology Development (2014-Present)
      • Drove new product growth including launch of a $50 MM+ annual retail broth program, development of a $100MM+ food service non-dairy milk program including a new $20MM+ Oat Milk program and several other market innovations.
      • Identified and implemented meaningful technologies in aseptic and fruit processing expanding product range and margins.
    • Built high performing R&D and QA teams

 

GENERAL MILLS, INC | Minneapolis, MN                                                                                                        2003-2014

Director, Innovation, Technology & Quality

  • Process Engineer, Product Developer, Ingredient Developer
  • R&D Technology and Development Leader for the Meals Division
    • Drove Progresso Brand to record high profit through new product launches and simultaneous cost reduction (600 million sales in 150 million net profit)
    • Established record level productivity results for the Progresso Brand exceeding 5% of COGS
    • Launched dozens of new products including aseptic broth, Mexican sauces, pouched meals, light soups and microwaveable soups in General Mills and Co-manufacturing plants
    • Pioneered Meals Division sodium reduction program resulting in 25%+ sodium reduction across multiple brands.
    • Designed and implemented state of the art Pilot Plant to emulate plant production

 

  • Advanced R&D, Technology Leader for General Mills Innovation Technology and Quality (ITQ)
    • Leader of Team responsible for improving taste superiority of products
    • Technology development and deployment in sodium reduction, sugar reduction, fat taste performance, flavor development, among others across all brands

 

Tetra Pak, INC | Denton, TX                                                                                                                             1998-2003

Director, Aseptic Technology and Product Applications

  • Process Engineer, Product Developer, Field Service Microbiologist and Packaging Specialist
  • Designed and established Tetra Pak’s North American Product Development Center
    • Hired Team, built and commissioned Product Development Pilot Plant, established Management and Quality Systems
    • Partnered with hundreds of food and beverage companies to develop and launch products in Tetra Pak packaging leading to large market disruptions and new products including aseptic broth replacing cans, RTD nutrition drinks replacing powders, new medical food products, food service solutions, retortable carton soups, vegetables and beans.
  • Led Tetra Pak Aseptic Technology Group
    • Managed Machine Specialists & documentation groups
    • Managed Laboratory and Microbiology group
    • Process Authority for US Aseptic filling equipment
    • Established machine installation and validation program (in place to this day)
    • Supported new processing and filling technology introduction and FDA validation in North America
  • Field Service Support, Training & Troubleshooting
    • Taught Aseptic Technology courses and seminars – IFT, Companies, TetraPak
    • Performed spoilage and quality issue troubleshooting

 

Campbell Soup Company | Camden, NJ                                                                                                          1993-1998

Program Manager and Process Authority

  • Process Engineer and Product Developer
  • Thermal Process Safety for Campbell’s Canada and Aseptic Broth
  • Project Leader in Launching Swanson Chicken Broth in Aseptic Cartons

 

EDUCATION

PHD, Food Science & Technology, University of Georgia |MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota | BE, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

AFFILIATIONS

Food Industry Advisory Board, University of Georgia|Board of Directors, American Frozen Food Institute|Institute for Thermal Process Specialists, past organizing chair|Food Products Association, Automatic Control Validation Guideline Author, bulletin 43-L|Vantage High School Career Focus Program, Minnetonka School District