Speakers

Katie Dunnigan, Unilever

Nearly 50% of restaurants owners across the US are struggling with hiring and retention. With over 10 years of experience in foodservice marketing, Katie shares why the #FairKitchens social mission works to support healthier kitchen culture to create healthier businesses.  Learn why more Texas restaurants are joining this movement, how you can get involved, and FREE resources you can access from the #FairKitchens partners like Unilever Food Solutions.

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Pebble Anderson Headshot

Pebble Anderson, Sysco Corporation

Pebble Anderson is the director of customer marketing at Sysco Corporation. 

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J Allen Carnes headshot

J. Allen Carnes, Winter Garden Produce

The Carnes family has been in the agriculture and produce industry in Texas since 1950. At the present time they harvest and ship over 1.5 million packages per year and have annual sales over 15 million. J. Allen Carnes, the 36 year-old president and third generation of Winter Garden Produce, returned to the family farm in 1997 after graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in finance. 

J. Allen realized that he had a passion concerning the issues affecting agriculture and soon became involved with the Mission-based Texas Vegetable Association. He was president of that association from 2005-2009 and currently serves on the board, as well as being active in the National Council of Ag Employers, the United Fresh Produce Association and the Texas Sweet Onion Committee. Winter Garden Produce continues to be an industry leader in addressing food safety issues on the crops it grows and ships.

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James O'Brien, J.J. O'Brien Ranch

The O’Brien Ranch, originally founded in 1834, continues to raise beef cattle in South Texas to this day. James O’Brien began purchasing weanling steers from the family ranch in 2016 and finishing them on grass. He became a USDA Certified Grassfed Producer in 2017 and began selling grass fed beef quarters and beef halves. Customers can still order custom quarters and halves of grassfed beef, but the small family business has evolved into primarily offering beef boxes shipped right to your doorstep - the ultimate convenience.

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Kevin Naderi

Chef Kevin Naderi, Roost

Taking his passion and the experience he gained staging at Picholine in NYC and Madrona Manor in Napa along with his work at Brennan’s, Haven, Soma and most recently as consulting Chef for Saint Genevieve in West Ave, at 26-years-old Kevin Naderi opened his first restaurant, Roost in December, 2011.

Roost’s 50-seat space is cozy and unpretentious amid walls paneled with old shutters and Edison-like light fixtures fashioned from gutter drains. Roost’s rustic and diverse menu is revised every three weeks, inspired by local availability of farm-fresh seasonal ingredients and flavors of the world including the American south, Asia and from the Middle East, taking advantage of Naderi’s Persian heritage. Says Naderi, “I’ve taken a little bit from everywhere I’ve worked. It’s a good showcase for what we do.”

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Christa Jaganath, Briggs & Veselka

Christa is a dedicated hospitality niche leader and has been passionately servicing this industry for 8+ years. She has provided services for quick service restaurants, fine-dining, franchises, food distributors, and retailers. Her technical experience in this industry includes providing quality services in audits, reviews, compilations, employee benefit plan audits, agreed upon procedures, technical accounting, and reporting in both IFRS and U.S. GAAP. Christa is an active member of the Texas Restaurant Association and its local chapter, Greater Houston Restaurant Association. In her spare time, Christa is also an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Downtown lecturing in auditing and intermediate accounting courses.

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Gene Hall, Texas Farm Bureau

Texas Farm Bureau appointed Gene Hall the Director of Communications on Dec. 1, 1990. He is directly responsible for Farm Bureau’s communications effort and for working on a daily basis with the news media. Hall’s responsibilities also include Texas Farm Bureau publications, the TFB Print Shop, Internet and social media communications, video services, the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network, the newsletter service and graphics services, as well as media relations.

Prior to his appointment as director, Hall was director of Radio/Television from 1980 to 1990. Under his leadership, the Communications division has received several national awards. He joined the TFB staff in 1978 as assistant director of Radio/Television.

Before coming to the Texas Farm Bureau, Hall was farm director at radio station KTXO in Sherman and a news reporter and anchor for KFDM-TV in Beaumont.

Raised on a farm in Newton County, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Journalism from Texas A&M University in 1976.

Hall is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). He received the PRSA's prestigious "Accredited in Public Relations" (APR) designation in January 1995 and was named a PRSA Fellow in October 2003.

Hall lives in Waco with his wife Ernette. They are parents to three sons–Roger, Steven and Chad. They have a granddaughter, Madison, and a grandson, Hunter.

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Shane Wheatland, Omnivore Technologies

Shane is the Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at Omnivore Technologies where he leads consumer and operational focused strategies that enable restaurant brands to leverage technology in a meaningful way. His use-case approach across consumers, staff and support centers serve as the center point for Omnivore’s Marketplace of technologies that optimize the back of house, front of house and outside the house. Shane spent over 20 years at The Coca-Cola Company in leadership roles focused on foodservice and hospitality, and he has led commercial and customer innovation for on-premise and off-premise, as well as global customer development across 20 countries. Prior to leaving Coke he served as Vice President National Accounts where he and his team were fortunate to collaborate closely with leading restaurant brands to jointly build strategic growth plans while leveraging innovation and technology.

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Kenneth Besserman, Texas Restaurant Association

Kenneth Besserman has over 25 years of legal experience in state government and private practice. As General Counsel to the Texas Restaurant Association, Kenneth handles legal and regulatory matters affecting the association and restaurant industry including employment law, tax law, alcohol regulation, hospitality law, administrative law, and health and safety issues. In addition, Kenneth handles government relations and lobbying efforts for TRA at the state capitol.

Prior to becoming General Counsel for the Texas Restaurant Association, Kenneth served as Assistant General Counsel with the Comptroller of Public Accounts and General Counsel and Chief of Staff for Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis. During his legal career, Kenneth’s legal practice has focused on administrative law, legislative matters, state budget and fiscal issues, public finance, unclaimed property, and litigation. Kenneth began his legal career in Houston concentrating in insurance defense and commercial litigation. 

Kenneth received a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University in 1988; a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center in 1991; and an LLM from the London School of Economics in 1995.

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Charles Kinard

Charles Kinard, ADP

Charles Kinard has been with ADP for 5 years as a Human Capital Management specialist working with organizations of all sizes and industries. Charles is a multi year top revenue producer in the company and prides himself on his partnerships and customer service to his clients. He attributes his success to his strategic partnerships and in helping organizations align their business goals through maximizing their human capital strategy.

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