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Produce Safety Immersion Program Class Two


Kelsey Adams was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Kelsey earned her bachelors and MPH at Texas A&M University. Kelsey has been working in the food industry at Taylor Farms for three years. When Kelsey isn’t working, she travels and rock climbs! 

Abraham Cardenas is a food safety and quality manager for Taylor Farms. Abraham enjoys the satisfaction that comes with completing projects and solving problems. There is never a dull day working in the food industry, challenges appear when you least expect and it is crucial to be equipped with the most up to date knowledge to make the best and most educated decisions. One of Abraham’s biggest passions is to educate others and promote a food safety culture with my peers and colleagues. After an exciting week at work, Abraham enjoys sharing a bottle of wine my friends and loved ones.

Jordan DeVries is a grant-funded Produce Safety Technician with Michigan Conservation Districts, where he assists produce growers in developing microbial risk assessments on their farm and/or packhouse. Through this free assistance to growers, Jordan has also trained workers in the implementation of a food safety culture and COVID-19 readiness, as well as water sampling and water system inspections, environmental monitoring and pre-harvest inspections to comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. In order to familiarize himself with produce growing techniques and good handling practices, he is four years into becoming a semi-commercial apple grower and processor. Through this effort, Jordan has been working on developing pickled crabapple products and bite-sized apple snacks for kids using my favorite variety, Wickson Crabapple. Jordan is a student in the Michigan State University Food Safety (online) Master’s Program. He hopes to be able to improve the financial case for produce safety corrective actions and modifications through increased energy and water-use efficiency, synchronizing these with sustainability goals.

Isabel Gomez was born in Jalisco, Mexico and has lived in South Carolina since 2002. Isabel started working with Walter P. Rawl & Sons, Inc. in 2002 at just 19 years old. When Isabel got married, she decided to take time off from 2005-2007, then returned and have been with the company ever since then. During these 16 years, her journey began in the production area, lasting for 10 years. Because Isanbel wanted to learn about the food safety aspect of the industry, she started getting more involved in the food safety and quality assurance department and have been in it for six years now. Her ultimate goal is to gain as much experience as she can so that she is able to develop herself as well as my team. Isabel has been married for 15 years and has two children. Isabel likes to read in her free time and loves spending time with my family.

Hilal Kasapogl is a Food Safety and Quality Professional with 15+ years of experience with various RTE products. Hilal has been working in fresh produce processing for over a year at Taylor Farms.

Kaylie Lemon joined Curation Foods after graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a BS in Food Science in 2018. Her role as Quality Project Manager has allowed her to work directly with the entire produce supply chain, gaining insight on the importance of strong food safety programs at each step. She is most excited about developing professional relationships with her peers during the program.

Michael Lepera has worked in Food Safety for almost eight years and joined the produce industry in 2017 as the Health and Food Safety Manager at Mucci Farms. Michael is looking forward to being a part of the Produce Safety Immersion Program and interacting with peers and mentors.

Alex Morales has been with Prima® Wawona for about five-and-a-half years. Alex is currently taking on a new role as Food Safety Manager and assists in overseeing the sanitation teams at two of our packing locations. Previously, Alex was the Sanitation Manager for the packing facility in Sanger, CA. In his free time, Alex enjoys trout and bass fishing.

Jose Morales is an FQSA Specialist at Dole Food Company. When he’s not working, Jose likes to be active outdoors, with running, hiking, fishing, backpacking and snowboarding.


LaTaunya Tillman has managed the Driscoll’s, Inc. Food Safety Program for the East Coast of the US and Canada. for three years. In her role she enjoys providing program and grower support for buildout, maintenance, and execution of Food Safety Management Systems for fields and facilities. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a double major in Biological Anthropology and Biology, concentrated on Evolution, Ecology, and Environment. She appreciates the unique problem-solving challenges and collaboration that is takes to push Food Safety forward and enjoys the eclectic nature and continued learning aspect of the field. She feels that “All sciences, especially Food Safety, are examples that success is a target in constant motion. We have to stay active to keep our growers and industry prepared for where it may be next.” 

Marisol Villegas has been in the food processing equipment industry for over three years. She is a part of the sales team at Heinzen Manufacturing, and has recently taken on an additional role at Heinzen in the “Channelized Food Safety” program. This new role allows her to work alongside the engineering team, welders, machinists, fabricators and installers to continually work on being the best hygienic food processing equipment provider. She is excited for the opportunity to be a part of this Immersion Program, and is especially looking forward to learning from others in the industry.

Bristol Wells graduated from Warner University in Lake Wales, Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Agriculture Studies. Bristol manages Highland’s Customer Support and Food Safety Team, where she provides training programs and resources to all highland customers. When she’s not leading her team at Highland, she is serving on the Polk County Market Swine Committee and the Polk County Young Farmers and Rancher Committee, helping to mend the gap between consumers and producers. “Working in agriculture is my passion. I am dedicated to finding ways to benefit modern-day agriculture in the pursuit of feeding the world.”

Program Mentors

Suresh DeCosta joined Lipman Family Farms as Director of Food Safety in April 2016. Prior to joining Lipman, he worked at McDonalds Corporation as Food Safety Lead for agricultural products.  Suresh is a recognized subject matter expert with the ability to lead cross-functional groups of suppliers, customers and produce industry representatives. He has broad food science industry experience including product development, beverage formulation, food irradiation, coffee blend management, good agricultural practices and fresh cut processing. He leverages his holistic understanding of supply chain from farm to fork to mitigate food safety risk, with an awareness of the impact to commercialization. 

Suresh received a M.S. in Food Science from Chapman University and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Slippery Rock University.

Natalia Dyenson works at the Corporate headquarters for Dole Food Company, Inc. in Charlotte, NC, Ms. Dyenson has global responsibility for food safety and quality programs across all divisions. Before joining Dole, she spent eight years at Walmart, Inc., most recently leading food safety across 6500 retail stores, 48 company owned manufacturing facilities and 220 fresh distribution centers in 26 countries for Walmart’s international division. Prior to Walmart, Ms. Dyenson spent eight years with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, where she held various roles in food safety and public health supporting Walt Disney World, Disney Regional Entertainment, Disney Cruise Line and the Parks and Resorts business globally. Ms. Dyenson currently serves on the board of directors for both the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) and The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and is a member of the FSMA Surveillance Workgroup for the CDC’s Board of Scientific Counselors. In 2019 Ms. Dyenson received the Food Safety and Technology Council Award of Excellence from United Fresh and has been active in the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) for over 20 years. Ms. Dyenson holds a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Iowa and a M.P.H. in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of South Florida.

Sergio Nieto-Montenegro earned his PhD degree in Food Science from Penn State. Dr. Nieto-Montenegro is the President of Food Safety Consulting & Training Solutions, LLC. He is a specialist in developing and implementing food safety and training programs and training Apps for the industry. The company specializes in Translating Science and Technology into the Food Industry Language. At Food Safety CTS they have worked in different food safety and FSMA projects in 18 countries in the Americas developing food safety tools and resources for specific commodity groups such as the Leafy Greens, Mushrooms, Papayas, Mangoes, Avocados, and Berries Industries.

Walter Ram is Vice President of Food Safety at the Giumarra Companies and is responsible for food safety and regulatory affairs for the company’s twelve divisions and growers throughout the US and in sixteen other countries.  He is a past chairman of the United Fresh Food Safety Council, and was named The Packer Importer of the Year in 2012, received the United Fresh Technical Award in 2013, and was the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas Member of the Year in 2014.