About Us 

The Fermentation Association (TFA) was established in 2017 to bring together and support food, beverage, and supplement producers who work with fermentation, with the mission of getting more people to enjoy more of those products. 

Advisory Board

John Gray

Chairman & CEO, Katalina Holding Co., Inc.

Maria Marco

Professor, UC Davis

David Ehreth

President and Managing Partner Alexander Valley Gourmet, LLC, Home of Sonoma Brinery™

Drew Anderson

Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Kitchen

Courtlandt Jennings

Founder, President, COO, Pickled Planet

Fred Breidt

Microbiologist, USDA-ARS

Alex Lewin

Author, Real Food Fermentation and Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond

Jeffrey Wilson

Green Truck Grocery LLC

Matt Hately

Principal, Spark Insights

Jared Schwartz (and Montana)

Operations Manager, Whitethorne LLC Home of Hawthorne Valley Ferments & Poor Devil Pepper Co.

Benjamin E. Wolfe

Associate Professor, Tufts University

Alex Corsini

Founder, Alex's Awesome Sourdough

Kheedim Oh

Chief Minister of Kimchi, Mama O's Premium Kimchi

Robert Danhi

Chef, Curator of Cultures, Flavor360

Kirsten K. Shockey

Author and Fermentation Educator

Mark McTavish

CEO, McTavish Brands

Cortney Burns

Chef/Author/Consultant

Josephine Wee

Assistant Professor, Penn State

Buyers Council

Regan Figueroa

Category Director Specialty, KeHe

Erica Gibson

Regional Vendor Relations Manager, DPI Specialty Foods

Kevin Murphy

Category Manager, DiBruno Bros.

Stephanie Seper

Senior Vice President Brand Management & Social Responsibility, Hanson Faso

Scott Zoeller

Director of Deli, Uncle Giuseppe’s Gourmet Market

Laura Stidham

Category Manager, KeHe

Rodd Willis

Director National & Specialty, Dot Foods

The TFA Team

Neal Vitale

Executive Director

Neal Vitale is a veteran of the events and information industries, and most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of 1105 Media, Inc., an integrated business-to-business event, information, and media company predominantly targeting specialized technology-oriented markets. Previously, Mr. Vitale was President and Chief Executive Officer of Aspen Marketing Group, America’s largest privately-held firm providing integrated marketing and promotional services; President and Chief Operating Officer of Petersen Publishing, a special-interest consumer publisher; and held a variety of management positions and was a member of the Executive Committee at Cahners Publishing Company (later Reed Business Information), a division of Reed Elsevier. Mr. Vitale has been involved in several industry associations; he is a former Chair of American Business Media (now part of SIIA) and Director of the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO). He also is on or has served on several private company and not-for-profit Boards of Directors. Mr. Vitale received an MBA from the Harvard Business School and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is married with one daughter (and three dogs), resides in Studio City, California, and is a dedicated food and wine enthusiast (as well as a lifelong Boston sports fan).

Amelia Nielson-Stowell

Editor

A former newspaper reporter, Amelia is an accomplished freelance writer with a diverse writing portfolio. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs and social channels. A big foodie, Amelia loves researching and writing about the fermentation industry for TFA

Abraham Mo Langer

Marketing Director

Mo has over 20 years of experience helping organizations develop niche online and offline communities. He has handled audience development and marketing for numerous media and event organizations. Mo enjoys handling all marketing and technology functions for TFA.

Chris Nemchek

Buyer Relations Director

Chris Nemchek is a 30-year veteran of the International Exhibition and Global Commerce Industries. He spent 22 years at the Specialty Food Association (SFA) and is well recognized for his role in leading and developing the Fancy Food Shows into North America’s premiere specialty food marketplace. As Senior Vice President at SFA, Nemchek oversaw the departments responsible for developing and driving the strategic direction of the Fancy Food Shows, all revenue generation for the SFA enterprise and member success. His work included development and execution of membership growth and advancement programs. He enjoys building relationships and partnerships with domestic and international trade associations, governmental agencies and trade show organizers from around the world. Following his years at SFA, Nemchek was named General Manager of the newly launched Plant Based World Conference & Expo in August of 2019, where his role was to oversee the future growth of the event and expansion of the brand. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, Nemchek’s industry leadership includes Board of Directors of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and their NY Chapter (NYIAEE). He is also past chairman of IAEE’s MATSO Council advancing the interests of the US’s largest trade shows.

David Myers

Event Planning Director

David Myers has been in the event marketing, operations and management industry for over 40 years, including serving as Vice President, Events for the Petersen Publishing Company and Vice President, Event Operations for 1105 Media, Inc. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wabash College, Class of 1972. He and his wife, Mimi Hirata, reside in Venice, CA.

Margaret Mistele

Vice President Accounting

Margaret joined Katalina Holding Company in April 2015. Prior to joining Katalina she served for 7 years in the capacity of Chief Financial Officer for a charitable Foundation and private School. Her responsibilities include, but are not limited to, all accounting functions and financial reporting. Margaret’s professional experience include 29 years managing the accounting and financial reporting functions for three area financial institutions. She attained a Certificate in Business Accounting from the University of Santa Barbara.

Debbie Barbieri

Event Operations Manager

Debbie Barbieri has more than two decades of event management experience wherein she has developed a keen expertise in all things related to events. She has worked in every aspect of event production for various industries and, thanks to her turnkey style and organizational prowess, a trail of wildly successful (and expertly executed) events from tradeshows to corporate conferences, to consumer expos, to intimate meetings lies in her professional wake.

Samantha Slezak

Digital Marketing Operations Manager

Please join us on our journey to make a difference
with products that enhance and improve lives.

Questions? Contact us using the form below.

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