Speaker Bios

Jan Gee is President & CEO of the Washington Food Industry Association, a non-profit trade association of independent grocers, convenience stores and their supply chain.  Her career as a chamber of commerce and association manager began in 1974. She was known as a passionate advocate for the private sector at all levels of government when the state chamber of commerce tapped her as their retail lobbyist at the state capitol. Her love story for the grocery industry began then in 1984. Soon she was named as the founding President & CEO of the Washington Retail Association which still flourishes today. Following a career of nine years as a contract lobbyist for both retail and grocery, she was named President & CEO of the Washington Food Industry Association in 2006.

Jan has served on the Board of Directors of the Food Industry Association Executives (FIAE) sine 2011 and currently holds the position of Vice Chair of the Board. She is also a member of the National Grocers Association (NGA) Board of Directors representing the voice of state associations and our partnership with NGA in advocacy of the independent grocery industry. She is a member of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).   She has been honored as a recipient of the NGA 2013 Association Leadership Award, 2018 Progressive Grocers Top Women in Grocery Senior Executive Level Award and 2019 Woman of the Year presented by the Women Grocers of America of NGA.

Rob Ikard      Although he is technically “from” Jan Gee’s neck of the woods (where he was born), Rob Ikard is a lifelong resident of the Nashville area. Now in his sixth year as President and CEO of the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association, he has a professional background in fundraising, political campaign finance, government, government relations and association management.  Rob is former Tennessee State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business.  He and his wife Meg have three children, ages 13, 11 and 9.

Steven C. Smith
President/Chief Executive Officer, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., d/b/a Food City


Raised in Grundy, VA, Steve Smith earned a bachelor’s in business administration from James Madison University.  Throughout his 41-year career with Food City, he served in a number of key positions, before assuming his current position as president and chief executive officer.


Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. operates 126 Food City locations (including 110 pharmacies and 107 fuel/convenience stores), 5 Super Dollar Discount Foods limited assortment, and 3 wine & spirits stores throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, Chattanooga, north Georgia – and soon to be Alabama. 


Smith has served on the boards of Topco Associates LLC, Wellmont Health Care Systems, Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Weis Supermarkets and James Madison University, as well as the Governor’s Job Creation Commission, 2006/2007 Campaign Chair for the United Way of Southwest Virginia, along with other organizations.  He is a member of Sequoyah Council Boy Scouts of America and National Grocers Association, serving as Chairman from 2000 to 2002.  In addition to serving as past chairman for Food Marketing Institute, Smith also serves on FMI’s Executive, Board Planning and Public Affairs Committees. 

Beth Ziesenis Author. Speaker. Nerd. Since her first Motorola RAZR flip phone, Beth has made a verb out of the word "nerd." She's here to help you filter through thousands of apps, gadgets, widgets and doodads to find the perfect free and bargain technology tools for work and home. Although the only real trophy she ever won was for making perfect French fries at McDonald's in high school, Beth Z has been featured on Best Speaker lists by several organizations that write best speaker lists.  She has written a whole shelf of books on apps and has spoken to more than 100 thousand audience members just like you. And if you're puzzling over why she goes by "Beth Z"... it's because she only finds about three people a year who can pronounce her last name.

Dave Davis is the President and Chief Legal Officer of the Utah Food Industry Association and the Utah Retail Merchants Association.  Dave joined the Associations in 2007 as their Vice President and General Counsel and was elected by the respective Board of Directors to serve as President in March of 2010.  Immediately before joining the associations Dave spent nearly a decade as the Director of Human Resources and Legal Counsel for Associated Food Stores based in Salt Lake City.


Dave graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Political Science in 1994 and from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark School of Law in 1997.


Dave and his wife Kerri reside in Draper, Utah and have three daughters.

Christopher P. Flynn is the President of the Massachusetts Food Association.  He joined MFA in May, 1986, serving as Assistant to the President and Executive Vice President. Prior to joining MFA, he served as Assistant Attorney General, serving under Francis X. Bellotti, Chief Consumer Complaint Department. 


He received the GMA/FIAE “Excellence in Government Relations Award in 1997, and the FMI Donald H. McManus Leadership Award in 2000.  


Chris has served on numerous boards and committees, including President of FIAE; Member of the FMI Association Council; President of the Greater Boston Food Bank, President of the Boston College Alumni Association; and Founder/Coordinator of the Massachusetts Industry Services Group. Additionally, he has served in leadership positions for numerous initiative and referendum question coalitions.  


He was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in1985, and received his JD from Suffolk University Law School in 1984, and his BA degree from Boston College in 1980.

Ellie Taylor has served as association President of the Alabama Grocers Association since 2007 and has served the members of the association in various roles for over 20 years. She is responsible for the overall management of the association and plays a key role in representing AGA membership and the grocery industry before elected officials and regulatory agencies in the state of Alabama.

In addition, Ellie serves as President of the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation and oversees the Foundation’s education, research, and college scholarship programs.  To date, the AGEF has awarded over $1.28 million dollars in scholarships to deserving students.

Ellie currently serves on the National Grocers Association Governmental Affairs Committee and is Secretary of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama.  She is a former Chairman of the Food Industry Association Executives, board member of the National Grocers Association, and served on the Food Marketing Institute’s Governmental Affairs Committee.  She has received numerous industry awards including the Donald H. MacManus Executive Leadership Award from the Food Marketing Institute and was a 2017 Women Who Shape the State Recipient.
A graduate of the University of Alabama, Ellie and her husband Ryan have been married for 23 years and have 2 children, Lauren Anne and Jackson.  They currently reside in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.  

Gerry Sandusky is the play-by-play voice for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, a New York Times best-selling author of Forgotten Sundays, and the sports director for Baltimore’s NBC affiliate, WBAL-TV.

The son of a former NFL coach, Gerry has found his own niche in coaching as president of The Sandusky Group, a leadership communication company focused on helping leaders transform the impact of their communication, accelerate their career, and expand their influence.

Gerry is also a three-time Emmy and two-time Edward R. Murrow award winning broadcaster who lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Lee Ann. Gerry and Lee Ann are grateful that their grown children have chosen fun towns like New Orleans and Nashville to call home.

Bryan Zumwalt is the executive vice president of public affairs at the Consumer Brands Association. Zumwalt is tasked with rebuilding one of Washington’s most venerable trade organizations in today’s era of transparency and consumer-first thinking. He drives forward a modern advocacy agenda built around the shared values of consumer packaged goods companies and the people they serve. He leads all advocacy activities for the organization, including government relations, communications, research and ally development.


Zumwalt joined the Consumer Brands Association from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), where he served as vice president of federal affairs, responsible for developing and leading comprehensive advocacy campaigns to serve the industry’s needs.  Zumwalt has led teams to achieve wins on some of the most challenging public policy issues, such as the reform of the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The landmark legislation provided regulatory changes necessary to maintain and improve industry standards, benefiting chemistry companies and maintaining a competitive industry environment.

Zumwalt has extensive experience in Congress, having spent the better part of a decade in leadership positions on Capitol Hill. Prior to joining ACC in 2015, he served as chief counsel on two Senate committees — the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He has also served as senior energy and environment advisor to Senator David Vitter. During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Zumwalt was respected for his abilities to not only author legislation, but to bring people together to get things done. He successfully led negotiations on major conservation, energy and environmental legislative packages. Notably, Bryan was instrumental in efforts to address the BP Gulf Coast oil spill at Deepwater Horizon, including leading crucial mediation between the Obama Administration and the Gulf Coast claims administrator.


Zumwalt holds a bachelor of science in business from the University of Idaho and a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of the District of Columbia and the Maryland State Bar Associations. Bryan and his wife have two young sons, who can’t get enough of their favorite CPG products: chips and cookies.

Tom Madrecki

As vice president of supply chain and logistics for the Consumer Brands Association, Tom Madrecki represents the collective transportation, technology, sourcing and sustainability priorities of America’s CPG industry.


Prior to joining the association, Madrecki served as the director of urban innovation and mobility at UPS, where he led partnerships between the delivery company and city leaders to reduce congestion, increase quality of life and shape policy. 


An avid cyclist, freight transportation wonk and graduate of the University of Virginia, he lives in Arlington with his wife, Priya. The entire family, including a little boy on the way and their Siberian husky, Ava, is believed to single-handedly sustain America’s cheese and ice cream industry.

Rob Haddock Group Director, Planning & Logistics, Coca Cola North America


Rob is a supply chain innovation leader with decades of supply, operations and logistics management experience with the Coca-Cola Company ranging from plant management, customer service, business liaison, vendor managed inventories, operational excellence, transportation management, production & deployment planning, integrated business planning & SAP SME. In his current role, he is responsible for leading all Coca-Cola North America’s transportation & On Time In Full performance.  Rob is a company-wide driver for innovation and process improvement.

Tony Navarro Vice President of Supply Chain, King’s Hawaiian


Tony is an accomplished Supply Chain executive with a record of success in global procurement, planning, distribution, customer service, co manufacturing and logistics. He has over 20 years of progressive leadership roles within the food and beverage consumer branded and B2B manufacturing and distribution industries. He has classical training and strong professional experience working for and engaging with companies:  King’s Hawaiian, Coca-Cola, Mars, CSM Bakery Solutions, BakeMark, Bain Consulting, Mckinsey and AT Kearny. He has solid business and commercial knowledge, with special expertise and track record of success in long term global strategy development and execution through building and leading diverse, high performing global teams.

Tony is Vice President of Supply Chain at King’s Hawaiian where he is responsible for strategic sourcing, packaging engineering, customer service, planning and logistics including transportation and storage. In the span of 30 months Tony has built a Supply Chain organization that includes a newly formed Co Manufacturing group as well as instituting strategic sourcing process, finished goods network optimization and a revised fully integrated supply and demand planning process. He has lead the Supply Chain group through a digital transformation and is executing Supply Chain 2.0 designed to deliver ~ $30 million in value. He has a leadership team of 5 Sr. Managers and a full supply chain team of 18 professionals


Tony has led supply chain operations from demand planning through to finished goods distribution. Prior to joining CSM, Tony spent 10 years with The Coca-Cola Company where he was the Global Director, Sweeteners for the Cross Enterprise Procurement Group. He led the $4BN global Starch Sweetener and Fructose program and had regional responsibilities for $1.4BN of sugar in the NAFTA region. Prior to The Coca Cola Company, Tony worked in a variety of procurement, supply chain, logistics and finance roles of increasing responsibility with Mars, Inc. for almost 14 years. In his last role, Tony managed the strategic sourcing of Dairy, Sweetener Blends, Vegetable Oils and Specialty Ingredients for North America.


Tony received his undergraduate degree with a double major in Accounting and Finance from Otterbein University and his MBA in Finance from The University of Dayton. He started his professional career in financial accounting, including mergers and acquisitions, and developed a solid foundation in production planning and operations prior to his executive roles in procurement and supply chain. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

Jon Medo of Federated Insurance

Kathy Kuzava has been president of the Georgia Food Industry Association since 1989. She began her grocery career as a cashier at 17 and has never left the grocery industry.  She held several positions in retail and wholesale before beginning her career in association management. In her role as president of the GFIA, Kuzava has been passionate about representing the grocery industry at both the state capitol and before regulatory agencies. Over the years, Kuzava has been honored with several awards on the state and national level, recognizing her work on a variety of issues including food safety, reforming Georgia’s WIC program, and the passage of Sunday alcohol sales. Kuzava is thankful that the grocery industry not only financed her education, but also gave her the opportunity to meet her husband, Al. The couple have two adult children and two adorable grandsons.