Alex Baloga became PFMA President and CEO on July 1, 2017. After joining PFMA in 2013 as director of government relations, he was promoted to director of government and public relations in 2014 and to vice president of external relations in 2015. Baloga leads PFMA's day-to-day operations and helps implement its strategic vision, working with the board of directors, of which he is a member. He leads PFMA’s government relations efforts at the local, state and federal levels. He also manages PFMA’s federal, state and Philadelphia Food PACs along with PFMA’s Legislative, Pharmacy and WIC Stakeholder’s committees.
He serves on the Classification and Ratings Committee for the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau. He is a board member on the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund. He joined the Pennsylvania Department of Health's newly formed Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Advisory Group in 2022. He sits on the Food Industry Association Executives (FIAE) Board of Directors, the Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association Board of Directors and the NACS Legislative Committee. In addition, he represents PFMA members on the Pennsylvania Lottery Sales Advisory Council.
Baloga previously served as deputy finance director for Robert P. Casey’s re-election campaign for U.S. Senator, where he directed the fund raising activities in central Pennsylvania. He has extensive contacts from his experience as an associate lobbyist for Greenlee Partners, LLC, a premier government relations firm with offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
In addition, he worked in U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s Government office as a regional field manager, serving as the senator’s liaison to government, community and constituent groups in central Pennsylvania; monitoring local issues and developments, and representing Senator Casey at civic meetings and community events.
Baloga has earned recognition for his work in the food retail industry on several 40 under 40 lists, including Central Penn Business Journal, City & State PA and The Griffin Report. He recently was recognized in City & State PA’s 2022 PA Agriculture Power 100. He also earned the 2018 Excellent in Government Affairs Award from the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Baloga earned his bachelor’s degree in history with a specialty in Political Science from West Virginia University.
Natalie Born is from Atlanta, Ga. She is an Innovation Facilitator, Consultant, Author, Keynote Speaker and the Host of Innovation Meets Leadership podcast. Prior to Founding Innovation Meets Leadership, Natalie held roles as a VP of Innovation and Senior Vice President of Business Development at a mar-tech firm.
Natalie has collaborated on two approved US patents and has over 20 years of experience leading product development, UI/UX, web development, and strategy and marketing teams. Natalie has worked with organizations such as CareerBuilder, First Data, IHG, and ADP, leading major initiatives in over 18 countries.
Natalie is married to Aaron and they have two daughters. Follow Natalie @innovationmeetsleadership on Instagram, Facebook, or Linkedin or head over to www.innovationmeetsleadership.com for more innovation resources.
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 and two sons-in-law.
Michael was named President and Chief Executive Officer for the Food Industry Alliance in April 2018. While leading the organization to maintain and grow as the premier voice for the grocery industry, Michael coordinates the public policy, communications and trade relations efforts for the organization.
Prior to joining FIA, Michael was an advocate for New York’s small businesses as State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business for nearly 8 years. He also served in a variety of roles on former New York Governor George E. Pataki’s staff and has worked in the state legislature.
Durant received his bachelor’s degree from Siena College in 2000 and resides in Malta with his wife and two children.
Lorena Holley joined the Florida Retail Federation as General Counsel & Vice President in March of 2018. Prior to joining FRF, she served as General Counsel of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services under Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam beginning in January of 2011. Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Holley spent a number of years with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), most recently serving as a Senior Attorney with the Commission’s Office of General Counsel Division of Appeals, Rules and Mediation. During her years at the PSC, Ms. Holley also served as a Chief Advisor to a Commissioner, advising on legal and policy issues related to the economic regulation of Florida’s electric, gas, telecommunications, and water and wastewater utility industries.
Ms. Holley also spent several years working in private practice for the law firm of Rutledge, Ecenia, Purnell & Hoffman, P.A., where she provided legal representation to local governments and private utility companies.
Prior to joining the PSC, Ms. Holley was a staff attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. where she worked as an advocate and representative of indigent clients before various forums including the United States Social Security Administration, Citizen and Immigration Services, and the Florida Department of Children and Families. She received her J.D. in 1999 from the Texas Tech School of Law in Lubbock, Texas and is a member of the Florida Bar. Originally from Chile, Ms. Holley grew up in Austin, Texas, and now resides in Tallahassee, Florida with her two sons.
Gerald R. Kunde, II (Chip)
Gerald R. Kunde, II (Chip) serves as Senior Vice President, Institutional Affairs & Corporate Communications, Ferrero North America. In this role, Mr. Kunde leads the development and execution of a comprehensive government, corporate communications and public affairs engagement strategy for Ferrero in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. He also represents Area North America on the Ferrero Group’s Global Institutional Affairs & Corporate Communications Leadership Team. Based in Washington, DC, Mr. Kunde reports to Alanna Cotton, President & Chief Business Officer, Ferrero North America and Anne Edwards, Global Head of Institutional Affairs & Corporate Communications, the Ferrero Group.
Mr. Kunde joined Ferrero in October 2018 from Sysco Corporation, the leading global foodservice distribution company, where he served as Vice President of Government Relations since April 2015. In this role, he led government relations efforts to promote and protect Sysco’s public policy interests at the local, state, federal and international levels. Prior to Sysco, Mr. Kunde was Senior Vice President of Government Relations at Darden Restaurants. In addition to his corporate experience, he has held leadership positions at several national and state trade associations, including the International Dairy Foods Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Connecticut Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors.
Mr. Kunde also serves on the board of several non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting education, leadership and entrepreneurship.
Mr. Kunde holds a Master of Public Administration from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida. He lives in Falls Church, VA and enjoys spending time with his two sons, Chad (28) and Austin (25), and vacationing at his home in Barcelona, Spain.
Olivia Lucanie is a Policy Manager at Torrey Advisory Group, where she provides advocacy support to clients spanning the entire agricultural supply chain. Her portfolio covers topics within food retail, nutrition, food assistance programs, and agricultural labor.
Prior to her role at Torrey Advisory Group, Olivia was a Senior Associate at Prism Group, where she handled food and agriculture policy spanning all 50 states. On their federal team, Olivia worked to form healthcare and workforce coalitions from the ground up, as well as advocating to get priorities for her clients in must-pass legislative vehicles.
Olivia also interned for Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12) and graduated from The George Washington University with a B.S. degree in Public Health and a minor in Economics.
Preston is an award-winning and results oriented executive with over 30 years of Fortune 500 experience including tenures at The Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, and Ralston Purina.
His corporate work has been recognized through many awards such as winning the Dale Carnegie Sales Talk Championship, a two-time winner of The Hershey Company’s President’s Cup, a coveted national sales award, Design of the Times Platinum Award for Best Merchandising Display and The Coca-Cola Company’s Woodruff Cup, a global top performance award.
Preston is a Maxwell Team Certified Speaker, Trainer, and Executive Coach. Also, Preston holds an MBA from Samford University and a BS in management from Colorado State University.
Preston shares his hard-earned experience with audiences to help them become the best version of themselves.
When he has spare time, he enjoys reading, exercising, and traveling. Preston and his family make their home in the Atlanta Metro Area.
Eboni Russell is the state association advocacy manager of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). NACS is a global organization, dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing, and serves more than 1,500 retailer and 1,600 supplier members in over 50 countries. It represents an extremely diverse $650 billion industry—from retail organizations operating one store to those operating more than 20,000 stores—by providing knowledge, connections, and advocacy.
At NACS, Eboni maintains day-to-day relationships with 140+ state and ethnic community trade associations across the United States that participate in the NACS State Association Advocacy Program. The program, created to support regional and state associations that advocate for NACS retail members, provides resources to mobilize support and boost advocacy efforts at the state and local levels.
Eboni has over a decade of experience in associations and non-profits. Prior to joining NACS, she was the director of membership for the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD). During her tenure as director of membership, she led a group of future automobile dealers in succession planning and career progression (called Next Gen). Her accomplishments at NAMAD garnered her The Network Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award—an award that honors black professionals for significant contributions to their respective industries and professions.
As a self-professed “life-long learner,” Eboni values professional development and continuing education and is enrolled in the non-profit and association management graduate program at the University of Maryland Global Campus. She has been an engaged member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) since 2016. Eboni also served on ASAE’s Young Professional Advisory Committee (YPAC) and participated in the 2021 cohort of the Next Gen Association Summit. In 2021, Eboni was a recipient of Association Forum’s Forty Under 40 Award.
Eboni was born and raised in Fairfax County, Virginia, and received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys delivering food to senior citizens for Zion Church of Landover’s Food Pantry with her daughter and traveling.
R. Scott Shalley currently serves as President & CEO of the Florida Retail Federation (FRF). For over 80 years FRF has served as the voice of Florida’s immense retail industry. As President & CEO, Mr. Shalley maintains responsibility for all areas of FRF operations including oversight of Georgia Retailers, FRF Services, FRF Realty and other related ventures. He joined FRF in 2017 and has over 30 years of experience in lobbying, association management and private sector business management.
Prior to joining FRF, Mr. Shalley served as Executive Director of the Florida Association of Counties. He has worked extensively with lawmakers and government agencies throughout Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C. Mr. Shalley previously served as Vice President/Director of Business Management for an internationally recognized bridge engineering firm. His responsibilities included contract negotiation and business development throughout the United States as well as in South America and Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Shalley is a lifelong Florida resident, and a graduate of Florida State University.
Ellie Taylor has served as association President/CEO of the Alabama Grocers Association since 2007 and has served the members of the association in various roles for over 28 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 $1.4 million dollars in scholarships to deserving students.
Ellie is also the Executive Director of the Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association, an association that promotes products made, manufactured, produced and headquartered in the state of Alabama through their Buy Alabama’s Best Program. The program partners with local Alabama charities and to date has raised over three quarters of a million dollars for hunger and curing childhood cancer.
Laura Strange is the senior vice president communications and external affairs at the National Grocers Association. In this role, she manages a broad portfolio that includes the organization’s strategic communications and messaging, marketing and advertising strategy for programs, initiatives, and events, content strategy for publications and all NGA outlets, including digital, as well as public affairs and media relations. In 2021, Strange led the association's comprehensive rebranding efforts. This was the first such brand enhancement since NGA was founded in 1982, with a new logo, refreshed graphics and color package, and stakeholder messaging.
Strange came to NGA in 2013 from Capitol Hill where she served as communications director for Members of Congress serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, she held positions in the government relations department for Yahoo! Inc., where she managed an issue portfolio on federal and state levels, and in the communications and marketing division for a state taxpayer trade association. Strange started her career as a staff assistant in the U.S. Senate, and eventually worked her way to take on a role as deputy press secretary. She has a master’s degree in strategic public relations from George Washington University and an undergraduate degree in public relations from the University of South Carolina.
Elizabeth K. Tansing
Elizabeth K. Tansing is Vice President of State Government Affairs for FMI, The Food Industry Association. She directs the work of FMI State Affairs, which provides FMI member companies and state association executives with resources and support in the form of studies, research, testimony, and regional and national meetings, to assist in managing the wide range of state public policy challenges that impact the food industry across the nation. She began her career with FMI in 1997. In 2021, she was recognized among Progressive Grocer’s list of “Top Women in Grocery.” Elizabeth currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Food Industry Association Executives (FIAE).