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Speaker 2018-09-04T09:58:05+00:00

Symposium 2018 Speakers

Dr. Franz J. Konert
Dr. Franz J. KonertCEO, GELITA AG
Michael Rossato-Bennett
Michael Rossato-BennettWriter/Director/Producer Alive Inside
Michael Rossato-Bennett is the Writer, Director, and Producer of ALIVE INSIDE – winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for U.S. Documentary – and through the film, he strives to incite conversations that interrogate issues related to cultural consciousness. In addition to ALIVE INSIDE, his first feature-length offering, Rossato-Bennett has several documentaries in various stages of development, through his production company, Projector Media. Each of those projects is inspired by Michael’s dedication to the collective well being of society and progressive human change towards the greater, if not greatest, good.
Susan Isenberg
Susan IsenbergGlobal Sector Chair, Health
Susan Isenberg is the Global Chair of Edelman’s Health Sector, leading Edelman’s global network of more than 600 health experts. In her nearly 30 years as a communications marketing specialist, she has provided strategic counsel for an extensive number of Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and healthcare-related companies.

Since joining Edelman in 1993, Susan has overseen and developed integrated corporate and brand communications programs to support some of the world’s leading health companies, including AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer and Roche/Genentech, to name a few. She has also worked on behalf of hospitals and other medical institutions and provided issues and crisis management counsel.

Most recently, Susan served as Global Client Relationship Manager for Johnson & Johnson, where she
was responsible for helping ensure the client’s global strategy was integrated into all communications, managing the core client team and aligning consistent activation in local markets.

Susan has also served as Global Vice Chair of Health for Edelman, overseeing Health business in the U.S. as well as Latin America and Canada. Additionally, she was Managing Director of Health in Edelman’s New York office for more than eight years.

Susan has led several award-winning programs for clients, Together Rx on behalf of a number of health companies, and “Hit Play” for DePuy Synthses. Susan has served as a member of the Executive Committee of PhAME (Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing Excellence) and is an ongoing contributor to health communications publications.

Kirti Vatsa
Kirti VatsaLead Procurement Analyst - Beroe Inc
Kirti is a Lead Procurement Analyst in pharmaceutical directs, specializing in categories such as API, Excipients, and Contract Manufacturing – Drug Formulations. She is responsible for identifying and building sourcing strategies across these categories and facilitating clients to gain a robust understanding of the categories and industry sourcing practices.

Her responsibilities include interacting with Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Clients to identify their requirements, developing customized category specific reports for providing actionable sourcing solution to clients. Her background in aiding various departments of the organization (procurement, supply, sales & marketing), helps the firms to identify and drive a complex set of solutions to support both the Company Bottom line and Top Line. In this role, she is also responsible for supporting junior
analysts and provides them direction on project-specific needs.

She is also responsible for delivery of thought leadership work in terms of whitepapers, pro-active advisories, etc. She has authored several white papers on excipients in leading Journals such as Pharma Focus Asia, American Pharmaceutical Review (APR), Tablets & Capsules (T&C) and International Journal of Drug Development & Research.

Martin Junginger
Martin JungingerHead of Global Product Management Pharma / Business Development Gelatine
Martin Junginger is Head of Global Product Management Pharma & Business Development Gelatine at GELITA AG in Eberbach/ Germany. He is responsible for the portfolio of pharma gelatine, mainly for soft capsules with different dissolution and cross-linking properties. Besides Mr. Junginger is in charge of the Global Innovation Process to establish, manage and report innovation projects at GELITA.

Prior to joining GELITA in 2017, Mr. Junginger was Head of Product Development for Modern Wound Care dressings at PAUL HARTMANN AG in Heidenheim, Germany. In the years before he was responsible for process development and establishing of pilot and production plants, before developing medical products for the treatment of acute and chronically wounds for professional applications. Mr. Junginger holds a Dipl. Ing. (M.Sc.) degree in chemical engineering from the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

John Dolphin
John DolphinGELITA’s Vice President Process Technology & Technological Affairs
Dr John Dolphin received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chemistry from Rutgers University and his Ph. D. In Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He worked at the Polaroid Corporation for 7 years before joining the then Kind & Knox. He has held a variety of positions of generally increasing but sometimes decreasing, responsibility during his career at Gelita. He was the leader of the Pharmaceutical Competence Team from 2012 until recently. He hired Jeremey Kaufmann, Michael Belkin, Melissa Simon (sort of), Michelle Montgomery and Eric Yezdimer. John will celebrate his 30th anniversary with the company early next year and retire a few months later.
Melissa Simon
Melissa SimonDirector of Sales, Pharmaceutical for GELITA USA, Inc.
Her experience is in servicing the soft-, hard capsule, vitamin coating, and speciality pharmaceutical (medical device and vaccine) markets in the USA and Canada.

Melissa has worked with reputable Pharmaceutical and Health&Nutrition companies, many of which are in the room today. Melissa helps customers develop new products, practices and markets which suits their budgets and goals. You can expect 100% transparency, no scary surprises, and a passionate interest in improving the quality of life.

Melissa is an avid sports fan, especially football, which was fueled during her living experiences in Brazil and Germany.

Prior to joining GELITA in 2017, Mr. Junginger was Head of Product Development for Modern Wound Care dressings at PAUL HARTMANN AG in Heidenheim, Germany. In the years before he was responsible for process development and establishing of pilot and production plants, before developing medical products for the treatment of acute and chronically wounds for professional applications. Mr. Junginger holds a Dipl. Ing. (M.Sc.) degree in chemical engineering from the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Tonja Lipp
Tonja LippSr. Manager Business Development Health & Nutrition, GELITA USA
Tonja promotes the physiological and nutritional benefits of collagen
supplementation, with a focus on specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides®,
supported by strong clinical data and driven by their potential to make a real
the difference in people’s quality of life, optimal health and athletic performance.
With nearly 20 years of experience in the food and dietary supplement industry,
working mainly with functional ingredients and being at the forefront of ingredient
innovation, Tonja has a unique combination of expertise in consumer needs and
expectations towards functional ingredients as well as scientific background and
ingredient technology.

She joined GELITA in 2012, bringing experience from previous roles, such as
Business Unit Manager for Beneo, Inc. for functional carbohydrates.
Tonja comes from Germany, where she developed her early career and
education. She holds an MSc in Food Technology from University of Hohenheim,
Germany and a BA in International Business Management and Economics from
University of Applied Sciences Nuertingen, Germany.

Eric Yezdimer
Eric YezdimerResearch and Business Development Manager for GELITA USA
Eric has been with GELITA for 5 years and is responsible for guiding new product development, process improvement, process scale-up and method development projects. He is a member of GELITA’s global Pharmaceutical Competence Team and is responsible for providing customer assistance on technical product applications. Eric received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Delaware and received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee. He previously spent 9 years at IST Corporation leading various biochemical research projects. He also served briefly as a lecturer and researcher at Penn State University. He has coauthored 19 peer-viewed scientific publications in the fields of aqueous solubility, molecular simulation, enzyme dynamics and contrast agents for medical imaging.
Michelle Montgomery
Michelle MontgomeryManager of Technological Affairs for GELITA USA
Michelle has been with GELITA for 6 years and is responsible for providing technical assistance to both GELITA’s pharmaceutical and edible customers. She is also actively involved in the research and development for new gelatin products in both the pharmaceutical and edible areas. She is a member of GELITA’s global Pharmaceutical Competence Team and GELITA’s Global Edible Team. Michelle received her undergraduate degrees in Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Northern Iowa and received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Jeremey Kaufmann
Jeremey KaufmannDirector Sales - Edible & Specialty Gelatine
Jeremy Kaufman has more than 20 years of experience in progressively responsible roles in the areas of Research and Development, Technical Services, and most recently as Sales Director, Edible and Specialty Gelatines at GELITA USA Inc. As a result of Jeremy’s professional roles at GELITA, he has developed a strong expertise and keen understanding of gelatine and collagen peptides, which are key components in a host of confectionary, food, dairy, bar, nutraceutical and pet food applications. Jeremey received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of South Dakota.
Tom Aarts
Tom AartsManaging Director of Nutrition Business Advisors
Thomas Aarts is Managing Director of Nutrition Business Advisors (NBA), a company which provides advanced consulting, strategic advising, capital raising and full-service business development focused on the $194 billion Global Nutrition Industry.

Tom sits on several boards, including Vitamin Angels, a non-profit whose mission is to provide vital nutrients to children and women in need. Tom is a graduate of Colgate University and completed his MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Mr Aarts is a high-level management consultant with 22 years of experience working with C-suite executives across the nutrition industry. His experience lies in management consulting, M&A transactions, capital raising and strategic market research.

Tom has worked with many companies, including GNC, Metagenics, Garden of Life, Reserveage, Martek, Nestlé, Bayer, Herbalife, Nu Skin and Cargill. He serves on the board for Natreon, STYR Labs, The Ross Camp Institute, and the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.

Tom co-founded the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) in 1996, the business journal of record for the nutrition industry. Through this, he was an integral part of creating many industry-leading reports that helped shape the nutrition industry. Tom now serves as Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board for NBJ. He is also the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the annual NBJ Summit, a premier CEO/executive retreat for the nutrition and natural products industry, now in its twenty-first year.

From 1998 to 2001, he was a founding partner of Health Business Partners, an investment banking and consulting firm serving the natural products industry. In 2002, Tom worked with New Hope Network as they continued to help grow healthy markets in the industry.

Tom then co-founded and served as Principal of Nutrition Capital Network (NCN). NCN is focused on connecting Nutrition/LOHAS companies with sources of growth capital and has assisted over 585 companies to become exposed to capital sources.

Tom also currently serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Smart Family Nutrition, which began after the birth of his son, Dylan, in 2013. Dylan was born premature and was unable to be breastfed. As he continued to grow (and thrive!) on formula, Tom knew that Dylan would need a high-quality DHA and probiotic supplements once he was weaned onto solid foods. After extensive research, Tom found the key to optimal children’s nutrition, and Smart Family Nutrition was realized.

Lara Niemann
Lara NiemannMarketing Director - Americas GELITA AG
Lara Niemann is active in GELITA’s marketing department, specifically in the Americas. Here she is responsible for promoting GELITA’s gelatine and collagen peptide portfolios through advertising, sponsorships, public relations, events, exhibits, social media and more.

Working at GELITA for 15 years – and closely with product management, research & development and business development, Lara offers unique company and product insights to a host of internal and external stakeholders. Often called upon by the US media, in particular, Lara enjoys sharing the wonders and relevance of GELITA’s #AmazingGelatine and #AmazingCollagen.

Lara earned her MBA from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL – USA. And, although not a chef by training, in her spare time she enjoys cooking and baking – and, of course, with gelatine!

Michael Teppner
Michael TeppnerGlobal Vice President Marketing & Communication at GELITA AG
Experienced Vice President Marketing Communications with a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. Strong marketing professional skilled in Business Planning, Market Research, Account Management, Marketing and Product Development.

Corporate Marketing & Communications for the entire GELITA Group
Member of the Company Management Team with power of attorney, reporting directly to the CEO. Managerial responsibility for 5 colleagues with full budget responsibility. Responsible for marketing and PR. Company spokesperson.

Dr. Franz J. Konert

CEO, GELITA AG

Dr. Franz Josef Konert has been the Chief Executive Officer of GELITA AG since January 4, 2010. Dr. Konert is 52, married and has three children.  He received his PhD from Paderborn University in Business Administration in 1985.

Michael Rossato-Bennett

Writer/Director/Producer Alive Inside

Michael Rossato-Bennett is the Writer, Director, and Producer of ALIVE INSIDE – winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for U.S. Documentary – and through the film, he strives to incite conversations that interrogate issues related to cultural consciousness. In addition to ALIVE INSIDE, his first feature-length offering, Rossato-Bennett has several documentaries in various stages of development, through his production company, Projector Media. Each of those projects is inspired by Michael’s dedication to the collective well being of society and progressive human change towards the greater, if not greatest, good.

Susan Isenberg

Global Sector Chair, Health

Susan Isenberg is the Global Chair of Edelman’s Health Sector, leading Edelman’s global network of more than 600 health experts. In her nearly 30 years as a communications marketing specialist, she has provided strategic counsel for an extensive number of Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and healthcare-related companies.

Since joining Edelman in 1993, Susan has overseen and developed integrated corporate and brand communications programs to support some of the world’s leading health companies, including AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer and Roche/Genentech, to name a few. She has also worked on behalf of hospitals and other medical institutions and provided issues and crisis management counsel.

Most recently, Susan served as Global Client Relationship Manager for Johnson & Johnson, where she
was responsible for helping ensure the client’s global strategy was integrated into all communications, managing the core client team and aligning consistent activation in local markets.

Susan has also served as Global Vice Chair of Health for Edelman, overseeing Health business in the U.S. as well as Latin America and Canada. Additionally, she was Managing Director of Health in Edelman’s New York office for more than eight years.

Susan has led several award-winning programs for clients, Together Rx on behalf of a number of health companies, and “Hit Play” for DePuy Synthses. Susan has served as a member of the Executive Committee of PhAME (Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing Excellence) and is an ongoing contributor to health communications publications.

Kirti Vatsa

Lead Procurement Analyst – Beroe Inc

Kirti is a Lead Procurement Analyst in pharmaceutical directs, specializing in categories such as API, Excipients, and Contract Manufacturing – Drug Formulations. She is responsible for identifying and building sourcing strategies across these categories and facilitating clients to gain a robust understanding of the categories and industry sourcing practices.

Her responsibilities include interacting with Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Clients to identify their requirements, developing customized category specific reports for providing actionable sourcing solution to clients. Her background in aiding various departments of the organization (procurement, supply, sales & marketing), helps the firms to identify and drive a complex set of solutions to support both the Company Bottom line and Top Line. In this role, she is also responsible for supporting junior
analysts and provides them direction on project-specific needs.

She is also responsible for delivery of thought leadership work in terms of whitepapers, pro-active advisories, etc. She has authored several white papers on excipients in leading Journals such as Pharma Focus Asia, American Pharmaceutical Review (APR), Tablets & Capsules (T&C) and International Journal of Drug Development & Research.

Martin Junginger

Head of Global Product Management Pharma / Business Development Gelatine

Martin Junginger is Head of Global Product Management Pharma & Business Development Gelatine at GELITA AG in Eberbach/ Germany. He is responsible for the portfolio of pharma gelatine, mainly for soft capsules with different dissolution and cross-linking properties. Besides Mr. Junginger is in charge of the Global Innovation Process to establish, manage and report innovation projects at GELITA.

Prior to joining GELITA in 2017, Mr. Junginger was Head of Product Development for Modern Wound Care dressings at PAUL HARTMANN AG in Heidenheim, Germany. In the years before he was responsible for process development and establishing of pilot and production plants, before developing medical products for the treatment of acute and chronically wounds for professional applications. Mr. Junginger holds a Dipl. Ing. (M.Sc.) degree in chemical engineering from the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Tom Aarts

Managing Director of Nutrition Business Advisors

Thomas Aarts is Managing Director of Nutrition Business Advisors (NBA), a company which provides advanced consulting, strategic advising, capital raising and full-service business development focused on the $194 billion Global Nutrition Industry.

Tom sits on several boards, including Vitamin Angels, a non-profit whose mission is to provide vital nutrients to children and women in need. Tom is a graduate of Colgate University and completed his MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Mr Aarts is a high-level management consultant with 22 years of experience working with C-suite executives across the nutrition industry. His experience lies in management consulting, M&A transactions, capital raising and strategic market research.

Tom has worked with many companies, including GNC, Metagenics, Garden of Life, Reserveage, Martek, Nestlé, Bayer, Herbalife, Nu Skin and Cargill. He serves on the board for Natreon, STYR Labs, The Ross Camp Institute, and the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.

Tom co-founded the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) in 1996, the business journal of record for the nutrition industry. Through this, he was an integral part of creating many industry-leading reports that helped shape the nutrition industry. Tom now serves as Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board for NBJ. He is also the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the annual NBJ Summit, a premier CEO/executive retreat for the nutrition and natural products industry, now in its twenty-first year.

From 1998 to 2001, he was a founding partner of Health Business Partners, an investment banking and consulting firm serving the natural products industry. In 2002, Tom worked with New Hope Network as they continued to help grow healthy markets in the industry.

Tom then co-founded and served as Principal of Nutrition Capital Network (NCN). NCN is focused on connecting Nutrition/LOHAS companies with sources of growth capital and has assisted over 585 companies to become exposed to capital sources.

Tom also currently serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Smart Family Nutrition, which began after the birth of his son, Dylan, in 2013. Dylan was born premature and was unable to be breastfed. As he continued to grow (and thrive!) on formula, Tom knew that Dylan would need a high-quality DHA and probiotic supplements once he was weaned onto solid foods. After extensive research, Tom found the key to optimal children’s nutrition, and Smart Family Nutrition was realized.

Hank Schultz

Deputy Editor at NutraIngredients-USA

Hank is a native of Wisconsin who has lived in Colorado for many years. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he is a former daily newspaper journalist who has been working in the dietary supplement and natural products industries for the past seven years. When not in front of a computer he can be found on a bicycle, a mountainside or at the helm of a sailboat.

Michael Teppner

Global Vice President Marketing & Communication at GELITA AG

Experienced Vice President Marketing Communications with a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. Strong marketing professional skilled in Business Planning, Market Research, Account Management, Marketing and Product Development.

Corporate Marketing & Communications for the entire GELITA Group
Member of the Company Management Team with power of attorney, reporting directly to the CEO. Managerial responsibility for 5 colleagues with full budget responsibility. Responsible for marketing and PR. Company spokesperson.

Lara Niemann

Marketing Director – Americas GELITA AG

Lara Niemann is active in GELITA’s marketing department, specifically in the Americas. Here she is responsible for promoting GELITA’s gelatine and collagen peptide portfolios through advertising, sponsorships, public relations, events, exhibits, social media and more.

Working at GELITA for 15 years – and closely with product management, research & development and business development, Lara offers unique company and product insights to a host of internal and external stakeholders. Often called upon by the US media, in particular, Lara enjoys sharing the wonders and relevance of GELITA’s #AmazingGelatine and #AmazingCollagen.

Lara earned her MBA from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL – USA. And, although not a chef by training, in her spare time she enjoys cooking and baking – and, of course, with gelatine!

John Dolphin

GELITA’s Vice President Process Technology & Technological Affairs

Dr John Dolphin received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chemistry from Rutgers University and his Ph. D. In Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He worked at the Polaroid Corporation for 7 years before joining the then Kind & Knox. He has held a variety of positions of generally increasing but sometimes decreasing, responsibility during his career at Gelita. He was the leader of the Pharmaceutical Competence Team from 2012 until recently. He hired Jeremey Kaufmann, Michael Belkin, Melissa Simon (sort of), Michelle Montgomery and Eric Yezdimer. John will celebrate his 30th anniversary with the company early next year and retire a few months later.

Melissa Simon

Director of Sales, Pharmaceutical for GELITA USA, Inc.

Her experience is in servicing the soft-, hard capsule, vitamin coating, and speciality pharmaceutical (medical device and vaccine) markets in the USA and Canada.

Melissa has worked with reputable Pharmaceutical and Health&Nutrition companies, many of which are in the room today. Melissa helps customers develop new products, practices and markets which suits their budgets and goals. You can expect 100% transparency, no scary surprises, and a passionate interest in improving the quality of life.

Melissa is an avid sports fan, especially football, which was fueled during her living experiences in Brazil and Germany.

Tonja Lipp

Sr. Manager Business Development Health & Nutrition, GELITA USA

Tonja promotes the physiological and nutritional benefits of collagen supplementation, with a focus on specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides®, supported by strong clinical data and driven by their potential to make a real the difference in people’s quality of life, optimal health and athletic performance. With nearly 20 years of experience in the food and dietary supplement industry, working mainly with functional ingredients and being at the forefront of ingredient innovation, Tonja has a unique combination of expertise in consumer needs and expectations towards functional ingredients as well as scientific background and ingredient technology.

She joined GELITA in 2012, bringing experience from previous roles, such as Business Unit Manager for Beneo, Inc. for functional carbohydrates. Tonja comes from Germany, where she developed her early career and education. She holds an MSc in Food Technology from University of Hohenheim, Germany and a BA in International Business Management and Economics from University of Applied Sciences Nuertingen, Germany.

Eric Yezdimer

Research and Business Development Manager for GELITA USA

Eric has been with GELITA for 5 years and is responsible for guiding new product development, process improvement, process scale-up and method development projects. He is a member of GELITA’s global Pharmaceutical Competence Team and is responsible for providing customer assistance on technical product applications. Eric received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Delaware and received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee. He previously spent 9 years at IST Corporation leading various biochemical research projects. He also served briefly as a lecturer and researcher at Penn State University. He has coauthored 19 peer-viewed scientific publications in the fields of aqueous solubility, molecular simulation, enzyme dynamics and contrast agents for medical imaging.

Michelle Montgomery

Manager of Technological Affairs for GELITA USA

Michelle has been with GELITA for 6 years and is responsible for providing technical assistance to both GELITA’s pharmaceutical and edible customers. She is also actively involved in the research and development for new gelatin products in both the pharmaceutical and edible areas. She is a member of GELITA’s global Pharmaceutical Competence Team and GELITA’s Global Edible Team. Michelle received her undergraduate degrees in Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Northern Iowa and received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Jeremey Kaufmann

Director Sales – Edible & Specialty Gelatine

Jeremy Kaufman has more than 20 years of experience in progressively responsible roles in the areas of Research and Development, Technical Services, and most recently as Sales Director, Edible and Specialty Gelatines at GELITA USA Inc. As a result of Jeremy’s professional roles at GELITA, he has developed a strong expertise and keen understanding of gelatine and collagen peptides, which are key components in a host of confectionary, food, dairy, bar, nutraceutical and pet food applications. Jeremey received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of South Dakota.