Dr. Sharon Thompson is currently the Director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness (CAFSP) at the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine (UTCVM). The Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness is a nationally recognized Center that conducts training and research related to food safety and defense and was founded by Dr. Thompson. As Director, she manages eight direct reports but works with a staff of over 40 subject matter expert private contractors across the country as well as several university based partners. She is also a principal member of the Food and Agriculture Protection Training Consortium (FAPTC), a multi-institutional university based educational initiative for food safety and defense training and technical assistance, both domestically and internationally.
Dr. Thompson has over 20 years of experience in positions of increasing responsibility spanning the federal and academic sector and has extensive experience managing complex, multi-institutional projects. She has also served as a consultant over the past nine years to other universities, industry, federal agencies and government contracting organizations, primarily on food safety and defense issues. Recent university based consulting work includes serving as the lead subject matter expert for the development of LSU’s National Center for Biomedical Research and Training national training program on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of food emergency response.
Dr. Thompson joined the University of Tennessee after 12 years working for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most recently, she was the Department of Health and Human Services liaison to the Joint Institute for Food Safety Research (JIFSR) in Washington, D. C. During her time at JIFSR, she developed a risk-ranking approach to guide federal food safety research priorities and was the technical lead on developing a web-based database on federal food safety research.
Prior to joining JIFSR, she was the Associate Director for Veterinary Medical and International Affairs with the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at FDA. In this capacity, she served as the lead for the development of food safety and drug registration policies, and was responsible for the management of the Center’s international programs. She traveled extensively internationally representing the US at multiple international forums. She served as the Executive Secretary for the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods and was actively involved in other Codex meetings including the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene and the Codex Commission. She served on several World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Working Groups and helped found the Veterinary International Cooperation on Harmonization Initiative involving the US, EU, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. In 2003, she was the only US candidate and one of four final candidates for the FAO/ WHO Codex Alimentarius Secretariat position.
She was responsible for directing CVM involvement in all antimicrobial resistance activities and in this position, developed a risk-based approach to the regulation of antimicrobials for use in food animals that was incorporated into FDA policies and guidance. She served as the Co-Chair of an OIE Expert Group on Antimicrobial Resistance which developed international recommendations on the appropriate risk analysis methodology for the potential impact on public health of antimicrobial resistant bacteria of animal origin. She was the project manager of FDA’s “Quantitative Risk Assessment on the Human Health Impact of Fluoroquinolone Resistant Campylobacter from Consumption of Chicken” which was the first risk assessment to quantitatively address this issue. Dr. Thompson was extensively involved in World Health Organization, OIE, and Codex Alimentarius discussions relating to risk assessment and risk management issues on food safety.
Dr. Thompson has served as an invited expert for the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, the Codex Alimentarius, the Pan American Health Association, and several US federal agencies, including the US Department of Agriculture, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She was an invited expert for a Department of Homeland Security review panel on risk-based modeling on the consequences of terrorism and potential countermeasures.
Dr. Thompson has several federally funded projects underway related to food safety and defense and has successfully administered over 15 million in competitively awarded federal grant programs. In 2005, she received a $2 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security to develop a national training program for state and local officials and industry on the assessment of vulnerabilities of the agriculture and food industry. She received two additional grants from DHS in September 2008 totaling $5.2 million. The first award is for a training program to aid in the coordination of resources between the public and private sectors and across state lines by using national credentialing standards in the event of an animal-related disaster. The second is for the development of effective information sharing networks between law enforcement, public safety agencies, and the private sector on the importation and transportation of food in the United States. Both programs are currently being delivered nationally. A recent industry funded project looks at risk analysis for a major leafy greens processor and will include work at all their facilities nationwide. In 2011, she received a five year $6.6 million grant from the US Food and Drug Administration to assist with the development of their national food safety curriculum.
Dr. Thompson received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia- Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of Tennessee, and her bachelor's degree in biology from Harvard University.
Ray is originally from Georgia, and has over 25 years of experience as a County Extension Agent and County Director with both the Georgia and Tennessee Extension agencies. Following service in the U. S. Navy, he completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia in December of 1977 in Animal Science and immediately joined the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service in Gordon County, Georgia as a 4-H Agent. Since 1996, Ray has been the County Director for the University of Tennessee Extension in Hamilton County (Chattanooga), Tennessee. He also has experience managing a dairy and operating a farm supply business.
In addition to his Bachelor’s degree from UGA, Ray also holds a Master of Public Administration from West Georgia College and a Doctor of Education from the University of Tennessee. Over the past several years, Ray has been involved with county and state agricultural emergency response. He is a Certified Instructor with the Center for Domestic Preparedness/Department of Homeland Security, the agricultural representative for Tennessee’s Homeland Security District III, Hamilton County Disaster Animal Response Team Leader, and an Instructor for the Department of Homeland Security’s Basic WMD Awareness Course (AWR-160). He has participated in numerous agroterroism trainings including Agricultural Emergency Response Training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness, Academy for Counter-Terrorism Education, and the AgTerror Preparedness Center. He is also a member of the Chattanooga Chapter of InfraGard and the InfraGard Food and Agriculture Special Interest Group, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Local Emergency Preparedness Committee and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Community Health & Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Ray and his wife, Bonnie, currently reside in Pikeville, TN. They have one daughter, Lani, who is a graduate student at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Ray is a member of the Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents & Specialists, National Association of County Agricultural Agents, Epsilon Sigma Phi Professional Society, and a lifetime member of the Tennessee Search & Rescue Dog Association.
Dorothy Dove-Murphy lived in Venezuela working with the Canadian Embassy and Philanthropic organizations such as Fundamigo, and SonRisa after working for Texaco in International Drilling. Upon returning to the United States she opened an art-gallery in Georgia later marrying and moving to Tennessee she joined the Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness in May of 2007. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Houston Community College in Technical Communication and is a licensed EMT.
Dr. Jenifer Chatfield graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Immediately following graduation, she immersed herself in several aspects of veterinary medicine by working as the Associate Veterinarian at the San Antonio Zoo as well as a part-time associate at the Animal Emergency Room.
Dr. Chatfield pursued both emergency medicine and zoo medicine throughout her career. She has owned 2 emergency clinics, in Florida and Texas, and has been the Senior Veterinarian in a zoological park. Additionally, Dr. Chatfield was the veterinarian supervising the biomedical research program at the University of Texas at Brownsville for 4 years. She has completed fieldwork in Madagascar and South America, and continues to explore new areas of medicine as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. Currently, Dr. Chatfield is an instructor for FEMA/DHS agroterroism courses, National Disaster Medicine System Team Member and is the staff veterinarian for 4J Conservation Center.
Dr. Prashant Chikhale is a subject matter expert in Curricular Design and Accreditation expert with many years of experience in performance and assessment strategies, data analysis and accreditation. Dr. Chikhale is a professor at South College and is Co-Chair of the Curriculum Committee and a Chair for the Subcommittee of Accreditation of the Pharmacy Program at South College. The Center DHS and FDA grant programs will be developing novel assessment strategies to measure participants short and long term performance based learning. These strategies are a key part of the CAFSP deliverables to DHS and the FDA.
Walter has 18 years of experience in regulatory and public veterinary medicine. He worked as a veterinarian for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, then the Wyoming Livestock Board as both Assistant State Veterinarian and State Veterinarian. He currently serves as Brucellosis Coordinator for the College of Agriculture at the University of Wyoming. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Veterinary Science at UW. He has previously served in the US Army Reserves Veterinary Corps and as a state of Wyoming Veterinary Coordinator.
;Walter obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly State University, his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of California at Davis and a PhD from the University of Wyoming. He is Board Certified in the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine.
Walter and his wife Lynda and daughter Amanda live near Buford, WY (population 1). Amanda attends school in a one-room schoolhouse. They have a myriad of horses, dogs and cats and run a small cow-calf operation.
Joseph Corby worked for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Food Safety and Inspection for 37 ½ years. After receiving his Environmental Health degree in 1970, he became a Food Inspector with the Department in the Syracuse, NY, area. Following promotions to Senior Food Inspector in Buffalo, NY in 1975, Supervising Inspector in Albany, NY in 1984, Director of Field Operations in 1989, and Assistant Director in 1994, he was appointed Director of the Division of Food Safety & Inspection in 1999 until he retired in May of 2008. He is now the Executive Director of the Association of Food & Drug Officials [AFDO], a member of the Board of Directors for the International Food Protection Training Institute [IFPTI] and the Partnership for Food Safety Education [PFSE], and works as a part time trainer for IFPTI, Louisiana State University NCBRT, and the University of Tennessee.
Larry has over 30 years experience as a security expert, serving 20 years with the United States Secret Service and 13 years in private security consulting and security management.
While with the Secret Service he conducted security surveys and supervised the official visits for dignitaries including Presidents of the United States, Presidential candidates, Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev and other foreign Heads of State.
He served in the Presidential Protective Division from 1982-1987. Mr. Cunningham has supervised the development and successful prosecution of 75-100 “high tech” domestic and international criminal cases, which included computer hacking and other technology based crimes.
Larry is the owner of Essential Security Strategies, LLC specializing in internet, airline, computer and commerce fraud, as well as physical security issues.
He has made numerous media appearances, including on CNN and NPR. As an adjunct instructor for the National Center for Biomedical Research & Training.
Mr. Cunningham develops and teaches a wide range of counter-terrorism curricula to law enforcement and public safety personnel of private and public organizations.
Lori Dachille is an accomplished professional with more than 20 years of law enforcement, and emergency management experience. She began her career as a New York City Police Officer; however she later coordinated Computerized Statistics (CompStat) for the Manhattan South Narcotics Division. Her expertise in compiling trend and statistical data, coupled by an interest in counterterrorism and homeland security led her to the Virginia Fusion Center.
As an Intelligence Analyst in the Virginia Fusion Center, she collected and collated tactical intelligence from various sources and produced comprehensive Information Reports and Intelligence Bulletins in support of incidents, as well as strategic intelligence to support counter terrorism Threat Assessments for significant events impacting Virginia. She served as a liaison between the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, applying the principles of intelligence fusion and emergency management for incident operations.
Currently, Lori serves as Deputy Operations Section Chief with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. During events and state declared emergencies requiring activation of the Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC), she manages response efforts and staffing of the Virginia Emergency Response Team (VERT). Lori also develops effective course work designed for VERT personnel intended to provide the student with an understanding of the Principles of Emergency Management, the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the National Response Framework (NRF).
Lori has provided subject matter expertise for the development of national training programs to encourage the formation of effective intelligence and information sharing networks between law enforcement, public safety agencies, and the private sector. She has also provides direction to critical infrastructure partners in the development of emergency plans and interaction with the Virginia Emergency Operation Center.
Billy is Director Office of Biosecurity for the College of Agriculture and Home Economics at New Mexico State University. He has served in this capacity for over three years after retiring as Associate Dean and Director of the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service.
He is a member of the State Bio-Security working group in cooperation with the Department of Justice, as well as the Infragard group in cooperation with FBI. He is a member of a bio working group on campus that coordinates bio-security campus wide. He served as a member of the state homeland security assessment committee working on agricultural issues.
Billy is an adjunct faculty member of the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training Academy of Counter Terrorist Education at LSU. He is also a member of the team developing the Agriculture and Food Vulnerability Assessment Training Program in cooperation with the University of Tennessee and a certified instructor.
Billy is a member of the Syndrome Surveillance Program for animal’s pilot team with Colorado State University, NMSU and NMDA. He also is a certified instructor for the Western Institute of Food Safety and Security at UC Davis.y Assessment Training Program in cooperation with the University of Tennessee and a certified instructor.
Billy has helped coordinate and teach many statewide bio-security training conferences in New Mexico since 9/11. He also teaches agrosecurity courses throughout the US. He is a member of a national group looking at animal security issues in the US. Billy has been recognized by the FBI for Exceptional Service in the Public Interest.
He holds teaching positions with four universities and is keenly interested in the safety and security of America’s food supply.
Dr. Draughon is a professor in the Food Science and Technology Department at UT and is co-Director of the University of Tennessee Food Safety Center of Excellence which was established in 2001.
Ann’s research interest’s deal with the ecology and epidemiology of food borne pathogens using molecular subtyping methods to trace the origin of food borne pathogens through the food chain. She has also been very active in assisting industry and regulatory agencies with risk assessments and homeland security issues regarding food.
Dr. Draughon served as the first female president of the International Association for Food Protection in 1995. She has received numerous universities, national and international awards for her research and her teaching.
She is active nationally and internationally in professional groups and activities, particularly in relation to Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella. She has graduated over 50 M.S. and Ph.D. students and published over 400 scientific papers and abstracts while at the University of Tennessee.
Ann currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Food Safety and Security which provides a linkage between USDA-ARS and universities.
She has been on the faculty of The University of Tennessee for 28 years and has two sons who are currently attending university.
From his first traffic stop of a speeding motorist over twenty years ago, to being a lecturer at institutions such as the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy and University of Wyoming Law School, has been an educator of sorts most of his professional life.
Kelly was born on a ranch in northern Wyoming and raised in an environment where his mother was a professor at a local community college for over thirty years and his father was a well-known trainer of natural horsemanship.
Mr. Hamilton spent several years in Mexico living on a university campus. He is currently a criminal investigator for the State of Wyoming and Chairman of the State Public Safety Communications Commissions, a public safety radio initiative to achieve interoperability for all public safety radio users in Wyoming.
Kelly has been a certified peace officer in Wyoming for over two decades with experience at the municipal, county, and state levels of government. He also has security experience in the private sector with organizations such as Carnival Cruise Lines and Loomis Fargo. Today he administrates a law enforcement unit for the State of Wyoming that investigates crimes in the rural and agriculture settings.
After the tragic events in 2001, Mr. Hamilton’s group of investigators took on additional duties for the State of Wyoming; planning, preparing and educating others about bioterrorism and more specifically, agro-terrorism.
Dr. Jared is a Professor Emeritus in the Plant Sciences of the University of Tennessee.
Before retiring in 2004, Professor Jared worked for 32 years with the University of Tennessee’s Agricultural Extension Service. During his 32 years of service he has held numerous positions ranging from district director for all programs in 27 counties to district program leader for Ag programs in 24 counties.
He was also a state specialist and Professor in the Plant and Soil Science and the Director of the UT Plant and Soil Diagnostic Laboratory.
Professor Jared’s various work experiences include teaching, research, writing, and publishing.
He has worked cooperatively with agribusinesses, commodity groups, federal and state agencies, industry, producers, professional organizations and other universities.
Currently Mr. Klein is working part time on four projects:
Contract work for the Association of Food and Drug Officials, (AFDO)
Contract work as an SME developing web based and instructor led adult education modules on special processes for retail foods for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness
Serving as a part time lecturer for the Louisiana State University’s National Center for Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT)
Contract work as an SME for the International Food Protection Training Institute in Battle Creek, Michigan developing modules on food law, communications, and recalls for the Integrated Food Safety System course which will be presented nationwide to federal, state, territorial, tribal and local food safety officials to facilitate implementation of federal Food Safety Modernization Act of January 2011
Mr. Klein counts among his many achievements throughout his 27 year career: President of the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO for two terms from 2009-2011; participating in the development of FoodSHIELD which is a secure information management portal for food safety regulators. Serving on the Board of Directors of the Western Association of Food and Drug Officials. Chaired the AFDO Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) Committee which with FDA Division of Federal State Relations recommended changes to the MFRPS and helped FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs organize the Lab Accreditation Committee to further state laboratory adoption of ISO standards. As President of AFDO I signed an agreement in 2010 to promote cooperation between AFDO and the Chinese Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Agency and represented AFDO at the first Seafood HACCP Alliance course taught in August 2011 in Qingdao, China.
Dr. Kowalski is retired from Ohio state university where he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a P.H.D. in 1969, his MS in 1966, D.V.M. in 1960, and BS in 1958.
Dr. Kowalski was an Associate Professor from 1975 until 2006; an assistant professor from 1973 to 1975 at Ohio State University. He was an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University from 1970 to 1973 and a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in 1969. From 1960 to 1962 he was a captain in the United States Army Veterinary Corps.
He has been teaching at the Ohio State University from 1973 to his retirement.
Dr. Pierson received his BS in Animal Science from the University of Delaware in 1978, MS in Animal Science (emphasis in Poultry Physiology) from Purdue University in 1980, and DVM from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984. He was engaged in private veterinary practice for a number of years in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, but then returned to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to complete a PhD in infectious diseases (emphasis in Poultry). He has been a member of the faculty of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine for 17 years and is a diplomat of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians. His academic interests include flock/herd health, infectious diseases, food safety, biosecurity and infection control. He maintains an active, extramurally funded research program in these areas and was appointed to the position of Director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in 2008.
Dr. Reed is a native of Liberty, Kentucky. He graduated from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health.
In addition to working as a disc-jockey throughout much of his high school and undergraduate career, Mark has some twenty-one years of experience in Public Health.; He served for eight years as a local health department sanitarian at the Boyle County Health Department in Danville, Kentucky. In 1998, he accepted a position with the Kentucky Department for Public Health—Food Safety Branch where he routinely participated in the training and standardization of both new and seasoned food safety inspectors across the state.
Throughout his public health career, he has organized and conducted scores of food safety training classes for the food-service industry, general public, local health department sanitarians, and professional associations.; Mark has also appeared on radio and television shows to promote food safety. He was honored for his educational commitment and talent as a trainer in February 2003 with the Kentucky Registered Sanitarian Educational Training Award. In October of 2002, Mr. Reed accepted a new position with the Food Safety Branch as Supervisor of the Food Manufacturing Section. In October 2004 he was honored with the Department for Public Health Commissioner’s Award for Excellence in Leadership.
Mr. Reed received his Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Eastern Kentucky University in 2001. Mark also received a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from EKU in April 2006.
Since fall of 2007 Mark has served as an adjunct professor for EKU’s nationally recognized undergraduate program in Environmental Health Science, teaching both Introduction to Environmental Health Science and Food Hygiene classes for the university.
In 2009, Mark was selected by the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), located in Battle Creek, Michigan, to serve among a cadre of instructors drawn from across the U.S. in delivering the AFDO Applications of Basics of Investigation and Inspection course. In June 2010, he received the IFPTI Director’s Award in recognition of outstanding dedication and commitment to the organization. Since August 2010, Mark has served as Manager of the Kentucky DPH Food Safety Branch where he oversees Kentucky’s food protection programs.
Bob is a subject matter expert in bio-security, forensic chemistry, PREDICT, Industrial Hygiene and has been an instructor for CAFSP’s courses:
MGT 332: Agriculture and Food Vulnerability Assessment Training Course
MGT 337: Food Vulnerability Assessment Training Course
PER 259: Sharing Information and Intelligence Related to Food Importation and Transportation
Mr. Silver is currently the associate director with The Center for Animal Health, Food Safety and Bio-Security at the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Robert Silver is also serving as subject matter expert on the new FDA grant to develop food inspection courses. Mr. Silver has over 25 years’ experience in chemical, biological, and radiological risk and exposure assessment.
Mr. Silver also formed the team that worked with the FDA Division of Import Operations and Policy to create the PREDICT automated risk-based import examination system. FDA recognized NMSU in FDA News July 2, 2008 for a successful limited operational demonstration in 2007 at the Port of Los Angeles targeting imported sea foods from the Pacific Rim. The developers of PREDICT received a Team Development Award from FDA in 2010. Today PREDICT is used by all 16 FDA Import Districts to screen all imports of FDA regulated commodities.
Joining the Georgia Department of Agriculture in 1976, Cameron served in various positions within the agency over a period of 30 plus years. Cameron served as the Assistant Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Consumer Protection Division from 1995 until his retirement January 31, 2007. Cameron served for many years as the Department of Agriculture’s liaison to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and has extensive experience in crisis management. His emergency work included coordinating relief efforts relating to livestock welfare and food and water wholesomeness and sanitation when Georgia was impacted by tornadoes, hurricanes and other disasters including the 1994 flood – one of the state’s most extensive and costliest disasters. Cameron worked with local and federal counterparts in coordinating food safety efforts for two international events hosted in Georgia -- the 1996 Olympics and the G8 Summit held in 2004.
Cameron has served as a member of the Georgia Homeland Security’s Agriculture and Food Defense subcommittee. He is past president of the Association of Food and Drug Officials of the Southern States and the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), the national organization for state, local and federal food and drug regulatory officials. He was AFDO’s first representative to the Food and Agriculture Sector Government Coordinating Council (GCC) led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition, Cameron has been a member of the Association of Food and Drug Officials’ Seafood HACCP Training Program Certification Committee and chairman of the Association’s Rules and Regulations Committee.
Cameron currently works as a consultant in the area of food safety, food defense and crisis management. His consultancy projects include work with WinWam Software Inc., Uriah Group, USAID, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, CRA, Inc., the University of California Davis Western Institution for Food Safety & Security, and the University of Tennessee Center for Agriculture and Security and Preparedness. The USAID project involved foreign travel to Egypt as part of a project to establish a new single Food Safety Agency. The purpose of the new food safety agency is to help improve Egypt’s domestic food safety and to enhance their international reputation for the safety of food products processed and exported by Egyptian businesses. Cameron served as the expatriate consultant on the Inspection Work Group responsible for setting up the new field inspectional sector of the Food Safety Agency.
Jeff, has been the director of Agricultural Biosecurity for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) and New Mexico State University since November, 2003 and served as the assistant director of NMDA from 1994 until November, 2003. In this capacity he works closely with various private, state and federal agencies and research institutions on agriculture issues related to homeland security and coordinates those activities with sister agencies in Mexico through the Border Governors Association. He is an adjunct professor with Louisiana State University and the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, and has ongoing projects with the University of Tennessee, University of Minnesota, University of California – Davis, and Kansas State University.
Mr. Witte is a member of Infraguard New Mexico, New Mexico Bio Security Work Group with the US Attorney’s office and was a founding member of Agrigard, a national workgroup that brings together industry and law enforcement. He also is a member of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Food and Agriculture Security task force.
Mr. Witte comes from a ranching family in northern New Mexico. He is a graduate of New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural business management and Master of Science degree in agricultural economics and economics. Prior to NMDA, Mr. Witte was a director of governmental affairs and field services with the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau from 1986 to 1994.