Steve has enjoyed a successful acting career for over 25 years, appearing in over 800 hours of film and television productions. He has worked on over 30 films and many guest leads in television. Most recently you would have seen Steve appearing in the hit movie TRANSFORMERS and BLACK HAWK DOWN. Steve’s other film credits would include films such as CONTACT with Jodie Foster, ARMAGEDDON with Bruce Willis, STARSHIP TROOPERS, ERASER with Schwarzenegger, HEAT with Al Pacino, CARRIE II, and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY as Meg Ryan’s boyfriend. He has also done numerous guest leads in television shows such as SUDDENLY SUSAN, J.A.G., FLIPPER, WALKER TEXAS RANGER, DR. QUINN, BAYWATCH, THE CAPE, COLUMBO, MURDER SHE WROTE and HAPPY DAYS. Steve also hosted a full season, 22 episodes of the primetime series SECRET SERVICE for NBC. Early in Steve’s career he spent six years playing the character Andy Richards on the Emmy Award winning daytime show THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.

Before becoming an actor in 1980, Steve worked on the professional rodeo circuit as a team roper and still ropes today in his spare time. He owns a ranch in California. Steve served three years on the Board of Directors of THE NATIONAL COWBOY HALL OF FAME in Oklahoma City and currently serves on THE GERALD R. FORD PRESIDENTIAL FOUNDATION.

He is also highly sought after nationally as a motivational speaker for corporate events relating his inspiring experiences during his family’s stay in the WHITE HOUSE and his years in Hollywood. Steve also speaks about his own successful battle overcoming alcoholism over twenty years ago. He shares with audiences inspiring stories of character and leadership that lead to the Ford family’s success which will help audiences rethink their own lives. He is the third son of President and Mrs. Gerald R. Ford.

Keven Sawchuk is a Senior Merchandiser for Viterra Inc., which is part of the Glencore Agriculture global commodity trading network. Keven is based in Taber, Alberta, in the heart of an irrigated farming district that produces a wide variety of specialty crops. He has been focused on the international trade of dry beans and other pulse crops for the past two decades.  He often presents market analysis to grower groups, trade associations and international meetings related to pulse crops. His other related experience includes logistics, processing plant design, quality system implementation and audit, and process improvement.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Suzanne Thornsbury is Chief of the Crops Branch in USDA’s Economic Research Service. She joined ERS in 2011 as Senior Economist and Cross-Commodity Analyst for Specialty Crops in the Markets and Trade Economics Division. In 2014 she served as the Senior Advisor for Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities in the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist. Prior to joining ERS, Suzanne was an Associate Professor in Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University where her focus was specialty crop markets. Areas of research interest are food safety, global markets and international trade, market structure, and technological change. She received her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Andrew J.J. Fontaine
General Manager, V.P. Sales & Marketing
Spokane Seed Company

Born and raised in the Seattle area, Andrew became a loyal alumnus of Washington State University in 2000, graduating with an Advertising/Marketing degree.  As the GM and V.P. of Sales for Spokane Seed Company, Andrew is responsible for all daily operations as well as all Domestic and International trading for the 107 year old company.  Spokane Seed Company prides itself on supreme processing that permits them to supply the largest most recognized food companies in the world. 

Andrew is a fourth generation pulse trader with 14 years’ experience selling Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas.  He is a very active member of the US Dry Pea and Lentils Council.  Andrew serves as the Domestic Marketing Committee Chairman.  He is also the current Chairman of the Trade Association Board and is a member of the National Board.  In his spare time he enjoys many outdoor activities and spending time with his wife and three sons.        


 

Rebecca Bratter, Executive Director –US Dry Bean Council
Rebecca has spent the last twenty years dedicated to global market development and trade for a variety of US agricultural commodities.  Working closely with the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), she has represented the global trade interests of the US wood product industry, US wheat growers and farmers, US corn, barley, and sorghum growers and processors, agricultural technical providers, and traders such as Louis Dreyfus, Cargill, and ADM. In her current role, she provides leadership and vision to the global export market development interests of the US dry bean industry. She has also collaborated with both FAS and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on humanitarian feeding and nutritional programs utilizing US origin commodities to provide sustenance for food insecure nations.  She has been active in developing broad trade policy agendas to run in tandem with global market development activities and has represented US agricultural interests in bilateral and regional trade negotiations and at multilateral fora such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).  A key aspect of her roles with various associations has been leadership of industry and association committees to achieve consensus among divergent interests with a view towards program excellence.  To that end, together with other members of executive leadership, she has played a leadership role in several organizational development initiatives ensuring use of best practices and streamlining operations for efficiency. Before joining the US Dry Bean Council, Rebecca ran her own agricultural consulting practice, The Chaski Group, working with US agricultural trade groups on new market development and food aid policy.  Rebecca has lived and worked all over the globe and is fluent in Spanish and speaks decent Portuguese, along with a smattering of other languages.  An outdoor and tropics enthusiast, she lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and dog, Madiba.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Steven Ford

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Keynote Speaker