Conference Speakers

Mr. Mark Samson, Regional Vice President
Middle East, East and North Africa Region
U.S. Wheat Associates, Inc.


Mr. Mark Samson is currently serving as the Regional Vice President for the Middle East, East and North Africa, US Wheat Associates, Inc. (USW) in Cairo, Egypt.  In his senior management role with USW, Samson directed all market development activities in 13 countries in South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.  He moved from the USW office in Singapore to Idaho in 2009 and worked as a Consultant for Pacific Northwest state wheat commissions on market assessments and other export-oriented market development projects.  Samson was Administrator of the Idaho Wheat Commission from 1985 until 1996. 


Samson received both his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science in Agriculture Economics from the University of Idaho in 1975.  After completing graduate work in agricultural economics at the University of Idaho, Samson served as Assistant Director in the Washington, DC, office of Western Wheat Associates, a legacy organization to USW.   Samson was a senior accountant with an international construction firm serving in several overseas assignments, including Saudi Arabia.


Mr. Lamine Lahouasnia, Head of Packaged
Food Research  Euromonitor International Ltd., UK


Mr. Lamine Lahouasnia is the Head of Packaged Food at Euromonitor International.


In his current role, Lahouasnia leads Euromonitor International’s packaged food research programme and is directly responsible for shaping Euromonitor International’s quantitative research across 80 markets.  In Lahouasnia’s previous role as a senior member of Euromonitor’s Retailing Team, he specialized in modern grocery formats and researched the world’s leading retailers of packaged food.


Lahouasnia’s external contributions have included a feature for a special edition of the China Daily on how the retail environment has evolved since the liberalization of trade regulations.

Ms. Gladys Negrete-Lampat, Marketing Manager EMEA 
Cargill Risk Management, Geneva, Switzerland


Ms. Gladys Negrete-Lampat moved to Cargill Geneva, Switzerland,  in 2011 to manage the Risk Management business for Hedging Solutions for Europe, Middle East and Africa region.  Negrete-Lampat  joined Cargill Americas in 1997 as commodities trader, mainly originating, shipping  and trading soybean meal and grains, serving customers in Latin America.  In 2004, she joined Cargill Risk Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota; serving customers and developing the commodity risk management solutions business in Latin America.   Negrete-Lampat was born and raised in Quito-Ecuador.   She obtained her Bsc. in International Business from Minnesota State University.

Mr. Walter Bruggmann, Area Sales Manager for Grain Milling
Bühler AG, Uzwil, Switzerland  


Mr. Walter Bruggmann started his professional career as an engineer with Buhler AG in 1973 and worked on milling projects on site in Europe, Middle East, South East Asia, Central America and South Africa.    Between 1984 and 1998, his activities included practical milling, studies at the Swiss Milling School, planning /engineering and sales in South Africa, China and Switzerland.  In 1998,  Bruggmann took over responsibility as Area Manager Grain Milling for various countries in the Middle East.

Mr. Elias El-Cheikh, Regional Area Manager for the Middle East
Buhler, Beirut, Lebanon


Mr. Elias El-Cheikh is currently working for Buhler in Beirut as Regional Area Manager for the Middle East since 2012. Previously, El-Cheikh was working for Buhler, AG,  in the capacity of Area Sales Manager for Feed & Biomass since 2008.  From the year 2000-2008, he occupied many posts at Buhler Uzwil and Johannesburg.


Ms. Casey Chumrau, Market Analyst 
U.S. Wheat Associates, Inc., Arlington, USA


Ms. Casey Chumrau is the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Market Analyst.  Chumrau monitors and reports on global wheat market trends and activity, produces weekly price reports and provide contract, quality specification and price assistance to U.S. wheat exporters and importers.


Prior to her current position, Chumrau worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance as an international trade associate, providing research, writing and analytical support, including for hearings on the Panama and Korea free trade agreements.   Chumrau also worked in her home state as a market research assistant at the Montana World Trade Center, helping expand trade opportunities for local organizations and businesses.  Chumrau earned her M.Sc. in business administration from the University of Montana and Bsc. in history and Spanish from the University of Oregon. She also studied abroad in Chile and Italy, spent a year working in Costa Rica and is fluent in Spanish. Chumrau is originally from Missoula, Montana and now lives in Arlington, Virginia.


Mr. Alvaro Cordero, Manager of Global Trade
U.S. Grains Council, Washington, DC, USA


Mr. Alvaro Cordero serves as the Manager of Global Trade for the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the use of U.S. barley, corn and sorghum and related products worldwide. In this capacity, Cordero assists with the overall coordination and management of Council programs involving distiller’s dried grains with solubles and sorghum.   Prior to this position, Cordero served as the Council’s Manager on international operations, marketing, coordinating various projects and activities in Africa, Mexico and South America and assessing market development for future marketing programs in Asia (Japan, Philippines and Taiwan).  Cordero is a Rutgers’ University graduate with extensive international trading and management experience.   Before joining the Council in June 2009, Cordero worked as a senior trader/merchandiser for Louis Dreyfus in Wilton, CT.Cordero developed a trading company for rice millers in Costa Rica, which is still a successfully operating endeavour.


Mr. Sam Bonilla
President/Owner at Rich-Port Consulting, LLC


Mr. Sam Bonilla is currently working with North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) as Senior Advisor, Contracts and Commercial Practice.  As President and Owner of Rich-Port Consulting, LLC, Bonilla offers world class services in trade execution, including expertise in importing and exporting grain and/or oil-seeds in bulk or containers, strategic consulting and expertise in grain contracting, supply chain management, dispute resolution and import/export documentation.  In 2009, Bonilla retired from Cargill -after ten-year service, where he last held the position of CASC Trade Execution Leader for North America.  Previously, Bonilla worked for Continental Grain Company for 31 years.  During his time with that company,  he gained experience in all areas of export administration, including commodity traffic and contracts.  Prior to joining Cargill, Bonilla held the position of Assistant Vice President, Manager of Export Administration, in Continental’s World Grain Division.  Until his retirement, Bonilla was chairman of the NAEGA Contracts Committee, and is currently listed as an arbitrator in NAEGA's List of Approved Arbitrators.

Mr. Cary Sifferath,
Middle East, Africa & Europe Regional Director
U.S. Grains Council, Tunisia. 


Mr. Cary Sifferath is the Senior Regional Director of Middle East, Africa and Europe for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), a non-profit organization that promotes the use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products worldwide.  In this capacity, Sifferath is responsible for carrying out market development and trade activities in the Middle East, Africa and Europe on behalf of the feed grains export community.   


From 1993-1995, Sifferath was the Manager of international operations/Asia at USGC, DC office.  He was promoted in 1995 to Assistant Director for the Southeast Asia office, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and then promoted to Regional Director, Southeast Asia in 1997, where he was responsible for market development activities throughout the Southeast Asia region. From 2001-2008, Sifferath was the Senior Director in the USGC’s Tokyo, where he carried out market development and trade activities in Japan.  From 2008-2010, he was the Senior Director USGC’s Beijing, where he carried out market development programs and office operations in China, before moving to Tunisia in March, 2010. 


Before joining USGC in 1993, Sifferath was a District Sales Manager for Kent Feeds, Inc., of Muscatine, Iowa.  Over the last 16 years. Sifferath has lived and traveled extensively outside the U.S. collecting information and first-hand knowledge of world grain supply and demand from regular contacts with local feed grain importers, processors, end-users and various agricultural agencies.   Sifferath received his B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics and Animal Science from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.


Mr. Jay O’Neil, Senior Agricultural Economist
International Grains Program, Kansas State University
Manhattan, Kansas, USA


Mr. Jay O’Neil is currently employed as the Senior Agricultural Economist for the International Grains Program (IGP) at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas; and served for many years on the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) Trade Rules Committee.  O’Neil was also the past Chairman of the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) Contracts and Arbitration Committee and is an emeritus member of this committee.  


O’Neil continues to serve as an Arbitrator with NAEGA.  O’Neil managed Feed Grain exports from the U.S. Ferruzzi Group of Ravenna Italy, New Orleans for three years.  O’Neil served as General Manager of the Transportation and Export Divisions at Bartlett Grain Company for seventeen years.


For the past eight years, O’Neil has operated his own private Consulting Company and traveled to 28 different countries on market and business development projects.  O’Neil publishes a private weekly ocean freight and transportation report.


O’Neil graduated from San Jose State University in 1973 with a degree in Political Science-International Relations.  O’Neil started out of college with Continental Grain Company in San Francisco. Then he worked for four years with Continental Grain as a grain trader on the West Coast.  Then for seven years with the Pillsbury Company as an Export Grain Merchandiser and Director of Overseas Grain Sales.


Mr. Jerry Cotter
Senior Advisor, North American Export Grain association (NAEGA)


Mr. Jerry Cotter is a Senior Advisor for the North American Export Grain association (NAEGA).  He is currently responsible for maritime security, grain and grain product quality and IMO issues for the association.  In this capacity, he serves on the Executive Committee of the International Dry Bulk Terminal Group.


Prior to working with NAEGA, Cotter was Director of Operations for the Port of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.  In that capacity, Cotter was responsible for port security operations, the Harbor Masters Office, port maintenance activities, bulk terminal operations, transportation services and the Port’s grain terminal.  


Prior to joining the Port, Cotter worked for Continental Grain Company as Operations Manager for the Mid-South region in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was responsible for the operation and maintenance of 25 grain facilities in the central U.S. with two export facilities in the New Orleans area.


Cotter spent 20 years with the Federal Grain Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, in various locations in the U.S. including Washington, DC where he was Director of the Inspection Division.


Cotter is a graduate of Sam Houston State University with a degree in Agriculture.  He is married to his lovely wife Carol.  They have three children and five grandchildren.  


Mr. Jeffrey McPike , Manager of Global Marketing
McDonald Pelz Global Commodities, Colorado, USA


Mr. Jeffrey McPike is currently the Manager of Global Marketing at McDonald Pelz Global Commodities, the leading international physical commodity brokerage firm.  With offices in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, China, Turkey and North America, McDonald Pelz works with clients around the world facilitating product flows within the supply chain, providing insightful information and servicing the needs of both importers and exporters.   From 2012-2013, McPike assumed the position of Trading Manager Grains Desk at Cefetra BV as the Commodity Supply Chain Manager, located in Netherlands.   



From 1988-1993, Mcpike was the Head of Wheat Trading at Goldman Sachs.  Then McPike established his own trading and consulting firm; publishing a newsletter “McWheat on Wheat and Feedgrains”; consulting for select clients and trading derivative products.  This was followed by positions at Venus International and Medsofts companies in Cairo, Egypt.



From 1980-1988, McPike began his career at Continental Grain Company working in North Dakota, Minnesota, and New York; specializing in wheat and feed grains trading.   He is a frequent presenter at U.S. Wheat Associates’ conferences in the Middle East and Africa.  McPike is a graduate of Yale University and resides in Boulder, Colorado. 


W. Kirk Miller, Senior Advisor
North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA)


Mr. Kirk Miller is the principal of WKM Global Consulting, specializing in agricultural trade and food security issues, and in that capacity serves as the Senior Advisor for New Technologies and Trade for the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA). In addition to his work with NAEGA, his clients have included the U.S. and Ohio Soybean Export Councils, United Sorghum Check-off Program, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society, North American Millers’ Association, and World Perspectives.


Prior to establishing WKM Global Consulting, Miller was the General Sales Manager for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where for over six years. He was responsible for the USDA agriculture export credit guarantee program; international food aid; international market promotion programs; and technical trade dispute resolution staff. Following his service at USDA, Miller worked for a short time with former Secretary of Agriculture and now Senator from Nebraska, Mike Johanns, to help him set-up his Washington, DC Senate office.


For over ten years, Miller served as the Director of International Market Promotion and Regulatory Affairs for NAEGA; where he traveled the globe promoting U.S. bulk commodity exports, trained customers and interacted with government officials on trade policy matters. Prior to joining NAEGA, Miller operated his own government relations consulting business and served as Administrator of the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service(FAS). Earlier in his career; Miller served as the President and CEO of the American Malting Barley Association, and prior to that he advocated for family-farm agriculture for both the American and Ohio Farm Bureaus. He earned a B.Sc. degree in Agricultural Economics from The Ohio State University and a M.A. in International Transactions from George Mason University.