|ASCPC - Keynote Speakers|
Dr. Deborah Brennan
M.P.A - Kutztown University, summa cum laude
Currently, Dr. Brennan is serving as the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Acting Deputy Administrator for Crop Production and Protection National Programs, the largest of the four research emphasis areas in the ARS. She was the ARS South Atlantic Area (SAA) Director from 2010 until 2014, when the SAA and the ARS Mid-South Area were consolidated, to the Southeast Area (SEA), and she became the SEA Area Director. The new region encompasses 27 research locations in AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, FL, Puerto Rico and four worksites in AZ, TN, FL and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The SEA has a total budget of $222,659,334, with 62 individual research units and 1,884 employees. She served as the ARS Mid-South Associate Area Director from 2002, and prior to joining the ARS worked with the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as a veterinary medical officer. She was leader of the APHIS Eastern Pennsylvania Veterinary Service Field Team; which received a "Hammer Award" from Vice President Al Gore for "Building a Government that Works Better and Costs Less".
Dr. Gene Lester,
Postdoc. - University of California
Directs two USDA National Programs. 1. Quality and Utilization of Agricultural Products: food science and non-food postharvest bio-based product development research, with a total of 60 research projects, 150 scientists, located over 17 states with a budget of $74M. 2. Biorefining and Biofuels: including sugar crops bagasse-refining with a total of 10 research projects, 30 scientists, located over 4 states with a budget of $14M. Research Plant Physiologist, 1982-2013, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD and the Subtropical Agricultural Research Center, Weslaco, TX. With a research objective to determine environmental, management, plant physiological and genetic factors affecting postharvest market quality, shelf-life, and human bioactive (nutritional) content of fresh fruits and vegetables.