2022 Trade Affiliate Candidates
As a 5th generation Californian, my food industry roots run deep, dating back to the shops my Great-Great-Grandfather, Bo Lee, oversaw during the Gold Rush. Growing up on picket lines with my dad, later riding along in his tofu delivery truck (Did you know, in the 19th century, tofu was colloquially referred to as “white cheese” in California?), I eventually found my way to the industry we all know and love. At my first ACS Conference in Chicago, I knew I had found my way home. So many of you that I met in sessions, the hotel bar, and unofficial gatherings over the years remain some of my closest colleagues and friends wherever I may roam. As stewards of the land, of tradition, of fermentation, of trade, of education… I understand what our organization can be to so many if given the opportunity and support to be seen and embraced.
Statement of Intent
My family instilled into me the importance of good food and social justice, both more relevant now than ever. Naturally; this led me to the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging work that I involve myself not only internally and in my personal life; but professionally at the North Coast Cooperative; Humboldt Food Policy Council; American Cheese Education Foundation; and beyond. If there is nothing the last few years have taught us, it’s that our divisions run deep, they are systemic and often invisible. To be more, to be better, we must first step into and reside in uncomfortable spaces. I have a deep love for this industry, for what it has been to me, and more importantly for what it can be. There is work to be done at every level, and at some level, I will be there to do what I can to move us forward.
Kari started her career in Dairy Feed Nutrition and gained experience for several years before moving to the other end of the cow to work in cheese. She got her WI Cheesemaker license while working at Marieke Gouda and expanded her knowledge with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery and now Farmhouse Kitchens, gaining experience in all different aspects of sales, management, and projects. Kari has volunteered every year at the ACS conference since 2010 in many different aspects such as J&C, CCP Exam, seminar speaker, registration, front desk, Festival of Cheese and many other behind the scenes roles. Kari became a BOD member for ACS in November 2019, when she took over Tim Gaddis’s vacancy. Currently, Kari serves as the secretary of the BOD, and is on the Executive, Governance and J&C committees and was a member of the CCP Exam committee for a short while.
Statement of Intent
I want to continue contributing to the work of making ACS a strong, viable community for the amazing cheese world. I had just joined the board when Covid hit, and there were some hard decisions that needed to be made so that we could continue to keep the organization viable for years to come. The great leadership with Marianne, Jeremy and now Lynn, along with the heavily invested other BOD members, is a testament to when you love something like the ACS community, you push on to make it work through thick and thin. I would love to continue to help connect our members again after our Covid hiatus, to build on those relationships, and grow our cheese-reach by continuing to bring relevant information to everyone that is part of the cheese community. Communication and education are the key areas I’d like to focus on.
Bill is the National Category Director at DPI Specialty Foods. Since 2010 he has been a committed volunteer in service to the ACS. Bill has organized conference bus tours, chaired a committee, helped develop programs, facilitated shipping and storage for Judging & Competition, developed governance, presented at conference, contributed to webinars – including the important discussions being had in the Code Red series, and shepherded candidates in their preparation for the CCP Exam. Over the last year, Bill has served alongside the other directors on the ACS Board as they worked to lay down the next strategic plan for the organization. Bill’s long record of service with the ACS demonstrates his commitment to serving the membership and his willingness to put in the work required to achieve our collective goals. Bill earned an MS in Food Science from the University of California, Davis in 2003, with an emphasis in fermentation science.
Statement of Intent
As a current board member with past committee experience, I will continue to provide guidance and support where redefined volunteer roles and workload have resulted from our change of management. I will promote stronger communication between committees in order to improve program alignment and build on the opportunities that arise from collaboration.
Through my work in helping to produce the Code Red series, I am focused on helping the wider ACS membership to understand and activate behind the work that is being done to continue the growth of cheese consumption in light of the challenges wrought by climate change.
As a longstanding resource for CCP candidates, I have focused on making education accessible and affordable as a means of promoting equity and inclusivity among professionals growing a career in cheese. I’ll continue to bring this understanding to programs within the ACS organization to grow diversity in our membership.
Joey Wells, Whole Foods Market Executive Leader is the Global Specialty Senior Principal Product Development and Innovation Expert. His cheese career began over 20 years ago, working in stores as a Regional Leader, and is currently driving cheese retail and educational excellence globally. As a Regional Coordinator, he led trainings for ACS CCPs to be present in every Florida store. He joined the Global Team in 2017 leading education, cheese innovation and marketing. He earned his ACS CCP® in 2012 (inaugural year). He is a current member of the ACS Certification Committee, ACS Sponsorship Committee, ACEF Board Member, an ACS volunteer supporting exam activities and events, a recognized global cheese judge, and has been recognized by the Internationale Guilde des Fromagers. He is committed to industry education as he travels extensively to build upon and share his knowledge and unique skillset. Joey’s expertise has led to award winning cheeses and specialty foods.
Statement of Intent
ACS stands at the front of our community leading the charge of awareness and education across all channels touched by the cheese industry. In my work with Whole Foods Market it is my mission and honor for over 20 years to drive retail excellence and education in meaningful ways to elevate the industry. It is a great honor to volunteer with ACS through exam activities and judging, serving the Certification and Sponsorship Committees and on the ACEF Board of Directors. ACS provides a unique forum to bring cheese professionals together to create collective knowledge and expertise sharing. All roads have led me to the desire to serve ACS and help lead the mission, education and visibility beyond the website and annual conference. The love of cheese, from the grass eaten by the animals to the final product the customer consumes, every step holds a fascination and my goal is to share it!
2022 Producer Candidates
Erin Clancy has worked in the Specialty Cheese industry for the past 16 years. She has worked as a monger at high-volume grocery stores as well as cut-to-order counters, as a buyer on both small and large scales, as an educator and Partnership Coordinator for CounterCulture, and she has represented producers as a sales manager and brand ambassador. Erin has been a volunteer with the American Cheese Society for many years in different capacities. She has managed the Cheese Sale, was an Official Conference Cheesemonger, a Cooler Captain for Judging and Competition, and currently serves on the Conference Planning Committee. In 2013, Erin became a Certified Cheese Professional. Erin is also a member of the Minnesota Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, bringing her love and knowledge of cheese to an incredible group of women and to their fundraising efforts. Currently, Erin is the Sales Manager for the Caves of Faribault.
Statement of Intent
Throughout my career, I have been incredibly lucky to work with people who knew the importance of sharing knowledge, training, and continuously striving to learn more about cheese. The opportunities I have been given have allowed me to work in various parts of our industry, all while continuing my ongoing education. I want to share that with the members of the American Cheese Society through promoting and building additional educational resources for members and the American cheese community as a whole. Being on the board will give me the opportunity to work with makers and trade affiliates to continue to grow our educational database and resources. Also, I know the importance of volunteering and working with ACS. My goal is to work with the board to find additional volunteer, networking, and educational opportunities for industry people who may not have the ability to attend Conference annually.
Founder of River Whey Creamery, Susan Rigg, followed her passion for good food after working in the book retail business for 15 years. In 2010, she graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. In 2022, Susan was named as an Ambassador to the CIA for her contributions to culinary education.
From 2010 to 2014, Susan was the President of the local chapter for Slow Food, a non-profit that raised funds for school gardens, held fundraising dinners, produced school curriculum, and taught 400 students per week about food sources.
In 2014, Susan launched River Whey Creamery which produces high quality artisanal cheeses including five cave-aged, raw milk cheeses and six fresh cheeses. In 2016, River Whey Creamery won 1st place with St. Clements at the ACS Competition in the category of Fresh Flavored Cheeses.
From 2018-20, Susan served on the Board of The Pearl Farmers Market Association.
Statement of Intent
Given that the American Cheese Society is a fast growing organization, I am excited about helping to guide the organization with an eye to long term success. There has been so much work already done that there is a beautiful foundation on which to build further.
In driving this vision, I support bolstering the membership roles through outreach to cheese enthusiasts. It is important that ACS be inclusive to all in order to broaden appreciation for American artisanal and specialty cheeses. This would include strengthening the concept of being a Western Hemisphere oriented group to include North and South America. There are so many more people we can reach.
To support that idea, access to academic research and maintaining and expanding the Body of Knowledge are core responsibilities of ACS. This would include everything from Food Safety, to sensory evaluation, to business resources, and more.