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Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical strategist, which is a fancy way of saying he helps people understand how the world works. Peter combines an expert understanding of demography, economics, energy, politics, technology, and security to help clients best prepare for an uncertain future.
Over the course of his career, Peter has worked for the US State Department in Australia, the DC think tank community, and helped develop the analytical models for Stratfor, one of the world’s premier private intelligence companies. Peter founded his own firm — Zeihan on Geopolitics — in 2012 in order to provide a select group of clients with direct, custom analytical products. Today those clients represent a vast array of sectors including energy majors, financial institutions, business associations, agricultural interests, universities, and the U.S. military.
With a keen eye toward what will drive tomorrow’s headlines, his irreverent approach transforms topics that are normally dense and heavy into accessible, relevant takeaways for audiences of all types.
Peter is a critically-acclaimed author whose first two books — The Accidental Superpower and The Absent Superpower — have been recommended by Mitt Romney, Fareed Zakaria, and Ian Bremmer. His third title, Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World is available now.
In addition to her highly energetic facilitation style, Shonda focuses on helping companies identify in-house talent, matching skill sets of employees to job responsibilities, evaluating recruitment efforts, and converting everyday order takers to enterprising champions. She is also the author of a survey that assists an organization by identifying gaps in staff engagement.
Shonda and her husband live in Kentucky with their son. She loves baseball, gardening, and walking and is passionate about helping people achieve their highest potential.
Dr. Mitloehner is an expert for agricultural air quality, livestock housing, and husbandry. Overall, he conducts research that is directly relevant to understanding and mitigating air emissions from livestock operations, as well as the implications of these emissions for the health and safety of farmworkers and neighboring communities.
Dr. Mitloehner has served as chairman of a global United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project to benchmark the environmental footprint of livestock production. He served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and as a member on National Academies of Science committees on Sustainable Diets.
He received a BS in Accounting, from Utah State University, and his MBA from the University of Nebraska. He served as a former economist with the US Meat Export Federation.
Christine joined Rabobank following an 18-year career as a sell-side food & agribusiness analyst. Prior to Rabobank, Christine was a founding partner at Cleveland Research, a Cleveland-based equity research firm. Earlier in her career, the native Minnesotan held similar positions at several institutions including FTN Midwest Research, Vector Securities, and BioScience Securities. She had previously been named ‘Best on the Street Food Analyst’ by the Wall Street Journal and the top food analyst by Forbes.
Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in agricultural and natural resource economics from the University of California at Davis.
From 2007 to 2010, immediately prior to joining DuPont Pioneer, Even served as South Dakota’s Secretary of Agriculture. During his tenure, he managed six department divisions including Agriculture Regulatory Services, Agriculture Development, State Fair, Wildland Fire, Resource Conservation and Forestry, and Agricultural Policy. He also served as Deputy Secretary of Tourism and State Development, Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, State Energy Policy Director, and policy advisor for South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds.
Bill holds a degree in agricultural production from Lake Area Technical Institute, a Bachelor of Science in agricultural business and minor in economics from South Dakota State University; and a Juris Doctorate from Drake University Law School, where he was an Opperman Scholar.
He and his family own and operate a fifth-generation diversified crop and livestock operation near Humboldt, South Dakota, where they raise corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, and cattle. The farm was homesteaded in 1883 by his great-grandfather and Even began farming in 1983. He and his wife, Janell, have three children and currently live in Humboldt, South Dakota, before relocating to the Des Moines area.
Dr. Michelle Sprague (ISU ’05) grew up on a small farrow-to-finish and row crop farm in Glenwood, IA. Following graduation from the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005, she joined the Audubon Manning Veterinary Clinic (AMVC) in Audubon, IA. She is currently a partner and director of sow health at AMVC. Her responsibilities include overseeing animal health, biosecurity, food safety, and animal welfare on all the clinic’s managed sow farms. Additionally, she is a member of several organizations including the IVMA, AVMA, and AASV where she was named the Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year (2010) and served as AASV President (2014).
Dr. Loula has done consulting work in 33 U.S. states and 30 foreign countries. He received the American Association of Swine Veterinarians “Swine Practitioner of the Year” award in 1990 and was president of that organization in 1992-1993. He received the University of Illinois Executive Veterinary Program certificate in 1995. Dr. Loula was also awarded the 2001 Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award and was selected as a 2009 Master of the Pork Industry by National Hog Farmer Magazine. He has delivered prestigious lectures throughout his career including the Howard Dunne Lecture for the 2008 annual meeting of the AASV, the Hansen and Kernkamp lectures for Allen D. Leman Swine Conferences in 1996 and 2009 respectively, the Jack Anderson lecture for KSU Swine Profitability Conference in 1996 and a keynote lecture at the 2008 IPVS conference.
Dr. Loula is a member of the Swine Health and Information Center’s Rapid Response Corp (RRC), established in 2017 for the purpose of conducting epidemiological investigations of emerging and transboundary swine diseases.
Dr. Loula also has extensive expertise in the area of sow housing, having experienced both the move to indoor confinement housing and the change to group/pen gestation.
Dr. Loula and the Swine Vet Center work closely with swine producers to improve production and herd health status while maintaining profitability. Swine Vet Center is also a leader in conducting practical swine research with four separate 2400-head research barn facilities.
Chris realized during a summer internship at the Swine Vet Center (SVC) that the clinic was where he wanted to practice after graduation. “I really enjoyed the veterinarians and how they worked with their progressive clients,” he recalled. “It was a good match for me and where I wanted to be after veterinary school.”
He received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University (ISU) in May 2016 and started immediately at SVC. Today, Chris continues to enjoy his work at the clinic. Most of his clients are medium-size swine operations in Iowa. He also helps manage research for SVC.
Chris grew up outside of Storm Lake, Iowa, on a crop, cattle and hog farm where he gained his initial livestock experience. He also raised his own calves and pigs for 4-H and FFA projects.
After high school, Chris headed to ISU for his undergraduate degree. During this time, he spent a summer internship with an ISU veterinarian and developed a passion for the swine industry. He followed that passion as he entered the veterinary school at ISU. In addition to his DVM, he earned a MS in preventive animal medicine.
Today, Chris and his wife Brooke live on an acreage near Storm Lake. Chris enjoys hunting, fishing and helping his dad with field work. But with the couple expecting their first child this summer, his free time may be more limited.
Giordano’s specialty and most significant work for NPPC is in international trade policy. Among other things, Giordano represents U.S. pork producers in all U.S trade negotiations. On behalf of NPPC, he has taken a leadership role in working for congressional passage and implementation of every major trade agreement the past 20 years. He has chaired various food and agriculture trade coalitions, including the Agriculture Coalition for U.S.-Colombian Trade, which was formed to help secure congressional passage of the FTA with Colombia, and the Agriculture Coalition for U.S.-Korean Trade, which was formed to help get the Korean FTA passed by the Congress.
Prior to joining NPPC in 1995, Giordano practiced law from 1991 to 1995 with the Washington office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, and Feld and from 1987 to 1991 with the D.C. office of Collier Shannon (now Kelley Drye). While with these firms, Giordano represented domestic and foreign clients in various trade-policy matters and on litigation involving numerous U.S. trade proceedings, such as anti-dumping, countervailing duty, and Section 201. Giordano also served as Assistant Director/Senior Economist at Georgetown Economic Services from 1983 to 1987, where he also specialized in international trade issues.
Giordano received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Gordon College, a master’s degree in international affairs from American University and a law degree from George Washington University’s National Law Center.
Pat brings 26 years of ag experience and farm in SW Minnesota. He is involved in production agriculture with farrow to finish swine production and row crop enterprise. Experience includes 11 years with Professional Ag Marketing, 10 years at Cargill, and 5 years with Advance Trading. Pat received a B.S. in Agriculture Business from Iowa State University.
Prior to founding Paragon Economics, Dr. Meyer served as Director of Economics for the National Pork Producers Council and National Pork Board from 1993 to 2002. In that capacity, he provided economic counsel to producers and NPPC/NPB staff and coordinated staff and consultants’ activities regarding meat industry production and price forecasts and the economic impact of pork production and processing. He also administered NPPC/NPB programs dealing with marketing and pricing systems, industry structure, coordination, and competitiveness. Since leaving the NPB staff, Dr. Meyer has served as the organizations’ consulting economist.
Before his tenure at NPPC/NPB, Dr. Meyer spent two years as a swine business specialist with Moorman Manufacturing Company (now ADM Alliance Nutrition), a major U.S. livestock feed manufacturer. His work involved all aspects of swine production including genetics, nutrition, facilities design and construction, management, production planning, and marketing.
Dr. Meyer also spent two years as a sales representative with Dow Chemical, served as sales manager for a Texas animal health and agricultural chemical distributor, and was as an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia from 1987 to 1990. His responsibilities at UMC included teaching and research in livestock marketing, agribusiness management, agricultural sales, and alternative agricultural enterprises.
Dr. Meyer obtained both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture economics from Oklahoma State University. He received a doctorate in that field from Iowa State University in 1987. He was a National Science Foundation Research Fellow while attending both schools.
Steve and his wife, Carolyn, have three children and live in Stillwater, OK. He has served his community as a member of the Adel-DeSoto-Minburn (IA) Board of Education and a member, worship leader and Elder at New Hope Evangelical Free Church. He enjoys sports of all kinds as well as singing and listening to Southern Gospel, Cowboy and Western Swing music.
Thamodaran joined Smithfield Foods in 1995 as director of price risk management and was promoted to his current role in 2016. During his time with the company, Smithfield Foods has grown to become the world’s largest pork producer and processor. In his current role, he leads strategy development for Smithfield Foods’ vertically integrated business, manages its commodity hedging activities, and oversees its global economics commodities research and analysis group.
Widely respected for his knowledge of global macroeconomics, agricultural markets, and the pork value chain, he is regularly invited to speak to the boards of food and agriculture companies and at industry trade association events. In 2019, Thamodaran joined the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group’s Agricultural Markets Advisory Council. An avid advocate for education, he shares his professional experiences and insights with students nationally.
Dr. Thamodaran earned his Ph.D. in agricultural economics, summa cum laude, in 1983 from Iowa State University, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Gamma Sigma Delta honors societies. He earned his master’s in agricultural economics and statistics in 1980 from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and his bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1978 from India’s Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.
He currently lives in Virginia Beach, VA with his wife, where he enjoys playing golf. He and his wife support various educational and cultural nonprofit organizations.
Dr. Thamodaran was awarded CALS’ 2019 Henry A. Wallace Award. This citation honors a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumnus or friend who has achieved notable professional achievements nationally or internationally and brought distinction to themselves, the college, and the university through their significant contributions. Selection is made by the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.