The Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative Ribbon Cutting was held  Monday, May 24th, 2021 2:00 – 3:30 pm EDT. This interactive three-part event introduced the Collaborative, celebrated the groundbreaking nature of this partnership, and shared the exciting projects the Collaborative had already begun!

You can watch a recording of the event below.

For more information on this event, please email us at

Event Speakers and Facilitator

Laura Wildey, Master of Ceremonies

Senior Program Analyst in Food Safety, National Environmental Health Association

Laura Wildey (Pronounced – Will Dee), CP-FS is the Senior Program Analyst in Food Safety for the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). She is a highly motivated, passionate food safety professional with ten years of experience in both the private and public sectors of food safety management and regulatory enforcement. Ms. Wildey serves the Association and its members in providing assistance and expertise in the field of food safety. She maintains her Certified Professional in Food Safety (CP-FS) credential and has completed relative training including but not limited to traceback investigations, food processing technology, food good manufacturing practice, acidified inspections, managing retail food safety, conducting seafood inspections, and validation and verification of HACCP plans in retail food.

Mr. Steven MandernachMr. Steven Mandernach, Speaker

Executive Director, Association of Food and Drug Officials

Steven Mandernach (Mawn-dur-knock) is the executive director of the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO). There are numerous organizations working to improve food safety and public health around the world, but AFDO unites high-level regulatory officials, industry representatives, trade associations, academia and consumer organizations. AFDO members strive to foster uniformity in the adoption and enforcement of science-based food, drug, medical device and cosmetic products safety laws and regulation for improved public health. Prior to becoming executive director in 2018, Mandernach was the bureau chief for food and consumer safety at the Iowa Department of Inspections. Mandernach is a past president of AFDO and current co-chair of the Association’s Laws and Regulations committee. He has also served as the chair and co-chair for the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Alliance. He is a past president of the Mid-Continental Association of Food and Drug Officials. Mandernach has a J.D. from Drake University Law School. He has completed graduate work in Food Safety at Michigan State University.

Photo of Dr. Laura BrownDr. Laura Brown, Speaker

Section Lead of the Safe Food Team, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Brown began her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice almost 20 years ago as a Behavioral Scientist. She applied her behavioral science expertise to the study of restaurant food safety practices. Dr. Laura Brown currently serves as the Division’s Lead of the Safe Food Section.

The Safe Food Section is a multidisciplinary team that conducts research and surveillance on retail food safety and foodborne outbreaks. This team has conducted studies on a variety of restaurant food safety topics, including ill food workers, hand hygiene, and food cooling practices. Findings from these studies have identified gaps in restaurant food safety practices and interventions to improve these gaps, and have led to food safety policy improvements. This team also manages the National Environmental Assessment Reporting System or NEARS program. This program is focused on collecting and analyzing data from the environmental health component of foodborne outbreak investigations to improve outbreak investigation and prevention.

Photo of Dr. David McSwaneDr. David McSwane, Speaker

Executive Director, Conference for Food Protection

Dr. David McSwane is the Executive Director of the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) a non-profit organization that brings together representatives from the food industry, government, academia, and consumer organizations to identify and address emerging problems related to retail food safety. Prior to joining the Executive Staff at CFP, Dr. McSwane was a Professor in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University. His teaching and research interests focused on environmental factors that cause human illness and injury. He taught courses in environmental health, food science and sanitation, epidemiology and environmental policy. Dr. McSwane has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals in environmental health and food safety, and he is the lead author of the SafeMark Guide to Food Safety textbook that is used to train retail food establishment managers about food safety and sanitation. He maintains a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) and Certified Professional in Food Safety (CP-FS) credentials and is a Diplomate in the American Academy of Sanitarians.

Photo of Ms. Brenda BaconMs. Brenda Bacon, Speaker

Harris Teeter, LLC, Director of Quality Assurance
Conference for Food Protection, Vice-Chair of Conference

Brenda Bacon is the current Vice-Chair of the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) and the Director of Quality Assurance at Harris Teeter, LLC. She has been involved with CFP as an industry member since 1998 and has served in various positions throughout her time, including committee member, chair of several ad hoc committees, member of Council I and III, Council I Vice-Chair, and Council I Chair. Prior to working at Harris Teeter, Brenda was involved in Quality Assurance at Kraft Foods and Tropicana. She holds a B.S. in Microbiology and a M.S. Food Science and Technology from Mississippi State University. Her manufacturing and retail food safety experience over the past 30 years has provided a broad expanse of knowledge beneficial to protecting consumers. She is honored to work on the Collaborative with some of the best champions of food safety across the nation.

Photo of Ms. Laurie FarmerMs. Laurie Farmer, Speaker

Director, Office of State Cooperative Programs, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Laurie Farmer is currently the Director of the Office of State Cooperative Programs at the Food and Drug Administration responsible for the strategic planning, management and oversight of the national field programs in Retail Food Protection, Milk Safety and Shellfish Sanitation. She has worked in this role since 2017.

Laurie Farmer has been with the Food and Drug Administration since 1990 where she began her career as a field Investigator. She has served in a variety of leadership positions in FDA including her most recent position as the FDA Southeast Region Director of State Cooperative Programs which included radiological health programs in addition to the retail, milk and shellfish programs.

She has received awards that include the FDA Award of Merit and AFDO’s Presidents Award.

Laurie began her public health career in a county Women’s Infants and Children’s Program (WIC). She has been involved in Federal/ State/Territory/Tribal and local integration her entire career. Laurie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Photo of Ms. Jennifer LiMs. Jennifer Li, Speaker

Senior Advisor, Public Health Programs, National Association of City and County Health Officials

At the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), Jennifer is a Senior Advisor of Programs. She provides oversight and coordination functions related to projects housed in the Chronic Disease & Disability, Environmental Health, Injury & Violence Prevention, Preparedness, and Public Health Law & Policy portfolios. Additionally, she ensures the coordination of projects across the other programmatic primary work teams internally and externally with partner organizations. She is primarily responsible for ensuring that local health department programs and services are enhanced through NACCHO’s activities, sustaining an effective knowledge base of current programs, policies, and priorities among practitioners, representing community and environmental health issues and priorities within strategic planning discussions, and providing leadership for long-term planning related to local public health. Jennifer obtained her Master of Health Sciences from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus in Environmental Health Sciences. She also holds a Bachelor of Science from University of Michigan with a concentration in Natural Resources and Environmental Policy.

Photo of Dr. David DyjackDr. David Dyjack, Speaker

Executive Director, National Environmental Health Association

David T. Dyjack, Dr.PH, CIH is Chief Executive Officer of the 6,700-member National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), a position he has held since May 2015. Under his leadership, NEHA has increased its membership by 60% and grown staff to 46 full-time employees in Denver and Washington D.C. Dr. Dyjack is Principal Investigator on four environmental health workforce capacity building grants, two from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and two from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These awards provide NEHA resources to increase the capacity of the environmental health profession in state, territorial, local, and tribal environmental health programs. Dr. Dyjack earned a doctorate in public health from the University of Michigan, an MSPH from the University of Utah, and he is a board-certified industrial hygienist (CIH).

Photo of Ms. Michele DiMaggioMs. Michele DiMaggio, Facilitator

Supervising Environmental Health Specialist with Contra Costa County, Environmental Health Services

Michele R. DiMaggio has been a California Registered Environmental Health Specialist since 2002 and, for the past 7 years, is a Supervising Environmental Health Specialist with Contra Costa County, Health Services Department, Environmental Health Division in California.

Michele is a National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Region 2 Vice President and Food Safety Subject Matter Expert. As a NEHA representative, Michele is a member of Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Board of Scientific Counselors, Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Surveillance Working Group. She participates on the Partnership for Food Protection (PFP) Training & Credentialing and Surveillance, Response, and Post-Response Workgroups. Additionally, she is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s, Office of Training, Education and Development Food Safety Subject Matter Expert and Temporary Food Establishments Course Trainer. Locally, Michele is a member of the Contra Costa Health Services Department’s Emergency Management and Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigation Teams. Michele is currently deployed as a Disaster Service Worker, Locations Supervisor in the Public Health Case and Contact Tracing Branch during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Event Production and Moderators

Terryn Laird

Public Health Communications Specialist, National Environmental Health Association

Charles Powell

Media and Workforce Development Specialist, National Environmental Health Association

Santiago Ezcurra Mendaro

Media Producer, National Environmental Health Association

Michael Newman

IT Manager, National Environmental Health Association

Cole Wilson

Training Logistics and Administrative Coordinator, National Environmental Health Association

David Lawrence, Moderator

Environmental Health Specialist III, Fairfax County Health Department, Division of Environmental Health

Anupama Varma, Moderator

Communications Specialist, Environmental Health, National Association of City and County Health Officials

Christopher Smith, Moderator

Retail Food Branch Director, Office of State Cooperative Programs, U.S. Food & Drug Administration