Ag Development Forum
Thursday, February 6th, 2014
9:30 am – 12:30 pm

2014 Speakers

Alejandro Sayago

Alejandro is the Director, Ag & Turf Corporate Business Division. He has worked for John Deere for over 14 years with assignments in the US, Mexico, South America and Europe.

Among other positions he has held are:
Manager, John Deere Business Development
Division Sales Manager
Manager, Strategic Marketing
Operation and Systems Manager, John Deere Latin America

In addition, Alejandro collaborated with CEMEX - the world's largest materials company - where he held the positions of Director of Commerical Planning and Director of Business Innovation.

Alejandro attended the Monterrey Institute of Technology where he majored in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He obtained an MBA degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Alejandro has co-authored articles in Business Innovation and has been featured in Harvard Business Review Latin America.

Alejandro currently resides in Leawood, Kansas with his wife, Paula, and two children.

MacSullivan, Jr.

A native of North Carolina, Mac Sullivan represents the fourth generation of ownership in Pate Dawson Company.  Mac was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from UNC with a major in accounting and later earned his CPA. 

Mac began his career with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell, and Company in the Raleigh, North Carolina office, a predecessor to the current Big Four accounting firm KPMG.  Mac spent two years as the Chief Financial Officer of a North Carolina real estate development and construction company.  He then started a chain of retail one hour photo-finishing stores in North Carolina and ran those for a number of years before selling the chain in 1992.  Mac joined Pate Dawson Company in 1990 and in 1993 took on the role of President of the Company.  In 2007 Mac was elected to the Chief Executive Officer position by the Board of Directors.  In 2013, the Company’s annual sales dollars had grown over fifteen times the annual sales in 1993.  The Company has recently acquired two companies and opened a new distribution center in Statesville, NC to complement the expanded distribution center in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Mac and his wife Gray are the proud parents of four sons and a beautiful daughter.  Two of his sons now work at Pate Dawson Company as the fifth generation of the family to work in the Company.  Mac’s other sons are pursing degrees at the University of North Carolina.  An Eagle Scout himself, Mac served as a Scout Master for sixteen years and all four sons are Eagle Scouts as well.  Mac has served as a Board Member of many local community organizations, such as the Wayne County Boys and Girls Club, the Wayne Community College Foundation, and North Carolinians for Home Education.  Mac has been an active IFDA (International Foodservice Distributors Association) Board Member since 2003 as well as participating in the Young Presidents Organization from 1997 through 2006.  Mac is the past chairman of IFDA and is currently the chairman of the Unipro board (a $64B purchasing cooperative) and has led several significant projects for the foodservice industry through these organizations. 

Secretary Skvarla

Gov. Pat McCrory appointed John Skvarla as Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in January.

Prior to joining DENR, Skvarla served as CEO for Restoration Systems, an environmental mitigation firm based in Raleigh that helps improve and restore wetlands and waterways. His past environmental experience also includes his work as chairman with Wilkinson Hi-Rise, a world leader in manufacturing new products such as waste management and automated recycling systems.

Skvarla also served as chief operating officer for The Aviation Group, Inc., a company that emerged as the world’s largest all-cargo airline during his tenure. He has been managing director of an investment banking office in Raleigh, owner of a Sandhills golf course community, and is also an attorney who founded the Raleigh-based Skvarla, Wyrick and Robbins law firm.

As DENR’s Secretary, Skvarla has instituted a new customer-service focused mission that is providing positive results for the environment and the economy.

Secretary Tata

Tony Tata was appointed Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation by Governor Pat McCrory in January 2013.

Tata, who retired from the U.S. Army as a brigadier general, brings to his position more than three decades of public service as a military officer and public school system leader. He has a history of successfully leading and transforming large, complex organizations with vast responsibilities.

Most recently, he served as the Superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, leading the state’s largest school district of 18,000 employees and 150,000 students to record academic heights. During his time in the military, General Tata’s last combat tour was in Afghanistan, where he served as the Deputy Commanding General of U.S. forces from 2006 to 2007. Throughout his career, General Tata planned and implemented multiple operations involving complex transportation and infrastructure challenges, ranging from multi-mode operations involving ports, airfields, rail and highways to designing and implementing extensive infrastructure plans in developing countries. In the past five years, General Tata has successfully managed large budgets, ranging from $4.5 billion in the Department of Defense’s counter-roadside bomb program to $1.25 billion in the Wake County Public School System.

General Tata served two tours of duty in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. He also served as a brigade commander in the 101st Airborne Division and as the Deputy Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division. Among his military decorations, he has been awarded the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star, served as a Master Parachutist and graduated from the U.S. Army's Ranger School. He is listed as a distinguished member of the 502nd, 504th and 505th Parachute Infantry Regiments.

Tata received a Bachelor of Science at the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Arts in International Relations at the Catholic University of America, a Master of Military Art and Science in Strategic Planning at the U.S. Army's School of Advanced Military Studies, and was a National Security Senior Fellow at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

General Tata and his wife, Jodi Amanda Tata, have two children, Brooke and Zachary.

Susan Fleetwood

Susan Fleetwood serves as the Director of Business & Industry Development - a division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce. She provides leadership for the 25 economic development professionals of the B&I Division that work to recruit new domestic and international companies to the state and help existing companies grow and expand.

From 2005-2009 she was the Director of Strategic Projects in the B&I Division and served as a senior project advisor on major economic development projects; oversaw the development of high-impact content for marketing and collateral materials prepared for clients and consultants; managed the Department's client relationship management system; and lead a redesign of the state's buildings and sites database.

From 1999-2005 she served as an International Development Representative with the Division and had the opportunity to work with a number of companies throughout their site selection process including Areva, Barrday, Credit Suisse, Flextronics and Reser's Fine Foods.

She also worked as an International Trade Specialist with the Department's International Trade Division and as International Trade Coordinator and Marketing and Development Coordinator with the City of Birmingham, AL Office of Economic Development.

Ms. Fleetwood is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics, and NC State University with a Master's degree in Public Administration. She is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute and a member of the North Carolina Economic Developers Association.

Tony Almeida

Tony Almeida is the senior advisor on jobs and the economy for North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. Almeida joined the McCrory Administration in January 2013, after serving as the economic development director for the governor’s transition team. In 2008, Almeida was named vice president, large business, of Duke Energy. As part of the retail customer services group, this large business team was responsible for managing business relationships and services to the company’s largest manufacturing, commercial and institutional retail customers across the Carolinas and the Midwest. He retired from this position in 2011. Prior to this, Almeida served as vice president of business relations and economic development for Duke Energy Carolinas from 2006 to 2008. He served as vice president, economic development, from 2003 to 2006.

Almeida joined Duke Energy in 1979 as a retail marketing assistant for Duke Power. After a series of promotions in customer operations, he was named manager of consumer services for the Customer Service Center in 1990. Almeida was named general manager of the Customer Service Center in 1992; area manager for the Salisbury, Kannapolis and Mooresville areas in 1993; general manager of calculate and collect revenues in 1995; and vice president of customer services in 1997. He was named vice president of customer relations for Duke Energy’s U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas organization in April 2006.

Before joining Duke Power, Almeida was a sales representative for Procter & Gamble from 1978 to 1979.

The Atlanta, Ga., native graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and economics. He also completed the Advanced Management Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Almeida is past chair of the Charlotte Regional Partnership and also served as chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation Board. In addition, he serves as a trustee on that college’s board. He also served as past chair of the North Carolina Community College Foundation Board. He is a member of the Second Presbyterian Church in Salisbury, N.C., and a member of the board of trust of Hood Theological Seminary.

Almeida was born in 1956. He and his wife, the former Margaret Taylor of Washington, D.C., have three sons and three grandchildren.

Dr. Dan McChesney

Dr. Daniel G. McChesney is the Director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance in FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.  He has served in this position since October 2003.  Prior to becoming the Director, he served as the Deputy Director for the Office of Surveillance and Compliance (1999-2003) and as the Acting Director of the Division of Compliance. His Office is responsible for developing and implementing surveillance and compliance policy concerning FDA regulatory responsibility with respect to animal drugs, feeds, food additives, veterinary medical devices, and other veterinary medical products. He joined FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) as a microbiologist in 1990 and served as the Center’s expert on microbial contaminants of animal feed, and application of HACCP programs to the feed industry.

He received a B.S. in Biology from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia.  Upon completing his degree, he entered the U.S. Army and was stationed at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (1978-1987) where he served as a research microbiologist. After completing his active military service, he was a senior investigator at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute responsible for determining the mechanism involved in increasing survival after radiation injury.


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