Association Management | Communications | Meetings & Events
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Robert Rankin has over 15 years of association experience, with particular expertise in food industry issues management. Robert joined Kellen in 2005 and has consistently delivered strategic solutions to address complex regulatory, legislative and administrative challenges.
Robert has broad experience in the food and food ingredient industries, and is fully engaged in a number of activities which utilize his areas of expertise. He has worked closely with officials at key US Government agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture, and has also worked with regulatory agencies in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. He also has extensive experience in the development and communication of industry positions and has testified before U.S. state legislatures, the World Health Organization and local authorities on industry issues.
Robert earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. He currently serves as President of the Calorie Control Council, Executive Director for the Infant Nutrition Council of America and Executive Director for the International Food Additives Council.
Nicholas Gardner is an Account Executive at Kellen with particular expertise in regulatory and legislative issues management. Nicholas coordinates government affairs for several food industry trade associations, including the Infant Nutrition Council of America, the International Food Additives Council, Marinalg International, and others.
In this role, Nicholas provides strategic legislative and regulatory advising on federal, state and local issues and represents the interests of his clients within various stakeholder constituencies. Nicholas also frequently works with U.S. regulatory agencies and other international regulatory bodies. Nicholas has represented client interests before the Codex Alimentarius, testified at before state legislatures and regulatory panels and developed and managed issue-specific advocacy campaigns.
Nicholas holds a master’s degree in History from American University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor’s degree in history and public policy from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Nicholas is a member of the Institute for Food Technologists, the American Society of Association Executives and the American Association of Governmental Relations Professionals.
Michael Fischer has been in the building products industry for 33 years, holding management positions in regulatory affairs, manufacturing, and marketing. His involvement in building and energy codes, environment and sustainability issues, product standards, regulatory affairs, and product safety issues within the industry provides a comprehensive background to deliver responsible advocacy for Kellen clients.
Mike is a member the International Code Council (ICC), ASHRAE, and ASTM International and serves on the Technical Committee of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC).
Mike has provided strategic representation before the US Department of Energy and Consumer Product Safety Commission, the California Air Resource Board, the California Energy Commission, the California Office of the State Fire Marshal, and state code adoption bodies in Florida, New York State, Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, and other building and energy code official agencies.
He has testified before legislative bodies and helped to lead successful client strategic efforts from product standards through code and regulatory development. Mike is a respected contributor to trade publications and a frequent presenter at building industry events and conferences.
Reed Hitchcock, Kellen Vice President, has more than 20 years of association leadership and management experience. He joined Kellen in 2003, bringing expertise in association administration, member services, project management, financial planning, government affairs and advocacy, and communications. He also serves as an industry spokesperson.
Mr. Hitchcock has served as senior staff executive for Kellen clients in the building products, transportation, and hospitality industries. He has managed key industry initiatives including product performance, codes and standards, and environmental factors, and also works closely with the Boards of Directors and key association committees in the implementation of association programs, services, and development of strategic initiatives. He has experience preparing and delivering testimony before governmental regulatory agencies, and he leads international industry coalitions around issues related to energy, environment, health and safety, and management of joint U.S. – European research to gather information regarding activities with REACH and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. In addition, Mr. Hitchcock is responsible for consensus building among the key stakeholders in a US$8 Billion industry ensuring that their interests are collectively represented.
Mr. Hitchcock received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Central Connecticut State University. He is a professional automotive journalist and regular contributor to Mercedes Enthusiast magazine (UK), and he is active in several professional societies including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Motor Press Guild (MPG), and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Council of Manufacturing Associations.
Patricia Faison has over 25 years’ experience in association management and the food and beverage industry. She currently serves as Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs for the Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) and Technical Director for the Juice Products Association (JPA). Her responsibilities include monitoring current legislative and regulatory activities affecting the food industry, providing reports to members and facilitating various projects undertaken by ADS’ and JPA’s working committees. Patricia has developed numerous comments on regulatory, legislative and technical issues to federal, state and international agencies.
Patricia received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Savannah State University and holds a master’s degree from Purdue University. She is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).
Ralph Vasami, Esq has a broad background in engineering, business management, operations, finance, strategic planning and law. He is actively involved with leading clients’ efforts to modify and enhance National Building Codes, and is regularly called upon to facilitate client strategic planning meetings.
Ralph is a pioneer in the vinyl window and door industry. As chairman of the Vinyl Window & Door Institute, he was responsible for gaining Model Building Code acceptance for vinyl as a fenestration product. He was also instrumental in setting up testing and standards for the products as well as the current industry certification program.
Ralph received a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University and a law degree from Pace University. He is a member of the New York State Bar.
Steven Basart serves Kellen’s international associations through strategic planning and by identifying global market opportunities for their industry or profession. He has guided clients on the implementation of their strategy for Asia by successfully establishing their government relations, communications, membership development programs, as well as overseeing their local Chinese website launches.
Steven has served as the former director China for the Drug Information Association during which time he actively built strategic alliances with local counterpart organizations and government agencies including the Commissioner of the SFDA, key players at the Ministry of Health, and leading pharmaceutical and healthcare industry media. He has also supported international questions on Chinese food laws and delegations at the Codex Committee meetings on food additives.
Steven represents Kellen and their clients at the Beijing-based European, American, and Benelux Chambers of Commerce. He holds a Masters in Chinese Studies and Bachelors in Law with cum laude distinction from Leiden University.
John Ferraro has over ten years of association management, government relations, and legislative affairs experience, including more than seven years with Kellen managing operations for trade associations in the transportation, building construction, and manufacturing sectors.
While working at Kellen, John has advanced legislative and regulatory initiatives on Capitol Hill and state capitals for many trade associations. John has extensive experience with direct lobbying, legislative monitoring and research, mobilizing grassroots support, congressional fly-ins, coalition building, and has prepped association members for delivering testimony.
John currently serves as executive director to the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association, Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association and the Composite Lumber Manufacturers Association, and manages the day-to-day operations as general manager of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association.
John has a Bachelor Degree in Political Science and International Affairs and a Master’s Degree in American Politics and Policy, both from Florida State University.