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Staff

Directors

Director
Dr. Kircher is the Director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence and an Assistant Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. She leads a talented staff and coordinates a research consortium...
Associate Director
Jennifer van de Ligt, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence at the University of Minnesota. She has an extensive background in animal feed and human food production, nutrition, safety, and...

Staff

Communications Specialist
Kelly manages the Institute's internal and external communication activities, develops graphics and outreach materials, and manages our website and social media platforms.
Epidemiologist
Tim works on projects relating to the introduction of foreign animal diseases into U.S. livestock populations in collaboration with the USDA Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH).
Sr. Project Manager
Lisa oversees the Institute's funded projects and the Research Evaluation and Advisory Panel (REAP). She helps support and develop theme leadership, DHS compliance requirements, and manages the Institute's RFP process.
Office Coordinator
Crystal is responsible for the day-to-day operational oversight of the FPDI offices and mid-level meeting planning. She also manages logistics of staff and stakeholder travel needs including travel arranging and expense reimbursements.
Assistant Curriculum Coordinator
Neal develops the FPDI educational curriculum for higher education materials in food protection and defense. He also assists with Institute's Economically Motivated Adulteration and Food Defense Research Database projects.
Education Manager
Debra is responsible for managing the Center’s educational portfolio. She is tasked with directing curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular programs. As well, she works with Center researchers to develop new teaching materials, courses, certificate programs, and training guides.
Sr. Research Fellow
John is a retired military officer with extensive anti-terrorism and infrastructure protection background. He is a resource on critical infrastructure, bio-defense and risks and vulnerabilities related to the food supply chain defense. He provides Homeland Security expertise in the risk assessment...
Finance Manager
Brittany manages the Center’s finances, ensures fiscal compliance for the Center’s projects, prepares financial reports and facilitates grant submissions.
Project Manager
Erin provides management and technical support for project development and implementation for the Focused Integration of Data for Early Signals (FIDES) project. This includes planning, organizing, and monitoring resources, procedures and protocols to achieve the specific tasks and goals defined in...
CoreSHIELD Specialist
Amanda is the main contact for membership and other inquiries about FoodSHIELD .
Project Manager
Dustin is a project manager that oversees many of our IT projects for the Integrated Food Safety System Online Collaboration Development grant.
Chief Operating Officer
Erika helps to coordinate the project management team as well as helping in all other areas of the Center. She provides comprehensive planning, direction, and serves as the liaison for the Center's sponsors.
Project Manager
Penny is a project manager and is currently working on our Agents Database and the FRAME project.
IT Manager
Ted manages our IT portfolio and our relationships with our federal and state stakeholders and IT vendors. He oversees the FoodSHIELD portal, as well as databases and deliverables on all IT related projects.
Writer/Proposal Developer
Stephen works as an on-staff writer, contributing to and editing journal articles, proposal submissions, reports, book chapters, white papers and more. He also works to find and develop funding opportunities for the Center, as well as other departments on campus.