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Stephen W. Neel, Ph.D.

Technical Solutions International (TSI) was founded in 2001 by Dr. Stephen Neel for the purpose of providing technical marketing assistance to international organizations and companies involved in the food business.  Dr. Neel has been active in the international food business since 1985.  Upon completion of his Ph.D. program in Meat Science & Muscle Biology from the University of Georgia in 1992, Dr. Neel was retained by the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to study and develop meat-marketing strategies for USMEF programs in the Russian Federation.  Dr. Neel was subsequently employed by the USMEF as the Director of Technical Services and was responsible for development, implementation and evaluation of technical marketing activities funded by USMEF in over 50 international markets, with a particular emphasis on emerging markets.  

Dr. Neel’s primary focus during his doctoral education and throughout his professional career has been on the development, implementation and evaluation of marketing programs and market driven research.  He has created, implemented and evaluated large-scale market research programs, including a U.S. based research study profiling the preferences and usage patterns of red meat in the U.S.; an international beef quality audit; a multi-national pork competitiveness study and an international pork quality audit.  His technical education paired with a strong technical marketing background provides a unique combination of attributes to evaluate and understand international market development needs and trends.  Technical Solutions International has ongoing relationships with several U.S. based research institutions, including Colorado State University and Oregon State University, for the purpose of resource sharing and technology transfer.  Furthermore, TSI has formed working alliances with several other independent companies with special emphasis on governmental reporting and traditional market research services, allowing for a more comprehensive package of services available to clients.

Dr. Neel has been responsible for coordinating and conducting over 30 trade teams to the U.S. from emerging markets around the world, as well as “reverse teams” of U.S. companies to foreign markets for trade activities, tours and food shows, resulting in an impressive network of contacts and a close familiarity with overseas business practices and cultures.

During his professional tenure, Dr. Neel has been responsible for the design and development of over two-dozen professional brochures, pamphlets, training manuals and CD-ROM disc programs, giving TSI a solid base of hands-on experience from which to draw.

In addition to the development of training aids and tools, Dr. Neel has conducted a multitude of “train the trainer” programs, training sessions and food safety training seminars, particularly those that are HACCP based, for the purpose of enhancing the quality, safety and processing efficiency of food companies in emerging markets around the world.

Dr. Neel’s extensive background in process control, contamination control and facility evaluation, combined with his food safety education have resulted in his selection as an expert consultant for recent litigation pertaining to E. coli bacterial contamination at public events.  Recent litigation in Oregon, Texas, Florida and North Carolina have tapped Dr. Neel’s expertise in the areas of animal to human, foodborne, waterborne and airborne disease minimization and control.

During Dr. Neel’s tenure in the meat industry, he has traveled to over 70 countries in 5 continents to conduct facility audits, cutting demonstrations, marketing presentations and efficiency reviews.  Dr. Neel’s goal during these tours was to facilitate the technology transfer of “no-cost and low-cost” methods for improving meat safety, worker efficiency while enhancing product quality.  Dr. Neel has conducted over 300 facility audits in foreign countries in addition to over 200 tours of meat packing, processing and cold storage facilities in the United States.

Selected Professional Consulting Experiences:

World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO) December 2002-Present

Technical Consultant & Specialist

Philippines: USDA Emerging Markets Program (June 2003).  Dr. Neel participated on a team of specialists working with a new cold chain association in Manila, Philippines.  He conducted cold chain training programs and presented a seminar on post-harvest perishable food handling for industry leaders.

Central America: Program Design for Partnerships for Food Industry Development (PFID) programs in Central America (March 2004).  Dr. Neel conducted a market assessment of the cold chain infrastructure in Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, including meetings with industry leaders, academia, government officials and potential local partners.  Information gathered on the mission led to a comprehensive strategic plan for WFLO programs in the region for the next 3 year.

China & Vietnam: USDA Emerging Markets Program (June 2004).  Dr. Neel served as a technical resource and speaker for WFLO in a cooperative project with USDA to enhance the awareness of the need for an integrated cold chain in China and Vietnam.  He participated in industry tours, conducted on-site training in retail establishments and was a technical speaker on the program to promote proper post-harvest handling of perishable food products.

South Africa & Namibia: Program Design for Partnerships for Food Industry Development (PFID) programs in Southern Africa (June 2004).  Dr. Neel served as the team leader of a four-person team sent to South Africa to investigate opportunities for cold chain improvement in Southern Africa, including initial visits to South Africa and Namibia to meet with industry leaders, government officials and potential local partners.  Information gathered on the mission led to a comprehensive strategic plan for WFLO programs in the region for the next 5 years.

Guatemala: Cold Chain Training and Assistance for Michigan State University’s Partnership for Food Industry Development (PFID) program (July 2004).  Dr. Neel worked with selected producers and processors of fresh fruits and vegetables in Guatemala to promote the concept of an integrated cold chain network, communicate new technologies in refrigerated processing and increase the awareness for sound cold chain principles through an integrated cold chain for local products.  He conducted a comprehensive review of several companies and conducted a broad-based awareness seminar for a local agricultural cooperative.

Moldova: Cold Storage Industry Assessment for CNFA (November 2004).  Dr. Neel worked with local CNFA personnel to coordinate and conduct a comprehensive review of the cold storage industry that supports the fresh fruits and vegetable sector, conducting over 20 independent reviews/audits of facilities and presenting technical recommendations for improvements within each facility and the industry as a whole.

Moldova: Coordinator, Partnerships for Food Industry Development’s (PFID) Meat, Seafood & Poultry Development Project (December 2002-December 2004).  Dr. Neel coordinated and implemented market development programs on behalf of WFLO, working with Louisiana State University to enhance technical training, resource development and association building activities in the country.

Ukraine: Coordinator, Partnerships for Food Industry Development’s (PFID) Meat, Seafood & Poultry Development Project (December 2002-December 2004).  Dr. Neel coordinated and implemented market development programs on behalf of WFLO, working with Louisiana State University to enhance technical training, resource development and association building activities in the country.

Development Alternatives, Incorporated (DAI) March 2004-Present

Technical Consultant & Specialist  

Palestine: Facility Review and Selection for USDA’s Cold Chain Development Program (March 2004).  Dr. Neel served as a technical specialist for DAI/Palestine, assisting with their efforts to implement a USDA Cold Chain Development project in West Bank and Gaza Strip. He conducted a comprehensive review of 24 meat, poultry and dairy companies in the region to assess their eligibility to participate in the USDA program.  Program objectives included a review of applications from interested perishable foods companies willing to participate in the USDA’s Cold Chain Phase II program in Palestine; a comprehensive on-site facility tour and interview with each company to determine the eligibility of those companies that have applied to participate in the program; and a final report with recommendations of facilities for participation in the program, attempting to cover a wide cross-section of the perishable foods industry and a wide exposure of Palestinian companies to the USDA program.

Ukraine: Meat Sector Assessment for DAI’s BizPro project (August-September 2004).  Dr. Neel served as the meat & livestock sector technical specialist on DAI’s BizPro project in Ukraine, spending 21 days investigating and reporting on the status of the Ukrainian meat sector.  The report contained comprehensive information about the livestock sector, processing sectors, allied industries and government agencies.  Furthermore, the report reviewed statistical information about the industry while providing an overview of issues and constraints to trade as well as advantages and opportunities in the industry. 

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) September 2001-February 2004

Logistical Coordinator, Technical Consultant & Specialist  

The USDA launched a three-phase project, titled the “The Global Cold Chain Improvement Program.”  This project has been ongoing for several years, and involves the following phases and objectives:

Phase I: Awareness Seminar for industry leaders in the target countries, stressing the need for an integrated cold chain network, enhancements to the cold chain for post-harvest handling of perishable foods, and association building efforts to bring the entire industry together for a common goal.  Seminars are typically one-day events that feature between 3 and 5 international experts in the areas of post-harvest handling, food processing, cold storage operations and association building.  At the completion of the seminar program, applications are solicited from participants who are interested in applying to participate in an on-site evaluation and training program sponsored by USDA.

Phase II: Once selected, applicants will host an international specialist familiar with post-harvest practices.  The specialist will work with company management to evaluate the facility and make recommendations for “no-cost” or “low cost” solutions to cold chain related issues, generating a final report and a set of recommendations for implementation.

Phase III: Following a 4 to 6 month implementation phase, the experts return to the companies to evaluate the implementation plan and quantify the impact of the recommendations.  Furthermore, efforts to build an integrated and functional industry cold chain association will be completed.

China: Cold Chain Phase I Seminar, Shenzhen (September 2001).  Dr. Neel served as the food processing specialist for a Phase I seminar.  He participated in an industry tour of facilities and companies in the perishable food industry.

Indonesia: Cold Chain Phase II Technical Training (March 2002).  Dr. Neel served as the technical specialist for meat and poultry companies in Indonesia. He spent 14 days working with three companies, conducting assessments and generating final reports with recommendations for cold chain improvement as it relates to safety, quality and efficiency programs.

China: Cold Chain Phase I Seminar, Guangzhou (June 2002).  Dr. Neel served as the food processing specialist for a Phase I seminar.  He participated in an industry tour of facilities and companies in the perishable food industry.

South Africa: Cold Chain Phase II Technical Training (October 2002).  Dr. Neel served as the technical specialist for poultry and seafood companies in South Africa.  He spent 14 days working with three companies, conducting assessments and generating final reports and recommendations for cold chain improvement as it relates to safety, quality and efficiency programs.

Palestine: Cold Chain Phase I Planning (December 2002 & December 2003).  In an effort to launch the USDA Cold Chain programs in Palestine, Dr. Neel served as an “advance program coordinator” of the activity, traveling to Palestine in December of 2002 and again in December of 2003 to generate support for the program and plan program activities.  During those trips, Dr. Neel generated a comprehensive overview of the cold chain industry in Palestine, met with local leaders and government officials to discuss the program, and interfaced with DAI/Palestine staff to organize the upcoming events. 

Bulgaria: Cold Chain Phase I Seminars & Phase II Technical Training (March, June and July of 2003).  Dr. Neel served as the project coordinator for Phase I activities, including a “pre-planning trip” to promote the program to local partners. He was responsible for speaker selection, program development and seminar launch. Dr. Neel was also responsible for coordinating the Phase II program, including reviewing and selecting participants, selecting and coordinating other specialists and managing on-site logistics during the activity in July of 2003.

Jordan: Cold Chain Phase I Seminar (August 2003).  Dr. Neel served as the project coordinator for Phase I activities, including “pre-planning”, speaker selection, program development and seminar launch. Dr. Neel was also a technical speaker for the perishable food processing sector during the seminar.  It should be noted that the seminar was for industry leaders in West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestine, but due to security concerns the program was relocated to Amman, Jordan. 

Colombia & Peru: Cold Chain Phase I Seminars & Phase II Technical Training (September 2003 & February 2004).  Dr. Neel served as the food processing specialist for three Phase I seminars in Bogotá, Cartagena and Lima.  He participated in several industry tours of facilities and companies in the perishable food industry. Dr. Neel returned to Bogotá and Medellin, Colombia in February of 2004 to serve as the technical specialist for meat and poultry companies, working with three companies.  Furthermore, Dr. Neel was appointed the team leader and coordinator during the Phase II activities, and coordinated the schedules, activities and final reports for three other specialists.  In addition to on-site activities, he served as the logistical coordinator for the USDA, working to review applications and select the facilities eligible to participate in the program.

 

Professional Experience:

Technical Solutions International (TSI); Eugene, Oregon; Founder/CEO

          Consulting Work with:

·       World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO), Technical Consultant & Specialist, December 2002 to Present

·       Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), Technical Conslutant & Specialist, March 2004 to Present

·       United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Logistical Coordinator & Technical Specialist, December 2001 to February 2004

·       International Association of Fairs & Expositions (IAFE), Technical Consultant, September 2004 to Present

·       Animal Permanent Electronic Identification System (APEIS), Technical Advisor, June 2003 to February 2005

·       Swift & Company, Technical Advisor, February 2003 to Present

·       Colorado State University (CSU), Research Consultant, October 2001 to September 2002

·       Omega Foods, Technical Adviser to the Board of Directors, May 2004 to Present

·       Brazilian Pork Meat Industry & Exporters Association (ABIPECS), Seminar Coordinator & Presenter, June 2003

·       United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF), Technical Consultant, December 2001 to Present

·       Lane County Fair, Eugene, Oregon, Expert Consultant, June 2004 to October 2004

·       Cross Roads Farms, Raleigh, North Carolina, Expert Consultant, December 2004 to Present

·       Central Florida Fair, Orlando, Florida, Expert Consultant, May 2005 to Present

·       Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, Florida, Expert Consultant, May 2005 to Present

ConAgra Signature Meats (CSM); Greeley, Colorado; Category Director, Portion Control Steaks; January 2001 to October 2001

ConAgra Beef Company (CBC); Greeley, Colorado; Director of Technical Marketing; October 1998 to December 2000

ConAgra Refrigerated Foods International (CRFI); Greeley, Colorado; Director of Human Resources, Training & Development; February 1997 to September 1998

United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF); Denver, Colorado; Director of Technical Services & Research; September 1992 to January 1997

Arizona Beef Council (ABC); Phoenix, Arizona; Director of Marketing; June 1987 to May 1989

National Live Stock & Meat Board (NLSMB) (Precursor to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association); Chicago, IL; Coordinator of Meat Science Programs; November 1985 to May 1987

Education:

Bachelors Degree in Animal Science:              Oregon State University            1984

Masters Degree in Meat Science:                   University of Georgia                1985 

Ph.D. in Meat Science & Muscle Biology:          University of Georgia                1992  

 

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Last modified: August 29, 2005