CHAIR: Paul Riley, MBA, CSP
Paul is originally from Portland, Oregon, but now calls Utah his home. He is a Certified Safety Professional with over 26 years of experience in Occupational Safety and Health. He received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental & Occupational Safety & Health from Brigham Young University and his Master’s degree in Business Administration. He has worked in the Safety and Health profession in several different industries including Mining, Agriculture, Insurance, Government, and Construction. Paul is currently the Corporate Safety, Health, and Environmental Director for AgReserves, Inc. AgReserves, Inc. is a global agriculture company with segment operations that include include cattle (beef & dairy), permanent planting (nuts, citrus, peaches, olives, etc.), and row crops (potatoes, corn, wheat, soybeans, etc.). Paul has served as President of the Utah Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and other national leadership positions within ASSE and other organizations.
VICE CHAIR: Aaron Yoder, PhD
Aaron Yoder is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center working with the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health. Prior to that, he was a Penn State Instructor and Extension Safety Associate, where he provided national leadership for the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program by coordinating online instructor training and educational programs for 4-Hers, volunteers and county educators. In addition, he taught within the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and participated in other research and outreach programs for the Penn State Agricultural Safety and Health Program.
SECRETARY/TREASURER: Jess McCluer
Jess manages NGFA’s wide-ranging operational programs concerning employee safety and industrial health, environmental issues, grain-handling facility design and equipment, and grain inspection and weighing issues. He is principal staff liaison to the Safety, Health and Environmental Quality Committee, Grain Grades and Weights Committee, Biotechnology Committee, and Agroterrorism and Facility Security Committee.
He joined NGFA’s staff in 2007 after serving since April 2003 as a program analyst at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Office of Outreach Services and Alliances. In that capacity, he worked with trade associations, professional societies, academia, unions and government agencies to coordinate the implementation of national alliances and the development of compliance assistance resources. He was honored twice – in 2003 and 2005 – as recipient of the Secretary of Labor’s Exceptional Achievement Award. Before joining OSHA, McCluer served from 1999-2003 as manager of government affairs for the Shipbuilders Council of America, overseeing the association’s Safety, Environmental and Human Resources Committees.
McCluer was staff assistant for both the Dole/Kemp ’96 presidential campaign and the 1996 Republican National Committee convention. A native of Dallas, Texas, he was graduated from Texas A&M University with degrees in political science and international studies. He also received a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Flint Belk, CIH, CSP
Flint Belk is the Manager of Occupational Health at WCF Insurance. Flint oversees the industrial hygiene staff at WCF as well as field consultants in the Western US. Flint has over 25 years of experience as a safety professional with the Idaho National Laboratory and WCF. Flint has served as a member of an ANSI standards development committee and comes from a family farm background. Flint is a graduate of Utah State University with a BS in Industrial Hygiene and is a Board Certified Safety Professional (BCSP) and Industrial Hygienist (CIH).
Casper ‘Cap’ Bendixsen, PhD
Cap is the Director of the National Farm Medicine Center and am a tenured Research Scientist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. I also serve as the Associate Director for the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center. Personally, I was raised on a farm and ranch in Idaho and competed in bareback bronc riding for nine years. I earned his bachelors from the University of Idaho and my doctorate in sociocultural anthropology from Rice University. There, I researched the ethical lives of contemporary US pastoralists. My current work applies anthropological thought and research methodologies to agricultural health and safety. These projects include investigating the attitudes of farm parents towards children’s safety – specifically the risks and benefits of youth’s involvement with agricultural work, training rural firefighters in farm hazard analysis and mitigation, and the possible health benefits of the diverse and rich biomes that exist on farms.
John Walt Boatright
John Walt Boatright joined AFBF as Director of Government Affairs in November 2022. In this role, John Walt is the lead staffer on issues involving farm labor, pesticides, food safety, and specialty crops at the federal level. He spends most of his time working closely with policymakers and state Farm Bureaus to accomplish AFBF policy. In addition to his involvement with ASHCA, John Walt also represents the organization in its collaborative industry work, including the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, the Pesticide Policy Coalition, and the Commodity Liaison Committee of the IR-4 Project. Prior to joining American Farm Bureau, he led national affairs for Florida Farm Bureau for over 5 years. John Walt is a native Floridian and graduated with a degree in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida in 2013.
Heather Fowler, VMD PhD MPH DACVPM
Dr. Heather Fowler completed her Veterinary Medical degree at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. After veterinary school, she received a Master in Public Health in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. In 2011, Dr. Fowler began the 2-year Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CSTE/CDC) Applied Epidemiology Fellowship, working alongside members of the Zoonoses group at the Minnesota Department of Health under the supervision of Drs. Joni Scheftel and Kirk Smith. During her fellowship Dr. Fowler received valuable on-the-job-training in public health practice. She was also able to conduct a study of occupational hazards present in the clinical veterinary setting in the state. In 2013, Dr. Fowler began a PhD program at the University of Washington School of Public Health in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences. During her time in Seattle she also worked as the Associate Director of Animal Health for the Center for One Health Research (COHR) under the leadership of Center Director Dr. Peter Rabinowitz. Her dissertation work focused on the hazards present in veterinary medicine with the goal of establishing a national cohort of veterinary personnel. After completing her PhD in the summer of 2017, Dr. Fowler began work as the Director of Producer and Public Health at the National Pork Board where she oversees public health as well as occupational safety and health issues as they relate to swine production in the United States.
Kelly George is VP, Safety & Corporate Affairs with Grimmway Farms. Kelly George has over 20 years in Risk, Safety, Health, Environmental, Transportation, and insurance program investigation, development and management with proven results. In addition to being an attorney with multiple advanced degrees, Mr. George has spent five years working for OSHA learning regulations, educating businesses, and conducting investigations based on complaints and fatalities. Mr. George took that knowledge into heavy industry where he led a steel mill into receiving OSHA’s top safety program certification (Voluntary Protection Program – Star). Mr. George now works as a Vice President for Rain For Rent overseeing operations throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Mr. George has both domestic and international experience with multiple advanced degrees that contribute to his understanding of complex issues.
Mike Keenan is a Risk Control Manager for Gallagher National Risk Control in Omaha Nebraska. Mike has worked extensively with agricultural clients throughout the Midwest for over 13 years. His clients include swine producers, dairy operations, cattle feeders, feed mills, grain elevators, coops, and meat packing plants. Mike also has over 30 years of experience with construction and general industry. Mike has been developing and implementing Enhanced Risk Management Programs to identify risk exposures and controls in animal agriculture and affiliated industries.
Mike serves as an advisor to the Central States Center for Ag Safety and Health, and a NIOSH funded research program for employee safety in cattle feed yards.
Mike is a tech committee member for the National Fire Protection Association 150 Code Life Safety for Animal Housing Facilities and is a member of the National Pork Producers Safety Roundtable.
Kimberly is Vice President and Agricultural Specialist with Zenith Insurance Company. A California native, Kimberly Naffziger has been involved with the agricultural industry for most of her life. Kimberly joined Zenith Insurance Company as an agricultural specialist in 2008 to help build strong relationships with California’s agricultural industry, and to work collaboratively with Zenith’s servicing departments throughout the state to help improve the health and safety of the agricultural and dairy policyholders’ workforce. This successful approach has positioned Zenith as the premier agricultural insurance carrier in California.
Some of her accomplishments include developing innovative programs and resources for Zenith agricultural policyholders such as the Zenith Ag Leadership Program and the “Spotlight on Wellness” initiative. In addition, Kimberly currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Agricultural Safety & Health Council of America, and is a current board member of the Agricultural Personnel Management Association.
Kimberly’s background includes serving as Program Development Specialist at California State University, Fresno’s Center for Agricultural Business. In 1997, she was named the Executive Director for AgSafe, a non-profit organization. During her tenure at both the university and at AgSafe she has played an integral part in the development and implementation of educational programs for the industry including the California Agricultural Safety Certificate Program; the Farm Labor Contractor’s Education Institute; the Motor Vehicle Education Program for Spanish speaking workers; the Ag Lenders Institute and the Supervisor Development Program to name a few.
Kimberly has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Business from California State University, Fresno. In her free time, she enjoys competing in the sport of barrel racing with her horses Sam and Rap.
Mary Nowak serves as the director of government affairs for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives covering issues related to immigration and labor, nutrition, specialty crops, and food safety. Prior to joining NCFC, Mary worked as a professional staff member for the House Committee on Agriculture focusing on issues such as nutrition, immigration, biotechnology, specialty crops, pesticides and bioterrorism.
A native of Burleson County, Texas, Nowak grew up on her family’s farm where they raised cattle and grew peaches, blackberries, apricots, and many varieties of vegetables. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University.
Matt Spencer, CSP, SHRM-CP, REM, currently holds the role of Vice President HR and Safety Programs for the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. Since gaining his position in 2017, he has been responsible for the strategic management of certain USPOULTRY technical services provided to or on behalf of Association members. Such professional services include, but are not limited to, worker safety, human resources, fleet safety, and employment law programs. Mr. Spencer provides technical and logistical support to the Joint Poultry Industry Safety & Health, Human Resources, and Duck Councils. He represents US POULTRY on various outside committees or boards, such as the NFPA 150 Animal Housing and 660 Agricultural Dust technical committees, ANSI Z490.1 and ANSI Z16 advisory committees, and the NIOSH National Occupational Research Agenda Councils for Manufacturing and Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing. Mr. Spencer assists in developing program areas related to educational programs for the International Processing and Protin Expo (IPPE) and provides other IPPE support. He prepares comments and articles for risk management positions of the Association.
Sean Vallely is the Manager of Loss Control for the Workers’ Comp program. His primary role and responsibility is providing comprehensive loss prevention services for Agri-Services Agency. Sean oversees three Loss Control Consultants providing risk assessments, field evaluations, safety training and support for the program.
Sean is experienced in all lines of property & casualty insurance, with over 25 years in the business. Prior to joining ASA in 2017, Sean was the Manager of Loss Control at Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company. Prior to the move to Ag in 2012, Sean was a Senior Risk Engineer for Zurich and Travelers serving as a Construction Specialist for large accounts.
Sean has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University, his AFIS designation, and is also an authorized OSHA Outreach Trainer.
Travis Webb is a Technical Manager within the Safety & Product Leadership department at Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Travis facilitates a variety of technical committees within AEM, including the Agricultural Equipment Council and its array of subcommittees. He helps to identify, evaluate, and prioritize current and emerging issues related to developing technical standards, regulations, and other matters common to agricultural equipment which could potentially impact member companies, their products, and their markets. His efforts strive to develop and communicate, as appropriate and in a timely and proactive manner, the consensus AEM industry position on such issues.
Travis obtained his MBA in International Business from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater in 2019. In his free time, he likes to enjoy the outdoors and working on truck projects in his shop.