Upcoming Events

Below is the list of events for the current Ohio Valley IFT year. Please note that dates and locations may be subject to change. Click on the event info link for detailed information.

  1. Save The Date: 2024 OVIFT Suppliers Expo

    September 24


PresidentShari MahonOlam Food Ingredients
Shari is the Vice President and Head of Global Innovation for the Spices business at Olam Food Ingredients (ofi). Her focus and passion is to deliver value add, innovative solutions that provide great tasting, healthier food and beverage options for for consumers. Prior to joining ofi, Shari held various global executive roles in the specialty ingredient, flavor and biotechnology industry including Firmenich, Mane and Sweegen focusing on domestic and global innovation with a proven track record in commercializing technologies from ideation to table. Shari received her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky and an Executive MBA from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. In her spare time, Shari enjoys gardening, volunteering and spending time trying to keep up with her active grandson.
Past PresidentMatt TeegardenThe Ohio State University
Matt is the Senior Researcher in the Foods for Health research initiative at Ohio State, where he is responsible for the development and advancement of scientific operations and communications. Matt’s technical expertise is in food chemistry and analysis, but he is also a passionate leader and science communicator. He served as the IFT Student Association President, member of the IFT Board of Directors, Trustee of Feeding Tomorrow, several IFT task forces, and is now the host of IFT’s podcast IFTNext Food Disruptors. Matt completed his BS, MS, and PhD in food science at Ohio State. In his free time, Matt enjoys baking, traveling, and participating in LGBTQ+ intramural leagues in Columbus.
President-ElectZack Ball 
Treasurer/Golf ChairErica BoydGivaudan Flavors
Erica holds a Food Science and Technology degree from Virginia Tech, class of 1997 as well as an MBA in Food Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University. She spent the early years of her career in the meat processing industry, focusing specifically on innovation and new product development. In 2015, Erica started work at Givaudan Taste and Wellbeing as a Senior Applications Scientist, using her product development expertise to assist various CPG animal and plant protein customers to develop improved eating experiences for the end consumer. In 2021, she pivoted to a role within the sales team as a technical expert in the plant protein space. Erica has been a member of IFT since 1995 and has served on the Ohio Valley Section IFT board since 2016 in various roles. She has also served on the Muscle Foods Division board since 2018. In her free time, Erica enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, attending sporting events, and scuba diving.
SecretaryJennifer LessickADM
Jennifer is a Beverage Applications Senior Scientist at ADM/Wild Flavors & Specialty Ingredients.  Jennifer has been with the company for 15 years, starting in flavor creations and transitioning to beverage, where she works on finished product development of alcohol products. She has been a member of OVIFT for 10 years, serving the last seven on the Board. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Jennifer is accustomed to the disappointment common to Cleveland sports teams, but refuses to give up hope (there’s always next year!).  Now from the Northern Kentucky area, Jennifer enjoys cooking, baking, hiking in the summer, movies, and reading.
Newsletter EditorKelley LoweAbbott Nutrition
Kelley has a BS in Food and Agricultural Engineering and an MS in Food Science both from The Ohio State University and over 17 years of product development experience working for Abbott Laboratories.  Kelley has been a member of IFT since 2005 and has served on the OVIFT Board for the last eight years.  During that time she has held a variety of different positions including Member At Large, Treasurer, Chair-Elect, Chair and Immediate Past Chair.  In her free time, Kelley enjoys cooking, exercises and spending time at the hockey rink with her kids.
Website Editor/ LinkedIn/Scholarship ChairCristina Escober Kroger 
Cristina is a Corporate Sr. Food Scientist at Kroger Bakery and Deli Team Cincinnati, OH.   She graduated in BS Food Technology at the University of the Philippines and received her MS in Food Science from Oklahoma State University. During her graduate studies, she took on the role of Wheat Research Specialist for FAPC/OSU and published articles related to Cereal Chemistry. She eventually was at the beck and call of the food industry and has been developing frozen dough, desserts, sandwiches and pizzas for over 16 years. In her personal time, she loves to spend it outdoors with her son, travel, try new recipes and finish home projects.
Student Rep.Ellie RogersThe Ohio State University
Ellie is a second-year Masters student at the Ohio State Food Science and Technology Department. She is working under Dr. Hua Wang’s guidance in Food Microbiology, specifically focusing on fermented foods, probiotics, gut health, and food safety. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Science with a minor in Biology and Chemistry from Bowling Green State University. After graduation she hopes to find a job involving product development of gut healthy products, or work in food regulatory affairs. In the free time, Ellie loves to travel and participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, kayaking, and more.
Director at LargeSonia TurtaroGivaudan Flavors
Sonia joined IFT in 2003 and was previously part of the Board of Directors for 5 years, where she was the Newsletter Editor. She has a BS in Chemistry from Mackenzie University in Brazil and over 30 years of experience in the Flavor Business, currently working for Givaudan Flavors. As a good Brazilian, she does not like cold weather but got used to the Cincinnati’s life style and really enjoys living here now. Sonia spends a lit bit of her free time also volunteering. She loves spending time with her husband and their 2 dogs; and having friends over for dinner parties.
Director at Large/Audit Committee ChairRae’Shann DingleGivaudan Flavors
Rae-Shann is a Food Scientist at Givaudan Flavors since 2002. She joined the Board as Treasurer last year. Originally from Cleveland Ohio, Rae-Shann now considers Cincinnati her home.
Director at LargeKathleen IrwinJeni’s Ice Cream
Kathleen has a B.S. in Nutrition in Industry from Ohio State. She has 6 years of experience in operations, food safety and quality and is currently the Director of Production, Quality Assurance and Food Safety at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus. In her free time, Kathleen enjoys hiking, running and spending time with her husband, son and dog.
Director at LargeJordan PearmanSkidmore Sales
Director at LargeJulie CarsonWiley Co.
Julie is the director of sterols at Wiley Companies in Coshocton, Ohio. She has 30+ years of corporate experience in packaging, chemicals, and ingredient manufacturing. She holds an MBA, a BA in Physiology, a BS in Nutrition, and maintains a credential as a registered dietitian. Her focus in the past few years has been omega 3 nutrition and the impact of fatty acids on health.
Director at Large/ Columbus Philantropy ChairKari NowiskiJeni’s Ice Cream
Kari is a Senior Buyer at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus Ohio. Her career began in food production back in 2014 and has since evolved into 8 years of experience in supply chain and food production. Originally from Tennessee, she has found a home and family here in Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys baking, playing with her dogs, and dancing.

Position Descriptions
To learn more about any officer position, please refer to the OVIFT bylaws for further details.

Interested in being a OVIFT Board Member? Contact us at ohiovalleysection.ift@gmail.com

Our Mailing Address is: P.O. Box 787 West Chester, OH 4507