Food Export–Northeast

Unlocking Global Opportunities Since 1973

Food Export Northeast Anniversary


Food Export USA–Northeast (Food Export–Northeast) is a non-profit organization created in 1973 as a cooperative effort between 10 Northeastern state agricultural promotion agencies and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Our purpose is to provide a wide range of services to facilitate trade between Northeastern food suppliers and importers around the world.

Food Export – Northeast 2021 Annual Report

The Northeast’s Abundance

The Northeast produces a bounty of diverse seafood products and agriculture which includes cranberries, blueberries, and apples, as well as wine, dairy, and maple syrup. It hosts a large, well-developed food processing industry that covers all aspects of the food industry.

The Northeast is also home to a multitude of value-added products across organic, kosher, specialty/gourmet, food service, and ethnic market segments.

Fall Meeting 14

Meet the Northeast Team

Our team of experts in international markets is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and works alongside state member agencies, the USDA, and Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) to help you identify real market opportunities and become export ready.

Brendan Wilson
Executive Director/CEO I 312.334.9200

A Saint Paul, Minnesota native, Brendan has worked for the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA since 2013.

Brendan received his BA in International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is an accredited Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP). He is currently enrolled in the University of Notre Dame’s MBA program.

Brendan worked in Moscow, Russia prior to moving to Chicago. In his free time, you can find him on a riverboat giving tours as a volunteer docent at the Chicago Architecture Center.

Laura England
Deputy Director I 215.599.9738

Laura England joined the Food Export USA-Northeast team as Deputy Director in March 2022. In this position, she leads a team dedicated to helping small- and medium-sized agricultural businesses and food companies in the northeastern United States export their value-added products.

Laura has more than 35 years of experience in agricultural marketing and communications. Prior to joining Food Export-Northeast, she was the Director of the Bureau of Market Development at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. In previous positions, she served as Vice President of Strategic Communications for Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and was the Public Relations Manager for Land O’Lakes Eastern Operations (formerly Atlantic Dairy Cooperative). She began her professional career as a reporter for Lancaster Farming newspaper.

Laura received her bachelor’s degree in general agriculture, with an emphasis in journalism, from Penn State University. She earned a Master of Business Administration from La Salle University and completed a post-master’s certificate in food marketing from Saint Joseph’s University. She also completed a certificate in social media marketing from Notre Dame University.

Laura grew up on a dairy farm in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, where her extended family owns and operates Penn-England Farms, LLC. She currently resides in southeastern Pennsylvania. She enjoys reading, singing in her church’s contemporary choir, hiking, and strength training.

Ben Cortese
International Marketing Program Manager I 215.599.9740

Ben Cortese joined Food Export-Northeast in August 2016 as a Liaison. Ben comes to Food Export with a diverse background, having spent time in both the Apparel and Real Estate industries. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Fordham University in New York City.

Ben has travelled extensively throughout Europe and has completed both the Camino de Santiago and Tour du Mont Blanc hikes. He enjoys photography and has had the privilege to document all of his travels.

Gina Donio
Marketing & Communications Manager I 215.599.9746

Gina Donio has been working at Food Export since June 2023. Gina received her bachelor’s degree in finance from Villanova University. A native of New York, she now resides in southern New Jersey.  Gina spent more than 20 years working as the editor of a newspaper in the region, where she also held the title of Director of Communications and Marketing for the business. She has won several awards for her writing and editing.

A passionate advocate for downtown revitalization, education and civic engagement, Gina has served on the board of several nonprofit organizations. She is also in the Atlantic County Women’s Hall of Fame. Gina spends her free time writing, volunteering, watching her beloved New York Mets (in season), scouting potential real estate projects, and reading.

Howard Gordon
Branded Program Manager
hgordon@foodexport.orgI 215.599.9741

Howard joined Food Export-Northeast in September of 2011 as a Liaison.  He holds a Bachelors Degree in Marketing with a focus in Aviation Management from Jacksonville University. Before working for Food Export–Northeast, Howard worked for a major airline for 12 years in airport customer service. Additionally, Howard has worked in state government in the department of finance.

A native of Delaware, Howard enjoys traveling, swimming, and volunteering.

Mike Weiand
IT Manager I 312.334.9210

Mike became the IT Administrator for Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast in October 2010. He is originally from the suburbs north of Chicago. He spent the past 12 years in southern Illinois, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems Technologies and Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Systems from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC).

Prior to returning to the Chicago area, Mike worked at SIUC at the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development on the Rural Medical Transportation Network Project, providing GIS expertise to the project and serving as LAN Administrator for the department.

Laura Buske
Communications Coordinator – Publications I 312.334.9205

Laura was born and raised in the Chicago area and joined Food Export-Midwest as the Administrative Assistant in March of 2011. She joined the International Marketing Program in 2013 and became the Communications Coordinator – Publications in March 2015 for both Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast. Prior to her employment at Food Export, she has worked supporting corporate executives at electronics and advertising firms.

In her spare time, Laura enjoys scrapbooking and watching her two sons play baseball.

John Eppinger
Branded Program Coordinator I 215.599.9752

John joined Food Export-Northeast in October 2019 as a Branded Program Associate. Living in Philadelphia his entire life, he graduated from Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University) in May 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and a minor in Marketing. John has experience working in structured finance, the restaurant industry, as well as retail.

Since studying abroad in Japan during the fall of 2017, John has kept up with his Japanese language studies. He enjoys all types of Japanese cuisine and media and hopes to become fluent one day.

Lourdes Figueroa
Communications Associate I 215.599.9755

Lourdes joined Food Export-Northeast and Food-Export Midwest as a Communications Associate in September 2022. She has a B.A. in Russian Studies and an M.A. in Art History. Before joining Food Export Association, she worked as a researcher and writer for several arts organizations. Most recently she worked in marketing and communications for a theatre company in New York City.

Lourdes was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. She is an avid TV watcher and feels fortunate to be living in the Golden Age of Television.

Deborah Ingravallo
Liaison I 215.599.9747

Deborah joined Food Export–Northeast as a Liaison in August 2017 following an extensive career as a Marketing and Events Coordinator with a local Trade Association, working with every segment of the Maritime Industry within the Ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington.

Her career in Maritime began in sales and marketing with a major Steamship Line, eventually transitioning to outside sales within the Philadelphia area.

Deborah is a Jersey girl born-and-raised and holds a B.A. from Penn State University.  She is a huge baseball fan (Philadelphia Phillies), loves the South Jersey shore, and is active in the Township and County where she resides in New Jersey.

Matt Mager
IT Coordinator I 312.334.9211

Matt joined Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast in April 2018. He received his A.A.S in Cyber Security in December 2017. Matt had interned at JJC for 2 semesters, one with the Networking Department and one with the Help Desk Department. While in school Matt was able to participate in 2 National Cyber League competitions were he placed 26th out of 2077 competitors and 69th out of 2423 competitors.

Matt was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago were he still lives. In his free time Matt enjoys playing video games, disc golfing, bowling, and of course sleeping.

Wahkeena “Keyna” Mason
Senior Administrative Specialist I 215.599.9737

Keyna worked for Food Export-Northeast as a temp starting July of 2002.  She later became a full-time employee in August of 2003.  As the Senior Administrative Specialist she provides support to the Deputy Director, Finance, Branded Program and International Marketing Program. Using her charm to collect Food Export program evaluations is just one more area of her expertise.

Prior to joining Food Export-Northeast, she provided customer service to small companies in the Food Distribution Center that corresponded with the seafood industry.  Keyna, as she is affectionately known as, recently obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting in March of 2013.  She enjoys shopping, singing, writing spoken word poetry, spending time with her family, watching football (Dallas Cowboys) and has found a new love for traveling now that she has finished her degree.

Anna McCrorey
Accounting/HR Coordinator I 215.599.9745

Anna joined Food Export-Northeast  in March 2013. Prior to joining Food Export she worked as a Fiscal Assistant in the Accounting departments of two different organizations in the Human Services field. Anna brings over 20 years of non-profit experience to Food Export.  She enjoys spending time with her family.

Tia Regec
Communications Associate I 215.829.9781

Tia joined Food Export–Northeast in August 2020 as a Communications Associate. She graduated in May 2020 and received her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Marketing from Temple University’s Fox School of Business. Tia has had multiple internship experiences, all in marketing, prior to her graduation from Temple – including an international marketing internship right here at Food Export.

In her free time, Tia enjoys spending time outside running and hiking, discovering new restaurants in the city, and spending time with friends and family.

Rahdia Thornton 
International Marketing Program Associate I 215.599.9749

Rahdia joined Food Export – Northeast in 2021 as an intern for the International Marketing Program. She joined the team as an associate in June 2022 after she graduated from Temple University’s Fox School of Business with a B.B.A. in Marketing.

Rahdia enjoys going out with friends, attending music festivals, and traveling. She also enjoys going out to restaurants and trying new foods.

Eoin Tierney 
Branded Program Associate I 215.599.9743

Eoin joined Food Export – Northeast as a Branded Program Associate in December of 2022. A native of the Boston area, he graduated from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in May 2021 where he studied History and Spanish. Prior to joining Food Export, Eoin gained experience working in sales and customer relations. He also studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain.

In his free time, Eoin enjoys being in the outdoors, discovering new restaurants, and playing golf, as well as spending time with his friends, family, and pets.

Logan Zweifel
Liaison l 215.599.9748

After graduating in May of 2022 from Drake University with a B.S.B.A. in International Business and Marketing along with a minor in Spanish, Logan moved to Philadelphia to join Food Export-Northeast as a Liaison.

Logan has had previous experience as a Food Export Intern for the Food Export-Midwest member state of Iowa and has had many travel experiences, most recently throughout Europe and to Costa Rica. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the city, watching sporting events, and traveling to new places.

Download Food Export Organizational Chart (PDF)

Download International Marketing Program Tactic Directory (PDF)