Food Export–Northeast

Unlocking Global Opportunities Since 1973

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.

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
Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director 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.

Michelle Rogowski
Chief Operating Officer/Deputy Director of Food Export-Midwest I 312.334.9218

Michelle Rogowski is Chief Operating Officer of Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast and Deputy Director of Food Export-Midwest. Michelle has been working at Food Export-Midwest since August 1997. Michelle has held a variety of positions during her time with the organization. As Chief Operating Officer of Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast, she focuses on critical organizational deliverables and business processes, information technology, Human Resources, legal, procurement, facilities, and special projects. As Deputy Director, Michelle works closely with the Executive Director on office operations to ensure that the organization’s overall mission remains the top priority.

A Chicago, Illinois native, Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from DePaul University.

Laura England
Chief Communications Officer/Deputy Director I 215.829.9111

Laura England is the Chief Communications Officer of Food Export-Northeast and Food Export-Midwest and Deputy Director of Food Export-Northeast. Laura joined Food Export-Northeast as Deputy Director in March 2022.  In June of 2023, the responsibilities of Chief Communications Officer were added to her role. As CCO for Food Export-Northeast and Food Export-Midwest, she strategically focuses on meetings, marketing, communications, stakeholder engagement/membership, and public/media relations.

Laura has more than 35 years of experience in agricultural marketing and communications. Before joining Food Export-Northeast, she was the Bureau of Market Development Director at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Previously, Laura served as Vice President of Strategic Communications for the 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 from Penn State University, with an emphasis in journalism. 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.

Robert Lowe, CPA
Chief Financial Officer I 312.334.9213

Rob joined Food Export Association in August of 2002, after working the previous 10 years in various managerial accounting capacities. His most recent prior experience was as the Vice President of Finance for Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, a Midwest-based social services organization.

In June 2023, Rob was named Chief Financial Officer for Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast. His strategic focus for both organizations is accounting, finance, risk, and compliance management.

Rob was raised on the south side of Chicago, and currently resides in the downtown area. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Harvard University and received his CPA license in 1997. An avid golfer, Rob enjoys spending the summer playing at all of the great courses in the area.

Teresa Miller
Chief Program & Partnership Officer I 312.334.9208

Teresa has been working at Food Export-Midwest since August 1997. She has held a variety of positions during her time with the organization including managing the Communications Program Area, Manager of Food Export-Midwest’s International Marketing Program, and as the Strategic Partnerships Manager. As Chief Program Officer of Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast, she focuses the design, planning, and execution of the programs and services of both organizations.

Teresa Miller grew up in Mexico City, but she discovered the Midwest as an exchange student during her sophomore year in high school in Shawano, Wisconsin. Preferring the snow and cold over sunny Mexico, she returned to the Midwest for graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. Prior to joining Food Export Association, Teresa worked in Mexico with an organization with a similar mission as Food Export Association’s.

Molly Burns
Branded Program Director I 312.334.9212

Molly joined Food Export–Midwest in June 2012. She previously held the position of a Liaison, conducting outreach for various Food Export programs and serving as a key point-of-contact for clients in her region. Raised in Omaha, Nebraska, she attended Loyola University Chicago and majored in International Studies. While at Loyola she had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy and China, experiences that greatly increased her interest in international trade and assisting with U.S. exports.

In her free time, Molly likes to run, brunch, and explore Chicago’s many neighborhoods.

Elina Balter
Human Resources Administrator I 215.599.9739

Elina Balter has been working at Food Export since February 2024. Elina received her bachelor’s degree in Strategic and Organizational Communications from Temple University. She has been in the field of Human Resources for 12+ years, working in various industries including reproductive medicine, behavioral health, home care, and banking. Elina is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management Philadelphia Chapter and has had her SHRM-CP credential since 2017.

Elina was born in Moldova and arrived in the US when she was 4 years old. She has grown up and continues to live in the greater Philadelphia area. Elina is still able to read, write and speak in Russian. She enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, reading, and exploring new places to eat. Every Tuesday, you can find Elina playing darts with her team in the Olde English Dart League of Philadelphia during regular season or the Summer Mummer League during the summer months.

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 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 I 215.599.9741

Howard joined Food Export-Northeast in September of 2011 as a Liaison.  He holds a bachelor’s 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.

Grantland Behmke
Liaison I 215.599.9753

Grantland joined Food Export-Northeast in October of 2023 as a Liaison. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Film & Media Arts from Temple University. Grantland grew up in the greater Philadelphia area, in the Mainline town of Paoli. Prior to starting his position at Food Export-Northeast, he worked in software sales and acted in several independent films.

In his free time, Grantland enjoys playing music as a part of his band Our American Cousin. In the future he plans to travel to every state in the United States and experience as much of the country as possible.

Laura Buske
Marketing & Communications Coordinator I 312.334.9205

Laura was born and raised in Chicago and joined Food Export-Midwest as an Administrative Assistant in March 2011. She joined the International Marketing Program in 2013 and became the Communications Coordinator in March 2015 for Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast.

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
Marketing & 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.

Helen Kerschner
Marketing & Communications Coordinator I 215.599.9781

Helen joined Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator in February 2023. She holds a B.S.B.A. in Marketing and a dual minor in International Studies and Economics. She has worked in marketing and communications across various industries, with her most recent experience being in the health benefits sector.

Born and raised in the suburbs of Berks County, Helen moved to Philadelphia in 2021 and has since grown to love the city. She is an avid traveler, most recently spending time in India with her partner. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, exploring the city, and trying new foods.

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 where 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.

Vivian Sicilia
International Marketing Program Coordinator I 215.599.9751

Vivian moved from Denver to Philadelphia in the summer of 2023 and started at Food Export Northeast shortly thereafter. She was born and raised in Chicago and holds a B.A. in International Relations from Dickinson College.

Vivian comes from a hospitality tech background, most recently working in sales in the beverage alcohol industry. She speaks Italian and Spanish and loves learning about linguistics and new languages. Vivian also enjoys traveling abroad, as well as exploring her new city of Philadelphia with her dog Alamo.

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.

Stefan Vasilevski
Marketing & Communications Associate I 312.334.9204

Stefan started his role as a Marketing and Communications Associate at Food Export-Northeast and Food-Export Midwest in October 2023, following his tenure as an International Marketing Program intern. His academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising, complemented by a minor in Digital Marketing and a certificate in Global Fluency. Concurrently, he is pursuing a Master of Science in Marketing at DePaul University.

In his spare time, Stefan enjoys taking walks with his dog, exploring new restaurants, and spending countless hours scrolling through TikTok.

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.