Instructors and Mentors
Ajax Greene, On Belay Business Advisors
Ajax is a well-known and respected serial entrepreneur/CSR evangelist/trusted generalist business advisor/global connector of confidential business transactions. He has turned his abundant creativity, talent and positive energy to building organizations and a community that expresses a deep commitment to being conscious of the triple bottom line of people, plant and prosperity. He has deep experience leading and advising organizations in a wide variety of industries, from fitness to pharma, retail to manufacturing, clean tech to e-commerce. Some highlights: doubling one company’s gross revenue while more than doubling profits, personally generating 70% of a startup manufacturer’s revenue, award-winning marketing programs, building highly regarded world-class teams and industry-changing strategic thinking.
Brian Zweig, Business Opportunities Management Consulting
Founder of Business Opportunities Management Consulting located in Defreestville, NY, Brian assists businesses in the development and implementation of business plans, securing of funding for expansion and start-ups and with the development of new products and markets. Since its founding in 1998, Business Opportunities has helped many companies successfully grow and achieve their goals, including firms in technology, manufacturing, service and retail businesses. Brian was previously the Executive Vice President of Certified Marketing Services where he instituted a 5 year plan that met objectives in 3 years by tripling sales and profits. Brian was also the former Product Manager for Garden Way, Inc. where he was responsible for product lines totaling $125,000,000 in annual sales. With over 30 years experience in business development and marketing, Brian is a leading expert in the local agricultural industry and a primary consultant for HVADC.
Diane Greco, Tactix Inc
Diane is the owner of Tactix since 2002, a Bedford, NY based company that provides development and implementation of effective and affordable marketing tactics for small to mid-sized businesses operating in Bto-B segments. She specializes in advertising, marketing strategies, management, digital media and entrepreneurship. She received her MBA from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University.
Jason Foscolo, The Food Law Firm
Jason Foscolo has been a practicing attorney in the State of New York since 2002. He is now a partner at Jason Foscolo PLLC, where he provides legal counsel to a rapidly growing client list of farmers and food entrepreneurs. Jason served five years as a Judge Advocate in the United State Marine Corps. His time abroad gave him new insight and appreciation for the many different ways food can be produced, prepared, and enjoyed. After separating honorably from active duty in 2010, Jason pursued his passion for all-things edible by attending the University of Arkansas School of Law LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law, the only program of its kind in the United States.
Joan Snyder, Frog Hollow Inc
Joan left her position as an Executive Director at Merrill Lynch International after 20 years on Wall Street as a Research Analyst, Equities Manager and Investment Banker to pursue her personal interest in agriculture and environmental science. She founded Hollow Road Farm as the first sheep dairy in the US, and produced a line of nationally distributed cheese and yogurt products. The food company was sold to private investors, and Hollow Road Farms Inc. is now maintained as a production agriculture company with investments in agritech and biotech. Joan is now the CEO of Frog Hollow Inc., a subsidiary company, with a small group of full-time finance, project and writing professionals on staff to assist clients.
Karen Dittrich, Creatif Leaf Marketing
Karen is a marketing and communications professional with 20+ years of experience in the food and beverage industry, she founded Creatif Leaf Marketing in 2015. As a classically trained chef, Karen is passionate about growing and using fresh, local ingredients. For the past 12 years, she has concentrated on corporate marketing and communications that produced award-winning results for Chartwells, a multimillion-dollar foodservice company. She is a respected leader of creative teams and is focuses on developing marketing public relations strategies that create awareness about nutritious foods and sustainability initiatives.
Nathan Forster, Groundwork Companies
Nathan is the founder of Groundwork Companies, a food and agriculture consulting firm that works to increase the amount of local food products accessing the four markets of the regional food system: Direct to Consumer, Direct to Retailer, Direct Wholesale, and Direct to Distributor. Nathan is also a consultant to the Taste NY Initiative, CADE, HVADC, and Regional Access. Previously, Nathan worked as an Agriculture Economic Development Specialist at CCE Madison County and as the Project Manager for Growing Upstate Food Hub in Canastota.
Scott Tillit, Antidote Collective
Equal parts strategist, publicist, marketer, social entrepreneur, and nonprofit leader, Scott has 20+ years of experience and a broad perspective promoting ideas, products and services in various culture-shaping (and sometimes suffocating) worlds – advertising, media, interactive design, photography, technology, television and fashion. He founded Antidote Collective in 2004 and has since worked with innovative nonprofits, foundations, citizen groups, social entrepreneurs and thinkers at the intersection of progressive issues, media, arts and culture, socially responsible business and big ideas. He’d helped dozens of clients in the US, Europe and Australia. He’s also the founder of BEAHIVE, collaborative spaces for work and community, and co-founder and board chain of Re>Think Local, a Hudson Valley nonprofit collaborative of locally owned independent businesses, artists, farmers and nonprofits.