February 3, 2016

Informa Economics recently announced new positions within the business and has added several employees to its staff in Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.

Ken Eriksen was named coordinator of the Informa Economics' Client Advisory and Development group. In this capacity, he directs the group's efforts in client advisory and development, risk management, consulting and events. Since joining Informa in 2001, Eriksen led Informa Economics' Transportation, Industrials and Energy Services team and co-led its project consulting practice. Eriksen regularly speaks on commodity, transportation and infrastructure issues and developments and is an expert witness in the area of transportation, logistics and supply-chain matters.

Don Riffe is a senior vice president and was named head of Informa Economics' Research group. With the company since 2000, he now oversees multiple teams that conduct Informa's fundamental research for the major agricultural, energy and industrial commodities as well as those focusing on project research. Prior to working in this capacity, he directed Informa Economics' crop-related supply/demand research activities from 2013 to 2015, was the firm's wheat and rice analyst from 2007 to 2012 and managed its farm-level consulting business, Producer Services, from 2000 to 2006.

Crystal Carpenter was named a vice president and leads the Memphis-based Project Consulting team within Informa Economics' Research group. Her primary responsibilities are research and analyses in support of projects spanning a broad range of industries and project types. Key industries covered in previous research projects include those involving the development of second generation biofuel feedstocks (i.e., jatropha, camelina, algae, miscanthus, and sweet sorghum), oilseed processing, renewable fuels, animal feed and distillers' dried grains, and aquaculture. Her experience has covered a wide range of project types including strategic development, econometric and optimization modeling, surveys and industry interviews, economic development, market and impact analyses, feasibility studies, and custom Excel and web tool designs.

Chen Liu was named a senior consultant of the Project Consulting team within Informa Economics' Research group and is the lead for its Geospatial Intelligence Services. He has performed research and analysis on a variety of industries and markets within the US and global food, agriculture, transportation and renewable energy sectors. He has led and/or supported various types of projects, including feasibility evaluation, market assessment and outlooks, due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, strategy development, geospatial intelligence and visualization, quantitative modeling, in-depth interviews, economic impact analyses and site selection. He has analyzed many segments of the agriculture and food supply chain and related areas, including farmland, agricultural inputs, grain, oilseed, forage and livestock production and processing, sugar and byproducts, renewable fuels, transportation and infrastructure, biotechnology, agricultural policy and trade, and pet food, among others.

Mark van Stolk joined Informa Economics as a vice president and senior member of Informa Economics' Client Advisory and Development group. He has been with Informa Economics since 2015, returning to a previously held role of analyzing domestic and international sugar as well as cocoa markets. His background has been in all aspects of commodities, from merchandizing for an export company, running logistics at an export grain elevator, analyzing commodity markets and agricultural policy, international brokerage, bulk commodity ocean transport, and investing in futures for client accounts as a commodity trading advisor, to spearheading a number of business consulting projects. Van Stolk has extensive international exposure and is fluent in Dutch. He received his master's in business administration in international management and finance from Georgetown University and his bachelor's degree in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Adam Hancock joined the company as a consultant in Informa Economics' Project Consulting team within Informa Economics' Research group. Based out of the Washington, D.C., office, his responsibilities cover a variety of areas including agriculture policy and trade analysis, econometric modeling, feasibility studies, and other market research on a variety of commodities. Prior to joining Informa, he was an intern for American Farm Bureau Federation's Public Policy department performing economic analysis for agricultural policy issues. He has a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics with a minor in business from the University of Kentucky and a master's degree in agricultural economics from Kansas State University where he also was a fellow of the Center for Risk Management Education and Research.

Melinda Sommer joined Informa Economics' acreage and production team within the Research group as a commodity production analyst. Her primary responsibilities include maintaining and expanding the team's analytical and forecasting capabilities for the US and world crop acreage and production research and analysis. She received her bachelor's degree in agricultural business and her master's degree in economics, both from South Dakota State University (SDSU). Sommer was raised on a row crop and hog operation in southern Minnesota. In addition to helping manage her family's farm, she also conducted agriculture research at SDSU, assisting the state's agricultural extension service as well as teaching farm and ranch management in the SDSU Economics Department.

Jerry Drewett joined the Memphis office as an application developer within Informa Economics' Web Application Development team. He previously held numerous positions performing a wide variety of software development tasks in several industries and markets and with various companies during his career. This work has included a large security-based application with Wells Fargo designed to manage software and hardware components within the various branches and financial institutions; a system with FedEX during the acquisition of a company that performs ground services, which was instrumental in consolidating seven-digit ground accounts with nine-digit express accounts; a financial application for Navy personnel in Millington, Tennessee, that allowed an officer to calculate retirement benefits; and a human resources evaluation system to perform employee evaluations for over 10,000 teachers for the Memphis (Tennessee) City school district. Mr. Drewett also has developed a high level of expertise in the areas of software system architecture and design, having led and assisted in the architecture and design of multiple large, multi-tier software systems.

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