Food Export–Midwest

Creating Growth Opportunities Since 1969

Food Export Association of the Midwest USA (Food Export–Midwest) is a non-profit organization created in 1969 as a cooperative effort between 13 Midwestern 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 Midwestern food suppliers and importers around the world.

Food Export – Midwest 2021 Annual Report

Midwest Bounty

The Midwest is one of the world’s leading food-producing areas. It’s home to hundreds of companies that provide consumers around the globe with high quality processed food and agricultural products. Midwestern farmers harvest a wide variety of products including grain, oilseeds, livestock, dairy, beans, fruits, and vegetables.

Suppliers in the Midwest also provide a broad spectrum of value-added branded and private label foods, food ingredients, feed ingredients, and pet foods.

USA Map_1200x675

Meet the Midwest Team

Our team of experts in international markets is based in Chicago, Illinois, 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.

Michelle Rogowski
Deputy Director I 312.334.9218

Michelle has been working at Food Export-Midwest since August 1997. Michelle has held a variety of positions during her time with the organization. Michelle received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from DePaul University.

In her position as Deputy Director, Michelle works closely with the Executive Director on office operations to ensure that the organization’s overall mission always remains the top priority. Michelle is a native Chicagoan and grew up in Pilsen, located on the South Side of Chicago.

Femke Bosch
International Marketing Program Manager I 312.334.9201

Femke joined Food Export-Midwest in March 2016 as part of the International Marketing Program. She was born and raised in the Netherlands, but has lived in Singapore and South Africa as well. She graduated from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Management and a Master’s degree in Marketing Management.

Prior to joining Food Export, Femke worked for two non-profit organizations in Chicago that work with inner-city youth. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering, and discovering new places to eat in Chicago.

Molly Burns
Branded Program Manager 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.

Robert Lowe
Financial Manager, CPA 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.

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
Strategic Partnerships Manager I 312.334.9208

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. Whenever she has a chance, she likes to play the piano and go sailing (summers only in Chicago, anytime in Mexico!).

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.

Paul Weiss
Liaison Manager I 312.334.9221

Paul joined Food Export-Midwest in September of 2011 as a Liaison. Paul serves as the point of contact for all companies in his region who utilize Food Export-Midwest’s programs and services, and also looks to develop new relationships with U.S. food producers.

Paul earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Economics with a focus on international trade from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). He gained international exposure and Spanish language skills while studying abroad in both Argentina and Costa Rica. Paul’s interests include traveling, camping, volunteering, sports and learning to play the drums.

Gabriel Burton
Branded Program Associate I 312.334.9203

After graduating in May of 2018 from Bates College with a B.S. in Mathematics, Gabe returned to his hometown of Chicago to give back to his community through Metrosquash, a squash non-profit organization. After 3 years, he decided to move on to help expand and grow his skillset. This brought him to Food Export Midwest where he is looking to share more than just his love of food.
In his free time, he likes to watch movies, hang out with family, and eat good food.

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. In her spare time, Laura enjoys traveling, reading, exploring new restaurants and spending time with her family.

Pamela Caruth
Administrative Assistant I 312.334.9222

Pamela is a lifelong Chicagoan, born and raised.  She joined Food Export-Midwest in November 2019.    This seasoned professional comes to Food Export with over 30 years of executive level administrative experience.  She has previously worked for the City of Chicago with her most recent tenor being in the Private Sector.   Pamela studied at Illinois State University before beginning her professional career.

In her spare time Pamela enjoys reading, horseback riding, summers on Lake Michigan and live music.

Dawn Cook
Branded Program Associate I 312.334.9209

Dawn joined Food Export in July 2022 as a Branded Program Associate. She is from the northwest suburbs, but recently moved to Chicago. She is currently seeking a degree in Business Administration. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

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.

Sarah Gerards
International Marketing Program Associate I 312.334.9218

Sarah joined Food Export–Midwest in May 2022. She previously held the position of International Marketing Program intern. Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, she moved to Chicago to study at Loyola University Chicago. There, she received her BA in Global Studies and History and worked as a research assistant in the Center of Science and Math Education.

In her free time, Sarah likes to read, go to concerts, volunteer at the Gerber-Hart Library and Archives, and explore Chicago.

Kelly Kim
International Marketing Program Associate I 312.334.9206

Kelly joined Food Export-Midwest as an International Marketing Program Associate in April 2022. Before joining the team as a full-time employee, she worked as a Liaison intern back in 2019 and then again as an International Marketing Program intern. Kelly is attending DePaul University where she is completing a degree in International Studies with a minor in Marketing. She is also a connoisseur of everything Korean food.

Katie LaBarge
Branded Program Associate I 312.334.9207

Katie LaBarge joined Food Export–Midwest in November 2019 as part of the Branded Program. Originally from Chicago, Katie graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio with a B.A. in Sociology. She has worked at a number of nonprofits in Chicago, Ohio, and northern Kentucky, and spent a year teaching English in South Korea. Before joining Food Export, Katie worked for a small accounting and tax preparation firm and is very happy to have returned to the nonprofit sector.

In her free time, Katie enjoys reading, trying new recipes, baking, and traveling.

Matthew Lorenz
Liaison I 312.334.9225

Matthew joined Food Export-Midwest in 2020 as a Liaison, having previously worked as a cook in the northern suburbs of Chicago, an assistant brewer in Maryland, and a bagel baker in New Orleans. He most recently worked for a specialty food distributor in South Louisiana as a sales and service representative.

Matthew graduated in 2015 from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor’s in Hospitality, Restaurant, and Tourism Administration.

In his spare time Matthew likes to cook, bake, read, and eat weird things he hasn’t eaten before.

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.

Adolfo Montelongo
Senior Communications Coordinator – Marketing I 312.334.9204

Adolfo joined Food Export-Midwest in the fall of 2010. He is originally from Houston, TX and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Communications. Prior to his employment with Food Export-Midwest, he worked in marketing with the WNBA, Clear Channel Radio, the Austin Marathon and in project management. He also spent time as a legislative intern with former Congressman Ken Bentsen.

In his free time, he enjoys discovering new places in the city, outdoors activities, and traveling.

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.

Eric Salzeider
International Marketing Program Coordinator I 312.334.9220

Eric joined Food Export-Midwest as an International Marketing Program Coordinator in April 2023.  Prior to joining Food Export, Eric dedicated his efforts to the nonprofit sector, providing youth programming and services for schools on the South Side of Chicago. Before graduating from Indiana University-Bloomington with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Environmental Management, Eric also gained valuable experience working with various local nonprofits, most notably the International Mentoring Program and College Mentors for Kids.

During his leisure time, Eric enjoys laying by the lakefront, discovering new restaurants and foods, and spending time with friends and family.

Veronica Wade
Senior Branded Program Coordinator I 312.334.9239

Veronica, a native Chicagoan, joined Food Export-Midwest in February 2009 as the Branded Program Assistant but and was promoted as the Branded Program Coordinator in January 2010. Prior to her employment with Food Export-Midwest, she worked as a Billing Manager for an online investment company. Her primary responsibilities are initial review of reimbursement claims and corresponding and interacting with program participants regarding administrative and compliance issues of the Branded Program.

Veronica received her undergraduate degree in Paralegal Studies and is seeking to complete her Master’s in Forensics Psychology.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching documentaries and sports, and spending time with her family.

Download Food Export Organizational Chart (PDF)

Download International Marketing Program Tactic Directory (PDF)