Advisors - Ag Operations
Mr. Reg Dong, Advisor, Agricultural Operations
Mr. Dong is the founder and developer of leading Chinese stevia manufacturer, Qualipride International (www.healthsweet.com). He has enjoyed a lengthy career in the stevia marketplace beginning in 1996 as a virtual pioneer in the sector. Mr. Dong brings an extensive knowledge across the business spectrum of stevia growing, processing, refining and distribution techniques. His efforts have been instrumental in the development of proprietary methodologies for both decreasing the cost of processing and refining stevia as well as significantly increasing production yields. The company is one of the few suppliers achieving quantity and quality in conformity with stevia quality specifications as outlined by the U.S. FDA, the EU and the FAO/ WHO JECFA (2010).
Dr. J. Jeremiah Mann Ph.D., Advisor, Agricultural Operations
Dr. Mann previously held the position of Agronomist with the U.S.D.A., Natural Resource Conservation Service, at the California Plant Material Center in Lockeford, CA. In this role he managed all farm operations at the center while providing state wide consulting services to NRCS field offices on agronomic, re-vegetation/restoration, and vegetation management topics. Previously, he conducted graduate research at UC Davis and was a consulting scientist at the Solano Resource Conservation District, Dixon, CA, specializing in restoration management techniques. Over the course of his career to-date he has held a variety of positions including as an Instructor and Staff Engineer at Humboldt State University, as a Botanical Technician with McBain and Trush Engineering, and as a Research Assistant at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO. He has also enjoyed serving as an Arborist, Firefighter, and Teaching Assistant. He began his affinity for agronomy in the late 1980s while working on a walnut farm in Gustine, CA and on several tobacco farms in Tennessee. Dr. Mann holds a number of relevant professional certifications, is an accomplished lecturer, author and a member of several industry associations as well as the recipient of a number of scholarships and awards in his field. He earned his Ph.D. Horticulture and Agronomy, at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA (2011), M.S. Horticulture and Agronomy, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA (2009), and a B.S. Physical Science, College of Natural Resources & Sciences, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, (2005).
Karm Bains, Advisor, Agricultural Operations
Mr. Bains is a 4th generation peach farmer in Yuba City, the location of Stevia First's headquarters in California's Central Valley, where he currently manages the farming operations of more than 600 acres of peaches, prunes, walnuts, pecans, and almonds. As a co-owner of Coldwell Banker Commercial in Yuba City, he manages property holdings and develops real estate ventures. Karm is an active member of the local community, including currently serving as Commissioner of the Yuba City Planning Commission and recently as the Chairman of the Economic Development Commission. He also currently serves as a board member for the Fremont-Rideout Health Group, Walnut Bargaining Association, Prune Bargaining Association, and California Cling Peach Association.