About WAFP

What is the WAFP Mission?

  • Provide conferences and educational workshops related to food safety and protection for private sector, university and regulatory professionals;

  • Organize and facilitate effective participation and communication in Wisconsin by all sectors of the food and related industries in the activities and functions of the IAFP

  • Encourage effective communication and utilization in Wisconsin of the results of the work and activities of the WAFP;

  • Provide an effective forum for Wisconsin food professionals to network with experts and fellow WAFP participants;

  • Create an opportunity for learning within the Wisconsin food industry

Founded in 1943, WAFP has approximately 200 members from all phases of the dairy and food industries.

Meet the WAFP Board

Lindsey O’Brien


Lindsey O’Brien is a Quality Manager for the Belmont, WI location of Saputo Dairy USA.  Lindsey has worked in quality roles for Arena Cheese, Inc. and Foremost Farms USA.  Prior to that, she researched foodborne pathogens in the Applied Food Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Food Research Institute.  Lindsey has a Bachelor’s degree in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kristin Schill


Kristin Schill is an Associate Scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Food Research Institute (FRI). Kristin works with the food industry to design food challenge studies on a wide variety of food products. Prior to joining FRI, Kristin served as a research microbiologist for the FDA in Bedford Park, IL and her research portfolio encompassed projects involving the genetic characterization of Clostridium botulinum and related surrogate organisms, development and validation of botulinum neurotoxin detection methods, evaluation of thermal and nonthermal technologies for the inactivation of C. botulinum spores as well as whole genome, metagenomic and transcriptomic sequencing of several foodborne pathogens. Kristin has been a member of IAFP since 2005 and has actively participated by presenting her research, organizing symposia, and serving as a judge for the developing scientist award. Kristin has received certification for the Better Process Cheese School and completed the Reviewing Microbial Challenge Studies for Regulatory Purposes workshop. Kristin earned her Bachelor of Science degree (Microbiology) and Master of Science degree (Food Science) at Iowa State University and her Ph.D. (Food Science) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Takiyah Ball


Takiyah Ball is a Food Safety Microbiologist at Sargento Foods Inc. She works within the Food Safety department providing support to the Supply Quality department with risk assessments for all ingredients and cheese products entering the facilities. Her other duties include providing educational Food Safety information to all employees, keeping up with national and international recalls, and reporting trends to leadership. She is also a founding member of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Employee Business Group at Sargento, launching in 2022. Prior to Sargento, she spent one year as an ORISE fellow with the FDA CFSAN in the Office of Applied Research and Safety Assessment within the Molecular Department. Her research was to find the best culturing methods to isolate Acinetobacter spp. in leafy green outbreaks and perform a genetic analysis to compare them to clinical outbreaks. Before the FDA, she spent 15 years with the USDA ARS in the Bacterial Epidemiology and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit. She managed the Salmonella and E. coli Laboratory, which was the animal arm of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS). She has certifications in Better Process Cheese School, Dairy Processing, PCQI, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Workplace, and many other certifications for the workplace. She is a member of IFT, IAFP, and ASM. She is also also a Sargento representative member for the Food Research Institute, The Listeria Consortium, and The Forum of Food Microbiologists. She mentors three graduate students within the Food Science Departments at their respective schools. She has two Bachelor of Science degrees (Microbiology and Cellular Biology), and a Master of Science (Animal and Dairy Science) from The University of Georgia; a Master’s in Public Health (Prevention Science) from Emory University; and a Ph.D. (Comparative and Biomedical Sciences, with a focus on Population Medicine) from North Carolina University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Leili Afsah-Hejri


Dr. Leili Afsah-Hejri is a food scientist with more than two decades of experience in academia, research, and the food industry. She has a Ph.D. in Food Safety and is passionate about using modern and innovative technologies to solve issues related to food contaminants. Her research includes non-invasive/non-destructive sensing and identification methods, environmentally friendly decontamination, and shelf-life extension techniques. In 2020, she received the Excellence in Research Award from the University of California Non-Senate Academics (NSAC). Dr. Leili Afsah-Hejri has served on the scientific committee of food conferences and is also a member of the Technical Review Committee for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), on their Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). She has developed courses and taught a wide range of food science and safety classes.

Erin Headley


Erin Headley is a Research Microbiologist at Schreiber Foods. She focuses on protecting consumers through food safe product and process design, risk assessments, challenge study design and execution, and microbiological sampling and testing programs. Erin began her career at Schreiber Foods after earning her BS and MS degrees in Food Science and Technology from The Ohio State University in 2002 and 2004

Marlo Darken


Marlo Darken is a senior member of the Client Services team providing solutions to food manufacturers’ questions and food safety concerns at Eurofins Microbiology Labs in Madison, WI. She has held many positions over her 15 year microbiology career with TRAC Microbiology, Covance, and Eurofins including Research Scientist performing routine pathogen analysis, GLP Efficacy studies, Probiotic label claims, and Challenge Studies, Technical Leader, Lab Manager, and Client Services Manager. She has supported WAFP with her roles on the Scholarship and Communications Committee as well as with the WAFP Strategic Plan – Communications Strategy.

Adam Brock


Adam Brock is the Director of Technical Services at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. As the Director of Technical Services, Adam supports Wisconsin dairy companies through the enhancement of technological capabilities, food safety program assistance, process and product improvement, and supply of critical technical and regulatory information to provide the safe, high quality products customers demand.

Prior to joining WMMB, Adam had 14 years of experience in food quality and research and development. Most recently, his experience includes process improvement, performance optimization and product development at Papa John’s International in Louisville, Kentucky, and Sargento Foods, Inc. in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and Kiel, Wisconsin.

Adam is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree from Michigan State University and attended both the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and Kansas State University during his undergraduate years. He is a former President of Bluegrass IFT and a division newsletter editor for the American Society for Quality.

Additional Contacts


Kara Mikkelson, Gina Mode, Kim Destromp, and Erika Bognar

Scholarschip & Communication

Beth Button, Marlo Darken, and Kyla Betts


Hondo Dammann, Gina Mode, Jean Finger, Erika Bognar, and Josie Greve-Peterson