Dr. Dennis Thompson is an expert in international seed systems, commercialization and agricultural development with over 40 years of experience in more than 25 countries across five continents. Dr. Thompson served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Illinois Crop Improvement Association for 16 years and also served as an agricultural adviser for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service for 24 years. Dr. Thompson leads the SIL seed systems Managed Research Area and is also the Vice Leader of the new American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Tropical Soybean Community, providing technical support and capacity building to public and private sector seed companies. Dr. Thompson is currently expanding new SIL efforts in Pakistan through collaboration with the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.
Dr. Fawad Shah
President & CEO, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association
Dr. Fawad Shah is the current President and CEO of Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA). Under his leadership, MCIA provides seed certification, seed testing, organic certification services, identity preserved grain for specialty crops, and foundation seed services. In addition, Dr. Shah serves as the Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul. He works with the faculty and researchers to collaborate with institutions of higher education in Pakistan, bring students to learn research methods and techniques at the U of M, hands-on seed testing, and provides expertise in seed science. Dr. Shah's career in agriculture spans nearly two decades of leadership work in the areas of seed quality, certification, regulatory, and senior management. Prior to joining MCIA, Dr. Shah served as the Director of USDA AMS Seed Regulatory and Testing Division, and represented the United States of America as its Designated Authority and voting delegate to the OECD Seed Schemes. He chaired the OECD Seed Schemes 2014 annual meeting of 58 members countries in Zagreb, Croatia. Furthermore, he served as the country expert and a 3-member delegate to Senegal to evaluate her Seed Certification System. Based on the recommendations of the this evaluation mission, Senegal was admitted to the Seed Schemes as its 59 member country. Dr. Shah has been credited with developing an undergraduate seed science curriculum at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. Dr. Shah is currently working with SIL in capacity building and establishing seed systems in the developing countries. He has been invited to speak at a number of regional, national and international conferences. A native of Pakistan, Dr. Shah completed his B.S. and M.S. in Plant Breeding & Genetics, from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, and completed his Master of Science in Business Administration and Ph.D. in Seed Technology from Mississippi State University.