Food and Beverage manufacturers are constantly challenged with producing consistent quality products to meet consumer tastes and demands.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many food & beverage companies, particularly around meeting step-change consumer demand, ensuring employee safety and keeping essential manufacturing operations running during these unprecedented challenges.

This panel will discuss how digital technologies are being leveraged to assist in these challenges and how they can be strategically adopted to add value and solve problems moving into the future.

Watch the recorded panel discussion here.

Panel Moderator:

Mike Wheeler

Editor, Food & Beverage Industry News​, Prime Creative Media​

Mike has 20 year’s experience in media and communications. He joined Prime Creative Media as Editor and Senior Content Writer for Food and Beverage Industry News in 2016. Much of Mike’s work experience has been focusing on the food and beverage, consumer electronics, education and health industries, in Australia and internationally.

Panel Speakers:

Glen Jacob

Executive Account Manager – Food & Beverage, Rockwell Automation Australia

Glen has over 25 years’ experience helping manufacturers apply automation and OT technology solutions to make their manufacturing operations more productive. Motivated by the goal of sustainable growth for the Food & Beverage industry in the Australia and New Zealand region, Glen works with F&B manufacturers to solve productivity challenges and drive value from investments in IT/OT technologies and solutions.

Vanessa Sorenson

Managing Director, Microsoft New Zealand

A passionate advocate for Aotearoa, Vanessa is responsible for ensuring Microsoft empowers all its customers and partners to achieve more. She joined Microsoft in October 2017, after more than two decades at Spark, New Zealand’s largest telco. In her first role at Microsoft as Director of Enterprise, Sorenson was tasked with driving business growth, forging strong relationships, managing Microsoft’s large Enterprise sales team and working closely with partners and key stakeholders. Even with decades of tech experience, Vanessa doesn’t consider herself a ‘classic techie’ – rather she is driven by what technology can do for all New Zealanders. She is a noted champion of diversity and inclusion across the ICT industry, encouraging change, fostering diversity and inclusion, driven by the belief that D&I is not optional but essential. Having carved out an extraordinary career that has included both wins and losses, Sorenson has committed herself to a lifetime of actively mentoring other businesswomen to become the best they can be. Outside of work, Vanessa is passionate about education, championing equal access to technology for all children and encouraging girls to embrace STEM.

Stewart Coleman

Business Director – Industry 4.0, BECA Australia

Stewart has over 25 years’ experience working across various industries, many of them in food and beverage. Stewart leads Beca’s Industrial digital strategy and is an expert in the application of digital technologies in industry to create sustainable benefits. The benefits of digitalisation are diverse, cross functional and not only impact assets but may also improve the performance of the wider supply chain. Articulating these benefits in business terms is the biggest barrier to digitalisation.

Peter Carter

Director – Development & Innovation​, GS1 Australia​

Peter directs new business and innovation activity through industry collaboration and leads GS1 Australia’s traceability and trade modernisation program. He is an agricultural economist, innovator and passionate advocate for digital transformation in industry and government. 

Earle Roberts

CEO, Foodmach​

Earle Roberts is the CEO of Foodmach, one of Australia’s largest advanced engineering-to-order firms. Earle has over 15 years experience in C-level leadership roles; encompassing advanced manufacturing, automation and machinery, engineering and robotics; with successful projects around the globe. Earle’s belief in engineering innovation and Industry 4.0 as a key factor in our future productivity and wellbeing has resulted in a slew of industry awards. He holds mechanical engineering and marketing degrees and an Executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.