FIRA 2020 Key Speakers List will be updated every day, when a new speaker validates his/her talk.

Rick VAN DE ZEDDE (Pays-Bas)

Wageningen University & Research

Project Coordinator NPEC / Business Developer

Currently Rick van de Zedde is project manager of the new phenotyping facility NPEC @ WUR and he is senior scientist/ business developer Phenomics and Automation at the Wageningen Plant Science Group. He has worked at WUR since 2004. His background is in Artificial Intelligence with a focus on imaging and robotics.

Tom ESPIARD (France)


President & Managing Partner

Tom is an experienced investor and portfolio manager, having, since 2006, deployed more than C$750M in growth equity companies and overseen private capital portfolios totalling more than US$10bn for a large pension fund, a sovereign fund and a VC fund in Canada and in France. Tom also spent 10 years as an investment banker in Canada raising more than C$800M of equity financings and executing C$7.6bn worth of M&A primarily for ICT companies.

Tom joined Capagro in 2018 as President and Managing Partner. He oversees the GP’s operations and sits on the boards of Naio Technologies, Combagroup and Cellucomp.

He holds an MBA from McGill university and a B.A.A. from HEC Montreal.

Tom is a keen triathlete. He has participated to 37 triathlons and represented Canada at the International Union Triathlon championships in his age group.

Hajar MOUSANNIF (Morocco)

Cadi Ayyad University

Associate Professor

Hajar Mousannif is an associate professor and coordinator of the Master program in Data Science within the department of computer science at the Faculty of Sciences Semlalia (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco). She holds a PhD degree in computer Sciences on her work on Wireless Sensor Networks and Vehicular Networks. She received an engineering degree in Telecommunications in 2005. Her primary research interests include Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, IoT, Human Computer Interaction, and next generation technologies. In addition to her academic experience, she chaired the Program Committee of many international conferences. Hajar Mousannif holds two patents on her work on Artificial Intelligence and was selected among 5 best female researchers in North Africa. She received many international awards such as L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award (Maghreb region) and the Emerald Litterati Prize for Excellence.

Erik PEKKERIET (Netherlands)

Wageningen University & Research

Programme Manager Agro Food Robotics

Erik is the Programme Manager Agro Food Robotics at Wageningen University & Research. Together with over 40 researchers they work on robotic solutions for the Agri-Food Industry. The team works on machine vision solutions (geometric (2D,3D,motion) and spectral), new AI learning algorithms and robotic systems (intergation tasks, actuators, gripper technology and simulation environments).
Next to this Erik holds positions as: network coordinator agROBOfood, board member EU Robotics TG Agriculture, programme leader on precision horticulture in the Netherlands.



Raven Industries, Inc.

Executive Director, Raven Autonomy General Manager, Dot

W. Wade Robey, Ph.D. joined Raven Industries in the Applied Technologies Division in August of 2016 as Director, Engineering.  Subsequently, he assumed additional leadership responsibilities for Product Management and Business Development and now holds the role of Executive Director, Raven Autonomy; General Manager DOT.
Prior to joining Raven, Dr. Robey was Senior VP and Chief Technology Officer for POET, the world's largest bioethanol company.  In that capacity, he oversaw the company's vibrant research and commercial development activities at its 28 biorefineries, as well as served on the Board for the POET|DSM JV for Advanced Biofuels.
Dr. Robey has more than 30 years of experience in senior commercial and technical roles in Plant and Microbial Biotech, Food, Enzyme and Animal Nutrition industries at Monsanto Company, Novus International, Cargill, Syngenta, Novozymes and POET.
Dr. Robey earned a BS and MS from Auburn University and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.

Pierre COMPERE (France)

Agri Sud-Ouest Innovation

Business Development Manager

With his training as an agricultural engineer and his experience in one of France's leading agricultural cooperative groups, Pierre assists leaders of innovative companies, members of the Agri Sud-Ouest Innovation cluster, on issues of strategic marketing, business development and investor relations.

Joaquin REYES (Czech Republic)

European GNSS Agency (GSA)

Market Development Technology Officer

Mr. Joaquin REYES GONZÁLEZ is a Market Development Technology Officer at GSA working in the professional high-precision market on EGNOS and Galileo, focused on Agriculture topics. He gained his GNSS technical experience as System Engineer Technical Assistant at ESA/ESTEC, after national and international assignments at innovation projects in GMV and Siemens (Dimetronic). Reyes holds a degree in Electronic, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at ICAI and Master’s degree in Space Technology at UPM.


Ole GREEN (Denmark)


Founder & CEO of AGROINTELLI Professor at Aarhus University, Dept. of AgroEcology

The founder of AGROINTELLI and the commercial ag-robot Robotti.

With 20 years of experience in developing and implementing automation and robotic technologies for sustainable intensification of plant production, intelligent weed management, and integration of sensor technology on agricultural machinery for improved decision support systems.

Professor in technology and intelligent solutions for sustainable soil management at the Department of AgroEcology, Aarhus University.

Christophe BONNO

Christophe BONNO (France)

Groupement Les Mousquetaires- Intermarché

Director of Agricultural Institutional Relations

Christophe BONNO, a food engineer from ENSBANA Dijon, joined the group in 1999 and was appointed Managing Director of the entire industrial activity of the Groupement des Mousquetaires in 2010 and Director of Agricultural Institutional Relations in 2019.

He is also a member of the management committee of the Groupement des Mousquetaires (146,000 employees, 40 billion euros) and works to consolidate the production chains and bring together the agricultural partners and the distribution network, supported in 2014 by Intermarché's "Producers and Traders" strategy.

In charge of developing the strategy of rapprochement and support with the agricultural world and also of structuring the representation and participation of Les Mousquetaires in the work of the interprofessions within the framework of the creation of the FCA food college which brings together Intermarché and Leclerc.

Previously Managing Director of Agromousquetaires, the food-processing division of the Groupement des Mousquetaires, which is made up of 62 production sites, 11,000 employees, with a turnover of 4 billion euros. It is the manufacturer of Intermarché's own-brand products in a wide range of sectors.

In 2016, it launches the Agromousquetaires transformation plan, to develop a matrix organization, while maintaining the strength and agility of a network of SMEs with the objective of achieving 100 million in performance.

2018: On the strength of the first CSR successes, he launches the "Responsible Producers" strategy, a genuine corporate strategy, which aims to make Agromousquetaires the benchmark player in terms of responsible production practices and food methods. This strategy was built in consultation with civil society and a certain number of stakeholders such as NGOs and scientists, the first step of which was the disengagement from fishing beyond 800m. This strategy was extended to animal welfare and agroecology.

2020, at the heart of the COVID crisis, its function has enabled a strong presence in the various agricultural sectors in order to strengthen Intermarché's support actions for vulnerable French producers.

David BOWLES (Ireland)

The Yield Lab

Venture Capital Investor

David is a General Partner of Yield Lab Europe where he focuses on sourcing new investments and managing the Yield Lab portfolio. Previously he was a venture capital investor at Delta Partners delivering returns from a diverse portfolio of companies. David started his career at IBM and Merrill Lynch before joining McKinsey & Company.

Gordon CLEMENTS (Germany)


General Manager Solutions

Graduated BSc (Hons) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University West of Scotland.

7 years experience in Electronic Design & Project Management followed by 10 years career in Product Management and Sales Management in the semiconductor industry before moving to VARTA in 2002.

17 years in the battery industry focused mainly on LiB in sales management and now General Manager of VARTA Storage Gmbh with P&L responsibility for Power and Energy product lines.

Global business perspective and extensive knowledge of applications for LiB across all business sectors and applications from cell phone to e-mobility.

Aymeric BARTHES (France)

Naïo Technologies


Robotic engineer, from the beginning Aymeric BARTHES has the desire to bring real solutions to the agricultural world to revolutionize working methods and thus preserve crops and the environment. The challenge of feeding more and more people around the world can only be met by the emergence of innovative solutions. It is in this sense that he co-founded Naïo Technologies, a company that develops and markets multi-task robots dedicated to the agricultural world.
He has led the Naïo Technologies team since its inception, carrying out various projects simultaneously and adjusting the strategy to the company’s development.

Laurent CHATELAIN (France)

Chatelain Nursery


1974 Birth in Gonnesse (95).
1992 CAP-BEP Fénelon in Vaujours
1994 BTA in Nursery Option at the Lycée du Paysage et de l'Environnement Fénelon, in Vaujours (93).
1996 BTS horticultural production nursery with option arboriculture at the Institut de Genech (59).
1997 Licence as Technical Advisor in Horticultural Product Sales at Técomah, Jouy-en-Josas (78). Joined the family business.
1999 Acquisition of Pépinières Carnet, specialized in the production of fruit trees. 2001 Creation of the garden centre.
2011 Takeover of the family business.
2012 Creation of GIE Pépinières Franciliennes. Blue Plant Certification.
2015 Obtains the Fleurs de France label.
2016 In 2016, creation of Pépinières de France.
2018 Launch of the organic market gardening activity. Creation of the start-up Up4Green

Seana DAY (USA)

Better Food Ventures & The Mixing Bowl


Seana brings over 15 years of investment, M&A advisory and technology experience to Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl. She is a regular ag ecosystem contributor and publishes an annual AgTech Landscape highlighting technology in the ag value chain. Seana previously held advisory and investment roles in food and ag including Director of Strategy and Business Development at AgTech Insight, Fish 2.0 Associate and Managing Director at Centerra Capital providing Agribusiness investment advisory.  Prior to her involvement in food and ag, Seana was a technology investment banker at AGC Partners in London, Ridgecrest Capital Partners in the Bay Area and Headwaters MB in Denver. Her background also includes Head of Restructuring and Operations at Versata Enterprises. She is now based in her hometown of Turlock, in the heart of California’s

Peter HANAPPE (France)



The issue of sustainable food systems seems to have nothing in common with IT. Yet this is the field of research that interests Peter Hanappe. After a professional career in computer music (Ircam - Centre George Pompidou) and participatory distributed computing ( with Oxford University), he founded the Robotics for Mircofarms (ROMI) project at Sony Computer Science Laboratories. His goal is to join the technology and food production to the ideas of the collaborative economy.

Michael DENT (United-Kingdom)


Technology Analyst

Dr Michael Dent is a Technology Analyst at IDTechEx. Having joined in 2019, he supports the company's research and consulting within the life sciences, specialising in food and AgriTech.

Greg MEYERS (Switzerland)



Andrea BERTOLINI (Italy)

Lawyer specialised in Robotics

Guy WAKSMAN (France)

French Academy of Agriculture


Former director of ACTA Informatique, an IT services company that grew out of the Agricultural Technical Institutes, and working mainly for these Institutes.

Former president of the French-speaking Association of Agricultural Informatics (AFIA) and of the European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment (EFITA).

Former participant or leader of numerous French and European R&D projects.

Editor since 1987 of two weekly newsletters, one in French, the other in English, both with about 15000 subscribers, both with about 5000 regular readers and about 1500 very regular readers.

Member of the French Academy of Agriculture.

Daniel AZEVEDO (France)


Daniel Azevedo is a Director in the Commodities and Trade team of Copa and Cogeca, an agricultural lobby representing almost 70 national farm organizations and cooperatives in Europe. He is a natural resources engineer graduated in the University of Évora (Portugal) currently the coordinator of Copa and Cogeca Task Force on agricultural technology. He has previously been working for DG Agriculture and Rural Development after specializing on agro-environmental measures in SLU university (Sweden). Mr. Azevedo comes from a family producing wine and olive oil in Vila Real (Douro Region) in Portugal.


Sophie VOINIS (France)


Sophie Voinis is a journalist & professional facilitator. She studied in Boston, Emerson college, in the US, where she graduated in journalism and Communication in 2001. She was responsible for the daily newscast on the campus radio and also anchored the news on TV, on a regular basis. She has been working on TV for the past 20 years, in Boston, USA and in France, Toulouse on the local TV, TLT. For the past 15 years, she was the main anchor for the daily newscast as well as the health magazine and the weekly space and Aeronautic show. Her expertise goes from filming, interviewing, editing and anchoring in all journalism fields. She is also a mediator in various conferences, debates or gala nights both in French and in English, and often provides media training sessions both in french and in english. She lately anchored the national conference on the Weekly Space European programs in Marseille, the south west Europe railroad financing project, the Aerospace Summit in Brussels, and the annual conference for Groupama (1900 people attending). She was also Master of Ceremony for many Airbus deliveries in English, the IFAC World Congress and the ESOF Ceremony in English (5.000 people attending).

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