QCS employs a number of passionate, committed, and experienced folks ready to assist you on your path to certification. This page will help you get to know a few of them and why they are perfectly suited to this job.
Marty MeshFlorida Organic Growers Executive Director
Marty Mesh became committed to organic and sustainable agriculture while a farmworker in 1972.
In 1987, Marty helped form Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG), a nonprofit organization, and, in 1995, became FOG’s Executive Director. Under his leadership, FOG developed Quality Certification Services.
Marty has spoken at conferences around the world on the subjects of organic production, food security, farm and food policy and sustainable agriculture. He is also active in local, state and national policy and has served on the Board of Directors for many organizations, including multiple terms on the Organic Trade Association and the Accredited Certifiers Association as well as the Organic Steering Committee for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture. He served as a charter board member for the widely-utilized Organic Materials Review Institute. Marty was also on the steering committee that helped form the Southern Sustainable Agricultural Working Group and served on its board.
Marty has been listed by Natural Food Merchandiser as one of the “Top 25 People Who Have Most Influenced the Organic Industry” and was the recipient of the Organic Trade Association’s Growing the Organic Industry award. Marty was also featured in and co-produced the film What’s Organic About Organic?
Ramkrishnan BalasubramanianChief Executive Officer
Ramkrishnan (Ram) Balasubramanian earned his Ph.D. in Crop Sciences, Masters in Agricultural Engineering, and Masters in Ecological Agriculture. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration.
Ram is a ISO 9001 Lead Auditor with extensive food safety/GAP and organic auditing experience. Additionally, Ram specializes in organic aquaculture standard and curriculum development. He has collaborated with the Produce GAP Harmonization Initiative, Global Food Safety Initiative, and GLOBALG.A.P. scheme training material and small holder guides.
Ram is a FSPCA Lead Instructor for the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and Lead Certified Trainer for the Produce Safety Rule. Ram has served in on numerous boards of directors including serving as the Organic Material Review Institute Board Chair. He has has farming roots with experience in producing both crops and livestock. Ram is a firm believer in family values and family first and, in his free time, he loves swimming, spicy food, and organic gardening and growing rare exotic and medicinal plants.
Ryan BrouillardCrop/Livestock Certification Manager and Inspector
Ryan attended the University of Florida where he studied Journalism and Mass Communications with an outside concentration in Natural Resource Conservation. After college, he worked on several small vegetable farms and later became co-owner of an edible landscaping company. He has worked at QCS since 2008, starting as a crop and livestock inspector and certification reviewer. Ryan’s favorite part about working at QCS is having the opportunity to talk with farmers from all around the country on a daily basis. Ryan spends his free time working on his farm where he lives with his wife and daughter outside Gainesville, Florida.
Stephen ForbesProcessing and Handling Assistant Manager
Stephen graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.S. in Microbiology, and a Certificate in Biotechnology. Additionally, Stephen has a M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Science (Immunology and Infectious Disease tract) from the University at Albany State University of New York (SUNY). His dissertation research was performed at Wadsworth Center with the New York State Department of Health. Stephen enjoys the regulatory aspects of the position and has spent the past six years in research involving microbiology, immunology, and vaccinology. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Brian RakitaInspection Manager/Certification Reviewer
Brian has been working with organic farming for the past 30 years in all capacities – from working for an organic nut butter producer in the Ozark Mountains in the early 1990s to running a Community Supported Agriculture program which supplied fresh organic veggies from his farm to local families. In 1998, Brian took over management of an organic catalog and then proceeded to spend years working for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association where he trained farmers to raise organic seed.
Brian has been with QCS since 2009 and has enjoyed working with organic farmers to ensure organic integrity is maintained in the marketplace.
Beth RotaPolicy and Quality Assurance Manager
Beth earned her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana where she served as a research fellow with the Grow Montana project. Her thesis explored the potential of producer owned cooperatives to grow local food systems beyond direct farm-to-consumer markets. Prior to working in organic certification, Beth directed the education program at the Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society (PEAS) Farm in Missoula, Montana where she helped area youth explore connections between agricultural and their everyday lives.
Over the years, Beth has engaged her passion for sustainable agriculture outside the office as a volunteer with local food and agricultural organizations and as a board member for the Community Garden Coalition in Columbia, Missouri. Working at QCS provides an extraordinary first-hand look into diverse organic production systems around the country and internationally; and affords the opportunity to meet and work with some remarkable farmers, producers, and team-members. Beth enjoys spending free time with her husband and two children in the garden, the kitchen, and exploring the outdoors.
Katherine AyersFood Safety/GAPs Program Senior Coordinator
Katherine Ayers has more than 20 years of experience working for the state of Florida and other small nonprofit organizations. She loves providing great customer service and care to producers (USA + International) from start to finish and beyond and for all of schemes and scopes. Katherine enjoys the learning opportunities and challenges that come with working for a certification body. She likes to grow her own food and enjoys learning about farming. A fun fact about Katherine: during the 1990’s, she was a sword-fighter & performer in medieval faires.
Anna CesarottiCertification Reviewer
Anna earned a B.A. in Sustainability Studies with minors in Agriculture & Natural Resource Ethics & Policy as well as Sociology from the University of Florida. She worked at Trader Joe’s throughout college, where she got to talk to community members about their food choices and sustainable, accessible options. She volunteered as a Farm & Seed Intern at Forage Farm, doing regular farm labor and contributing to the Southern Heritage Seed Collective. She loves the opportunity to promote sustainability through certifying organic systems here at QCS. She is an advanced scuba diver and enjoys any chance to get outdoors.
Robert ChapaCertification Reviewer
Robert first gained an interest in agriculture when he was a member of the 4H club in high school. From there, he attended the University of Florida and achieved his bachelor’s degree in Horticultural Sciences. While at UF, he was involved with several research projects involving organic land management, blueberry production, and bean production. After graduation, Robert helped conduct research on efficiency of protected agriculture structures in relation to pepper, squash, and strawberry production at the UF/IFAS extension office in Hastings, Florida. Prior to working at QCS, he also had the opportunity to work at an alfalfa research facility as well as manage several organic gardens. Robert feels it is rewarding to work for QCS as they join with farmers in sharing a passion for sustainable farming. Since youth, Robert has always enjoyed surfing at the beach.
After studying accounting in college, Sherry started as a bookkeeper for an automotive dealership. Over the past 40 years, Sherry has held accounting positions of increasing responsibility in small businesses, accounting firms and non-profit organizations. Sherry loves the non-profit field and QCS because there is a mission behind the business. Sherry and her husband live on a four acre mini-farm and over the past 20 years have raised pot-bellied pigs and had goats and a pony as pets.
Chris LaneStaff Inspector
Chris earned his B.S. degree in Agricultural Operations Management from the University of Florida. He has more than 7 years’ experience in environmental engineering as an air quality specialist and has worked on DoD facilities around the world.
Chris is an avid Gator fan, loves going to thrift stores and is obsessed with music. He enjoys working at QCS because of the genuine work environment and the opportunity to visit organic farms around the country.
Adam MaxwellCertification Reviewer
Adam earned a B.S. in Tourism, Event and Recreation Management from the University of Florida. He has a wide variety of experience including environmental education and consulting, park management and habitat restoration. Adam also spent 8 years cultivating and maintaining a 62 acre botanical garden before joining QCS. In his free time he enjoys being out in nature with his two daughters; hiking, running, swimming and surfing.
Ruby A. Montoya-OspinaMaterial Review Specialist
Ruby is highly experienced in marine/aquatic field conservation research and use of low impact sustainable aquaculture practices to alleviate pressure on natural resources by local communities. She has over 15 years experience in project development, coordination, and budget management, and over 10 years experience in teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels, using hands-on approach at the field and lab settings. She has been highly successful in planning and coordinating courses/research programs in tropical ecology and aquaculture in Puerto Rico and other Spanish speaking countries.
Ruby earned her Master from University of Puerto Rico on Marine Sciences and Aquaculture. Then she earned her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University on Wildlife and Fisheries Science, with a specialty on Ecological Modeling applied on intensive aquaculture to search for balance between production and responsible environmental management of nutrient outputs.
Ruby has experience working on private, academic, government and ONG organizations in Latin American countries and the USA. Ruby has worked with aquaculture species including tilapia, cachama and shrimp, native species as Bocachico and even endangered species such as manatees.
Jose Perez OrozcoCertification Reviewer
Jose holds a Master Degree in Sustainable Development from the University of Florida. His educational and work experience have focused largely on organic and sustainable agricultural extension and organic certification. Jose works part time with QCS assisting with international clients in Latin America. He enjoys the friendly and committed work environment that QCS provides.
Jennifer RoccoCertification Reviewer/Inspector
Jennifer has a B.S. from The Ohio State University and is an IOA trained organic inspector. She is the co-owner of BlueLoon Farm, a diversified small farm in Northeast Ohio. She enjoys farming and likes to send pictures of her cows to her co-workers.
Cesar RodriguezFood Safety/GAPs and Organic Inspector
Cesar earned a M.S. in Environmental Engineering Science-Water Quality Management from State University of New York at Buffalo, New York. He also has a B.S. in Chemistry from Inter-American University of Puerto Rico in Puerto Rico and a degree in Agriculture Engineering from the National University of Honduras in Honduras.
Cesar has more than 12 years of experience facilitating, implementing and sustaining International Food Safety Standards for leafy crops and sustaining Organic Grower-Handling Programs of leafy greens. He also has experience facilitating, implementing and sustaining the ISO 14001 on fruit crops at an international agriculture organization in Honduras, Central America. Cesar has more than 20 years of teaching experience instructing college students in the field of chemistry at the National University of Honduras. Cesar enjoys working for QCS because provides the opportunity to meet and engage with professional people of different backgrounds.
Casey SchmidtAdministrative Compliance Specialist
Casey earned an A.S. degree in Criminal Investigations and has 15 years of administrative experience. She enjoys working for QCS as it has allowed her to encounter relationships with many different people. She has enjoyed working with the Amish community and learning about their culture. Casey is a sports fanatic and roots for the Florida Gators.
Derek SindlerInternational Organic Certification Specialist
Derek recently joined QCS in May 2018 after completing a Master’s in Sustainable Development at the University of Florida with a specialization in sustainable food systems; in which he worked in the Dominican Republic with rice farmers and became familiar with the Dominican organic banana industry for his practicum project. Before joining QCS Derek worked as a Bottling Supervisor at a winery and as a Ground Supply Officer in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from Florida State University with a bachelor’s in Finance and Multinational Business Operations. On his off time, Derek enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and barbequing.
Jessica StipeAdministrative Manager
Jessica grew up in Kingsport, TN which is a rural community full of farmers and developed a love for farm life, horseback riding and being outdoors at a very early age. Jessica has a long line of farmers in her family and loves fresh produce and canning vegetables.
At the age of 16 Jessica graduated and joined the US Army. She worked as a Medic and continued on into Pediatric Urology and later transitioned into Administrative and Business management with a degree from ETSU. With over 13 years building and managing strong teams it gives Jessica great pleasure to be able to oversee the Administrative side of QCS and ensure our clients are receiving premier customer service. It gives Jessica great pleasure working for a company that offers affordable certification to farmers with a passion for growing organic crops.
Jessica enjoys reading, football and spending quality time with her family in her downtime.
Skeet SurrencyCertification Reviewer/Inspector
Skeet earned a B.S. in Horticultural Sciences from the University of Florida specializing in Organic and Sustainable Crop Production. He has several seasons of experience on diverse vegetable Community Supported Agriculture programs in Florida and Massachusetts including working at an urban agriculture organization in Holyoke, MA. Skeet is an avid home gardener and backyard chicken producer.
Skeet enjoys working for QCS because of all the wonderful, interesting, talented, and inspiring people I get to meet, and all of the beautiful and productive farms I get to travel to. One of Skeet’s hobbies is Sacred Harp Singing.
Emily ThompsonClient Care Specialist
Emily earned her B.S. in Family, Youth and Community sciences with a focus in Community Development and minors in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture and Nonprofit Management from the University of Florida. While at UF she was part of a variety of environmentally focused clubs, eventually becoming the Director of Environmental Concerns for the housing department on campus. After graduating, she worked for the Community Development sector of Girl Scouts, honing her agricultural skills by teaching the girls about organic and sustainable gardening.
Emily has always had a passion for the environment and agriculture and is excited to work with all the wonderful people at QCS.
Valerie TorresAssistant Livestock Certification Manager
Valerie graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A.S. in Agribusiness Organization Management and an A.S. in Environmental Studies. A veterinary technician for 15 years, Valerie enjoys working with the livestock producers and especially the Amish and Mennonite clients. She also likes meeting farmers at inspection and working tradeshows. Valerie loves to work on cars and she does most of the repairs on her own vehicles.
Phan TramCertification Reviewer
Phan was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana where she also worked as a research assistant for three years. During her time there, she developed an interest in green chemistry. Phan enjoys working QCS as it allows her to learn more about analyzing for control points and evaluating good manufacturing practices. Her pastimes include baking, sewing, and growing bismuth crystals.
Lindsay UnderhillCertification Reviewer
I received my B.S. in Agricultural Operations Management with a focus in Organic and Sustainable Crop Production from the University of Florida. I grew up on a cattle ranch, so my love and passion for the agriculture industry started at a very young age. I like working at QCS because I am always learning something new and communicating with many interesting farmers. In my spare time, I like to do anything outdoors and root for the Florida Gators.
Xinyue WangCertification Reviewer
Xinyue earned her B.S. in Food Science from the University of Maryland and her M.S. in Food Science from the University of Florida. Her Master thesis came across the fields of food safety and food processing, during which time she obtained the Certificate of PSA Grower Training Course and the Certificate of FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food. She is proud of being a “food safety guard” of her family, and she is pursuing to become the “organic quality assurance guard” of Florida.
Xinyue is excited to work with the QCS teams to achieve organic integrity. She enjoys talking to people from different background and she loves learning foreign languages.
Jig PatelCertification Reviewer
Jig is a food industry professional with more than 10 years of working experience in processing, food safety & regulations and holds master’s degree in Nutrition & Food Sciences. Jig comes from a family with a strong root in farming and enjoys growing seasonal organic vegetables & herbs.
Cristina Olaizola LopezCertification Reviewer
Cristina is devoted to the principle of healthy food habits and the preservation of the biodiversity and resources of the earth, she appreciates the opportunity to belong to the excellent team of QCS, from where she acquires the commitment to continue advocating for a better world through the production and consumption of organic food. She earned a Biology, mention Food Technology, a MSc. Food Science, and a MSc. Management in Venezuela. Cristina has experience working on private, academic, government and NGOs organizations. She worked as Auditor in Laboratory Accreditation according to International Standard ISO/IEC 17025; as a Coordinator/ Researcher in programs that promote healthy consumption habits; founded and participated in the board of some NGOs from where she carried out the development and implementation of various projects to improved good eating habits in scholars kids (Nestlé-Nutrir Program) and different groups in organizations (Accor Services, Bimbo Venezuela). She joined to movement (Green membership of Slow Food International Association) (Convivium Miranda-Venezuela) for promote a good, clean and fair food, making own the philosophy of the movement: “I aspire to a world in which we can all access and enjoy a good meal for us, for those who produce it and for the planet”. She was active in the development, planning and execution of projects as a member of Slow Food and as Consultant in the area of Healthy Food, Food Microbiology and Development of Products. She was delegated in different international congress related to the promotion of healthy food and the consumption of fruits / vegetables. Cristina strongly believes in the organic movement for a better world. Between her free times she practice a special art (Mahikari) and enjoys different recreational activities, like gardening (orchids), reading, photography, travel, walking, biking, visit new places, meet people and enjoy dawn at the beach. Life is now!
Nicolás Eduardo Borja MoreanoInspector and Certification Coordinator
Nicolás holds an Agribusiness Engineering Degree from San Francisco de Quito University in Quito, Ecuador, and a Food Security Agricultural Development Master Degree from Kyungpook University in Daegu, South Korea. He worked at the Ministry of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries in Quito, Ecuador, on a project with climate change and its effects on corn production on the coast of Ecuador. Nicolás also worked to develop the map of Land Cover and Agricultural Use 2013-2014 for principal agricultural products in Ecuador. He has experience with agricultural machinery from working with his father at his workshop.
Nicolás likes all outdoors activities, for that reason he finds it interesting to work at QCS and take the opportunity to travel his country and learn from the different crops and projects that are being implemented.
Belen Haro BenítezCertification Reviewer/Inspector
Belen studied Agroindustry. Her experience includes being part of an exchange program in the United States where she learned about sustainable agriculture and volunteering in a high school working in organic gardens with students. Belen worked in a NGO for rural development in the communities around the volcano Chimborazo. She then studied Agroecology in Spain.
Belen likes working for QCS because there is an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. She also meets different people and works on projects that are really interesting. She believes that small acts and decisions can make a big difference especially when it comes to caring for the environment. She believes agroecology is a response to the challenges faced today with the increasingly limited resources.
María Pía Haro BenítezMarketing Coordinator
María received a degree in Engineering in Foreign Trade from Polytechnic School of Chimborazo (ESPOCH) in Ecuador. Her experience includes working at the BCS ÖKO Garantie regional office and responsibilities including the Certificate of Inspection for Import of Products from Organic Production and Flows of Export Volumes for the projects of: Ecuador, Perú, Colombia, Uruguay and Paraguay. She also worked at BCS ÖKO Garantie Ecuador and was responsible for external training and events.
María likes working for QCS because it is a fair alternative for organic producers and QCS prides itself in high standards and customer service. She loves her family with all her heart and that includes her dogs. She enjoys traveling, especially time spent outdoors.
Indira Isabel Izurieta SilvaTransaction Certificate Assistant
Indira is experienced in the fields of tourism and environmental conservation, however, the desire to enrich her knowledge has made her professional life develop around a variety of work situations, from luxury hotels (Galápagos Safari Camp (GSP)) to the public sector (Prometheus Project at the Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT)). She is very proud of and enriched by the diversity of her knowledge. Her goal in life, not just in the workplace, is to perform each task with order, excellence and responsibility, and to always reflect a good image of the company that she represents.
Mabel BarinasQCS Caribe Representative
Mabel graduated from the Instituto Politecnico Loyola in Dominican Republic and began her career as an Agronomist. She then went to Zamorano University in Honduras to obtain a degree in Rural Development and Environment.
Mabel experience includes a stint as a research assistant at The Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). She supported a food safety project to address produce safety among Amish communities in Ohio. Mabel was also part of the Farmer to Farmer program sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Partners of the Americas in the Dominican Republic. After years of field work, she pursued a Master Degree in Project Management at EAE Business School in Madrid, Spain.
In 2014, Mabel founded her own company, Pro-Organica Dominicana, which represents and distributes an exclusive organics inputs brand. The brand was since sold to an international company and currently Mabel operates the QCS Caribe office in the Dominican Republic.
Melina MarcelinoQCS Caribe Representative
Born and raised in Dominican Republic, Melina attended a bilingual school and then studied Marketing at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM). Melina worked at an organic banana farm for several years as a bilingual administrative manager and then worked as an executive director of a grower group of banana producers.
Melina enjoys working at QCS because it has been a new challenge as a professional and she has been able to apply her skills and learn new ones working in a friendly work environment where everyone is part of a great team. Her mantra is “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”