John W. Bellinger

John Bellinger is the CEO and chairman of the board for Food Safety Net Services and FSNS Certification & Audit. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University in 1976 and a Master of Science degree in 1978. While completing his graduate studies, he was an instructor of animal science and coached the Texas A&M Meat Judging Team. Mr. Bellinger is also the CEO of Agri-West International, Inc., an international trading company. He has served as the chairman of the Southwest Meat Association and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. He has been on the Texas Beef Council Board of Directors, various committees of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, the Texas A&M Agricultural Advisory Council, Nolan Ryan Beef, and is the founder of the Houston Livestock Show Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest.

Gina R. Bellinger

Gina Bellinger serves as the founder and president of Food Safety Net Services. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Texas A&M University. Her research interests include the development of baseline and microbial mapping data in the meat industry. Mrs. Bellinger is co-author of several noted publications concerning the control of pathogens in food processing operations and has been involved in the food industry for the last 25 years. Her passion for customer service and quality testing has enabled Food Safety Net Services to become the leading food and consumable testing company in the nation.

Chris Edelen

Chris Edelen joined the board of directors in 2012 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in both public and private companies to FSNS. Currently, he is president of Sterling Home Technologies, a San Antonio area company that specializes in the installation of home automation products. He is also CEO of Edelen Marketing Associates, a marketing and strategy consulting firm. Prior to that, Mr. Edelen served as president and CEO of Beldon Home Solutions/LeafGuard by Beldon Inc., as division president at Norwood Promotional Products, president at RCC Koozie Division, president and CEO of Grand Openings, and senior vice president of Fox Photo. His other corporate board service includes Snugz in Salt Lake City, Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, Focused in Remodeling Futures Council, St. Mary’s University Bill Greehey School of Business, Leadership Council Board Member at Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and member of the World Presidents Organization where he serves as Chapter Vice Chair for the San Antonio Chapter. His previous board positions include Boundless Network and Senator Promotional Group USA, Inc. Mr. Edelen received his Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas and attends the YPO Harvard Business School Presidents Seminar.

Dr. Elsa Murano

Dr. Murano enjoys a long and distinguished career in the agriculture and food safety services industry. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Florida International University, and a Master of Science in Anaerobic Microbiology and a PhD in Food Science and Technology from Virginia Tech. Dr. Murano began her career as an assistant professor in food microbiology at Iowa State University in 1990, where she conducted research in food safety. In 1995, she joined the faculty at Texas A&M University as associate professor, leading the university’s Center for Food Safety as director. She has received over $9 million of research funding since 1990, and has published more than 50 scientific articles and seven book chapters in the field. In 2001, Professor Murano was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Undersecretary for Food Safety at the Department of Agriculture, the highest ranking food safety official in the U.S. government. As a result of her leadership, the Food Safety Inspection Service reached the Centers for Disease Control’s Healthy People 2020 goals of reducing foodborne illnesses, six years ahead of schedule. In 2005, Dr. Murano returned to Texas A&M, where she was appointed dean and vice chancellor of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the largest such program in the nation. During her tenure, she reversed the declining enrollment in the College, secured increased funding from the state for the agriculture agencies, and rebranded the agencies to better reflect the important role of agriculture in the life sciences. In 2008, Dr. Murano became the first woman, and first Hispanic president of Texas A&M University. Her initiatives resulted in increased state funding, remodeling of the Memorial Student Center and Military Walk ahead of schedule, construction of the Agriculture and Life Sciences buildings, and the rise in the university’s rankings by U.S. News & World Reports from 24th to 21st among public universities. Since June of 2012, Dr. Murano has been serving as director of the Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, which conducts development projects to lift small farmers out of poverty and hunger in Asia, Latin America, Sub Saharan Africa, and the Middle East. In addition to her teaching and research duties, she serves on the board of directors of Hormel Foods Corporation, the International Life Sciences Institute for North America, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and the U.S. Food Processors Institute Foundation.

Robert A. Pickard

Bob Pickard joined Food Safety Net Services in the spring of 2002 as a consultant and was appointed as a member of the board of directors in 2003. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1961 and then with his Master of Business Administration in 1962. Mr. Pickard spent 25 years in finance and operations with Joske’s Department Stores in San Antonio, Texas, and left the company as executive vice president in Finance and Operations. He then spent ten years with The Broadway Stores in Los Angeles, California and retired in 1995 as executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Dr. Gary C. Smith

Dr. Smith currently serves as distinguished professor emeritus at Colorado State University and visiting professor at Texas A&M University. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from California State University in 1960, his Master of Science degree from Washington State University in 1962, and earned his PhD from Texas A&M University in 1968. Dr. Smith has received numerous awards in teaching, research, and service from the American Meat Science Association, the American Society of Animal Science, the National Meat Association, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, Beef Magazine, National Livestock Grading and Marketing Association, the International Meat Coaches Association, the Livestock Publications Council, and the National Association of Meat Purveyors.

Mitchell Sowards

Mitchell Sowards serves as the managing partner and president for ENTRUST Technology Consulting Services, a leading managed and cloud services provider. Mr. Sowards has 30 years of experience in the computer services industry as a computer programmer, network technician, network engineer, consultant, and business owner. Mr. Sowards founded an IT consulting company in March of 1991. Since that time, and through a series of mergers, acquisitions, and name changes, that company, ENTRUST, has grown to employ 37 people. Mr. Sowards graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas in May 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science and Applied Statistics.