Mr. Underwood began his career with the Solae Company and held progressively more senior positions until he transitioned from the Senior Sales Director for Europe, into the role of Vice President, Specialty Protein Business for DuPont Nutrition and Health. He held the position of NAFTA Regional President with DuPont Nutrition and Health from 2014 – 2017, where he was responsible for top line sales of $1.4 billion and approximately 250 employees. In that role, he achieved above market growth every year in sectors including baking, dairy, beverage, meat and nutritional supplements. Mr. Underwood has extensive experience in leading business turnaround from multi-year sales decline to year-over-year growth. In his latest role at Benson Hill as General Manager and Vice President of Sales, Mr. Underwood led efforts to transform a start-up company to an established food ingredient business. He holds an MBA from Saint Louis University and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from University of Missouri-Columbia.
Ms. Cheng is a senior financial executive with over 25 years of experience. She has been with Burcon since inception and is responsible for its financial management, reporting and compliance. Prior to joining Burcon, Ms. Cheng held senior financial positions with a TSX-listed real estate development and ownership company and was a manager in Coopers & Lybrand’s (now PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP) audit and assurance practice. Ms. Cheng holds a B.A. (Economics) and M.B.A. from the University of British Columbia and is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia.
Mr. Willardsen has over 31 years of experience in the fields of membrane filtration and food, dairy and biotechnology processes. Mr. Willardsen was the founder of Separation Technology, Inc., a leading supplier of membrane-based purification equipment and related services to the food industry with particular emphasis on dairy and beverage applications. Mr. Willardsen was also co-founder of both Inprotech Corporation, a supplier of high quality whey proteins to the U.S. market, and BioPlex Nutrition, a nutritional supplement company focused on formulated protein supplements. With BioPlex, he served as technical director, and oversaw manufacturing of all products until the company was sold in 1999. Most recently, Mr. Willardsen founded Gallo Protein, a partnership with Joseph Gallo Farms to produce highly purified whey protein isolates.
Mr. Willardsen has worked with Burcon since April of 2001, and holds a Masters degree in Food Science and Nutrition from the University of Minnesota.
Ms. Law was a director of Burcon from December 1998 to April 2010. Ms. Law joined the Burcon group of companies in August 1997 and acted as corporate counsel. Prior thereto, she was an associate at the law firm of Lang Michener LLP (now McMillan LLP), practising primarily in the areas of securities, corporate and commercial law. Ms. Law was called to the British Columbia Bar and admitted as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia in August 1996. Ms. Law holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia. Ms. Law was also admitted as a solicitor of the High Court of Hong Kong in May 1999. She is a non-practising member of the Law Society of Hong Kong.
Dr. Schweizer joined Burcon in May 2002 as a process-engineering specialist. He relocated from Nancy, France, where he earned his doctorate at the Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine, with an emphasis on the enzymatic hydrolysis of rapeseed proteins. Prior to his Ph.D. work, Dr. Schweizer completed a chemical engineering degree (Dipl.-Ing) at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, where he specialized in food process engineering and water technology. He has over 20 years of experience in research and development and his main expertise lies in the fractionation and purification of biochemical compounds using current state of the art technology such as membrane filtration, liquid chromatography and various extraction technologies, both aqueous and solvent based. Since January 2003, Dr. Schweizer has overseen Burcon’s research and development efforts at its Winnipeg Technical Centre.