President and CEO
Bill Polidoro joined the company in October 2005, as senior vice president for special projects and ascended to the role of Chief Operating Officer in February 2006. In January 2014, he became President and CEO. Mr. Polidoro came to ACDI/VOCA from Pact, Inc., where he served as the director for the Africa region after working as the country director for Kenya and Sudan and as a senior program manager. Mr. Polidoro earned his doctorate in development anthropology at the American University, in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. in sociology from North Adams State College, in Massachusetts. He has also completed additional graduate work in anthropology and South Asian studies at the University of Chicago, in Illinois. He worked in Guinea for USAID as a personal services contractor, managing an integrated natural resource management (NRM) program. Subsequent assignments with Pact, Datex and Development Assistance Corporation included strengthening public administration, agricultural marketing, NRM and environment, livelihoods, and civil society development, including community responses to HIV/AIDS. Mr. Polidoro began his international career in the early 1980s in India working in agricultural development while conducting anthropological research. His area of specialization is the impact of policy on rural communities, especially as it relates to land tenure and livelihoods.
William T. Irelan
Mr. Irelan has served as general counsel to ACDI/VOCA since 1991. Mr. Irelan's career includes many years of diverse professional experience in law and international development, having worked previously for the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, the international division of the Ford Foundation, Robert R. Nathan Associates, Chemonics and other consulting organizations, and, in private practice, as legal counsel to internationally oriented nonprofit organizations in New York and Washington, D.C. He has also worked or undertaken assignments for USAID and foreign governments, including the ministry of finance for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His professional expertise and activities have comprised general legal counseling, employment law and litigation, trade and export development, finance, and investment promotion. He has lived and/or worked in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, India and the Caribbean. He belongs to the bars of New York, the District of Columbia., Virginia and Ohio and has published articles on such topics as educational policy and human resource development in Jordan, law and economic development in Egypt, and the investment code in Tunisia. He earned his J.D. at the University of Virginia, his B.A. at Monmouth College in Illinois, and attended the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Mr. Irelan was a Ford Foundation Africa-Asia Fellow in Cairo, Egypt. He is proficient in French.
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Renaud oversees the operations of ACDI/VOCA's accounting and finance units. He first joined ACDI/VOCA in 2004 as a budget analyst and went on to manage budgeting, financial reporting and financial analysis as the finance and budgets manager. During this period he also spent time in Serbia as the interim finance manager on a USAID-funded program. He later served as controller and deputy chief financial officer. Before joining ACDI/VOCA, he worked in the private sector for accountant and consultant companies. Mr. Renaud also served in the Peace Corps as a small business consultant in Turkmenistan. He has earned a B.A. in business administration and accountancy from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. in international management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Administration
Ms. Moulton heads the human resources and administrative divisions. As a certified senior professional in human resources, Ms. Moulton brings to ACDI/VOCA a depth of knowledge and experience in organizational management. She joined ACDI/VOCA in April 2006 after serving as vice president and deputy director of human resources at ICF International, Inc.; director of human resources and administration at Caliber Associates, Inc.; manager of human resources development at American Institutes for Research and senior personnel consultant at Tangent Corporation. She earned her M.S. in applied behavioral science with a concentration in organizational development at the Johns Hopkins University, and B.S. in psychology at the University of Maryland University College.
Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs Paul Guenette is an economic development manager with expertise in agribusiness and trade. Mr. Guenette provides leadership in corporate planning efforts and developing public-private partnerships and relationships with external corporations. He has designed and managed large, integrated, sustainable development programs in a career spanning 35 years and 59 countries. His experience includes long-term assignments in Senegal, Mauritania, Indonesia, Barbados and Kenya heading agribusiness programs that incorporated activities in policy reform, business group strengthening, commercial marketing, equity financing and investment promotion. His consulting assignments have included designing and implementing enterprise development programs for USAID, conducting international marketing workshops for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, analyzing agribusiness global trends for the World Bank, and designing a farmer organization program for IFAD. Mr. Guenette earned his M.B.A. at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and his B.A. at Kalamazoo College. He is fluent in French.
ACDI/VOCA Board of Directors
Mortimer Neufville, Chairman
Dr. Neufville has been ACDI/VOCA chairman since June 2008. Before that, he chaired the board’s Projects Committee and in that capacity led numerous trips overseas to review projects, a practice that has continued under his chairmanship. He retired in 2008 from his position as executive vice president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (now the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities). Before taking that position in 2000, he led NASULGC's federal relations activities and coordinated work related to agriculture, natural resources, environmental affairs, human sciences, forestry and international affairs. He is a former executive of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where he was involved in various African development programs. He also served as chairman of the board of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, one of the Centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Today he serves on the board of the International Fertilizer Development Center. In Sept. 2008 he was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Neufville served as interim president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore from August 2011 through June 2012. In July 2013 he became president of Coppin State University.
Ms. Atwood joined Meridian Institute in January 2011 and serves as Executive Director of Meridian’s AGree: Transforming Food and Ag Policy, a broad-based initiative designed to tackle long-term agricultural, food and rural policy issues. She has more than 30 years of experience in policy and legislative matters regarding food, agriculture, the environment, research and risk management, including working with executives in the private sector, federal government and nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining Meridian, Ms. Atwood was director of Corporate Affairs and Public Policy at Mars, Inc. Before that, she was a partner with C&M Capitolink on behalf of clients in the chemical, agricultural, environmental, mining and food industries. Ms. Atwood served as a partner at Capitolink from 1999 until 2001 when she took a leave of absence to serve in the Bush administration from August 2001 to September 2003 as special assistant to Deputy Secretary of Agriculture James Moseley. From 1995 until 1999 she was assistant vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs for the National Pork Producers Council, and from 1992 until 1995 vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs at the American Meat Institute. She served in President George H. Bush’s administration from 1989 to 1992 as deputy associate administrator for congressional and legislative affairs at EPA. She began her career on Capitol Hill on the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee staff from 1981 to 1983 working for Congressman Joel Pritchard. Later, she joined the staff of Senator Slade Gorton, with responsibility for energy, water and fisheries policy. She is a marine resource scientist by training and has also worked at the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Dr. G.N. Saxena
New Delhi, India
As director for cooperative development for the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), the largest fertilizer manufacturer in Asia and one of the largest in the world, Dr. Saxena participates in the cooperative’s general management and supervises relations with 40,000 member cooperative societies across India. He has been with IFFCO since 1971 and also heads the board, cooperative services, shares and agromarketing departments. A recognized authority on cooperative law and operations, he oversees compliance with all governing laws and regulations and serves as chairman of the Cooperative Research Committee of the International Cooperative Alliance, Asia and Pacific; as director of the Regional Network for the Development of Agricultural Cooperatives in Asia and Pacific (NEDAC); and as executive member of the International Cooperative Agricultural Organization. His Ph.D. is for work relating to queuing theory in mathematical statistics.
Charles F. Conner
Charles F. Conner is president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. Prior to joining NCFC, between May 2005 and January 2009, Conner served as Deputy Secretary of USDA, where, as chief operating officer, he oversaw day-to-day operations including development of a $95 billion budget for the 26 USDA agencies representing 300 programs and more than 100,000 employees. Conner also represented USDA on the President’s Management Council providing food, trade, security and energy policy expertise. He led development of the 2008 $300 billion Farm Bill. While at USDA he led a delegation to Colombia and another to an FAO meeting in Rome, Italy, on global food and trade issues. Conner was special assistant to the president George W. Bush from October 2001 to May 2005. From May 1997 to October 2001 he headed the Corn Refiners Association, and in that capacity was involved in WTO and NAFTA issues. He is the recipient of Purdue’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Kurt M. Ely
Kurt Ely is vice president, sponsor relations, for Nationwide. He leads the company’s Sponsor Relations organization, working directly with sponsor organizations and serving on the Board Sponsor Committee. Prior to joining Nationwide in 2009, he served in a variety of leadership roles at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation including senior vice president for communications and vice president for operations. Before that he was vice president at Our Ohio Communications, Inc. Mr. Ely holds an M.S. in marketing and communications from Franklin University and a B.S. in animal science from The Ohio State University.
St. Paul, Minnesota
As director of enterprise risk management for AgriBank, FCB, since April 2012, Mr. Fenner is involved with various risk analysis and management activities, including stress testing and economic capital analysis. Prior to moving to his current position Mr. Fenner was director of asset/liability management at AgriBank, responsible for directing the funding to manage the interest rate risk on AgriBank’s $80 billion balance sheet. AgriBank is one the Farm Credit System’s four banks. It supports lending to agriculture and rural America through 17 affiliated associations in the upper Midwest. Mr. Fenner joined the Farm Credit System in 1984. He served as senior vice president for finance of the St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives at the time of its merger with CoBank in 1999. Through his church, he has led volunteer teams to Haiti over the past 10 years, helping to build a new school in Les Cayes and rebuild a church in Ile Adam, outside of Cap Haitian. He holds a B.S. in food systems economics and management from Michigan State University, an M.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois and an M.A. in leadership from Augsburg College.
Patricia Wilkinson Garamendi
Walnut Grove, California
Mrs. Garamendi is the California Exposition and State Fair assistant general manager. She has previously served as California’s assistant secretary of International Trade and Investment to the Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency and the deputy administrator for International Cooperation and Development for the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Garamendi has a wealth of experience managing national and international programs in agriculture, development and government, including five years as associate director of the Peace Corps. She and her husband John, U.S. Representative from the 10th district of California, served as Peace Corps volunteers in Ethiopia.
LeRoy, New York
Mr. Harris is the owner/operator of Harris Farms, a cash-crop farming operation, as well as partner of HR&W Harvesting, a processing vegetable farm. He has been farming since the mid-1970s and has long been a member of cooperatives including Birds Eye Foods, which was founded in the early sixties with Pro-Fac Cooperative, and Farm Credit banks. He currently serves on the board of directors of CoBank, a cooperative bank serving rural American enterprise. Mr. Harris is on the ACDI/VOCA board’s Projects Committee.
James K. Hoyt
Jim Hoyt is vice president, strategic planning and corporate services, for GROWMARK Inc., where he directs the strategic planning process and oversees communications, marketing, HR, government affairs and flight operations. His GROWMARK career began in 1971. He has served on the board and executive committee of the Canadian Co-operative Association and its Cooperative Development Foundation, and is a recipient of the CCA’s Cooperative Spirit Award. Under CDF he volunteered to help form women’s credit unions in Uganda, and in four ACDI/VOCA volunteer stints he assisted agricultural businesses in Poland to restructure according to a cooperative model shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain. In the spring of 2011 Mr. Hoyt led members of the GROWMARK board to Ghana to study local agriculture and visit ACDI/VOCA projects. He chairs the board’s Audit Committee.
R. Bruce Johnson
Mr. Johnson, a director of Southern States Cooperative, is general partner of Cohoke Farms, a 5,000-acre property in King William and King and Queen Counties in Virginia. His principal field crops are corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and canola. Mr. Johnson is a former president of King William Forestry Alliance and has been a member of the American Society of Agronomy for 22 years. He is also a past president of the Virginia Corn Growers Association and the Virginia Soybean Association. He also has served as director and member of numerous other community, business and farming associations, boards and committees. Mr. Johnson serves as chairman of the Projects Committee.
David Cobb is a federal relations specialist for CHS Inc., a cooperatively organized agribusiness headquartered in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. Cobb is based in the company’s Washington, D.C., office. He focuses on public policy issues, with special emphasis on those that impact CHS’s energy and transportation segments. Cobb previously served as manager of government affairs in the Washington office of The McGraw-Hill Companies, where he tracked legislative and regulatory matters relating to financial markets, corporate governance, energy and tax policy. Prior to that, he served as legislative assistant covering agriculture, natural resources and telecommunications for Sen. Max Baucus. His career has also included roles as Baucus’s Bozeman, Mont., field director, service as legislative director for a Washington firm specializing in municipal government and stints in the offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu and Rep. Jerry Huckaby. Cobb is a native of Ruston, La., and earned a B.A. from Louisiana Tech University.
Honorable Timothy J. Penny, Vice Chairman
Mr. Penny is a former congressman from Minnesota. Currently, he serves as the president of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. Previously, he was senior fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He also served as senior consultant to the Minnesota-based public relations firm Himle Horner, Inc., and was national spokesman for the Healthcare Leadership Council. Penny is co-author of three books: Common Cents, Payment Due and The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics. He has been an ACDI/VOCA board member since 1995.