Award-winning editorial team

Meatingplace’s best-in-class editorial team has won six Jesse H. Neal Awards for journalistic excellence in the past three years. This award, commonly referred to as the “Pulitzer Prize of the Business Media,” is evidence of the integrity and high quality of reporting and writing featured in Meatingplace and on Meatingplace.com.


Lisa Keefe

Lisa Keefe joined Meatingplace as editor in 2008 and has since led the editorial team to six Jesse H. Neal Awards. She is proudest of the magazine’s coverage of the “pink slime”/lean finely textured beef controversy in Spring 2012.

Prior to joining Meatingplace Keefe held key editorial positions at the American Marketing Association, Crain’s Chicago Business, Forbes and the Orlando Sentinel. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. When she’s not working, you’ll find Keefe managing her daughter’s social life or eating her favorite meat dish: filet mignon au poivre, on the rare side of medium rare, with a nice, substantial Cabernet.


Rita Jane Gabbett

Executive Editor
Janie Gabbett has earned two Jesse H. Neal Awards for her work on Meatingplace. She oversees the industry-leading daily news operation of Meatingplace as well as writes and edits in-depth features for the magazine. “I believe Meatingplace can be an ‘early warning system’ for the industry by choosing the most relevant stories to cover and writing them in a balanced, intelligent way,” said Gabbett. In May 2012 Gabbett spoke at the Animal Agriculture Alliance annual conference about media perceptions of animal agriculture. Raised on a farm in Illinois, Gabbett started her journalism career covering the agriculture industry in Washington, D.C. and held several positions with Reuters, including managing editor of Reuters, North America.


Tom Johnston

Managing Editor
Johnston has three Jesse H. Neal Awards to his credit for contributions to Meatingplace, for which he manages production of the magazine and serves as a lead news writer for Meatingplace's twice-daily newsletter and a lead features writer for the magazine. His work for a suburban Chicago paper prior to joining Meatingplace earned him several awards including Suburban News papers of America’s award for best feature writing and best in-depth reporting. What most people don’t know about this Penn State grad is that he plays guitar and writes his own music. His favorite meat dish: flank steak marinated and grilled to medium rare.


Michael Fielding

Managing Editor of Technical Content
Fielding is a veteran journalist with more than half a dozen regional and national journalism awards to his credit. His latest recognition: The 2012 Jesse H. Neal Award for Technical Content for the Meatingplace feature article “Hip to HPP.” Fielding relies on his media expertise to engage the Meatingplace technical audience in weekly online newsletters, in-depth print analysis and webinars. Since 2007 he has operated a community news site in Chicago, incorporating new media tools including original multimedia reporting, news aggregation and user-generated content. He holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.


Dani Friedland

New Media Editor
Friedland researches, writes and edits online content for Meatingplace and its sister publications. She also manages social media outreach and facilitates multimedia storytelling for Meatingplace and its sister publications. Friedland holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College. A born foodie, Friedland relishes smoked pork chops, heated on the grill, with grilled pineapple in a soy sauce and ginger marinade.

Robert Jon Maddock

Ph.D., Technical Contributor
An Assistant Professor of Animal Science at North Dakota State University, Dr. Maddock is the author of more than 25 scientific journal articles, technical papers and abstracts. Previously he was Extension Associate, Meat Quality at Texas Agricultural Extension Service and Texas A&M University where he received his Ph.D. in Meat Science.

Joseph G. Sebranek

Ph.D., Technical Contributor
Dr. Sebranek, a professor of Animal Science, Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University, has been a member of the World Food Logistics Organization’s Scientific Advisory Council since 2002. He is a past president of the American Meat Science Association and is the review editor for the Processed Meats Manual.

Wes Schilling

Ph.D., Technical Contributor
Dr. Schilling is Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science Nutrition and Health Promotion at Mississippi State University. At MSU, Dr. Schilling’s research focuses on increasing added value, shelf life prediction, flavor issues and processing. He received his bachelor’s of science, two master’s of Science and Ph.D. degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Christine Alvarado

Associate Professor of Poultry and Egg, Quality and Safety at Texas A&M University
At Texas A&M University her research includes both quality and safety of poultry meat and further processed products. She also conducts food safety research of post-harvest controls of Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Jude Capper

Ph.D., Independent Sustainability Consultant
Most recently she was an adjunct professor of animal sciences at Washington State University. Her research and outreach work focuses on modeling the environmental impact of livestock production systems.

Michael Fagel

Fagel has worked in the food industry for nearly four decades in corporate risk and safety. He serves as a critical infrastructure homeland security analyst at Argonne National Laboratory.

Dayna Harhay

Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Service
A microbiologist in the Meat Safety and Quality Research Unit at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. She is currently working on a project exploring genomic differences and ecological reservoirs to control foodborne pathogens, particularly E. coli and Salmonella.

Mohammad Koohmaraie

CEO of IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group, Meat Division
He has served as the research leader of the Meats Research Unit (MRU) at Michigan State University and as director of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.

Tatiana Koutchma

Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
Previously she was with the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST). She helps food companies develop innovative processing technologies such as high pressure, UV light and electromagnetic heating.

Fred Pohlman

Professor of Animal Science at the University of Arkansas
Pohlman's research focuses on meat processing and handling techniques, food safety, animal finishing, lean meat quality and yield and meat palatability. He was awarded the position of chairman-elect of the IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) Muscle Foods Division.

Jeff Sindelar

Assistant Professor and Extension Meat Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
At the University of Wisconsin-Madison he provides assistance to meat processors in the areas of product development, problem solving and regulatory compliance.


Mark Lefens

President & Editor In Chief
Lefens is a recognized authority on industry trends and issues. In 1993, Lefens identified a need for more targeted meat and poultry industry information and founded Marketing & Technology Group.


Bill McDowell

Vice President & Editorial Director
McDowell oversees editorial operations for Meatingplace, CarneTec, CarneTec Brasil, Plate and HOTELS. Previously, he was editorial director of the Food & Beverage Group at VerticalNet and associate publisher/editor-in-chief of Chain Leader. McDowell is extremely proud of the talented editorial team he works with. “We all feed off each other's creativity, energy and skill,” explained McDowell.