When Aaron came on board with the Non-GMO Project this month as Product Verification Program Manager, it brought our staff up to eight — we have doubled in size in less than a year! And with more enrollments than ever and breaking the mark of 10,000 Non-GMO Project Verified products, his expertise, skills and management will be a wonderful asset to our team.
What interests you about working with the Non-GMO Project — what about this opportunity caught your attention?
Fourteen years of leading environmental campaigns convinced me that genetic engineering is a severe environmental problem, with many GMOs designed to survive chemicals that kill other plants and animals and contaminate our air and water. And with my Green Corps training and 20+ years of work as a trial lawyer, I expected to learn about the Non-GMO Project’s pressure campaign to stop GMOs.
But the Non-GMO Project uses a different strategy to attack this environmental problem—and that really intrigued me. By providing Non-GMO Project Verification for products that comply with our Standard, the Non-GMO Project helps to shift the market away from GMOs—without a pressure campaign. This is a service-based strategy that is creating a future in which Non-GMO verified products—instead of products with non-disclosed GMO ingredients—are dominant in the market.
How do you think your prior experience will help you in working with the Non-GMO project?
I started my legal career working for the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court and went on to become a certified specialist in appellate law—a type of work that involves interpretation and application of very precise standards to complex sets of facts. This kind of work requires creative development of the standards to keep pace. I’m looking forward to using that experience in helping to develop our Standard—which is the foundation of our Project.
I also think my decade of experience in guiding businesses in supply chain management will help. I gained that experience by persuading some of the biggest brands in the world (e.g., Whole Foods, Home Depot, Dell, Seventh Generation, Walgreen’s) to change their supply chain management in ways that helped them better align with core values—and protect our planet. Skillfully using third party verification and certification processes was an important part of my success with these companies, as was my training and front-line experience in the art of negotiating.
What is important to you about the work you will be doing with the Project?
We need to have more informed and free choices about the products of science and technology. That’s one reason I pursued and earned a masters degree in scientific and technical communication. As an attorney and as an environmental campaigner, I wrote for and spoke to countless audiences about the importance of understanding and freedom of choice.
Without the Non-GMO Project Verification that our Product Verification Program offers, consumers would be less informed and less able to choose products without GMOs. The Non-GMO Project provides North America’s only independent, third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products. Products that are Non-GMO Project Verified give consumers the most trusted alternatives to GMO food and products available today.