Our leadership team
Sherrie L. Woodring is the Chief Executive Officer for Quality Food Products, Ltd and Board Chair of GAFCo residing in Arusha Tanzania. She is responsible for leading over 130 employees and developing and managing key domestic and international partnerships to connect productive poor smallholder farmers to global markets. Before pursuing philanthropic activities to serve the poor through sustainable agricultural investments, Ms. Woodring co-founded VARCOM Corporation in 1990 and served as its Chief Executive Officer. For over 10 years, she grew VARCOM's software products and technical leadership in the data networking industry, culminating in its acquisition by Inrange Technologies in 2000. At Inrange, Sherrie served as Vice President and General Manager, then as the President and Chief Executive Officer. After leaving Inrange, Sherrie co-founded Emprisa Networks and served as its Chief Executive Officer. She was responsible for the overall strategy as the leading provider of scalable network change and configuration management solutions. In 2007, Emprisa Networks was acquired by BMC Software to add its network automation technology to BMC’s business service and cloud management solutions. After serving two years as BMC’s Senior Director for Network Automation, Sherrie retired from the IT industry to explore philanthropy. Ms. Woodring serves on the National Leadership Council of World Vision US to provide time, talent and resources to connect smallholder farmers to global markets to improve incomes and child well-being. Ms. Woodring holds MS in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland.
CTO & Director of Smallholder Operations
Dr. James E. VanPeursem is the Chief Technology Officer and Director of Smallholder Operations for the Great Africa Food Company (GAFCo) in Tanzania. He was raised on a farm in Iowa (USA) and started his career managing a small farming operation before going to university and earned a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University. Jim spent 22 years in the high-tech industry as an executive for companies like Motorola, Google and Lenovo. During this phase of his career, he managed a global team of 500+ people, oversaw the software development and business analytics for all of Motorola's mobile products world-wide, and managed a $200M budget. He was also involved in research, strategy and many other facets of the business. Jim has a passion for operational efficiency and continuous business improvement, and in 2016 chose to redirect his efforts toward the battle on global poverty. He returned to agriculture, moved to Tanzania, and began his role at GAFCo. Over the past year he has been leading the agriculture field operations as well as the technology development for GAFCo in Tanzania.
Ammar Jiwaji is the Chief Financial Officer for Quality Food Products, Ltd. Mr. Jiwaji graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a BSc in Management Science and Economics. Mr. Jiwaji interned at Goldman Sachs in investment banking and later served in finance and business development roles at Oracle's Cloud Computing division before moving back to East Africa to work at Nairobi (Kenya) based Private Equity firm Fanisi Capital. Mr. Jiwaji then joined QFP in 2013 as CFO. Mr. Jiwaji served as Project Co-Ordinator for EUR 4 million Commercializing Food Security PPP project awarded to QFP in 2013. Mr. Jiwaji also assisted the company through the acquisition by GAFCo in 2016 and subsequent investment rounds. Through Mr. Jiwaji's leadership, over 4,500 farmers in 13 operating areas have access to innovative financial and insurance products, strong local and export markets, and quality inputs from international suppliers. Mr. Jiwaji also serves as a key contributor for formalizing a commercial hub sustainable business model enabling farmers to participate in the maize, sunflower, safflower, and pulses value chains in Tanzania. Mr. Jiwaji has passed level 2 of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program.
Director, Global Sales & Strategy of GAFCo Europe
Willem Warmenhoven is the Director, Global Sales & Strategy of GAFCo Europe b.v. responsible for developing new markets, strategic partnerships and clients for agricultural products produced by GAFCo contracted farmers. Mr. Warmenhoven has over 30 years of entrepreneurial and senior management Agricultural experience in Europe, Africa and Asia. As an entrepreneur and CEO with P&L responsibility towards investors and other stakeholders, Mr. Warmenhoven has successfully developed and applied innovative business strategies and built companies both organically and through acquisition in a rapidly changing business environment. Previously operated at Executive Board level, leading operations for a multi-discipline and multi-geography company of medium/large size (> $ 50M turnover with 150/+ employees and management teams in multiple countries). Mr. Warmenhoven has a track record of developing collaborations & partnerships and building consensus in cross-cultural and cross functional environments. Mr. Warmenhoven served as Quality Food Products, Ltd Executive Director for 3 years prior to starting GAFCo Europe b.v. to expand markets for smallholder farmers.