Event archive BEAF23

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Martin Blauensteiner

Managing Director - Global Business Unit, SAN Venture Invest GmbH

Martin Blauensteiner is the head of the global business unit SAN Venture, which focuses on the planet health sector of SAN Group. He has a strong technical background and has been working in the fields of plant engineering, power engineering, and project management for almost 20 years. He further expanded his knowledge 15 years ago when he was responsible for global projects as well.
In the past, Blauensteiner has worked in international plant engineering, commission managing, and project management, including the construction of hydropower plants in Europe, and he spent two years in Turkey working in the field of power engineering.

As a project manager, he moved to the pharma industry and led various sustainability projects. After that, he worked at the globally operating company ERBER Group for four years, in charge of international project management and facility management.

He has been part of SAN Group from the very beginning, assuming the project management of one of the first green hydrogen production operations in Austria and managing technical trades globally, and he now moves on to his next career step.

Blauensteiner is Managing Director of SAN Venture, which consists of real estate and technical departments. As a senior professional in his fields, he is responsible for all solar, geothermal, and hydrogen projects, which also contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of SAN Group.

Christoph Langwallner

CEO and Co-founder, WhatIF F&I Pte Ltd.

It’s a good twenty-five years now since Chris Langwallner started working in the agrifood industry. After working for the family business in Austria, he was employed by SMEs and some of the world’s biggest multinationals. However, his DNA is wired for entrepreneurial adventure. In 2020, Chris co-founded WhatIF F&I Pte Ltd (formerly NamZ Ltd.) with world renowned food and cosmetic ingredients innovator, Dr. Peter S. J. Cheetham.

Singapore-headquartered, WhatIF Foods is a planet-positive food and beverage company that is on a mission to regenerate the planet and its people. As a global champion of true regeneration, WhatIF Foods reinvents and innovates the entire food system and encourages consumers to always choose the better option. WhatIF Foods creates tasty, convenient food foods that replenishes with nutritious ingredients and restores soil health to increase its carbon capture potential. The WhatIF Way reconnects people with farming communities who are vital in our value chain. To date, WhatIF Foods has been a finalist at the 2020 Liveability Challenge as well as the 2020 MIT Solve Food Sustainability Challenge.

Enthusiastically, Chris brings fair and inclusive business strategies, sciences, and remarkable people together to create nutritious products for a profoundly healthier planet, humanity and economy.

“I believe we need to reinvent the food industry category by category. We need to make food based on regenerative principles. Food that replenishes the nutrients we need. Food that is made with regenerative crops and we need to reconnect with nature and communities to rebuild our relationships. We need nature in cities, life in food, and purpose in communities.”

Chris says: “It’s not about saving the planet. It’s about regenerating natural ecosystems so that our children, their children, and their grandchildren find themselves in an environment that allows them to go on hikes in the mountains, ski in powder, or swim in the ocean and surf a wave. That’s what it’s all about! Today, our youth dream about that future, so it’s our responsibility to save their dreams. It’s not about saving the planet. It is about us recognizing our responsibility to leave a natural habitat behind so that future generations can enjoy what I used to take for granted when I was a teenager at the foothills of the Austrian Alps.

We need to work together to protect the very essence of regeneration for the powerful possibilities it holds. Let’s strive to bring back the agrobiodiversity we need to sink more carbon in our soils; to grow a rich basket of many different crops; to create exciting nutrient-dense products; and to reconnect to communities—consumers and farmers alike—so that they prosper within a life-affirming purpose.

REgeneration must not become a new management tool or be misused for greenwashing. Regenerative leaders need to create an environment for others to succeed in delivering a life-affirming future where WIN-WIN equations are the norm and not the exception.”

Chris is passionate about changing the world one meal at the time. Click here if you would like to dive deeper into his origins, values and what drives him.

Please read more on www.whatif-foods.com.

Dr. Haythem Riahi, PhD, MBA

Haythem holds a PhD in Microbiology and an executive MBA from Sorbonne Business School in Paris. He accumulated over 15 years of executive roles at multinational Life Sciences companies, with working experience in Africa, Europe and the Middle-East.

In 2020, Haythem has co-founded Circa Biotech, the first Waste-To-Feed project in the Middle-East region, where they transform food waste into a highly nutritious animal feed and organic fertilizer.

Marta Rojo Alonso

Chief Executive Officer, Sterner Group AS

Marta Rojo, Spanish nationality, has over 24 years of international experience with positions in Europe, Asia and Latin America. She has worked with various large companies within the Aquaculture industry such as Mowi, Skretting and as CFO and Head of investor relations at Salmones Camanchaca in Chile, a leading salmon producer and listed on Oslo stock exchange. In addition to having experience of start-up companies in aquaculture.

She has a master’s in economics and management from the University of Madrid, as well as an Executive MBA from Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands.
She is the CEO of Sterner Group a water treatment technology company and with leading technology in landbased fish farming, after serving as CFO of the company since she joint the company in August 2022.

She is passionate about aquaculture. Sterner offers a possibility to participate in this incredibly exciting segment that really helps to solve the growing need for healthy proteins in the world, and Marta strongly believes that Sterner is sitting on solutions that take the industry a big step forward in relation to sustainability and the circular economy.

Johann Trauninger

Chief production & Procurement Officer, San Group GmbH

Johann Trauninger is the Chief Production & Procurement Officer of SAN Group. With a strong technical background, he has worked in the field of engineering for more than 20 years, expanding his knowledge even further when he took over the complete management of construction projects nearly 10 years ago.

Trauninger spent two years in the United Arab Emirates as a site inspector for the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center Project in Al Ain. After returning to Austria, he worked in the field of site supervision for six years, specializing in project management for ERBER Group, Erich Erber’s former company, as a project manager. There he oversaw large-scale projects such as the most modern premix feed mixing plant in Europe at the time.

Since the summer of 2020, Trauninger has been accompanying the newly founded SAN Group: first as Head of Real Estate Development, and since 2022 as Chief Production and Procurement Officer. In this position, he is responsible for the continuous improvement of the facilities and processes in all existing and future productions, as well as for the further development of purchasing to ensure the entire value stream.

Trauninger has been handling sustainable projects throughout his career and is a firm believer in future technologies that make our lives better.

Prof. Erich Erber

Founder and President, SAN Group GmbH

Prof. Erich Erber Ing. PhD h.c., born in Austria and a true global citizen, holds a graduate degree in agricultural engineering. In 1983 he founded Biomin, which became a global player in the feed additives business. Subsequent to the acquisition of Romer Labs (a US food safety company) and Sanphar (a Brazilian animal health company), Erber Group was founded. In the following years, Erber Group’s scientific lead in the fields of mycotoxin risk management and natural growth promoters as a replacement for antibiotic growth promotors in animal nutrition resulted in Biomin’s global leadership in its field of expertise. In 2020, Erich Erber sold Erber Group to a Dutch multinational company. As a result of the carve-out of an animal health company and a plant protection company from his former enterprise, along with the acquisition of three other companies in the same fields, SAN Group was founded the same year. SAN Group is a multinational Biotech company focusing on Animal Health (SAN Vet), Plant Health (SAN Agrow), and Planet Health (SAN Venture).

Awards and Honors:

1997 “Honorary Senator” of the Veterinary University, Vienna
2013 “Honorary Consul” of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
2014 “Entrepreneur of the Year” awarded by Ernst & Young
2015 “Expat of the Year” awarded by the Foreign Trade Organization of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
2016 “Silver Commander’s Cross for Recognition of Services on Behalf of the State of Lower Austria” awarded by the Governor of Lower Austria
2021 Awarded professional title of “Professor”

Stian Johnsen

Managing Director, Sterner Solutions AS

Stian Johnsen is the Managing Director at Sterner Solutions, a company focused on innovative technology for the aquaculture industry and landbased fish farming. With an MSc. In Process technology and a BSc in Machine/Energy, Stian has over 17 years of experience in various industries, including international Oil and Gas, waste-to-energy, and aquaculture.

During his 12 years in the Oil and Gas industry, Stian specialized in separation and water treatment systems for produced water discharge. He then spent 2 years in waste-to-energy, recycling valuables in hazardous waste, and 4 years in international aquaculture business, focusing on sustainable land-based fish farming with RAS-technology.

Stian is a firm believer in the potential of future landbased fish farming with innovative technology. His motto “There is no need in doing things right, if you don’t do the right things” reflect his commitment to finding sustainable solutions for the environmental challenges we face.

Sten Arne Rosnes

Norway Ambassador, Norway Embassy UAE

Sten Arne Rosnes is a Norwegian diplomat currently serving as the Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, as well as to the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait since 2019.

With an impressive career spanning over three decades, Rosnes has held several important positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and served in various countries. Prior to his current posting, he served as the Ambassador to Egypt in Cairo from 2015 to 2019 and was also the Ambassador to Libya (non-resident) during the same period.

Throughout his diplomatic career, Rosnes has held several other important positions, including Deputy Director General at the MFA in Oslo, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Tel Aviv, and a mission of Norway to the United Nations in New York. He has also served as the Consul General in San Francisco, with accreditation to 13 West Coast and Rocky Mountain States.

With his vast experience and expertise in diplomacy, Sten Arne Rosnes is an invaluable representative of Norway and a respected diplomat in the international community.

Juan E Bauza

Economic Innovation and Resilience Consultant

Juan Bauzá is an economic development practitioner with over 20 years of experience leading economic integration. As the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Representative for Puerto Rico (PR) & USVI and the Field Coordinator for the ERSF in DR4339PR, led the economic recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria disaster. responsible for the Blue Economy Initiatives and the Economic Course of Action in the PR’s 2018 Recovery Plan. Spearheaded transformational economic development initiatives, including the framework for the Blue Economy. These efforts have resulted in over $130M invested and 30 projects in 36-months, with an estimated impact of over 8K jobs, retain 5K jobs, and $261M in private investment.

As a business development consultant earned his international experience in North Carolina, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. He led combat missions in dynamic hostile environments as a Paratrooper Team Leader during his time in the US Army.

Holds a BS in Life Science, double master’s in business administration and Non-Profit Organizations Management. Earned 3 Bronze Medal Awards from the US Department of Commerce, Zenith Award in Agriculture, Edie Klein for Program of Excellence, Army Commendation Medal, 2 Army Achievement Medals, and a Joint Special Operations Achievement Medal.

Johannes Brunner

Commercial Counsellor, Austria Embassy UAE

Johannes Brunner graduated from from Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) majoring in International Trade and holds a Master of European and International Business Law from the University of St.Gallen (HSG). He joined ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA, the Austrian Foreign Trade Promotion Organization, in 1989 and was posted as Deputy Trade Commissioner at the Austrian Trade Commissions in Barcelona, Toronto and Kuala Lumpur from 1990 – 2001. Returning from Malaysia he held the position of Regional Director for South & Southeast Asia at the ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Headquarters in Vienna from 2001 – 2003. Subsequently Johannes Brunner was appointed as Austrian Trade Commissioner for Finland and the Baltics from 2003 – 2010. During that period Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the EU and were very much in the focus of the Austrian export industry. Until 2012 Johannes Brunner was the Head of Corporate Communication back at ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA in Vienna. From 2012 – 2020 he was the Austrian Trade Commissioner for South & Southern Africa, based in Johannesburg. From 2020 –2022 he was the Regional Director for Asia & Pacific at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA HQ Vienna). In August 2022 Johannes Brunner assumed his position as the Austrian Trade Commissioner for the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Pakistan and Commercial Counselor at the Austrian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Simon McKenzie

Event Host

Simon McKenzie (Mac) is the CEO and co-founder of the Bridge Institute.

The Bridge Institute is a charity that brings senior leaders of governments, corporates, and civil society together to make breakthroughs in thinking and action on complex societal challenges. The Bridge Institute identifies which institutions and leaders can solve the root causes of the challenge, invites them into a breakthrough-thinking process to create a tri-sector blueprint which will progress and move the challenge forward, and then oversees the implementation of this blueprint through to impact.

Current and recent societal challenges the Bridge Institute has taken on include the combatting of human trafficking and gender-based violence (South Asia), enabling health equality (the Philippines), education reform (United Kingdom), carbon sequestration though oceans (Europe), peacebuilding (South Asia), sustainable food (South-East Asia) and the refugee crisis (United Kingdom).

Prior to being CEO at the Bridge Institute, his roles have included:

  • Managing Director of Bridge Asia-Pacific, based out of Singapore, working with some of the most well-regarded global organisations to become an even stronger force-for-good.
  • Operations Director of Reuters, based out of London.
  • A Managing Consultant of Capgemini / Gemini Consulting, based out of London.

Mac is a dedicated sportsman and mountaineer and is passionate about the role of sport in a healthy and thriving society. He has been a mountain guide for Raleigh International.

He graduated from Oxford University with a Masters in Engineering, Economics and Management. He is trained and qualified in Neuro Linguistic Programming, the Leadership Development Framework, Transactional Analysis, Myers Briggs, Design Thinking and Systems Thinking.

Markus Schrittwieser

Global Business Development Director Aqua, SAN Group GmbH

Markus Schrittwieser graduated from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (VUW) majoring in Biotechnology and Ichthyology and holds a MSc in Aquatic Veterinary Science from the University of Stirling (UK). After graduating in Vienna (2004) Markus worked 4 years in the veterinary business in Austria and England before working as an environmental analyst for a state accredited laboratory (Biutec GmbH). In 2012 Markus began his post graduate education in Stirling and subsequently worked there as a research assistant. He then joined Marine Scotland Science in Aberdeen (2014), focusing on treatment of Sea lice and Amoebic Gill Disease in Atlantic Salmon. Subsequently Markus was running his own veterinary consulting business for the Austrian aquaculture industry. In 2018 Markus became the Company Veterinarian for Barramundi Group (BG, a fully integrated aquaculture operator based in Singapore. He was responsible for fish health, operating in 3 different countries. In 2019 Markus also was appointed General Manager for UVAXX Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of BG, developing autogenous vaccines and providing diagnostic services for the aquaculture industry in South- East Asia. In 2021 he was appointed Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) for Barramundi Group and expanded UVAXX’s business in Southeast Asia. Markus recently joined SAN GROUP in April 2023, based in the UAE where he is responsible for the Global Business Development Aqua and acts as an interface between research and application. He is leading research and development projects in the aqua sector to expand SAN Group’s sales on a global level. Markus has published with Marine Scotland Science and James Cook University (Singapore). He is a member of the European Association of Fish Pathologists (EAFP) and a certified aquaculture veterinarian.


Gisle W Larsen

Chief Commercial Officer, Sterner Group AS

Mr Larsen has many years of experience from international business development, mainly within the aquaculture and telecommunications sector in Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Previous positions include business development in Infocom Connect FZE (UAE), Managing Director WiFi4all S.L (Spain), CEO Ionosphere Asia & Middle East (UAE), Director of International Markets, Telenor (Norway) and Sales director IBM.

Since 2015 he has worked in the aquaculture sector and is currently Chief Commercial Officer for Sterner Group with responsibilities to establish Sterners position in the landbased aquaculture industry in the Middle East. He hold a master degree in Management from BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo.


Dr. Anthony J. Dinning

Head of Water Quality, Sterner Group AS

Dinning has 25 years of experience as an independent consultant, trouble shooting industrial water treatment systems ranging from offshore reservoirs for H2S souring mitigation, denitrification technologies, seawater treatment, pipeline fouling and the prevention of microbial induced corrosion to the prevention of biofouling in fluid treatment for the food and beverage industry.

In Sterner his competence has been applied to the provision of the best possible water quality in recirculated aquaculture through the exploitation and optimization of Sterner’s bespoke technological applications.

Dr. Dinning is currently involved in high end sales and due diligence as well as the continuing day to day development of new solutions.


Robert Eliassen

Head of Sustainability & Circular Economy, Sterner Group AS

Eliassen has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and has been working with waste treatment solutions since 2007.

The last 10 years the focus has been led towards the aquaculture marked, and how to capture and utilize nutrients and energy potential in fish faeces and residues. Including development of the world leading biogas technology, which is the only technology in the world that provides biogas using fish slugde as the only raw material.

HE Dr. Mohammed Al Hammadi

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment

Mohamed S. Alhammadi held a Ph.D. in Soil, Water, & Environment from the University of Arizona. He joined the College of Food and Agriculture at United Arab Emirates University as Assistant Professor in 2006, and in 2007 he was appointed Assistant Dean for Students’ Affairs. During the period 2011-2022, he worked as Director of Research and Development at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, and then held several positions in the area of Legislations, Communication & Community Service, and Technical Services. Since Jan 2023, he is with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment as Assistant Undersecretary for Biodiversity & Marine Life Sector. Dr. Alhammadi chaired technical committees for several conferences, conducting agricultural projects and in the area of developing standards of scientific innovations. He also worked as a consultant on FAO projects and served on a number of committees, including the Emirates Award for Excellence in Government Performance. Dr. Alhammadi received a number of acknowledgments and awards for his outstanding contributions and distinguished performance.

Dr. Petter Arnesen

Fish Feed Specialist, Fish Farming Matters

Dr. Petter Arnesen is a Norwegian national, living in Oslo. Educated (MSC/PhD) from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), specializing in fish nutrition. He has worked more than 30 years in the aquaculture industry, mainly in feed and salmon farming, and has held top management positions in several companies. He now works as an independent consultant, project leader, advisor, board member and as a startup entrepreneur (aquaculture technology). Dr. Arnesen has worked with sustainability issues pertaining to aquaculture throughout his career and has been involved with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) since it’s early beginning almost 20 years ago. He now heads their technical advisory group. ASC (non-profit) is the global no. 1 certification scheme for farmed seafood.


John Crawford

Sterner Group

John Crawford is the Deputy CEO of Sterner Group AS. John has worked with Sterner’s international projects since 2018 and in the MEA region since 2000.

John holds an honours degree in Law and is a Chartered Accountant. He has worked with business planning and corporate finance throughout his career with Arthur Andersen, Deloitte’s and Telenor before joining Sterner. John’s primary focus is on ensuring that plans for RAS projects are built on a robust platform for project economics supporting financing proposals and anticipated return.


Dr. Gunhild Stordalen

EAT Forum

Gunhild A. Stordalen is the founder and executive chair of EAT. She is a driving force linking climate, health and sustainability issues across sectors to transform the global food system. In 2020, Dr. Stordalen was appointed the global Action Track 2 lead for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021. 

Dr. Stordalen sits on several boards, including the World Economic Forum (WEF) Stewardship Board on Food Systems, REQ Capital Advisory Board, and UNICEF’s Advisory Group. She is a member of the Africa Europe Women Leaders Network and an international advisory board member of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Dr. Stordalen is an ambassador for Friends of Ocean action, sits on the International Leadership Committee for a Net Zero NHS, and is a member of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (HLP) for the Blue Economy. 

Dr. Stordalen is a published scientist and a renowned public speaker with a distinct personal voice and a passionate commitment to food system transformation. She is a medical doctor from the University of Oslo and holds a PhD in pathology/orthopaedic surgery. Dr. Stordalen is a Norwegian national.