Leadership & Staff

Alejandra Castillo

President & Chief Executive Officer

Alejandra Castillo is the President &  CEO of the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA).  A senior executive with more than 15 years’ experience in global trade with expertise in trade execution, stakeholder management and trade policy, Alejandra worked most recently at the U.S. Grains Council in Washington, D.C., Singapore and India. Most recently, she opened the Council’s newest office in India, where she served as the Regional Director for South Asia. In this capacity, Alejandra set up the strategy to evaluate and implement the Council’s market development programs in the region which included Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Alejandra also serves as volunteer President of the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC). Since 2019, Alejandra has supported the IGTC Working Group on Electronic Trading Documentation.  In that role, she served as one of the co-chairs for the Industry Advisory Group (IAG) and the IAG representative for the CPM Focus Group on Sustainable Funding for the IPPC ePhyto Solution Project. 

Prior to U.S. Grains Council, Alejandra worked in trade execution with Cargill focused on trade risk management as well as vessel and container logistics for cotton, grains and oilseeds. She gained experience as an international freight forwarder prior to entering trade execution. Before joining Cargill, she worked as a project manager for the Mayo Clinic and marketing manager for the Riverview Economic Development Association.

Alejandra is a native of Nicaragua and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in strategic management and organizational leadership.

Patrick Hayden

Vice President

Patrick Hayden returned to NAEGA as Director of Operations in 2019, a position he previously held from 2007-2013, and was named Vice President in October 2020.

Following his first tenure at NAEGA, Patrick spent 4 years as Director of Policy Advocacy for Food & Agriculture and Retail trade at the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC). While at USIBC, Patrick led three missions to India designed to strengthen the food and agricultural trade ties between the U.S. and India.

Patrick currently serves on USDA’s Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in Grains, Feed, and Oilseeds.  He has presented on Indian Agriculture issues at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy and has been a consultant to the U.S. agriculture industry on Indian agricultural policy and practice. He has worked closely with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and State.

Patrick holds an M.A. in Political Management from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C, and a B.A. from Indiana University, where he double-majored in Political Science and History. Patrick and his wife Greta live in Washington, D.C.

Key Support Personnel

Tom Erickson

Outside Counsel & Senior Advisor

An attorney and former Commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Tom Erickson is experienced in global political, legal and senior corporate environments.  He is a recognized thought leader in commodity markets internationally who routinely addresses policy makers, regulators, and the public on trade, international development, markets, derivatives regulation and financial innovation. Erickson is the founder of Erickson Law & Consulting, PLLC in Washington, DC.  He previously held compliance, legal and government affairs roles in multinational agribusinesses.  He was nominated by then President Bill Clinton to serve a term as a Commissioner at the CFTC, a position he held from 1999-2002. Erickson is a graduate of Augustana University and received a J.D. degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law.


Mariya-Khrystyna Koziy

Geneva Envoy

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Mariya supports the work of NAEGA in achieving its goals and priorities while bringing an international perspective and strengthening cooperation with local international institutions and stakeholders. 

From 2018-2022, Mariya worked at the Economic Affairs Division of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to International Organizations in Geneva. In her work, she ensured national cooperation with the WTO, International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), among others, in the field of agriculture trade and negotiations, trade facilitation, support to MSMEs and women economic empowerment. Between November 2020 – June 2021, she served as a facilitator for negotiations on the market access pillar within the process launched by the Chair of the WTO Committee on Agriculture in Special Session. While working at the USAID Trade Policy Project in Ukraine, Mariya assisted the Government during the first WTO Trade Policy Review of Ukraine and actively participated in the development of the first Export Strategy of Ukraine. Mariya has also worked on international trade law and policy matters at ITC and WTO in Geneva.

Mariya is a Board Member of the Committee on International Trade Law at the Ukrainian Bar Association and takes an active part in its activities. She holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the National University of Kyiv, Ukraine, and an LL.M. in International Economic Law and Policy from the University of Barcelona, Spain, IELPO Programme.

Katy Lee

Senior Advisor for International Programs and Services.

Katy has more than fifteen years of experience coordinating the voices of farm and agricultural businesses in international policy advocacy environments including the World Trade Organization, the European Union, and the United Nations.

Between 2016-2021, Katy served as Secretariat of the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC), a NAEGA-supported non-profit association formed to serve the greater good by promoting the performance of the supply chain for grains, oilseeds, pulses, and derived products. In this role, she led and administered global policy and communication efforts, and conducted outreach with IGTC members in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Eastern Africa, Europe, India, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, and US

Previously Katy was the first representative of the agri-business community permanently based at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome via the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN), and Assistant Director of the UK National Farmers’ Unions EU office. Katy is a Nuffield farming scholar.A.

Maria Clara Villegas

Contract Personnel

An international lawyer from Leyden University in the Netherlands (NL) with know-how in European agricultural economics from Wageningen University (NL), Maria Clara is established in Geneva since 1992. She has held legal, public relations, strategy, and corporate governance roles in international administration (EU, OECD, Saudi Arabian Embassy), industry (Tamoil/Oilinvest, TXU Inc., Philip Morris Inc., SIG) as well as in Swiss associations. She also has considerable experience in complex project management with important financial impacts. Prior to retiring from business and establishing as an independent consultant, she was Manager of Strategic Development at one of Switzerland’s biggest public utilities companies (SIG).

Since September 2020, Maria Clara represents IGTC at its Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Senior Advisors

Sam Bonilla

Senior Advisor, Contracts and Commercial Practice

Sam Bonilla retired from Cargill in 2009, where he last held the position of CASC Trade Execution Leader for North America. Previously, Sam worked for Continental Grain Company for 31 years. During his time with that company he gained experience in all areas of export administration, including commodity traffic and contracts. Prior to joining Cargill, Sam held the position of Assistant Vice President, Manager of Export Administration, in Continental’s World Grain Division. Until his retirement, Sam was chairman of the NAEGA Contracts Committee and served on NAEGA Grades Sub-Committee for several years.

Todd Erickson

Senior Advisor, Contracts and Commercial Practice

Todd Erickson was a lawyer for Cargill for over 32 years, retiring in August 2017.  He worked out of its headquarters in Minneapolis and, for 9 years, its trading offices in Geneva, Switzerland.  For five of those years in Geneva, he led the Geneva law department and was part of the Cargill Geneva management team.  His experience covers a wide range of issues facing agricultural and energy trading businesses, including purchase and sale contract and charter party negotiation and disputes, trade finance, compliance investigations and training, business transactions (M&A and joint ventures), and representing Cargill in arbitration proceedings administered by NAEGA, GAFTA, FOSFA, ICSID and the LMAA, among other organizations.  Mr. Erickson graduated from Carleton College and received his J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. Todd attended the AAA/ICDR International Symposia on Advanced Case Management Issues in November 2019.

Andrew Marting

Senior Advisor, Contracts and Commercial Practice

Retired April 2018 after 36 years with Bunge North America, Inc. Vessel Logistics Manager, and Export Administration Manager. Employed with Bunge, St. Louis since 1981 in export logistics, export capacity planning, export contract administration, execution of grain and grain byproducts, vessel laytime calculations, settlements, disputes, and interior barge logistics/planning. Chairman of NAEGA Contracts Committee 2009 -2018, member of the NAEGA Strikes Committee, and extensive experience as a panelist on NAEGA Clause 20 certification panels. NAEGA arbitration panelist in multiple arbitrations. B.A. University of Colorado; Master International Management: American Graduate School of International Management.

W. Kirk Miller

Senior Advisor, New Technologies and Trade

Kirk Miller has been a Senior Advisor to NAEGA, and a private consultant,  since 2009. Before that, he had most recently served as a Senior Staff Aid and General Correspondent for Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE). Prior to that, he was General Sales Manager for the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service from 2002-2009. Kirk was Director of International Programs and Legislative Affairs for NAEGA from 1992-2002, and also served as the Administrator of the Federal Grain Inspection Service of the USDA under President Ronald Reagan. Kirk has a B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Ohio State University and an M.A. in International Transactions from George Mason University.

Board of Directors

Role First Name Company

  • Chairman John Griffith CHS, Inc.
  • First Vice Chair Matt Hopkins ADM
  • Vice Chair Gordon Russell Louis Dreyfus Company Vice Chair Charles Colbert Zen-Noh Grain Corp
  • Vice Chair Steve Strong Bunge North America Vice Chair Steve Smalley Cargill, Inc.
  • Vice Chair Carsten Bredin Richardson International Treasurer Holly Womack CoBank, Inc.
  • Secretary Augusto Bassanini United Grain Corporation David Smoot Viterra
  • Norihisa Tsunoda Mitsui & Co.
  • Jason Hofer Gavilon Grain, LLC
  • Kurt Haarmann Columbia Grain International, LLC
  • Kevin LaGraize The Russell Marine Group

Committee Chairmen

Contracts Committee
  • Maurice Hurst, Cargill, Inc.
  • Jessica Stephan, Bunge
Grades & Inspections Committee
  • Nick Friant, Cargill, Inc.
International Programs Committee
  • Steve Smalley, Cargill, Inc.
Production Technology Committee
  • Gary Williams, United Grain Jared Hill, Bunge