h. 10.15 AM – 11.15 AM


John Wittenborn

Leather Industries of America (LIA)

John L. Wittenborn has served as President of the Leather Industries of America (“LIA”) since 2006 and as legal counsel to LIA for over 30 years. As counsel, he was involved in the many regulatory and litigation victories that LIA achieved in chromium and other environmental regulation. Mr. Wittenborn also represents LIA as a member of the Executive Committee of the International Council of Tanners. Mr. Wittenborn retired from the partnership of Kelley Drye & Warren in Washington, DC in December 2016 and currently holds the title of Counsel to the firm. He previously served as chair of the firm’s environmental and health and safety practice group from 1985 through 2015. Mr. Wittenborn is a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy (1971) and holds a J.D. Degree from Indiana University (cum laude, 1974) and an L.L.M. Degree in environmental law with highest honors from George Washington University in 1980. Formerly, Mr. Wittenborn served as Chief of the Environmental Litigation Division for the U.S. Air Force and Assistant Chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division, United States Department of Justice.

h. 10.15 AM – 11.15 AM


Where does leather come from?

Steve Lange

University of Cincinnati – Leather Research Laboratory

Steve Lange graduated from Heidelberg College in Tiffin Ohio with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology with a strong concentration in Chemistry. His professional career started as an Analytical Chemist with a medical device testing firm followed by a six year term as the Analytical Chemist for Chrysler Motors Chemical Division in Trenton, Michigan. His entry into the fascinating world of leather started when he joined Seton Company in 1990 as Quality Assurance Manager. Over the course of 21 years with Seton, he worked in Quality in areas from the tannery to finishing and cutting and wrapping operations. His responsibilities included investigating and resolving customer problems, creation and maintenance of the ISO/TS 16949 quality system. From April 2011 to December 2013 He served as the Corporate Laboratory Manager for GST Autoleather based in Livonia, Michigan.

He joined the Leather Research Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati as Director in December 2013. As Director, he has expanded the capabilities of the laboratory by increasing staffing and acquiring sophisticated analytical equipment. He also restarted the very popular general leather technology and Customs educational courses which have since been attended by over 180 people. Under his leadership, the laboratory has created two new courses. One of which is designed to give participants a clear understanding of good quality control methods for tanneries while the other is a hands-on course that starts with raw hides and concludes with crust leather ready for finishing.

h. 10.15 AM – 11.15 AM


Leather: its culture, history and relevance today

Mike Redwood

Leather Naturally

Mike Redwood has been a spokesperson for Leather Naturally since 2010. He trained as leather chemist, gaining practical experience as a technician in Italy. Subsequently he moved into general management but for some years has focused on Marketing and Innovation. He has worked extensively around the world and in a variety of sectors in the industry. He currently remains a part time Teaching Fellow in Marketing at the University of Bath, UK.

h. 10.15 AM – 11.15 AM


Leather faces: beyond Technology and Creativity

Orietta Pelizzari


Orietta Pelizzari is owner of Mattori Studio, based in Milan. Globally knows for International expertises on fashion market and retail Scenario. Showcasing Italian Industry trends to most influential countries. Consulting team analyst specialised in lifestyle and consumer trends, product development, retail product placement and brand scouting for the fashion industry. Pelizzari is very knowledgeable about the Italian Fashion System and has shared her expertise as speaker in many renowned international seminars for entrepreneurs and designers.
Some of her clienteles include: Camera Nazionale Moda Italiana, Milan Fashion Week, Lineapelle, Unic, Assocalzaturifici Italian Footwear Association. The Micam, Assopellettieri Italian Leather goods associations, Mipel, Ciceg, La Rinascente, Hyundai Retail, Lotte department store, Global Colour Research, Massachusset Institute of technology, NABA, Domus Academy, Camara Italiana in Mexico, Storytalia, Hive show room, China Fashion Week, Tsinghua University, Ars Sutoria.

h. 11.45 AM – 01.00 PM


Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano

Secretary General COTANCE

Born in Stockholm (Sweden) in 1960, Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano began his professional career in Brussels as an EU Lobbyist. He has been heading since 1987 the Brussels-based leather industry association COTANCE (national leather Trade Associations of 13 EU countries; over 90% of Europe’s leather production).

He is representative of the employers of the EU tanning industry in the Social Sector Dialogue,  chairman of the CEN TC 289 “Leather” (Standardisation) , chairman of the ESCO TEXTAN Reference Group (TCLF sector taxonomy), member of the Board of the EU TCLF Sector Skills Council and member of the UNIDO Leather & Leather Products Panel and of the FAO Sub-Group on Hides & Skins.

h. 11.45 AM – 01.00 PM


The commitment of leather and tanning industry toward sustainability

Tiberio Daddi

S. Anna University of Pisa – Ph.D. Management in Innovation, Sustainability and Healthcare

Tiberio Daddi is Assistant Professor in Sustainability Management at S. Anna School of Advanced Studies a public University located in Pisa – Italy. His research interests and activities range from corporate environmental management to sustainable consumption and production, from environmental footprint and performance to circular economy.

He is project manager of relevant international projects funded mainly by European Commission, he has been involved as european projects evaluators, he is partner of Spin Off company of S. Anna University specialised in environmental management consultant activities, he is accredited as third party environmental auditor for ISO14001 and EMAS.

h. 11.45 AM – 01.00 PM


Facts versus fiction around livestock’s environmental footprint

Frank Mitloehner

University of California – Department of Animal Science

Frank Mitloehner is a Professor and Air Quality Specialist in Cooperative Extension in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis.  He received his MS degree in Animal Science and Agricultural Engineering from the University of Leipzig, Germany, and his PhD degree in Animal Science from Texas Technical University.

Dr. Mitloehner is an expert for agricultural air quality, livestock housing and husbandry.  Overall, he conducts research that is directly relevant to understanding and mitigating of air emissions from livestock operations, as well as the implications of these emissions for the health and safety of farm workers and neighboring communities.

Dr. Mitloehner has served as chairman of a global United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) partnership project to benchmark the environmental footprint of livestock production. He served as workgroup member on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and as member on the National Academies of Science Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee on “A Framework for Assessing the Health, Environmental, and Social Effects of the Food System”.

h. 11.45 AM – 01.00 PM


Leather 2030: perspectives and provocations

Federico Brugnoli

Lineapelle Innovation Square

Federico is an innovator and an entrepreneur. MSc in Environmental Sciences and Technologies at the University of Milan in 1997, he works with his teams to innovate and promote sustainable business models in Fashion, Luxury, Interior Design, Automotive and other important sectors. In his projects, he tries try to develop an integrated approach toward “innovative sustainability”, encouraging collaboration between large corporations and small and medium-sized businesses.
In other projects, he works alongside public authorities and the European Commission in developing and spread innovative skills in response to fast changing market needs. Federico has developed specific technical skills among others in: Applied Research, Biotechnologies, Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Costing, Corporate Social Responsibility, Risk Management, Technology Transfer.

h. 02.30 PM – 04.45 PM


Michelle Rotbart

Fashion Snoops

Michelle is a creative strategist with a passion for trend forecasting and design thinking. Her fascination with consumer insights began while in undergraduate school at the University of Cincinnati’s college of DAAP and continued in graduate school at Parsons School of Design Strategies where she completed her master’s degree in strategic design and management. At Fashion Snoops, Michelle heads up the culture team and helps clients find their footing within the future by translating consumer insights into creative expressions and concepts for global business strategies. She is driven to identify the why behind design challenges and sifting research to provide unique solutions.
Before joining the team at Fashion Snoops, she worked for Doneger Creative Services, LPK, Proctor & Gamble, and Arrojo Haircare.

Fashion Snoops is a global trend forecasting agency. With over 150 experts and researchers worldwide, they are wired to help businesses create smarter. They offer a collaborative online platform that gives designers, product developers and marketers insight on future trends along with the powerful ability to act on those insights. They advise leading companies in fashion, accessories, home decor, beauty and consumer-facing markets on how to leverage cultural shifts to better execute their business strategies.

h. 02.30 PM – 04.45 PM


Liz Alessi

Coach – Vice President

Liz Alessi, Vice President, Coach, began her career at Victoria’s Secret in raw material design and has worked for Marc by Marc Jacobs in accessories raw materials development in addition to Tapestry Brands. In the last two years she launched handbags for Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade under new creative direction. Her tenure at Coach spans 11 years and she is currently is responsible for leather, fabric, hardware, color and print development for handbags and small leather goods. In this role she works closely with the Creative Director, Product Development teams and Merchandising to launch innovative materials, ensure color and quality meet expectations to bring materials to commercialization globally to support production demand.

Liz studied bassoon performance at the Eastman School of Music and currently lives in Brooklyn with her daughter.

Tapestry, Inc. is a New York-based house of modern luxury lifestyle brands. The Company’s portfolio includes Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman. The Company and its brands are founded upon a creative and consumer-led view of luxury that stands for inclusivity and approachability. Each of the brands are unique and independent, while sharing a commitment to innovation and authenticity defined by distinctive products and differentiated customer experiences across channels and geographies.

h. 02.30 PM – 04.45 PM


Massimo Bettio

Tory Burch – Senior executive

Experienced Luxury Fashion SVP Executive and Former CEO with over 20 years’ experience in cross-functional leadership, executive management, merchandising, and business development for a variety of top luxury fashion retail brands. Demonstrated record of exceeding profitability goals, turning around underperforming business and increasing revenues and market share. Ensures the highest level of client service and satisfaction.

Before joining Tory Burch, he worked for famous brands such as Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana and Berluti.

Massimo has a Bachelor Degree in Architecture, and a Master in Project Management and Business Administration from the Venice International University.

Tory Burch is an American lifestyle brand founded by Executive Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Tory Burch. The collection includes ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, accessories, home and fragrance. The company launched in 2004 with a small boutique on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan. The brand’s classic and bohemian aesthetic resonated from the beginning, and the company has grown into a global business with more than 250 stores across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Australia. In addition, the brand is available at over 3,000 department and specialty stores worldwide. Toryburch.com, which launched in 2004, is the company’s ecommerce site and home to Tory Daily, an online magazine with original content. The company also has websites in Europe and Asia. Since its launch, Tory Burch has entered into new categories: with eyewear in partnership with Luxottica in 2009, fragrance with Estée Lauder in 2013, and timepieces with Fossil in 2014. In 2015, the company launched Tory Sport, a collection inspired by the grace and strength of athletes that balances high-tech fabrics with classic design. Categories include Coming & Going, Running, Studio, Tennis and Golf. Tory Burch has been recognized by the fashion industry with numerous awards, including the CFDA for Accessory Designer of the Year; Accessory Brand Launch of the Year from Accessories Council of Excellence; and Rising Star award from Fashion Group International. Social responsibility is an integral part of the company. The Tory Burch Foundation launched in 2009 to advance women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship in the United States by providing access to capital, education and digital resources; it also has a Fellows program.

h. 02.30 PM – 04.45 PM


Kerry Brozyna

Wolverine Leathers and Material Sourcing – Vice President and General Manager

• 24 Years as a student of the leather industry…and growing
• 20 Years as an executive: leading organizations and people in the USA and Asia.
• 6 Years at Wolverine Worldwide, Inc responsible, with a great team of 30 people, for a large leather tanning operation with manufacturing sites in the US, Thailand, China, and Vietnam.
• Responsible, with a great team of 17 people, for sourcing all upper materials for Wolverine’s platform of 12 brands.
• 2018 built and guided a team of 20 multitalented individuals in an Innovation Workstream. The team made up of brand and operation executives, design, HR, IT, CIMI, and marketing was tasked with setting the path which Wolverine will follow to become an innovative leader.

• 1987 Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management from Daniel Webster College
• 2016 EMBA from Davenport University
• Harvard Business School Executive Series 2017
• Harvard Business School Leading Forward 2018

Married for 30 years with 3 children; two daughters and one son.

With a commitment to service and product excellence, Wolverine World Wide, is one of the world’s leading marketers of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children’s and uniform footwear and apparel. The Company’s portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Merrell®, Sperry®, Hush Puppies®, Saucony®, Wolverine®, Keds®, Stride Rite®, Chaco®, Bates®, HYTEST®, and Soft Style®. The Company also is the global footwear licensee of the popular brands Cat® and Harley-Davidson®. The Company’s products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in approximately 200 countries and territories.

h. 02.30 PM – 04.45 PM


Ariane Duhaney

Parsons School for Design

Ari Duhaney is an up and coming designer and soon to be Parsons graduate. Upon graduation in May of 2019, she will be releasing her first collection under her brand, ARI500, which strives to provide environmentally friendly luxury leather goods with the intention of revolutionizing how consumers perceive and control their ecological impact. ARI500 is based in New York City, and produces all samples locally.

Her first handbag collection is designed around the Oculus Go, a virtual reality headset designed by Facebook for home entertainment. You can view the progress of her collection and more about ARI500’s ethos on Instagram @ari500.

ARI500 is a luxury streetwear brand that seeks to personify the human intuition and drive of self growth through dress. 500 is a blend of the vibrations of number five and the energies of the powerful number zero. Five resonates with making major life changes, spontaneity, and life lessons learned through experience. Zero resonates with the influences of universal energies, continuing cycles and flow, and the beginning point. ARI500 strives to provide accessories and garments that allow an individual to identify who their soul is. By tapping into our inner knowing, we are able to critique our existence and contributions to the world. To combat the multitude of issues caused by human activity, ARI500 is striving to create products from materials derived from the earth, as well as using recyclable metals. Our ethos is to only use natural fibers and biodegradable leathers that are sourced as ethically as possible.

h. 02.30 PM – 04.45 PM


Daniele Gardini

Poltrona Frau – Senior R&D Leather

Daniele has been working for “Poltrona Frau” since 2001. He is in charge of Research and Development Leather for our three main areas:
• Residential
• Contract
• IIM (Interiors in Motion)
Daniele has been on this job for over 30 years, first in footwear companies, then in the leather goods sector and finally for Poltrona Frau. His career path at this company started as employee at the material-testing laboratory: after years of work and dedication, he became responsible of a whole new office in Poltrona Frau. This thanks to the company’s will and to his great passion. He deals with leather every day, to 360 degrees, in addition to his main work in researching and developing new items or brand new concepts. His task is to relate with clients, architects, design centers and tanneries, with whom they have already successfully collaborated over decades. It is for this reason that he thinks of them as partners more than suppliers. From just an idea, or a brief, he develops and proposes new products: in this last period, he has focused strongly on themes related to eco-sustainability.
He and his team have developed some new items that point in this direction, in order to emphasize the key concepts of their corporate identity: manual skills and artisan, CRAFTSMANSHIP. That’s why they have presented an armchair manually dyed at last year’s “Salone del Mobile”, in Milan. Once developed a new product, he sets a technical specification in order to make it reproducible and replicable, in terms of industrialization.
Daniele is the one constant for a lot of Poltrona Frau’s customers, among which “Ferrari”, in particular as regards the whole leather sector. Changes, adaptations, modifications or improvements, not to mention the daily support that he provides to his colleagues in the commercial area when it comes to technical questions or problems. Working in the leather sector is rather a passion than a job. And that’s because he loves leather in its infinite nuances or variety, two factors that make it a unique and inspiring material.

Poltrona Frau creates understated and elegant objects inspired by tradition and projected into the future to our living solutions and guarantees the emotional and aspirational needs of a refined and sophisticated international clientele. Since more than one century Poltrona Frau’s quality products are used to furnish homes, offices, places of interaction, travel environments. Not only sofas and armchairs, but even bookcases, tables, beds, wardrobes, cupboards and interior ours a complete home décor system expressing Poltrona Frau’s philosophy of living.

h. 02.30 PM – 04.45 PM


Steve Jeske

GST Autoleather – Vice President, Marketing and Global Business Development

As Vice President of Marketing and Global Business Development, Steve Jeske is responsible for directing the global marketing activities in support of the Sales efforts with the global customer base and directing new business development opportunities for GST.

Steve joined the company in 2004 and was responsible for Global Sales after a 25 year career as a senior sales/marketing executive in the automotive industry, including 23 years with Collins & Aikman, responsible for fabric, carpet and interior trim components. His global relationships with key OEM and Tier I customers and extensive experience in the automotive interior sector, provides him with the unique instinctive ability to lead GST/Seton in a very competitive global environment. Finally, his involvement in numerous M&A transactions during his career has given him a solid foundation for strategic business ventures.

Steve received a B.S. in business from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. and is currently located in the GST Rochester Hills headquarters.

GST Autoleather has been a supplier of genuine leather products to the automotive market for over 85 years. They are one of the top three global suppliers with 14 facilities and 5,000 employees dedicated to providing world class service to the world wide OEM and Tier1 customer base. GST mission is to be the most trusted automotive leather supplier with a relentless commitment to customer service and lean principles throughout the company. GST Autoleather new culture is focused on empowering employees through servant leadership to drive solutions for customers, community and environment.


In collaboration with

Supporting Partners


Media Partners & Supporting Media Partners