Our Team

Collaborative. Agile. Innovative.

Partnering begins within Avena, where we put a strong emphasis on working together to achieve success. Teams interact with each other freely – maintaining high standards, responding quickly to customers and adapting effectively and cohesively when seeking solutions.

Read more: Avena’s core values  and Commitments.


Avena’s leadership team guides the company and builds on the tradition of providing customers with safe, nutritious ingredients milled from sustainable crops.

James Del Frari
VP, Operations

Lesley McFarlane
VP, Finance

Margaret Hughes
VP, Sales and Marketing

Mike Gallais
Director, Procurement

Reid Nystuen
Director, Special Projects

Sneha Nathani
VP, Food Safety and Quality Assurance

Wayne Arsenault
Chief Executive Officer

Sales and Marketing

Avena’s sales and marketing team collaborate with customers to improve existing products and to create new, innovative foods and beverages. Do you have a specific application or ingredient challenge? Contact our team today to discover the best pulse and oat ingredients for your product development.​

Heather Chavez
Director, Sales and Business Development, Anaheim, CA

Jennifer Evancio
Director, Sales and Business Development, Vancouver, BC

Dan Fedsin
Director, Sales and Business Development, Toronto, ON

Morgan Gallais
Plant Manager and  Sales, Rowatt, SK

Laurie Gillies
Senior Associate, Marketing and Communications, Regina, SK

Yvonne Ha
Senior Associate, Sales and Marketing, Regina, SK

The Faces of Avena

Meet the teams behind the scenes who are key to providing our customers with high quality ingredients for safe, healthy diets and a sustainable world.

Logistics and Customer Service Teams

Our logistics and customer service teams direct and monitor orders from receipt of purchase order to delivery of Avena’s ingredients to our customer’s door.

Procurement Team

Avena’s grain and pulse buyers work directly with our farmers and processing teams in our facilities on the Canadian Prairies.

Operations Team

Our milling, processing and packaging teams across our three facilities have developed systems that guarantee high quality and safe  ingredients.

Research and Development Team

Our  research and development team works closely with all Avena teams –  operations, quality assurance, and sales and marketing teams – to provide our customers with customized solutions and application support.

Food Safety and Quality Assurance Team

Traceability is key. Our food safety and quality assurance team support customers and Avena’s facilities  with exemplary Food Safety and Quality Management Systems.

Administration Team

Administration includes finance and human resources. This team provides essential support to all staff  at Avena.

Faces of Avena Spotlight

Find out more about our company through the lens of individuals who make up our team. Each and every role at Avena is vital to maintaining high standards while delivering pulse and oat ingredients from the Canadian Prairies to customers worldwide. In this section, we shine the light on the people who deliver day-to-day on our vision to partner for safe, healthy diets in a sustainable world.​

Faces of Avena: Rod Lechner

Rod Lechner has been with Avena since 2008. As Head Miller of Avena Regina, he plays a key role in continually updating the plant and finding innovative ways to meet strict standards and ever-evolving customer needs. He recalls working side-by-side with the company’s founders to bring the dream of a certified gluten-free oat mill to life. As Avena prepares to open a second oat milling plant in nearby Rowatt, SK, Rod is ready to pivot as needed to keep Avena competitive in expanding global markets.

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Faces of Avena: Matt Speidel

As a key negotiator for grain procurement, Matt Speidel works closely with farmers and Avena’s Rowatt, Sask. processing team. Matt has been with Avena (and Best Cooking Pulses) for 17 years. We sat down with Matt to chat about his role at Avena and his perspective as the Grain Buyer and Operations Manager, Rowatt.

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