Convention Speakers

Dennis Gartman

Mr. Gartman has been directly involved in the capital markets since August of 1974.  He has worked as an economist, trader and futures analyst.  In 1987, he began producing The Gartman Letter.  The Gartman Letter is a daily commentary on the global capital markets, distributed to subscribers daily.  The Letter addresses political, economic, and technical trends from both long-term and short-term perspectives.  Mr. Gartman appears often on CNBC Television and Bloomberg Radio, discussing commodities and the capital markets.

Willis Sparks

Willis Sparks is director of global macro at Eurasia Group, the world’s largest political risk consulting and advisory firm.  He is a thought leader within the firm on issues, trends, opportunities and risks created by political developments in major emerging market countries, US politics and foreign policy and current geopolitical conflicts.

Prior to joining Eurasia Group in 2005, Sparks worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he wrote on transnational terrorism and US national security.  He has appeared on the BBC, CNBC, CBS Evening News, CNN, Bloomberg, FOX, Yahoo, BNN and other networks.

Darryl Earnest

Darryl Earnest has served as the Deputy Administrator for the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Cotton and Tobacco Program (C&T) since 2005.  He has spent his entire government career with C&T since joining AMS in 1990.  Over his career, Darryl has served in many different areas of cotton operations and program management and in 2008 assumed direction of the AMS Tobacco Program when it joined Cotton as part of an agency merger.  As national director for both, he is responsible for all operations within Cotton and Tobacco divisions.  In 2011, Darryl moved his Washington DC headquarters office to Memphis, TN to streamline Program leadership.

Bruce Atherley

Prior to his assuming the role of Executive Director of CCI, Bruce was the Vice President of Global Marketing for KAO, Inc.,  a Tokyo-based global manufacturer of personal care and household products.  He also worked with the William Wrigley Jr. Company, serving as its vice president of North American Confections Marketing, and as president and general manager of Wrigley Canada. Prior to that, he held the position of vice president of Retail Marketing for the H.J. Heinz Company.

Bruce earned a B.S. in Accounting from Bucknell University and a MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Administration. He and his wife, Meredith, have three sons.

Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor became the Chairman and CEO of The Seam on August 1, 2015.  He is responsible for the development of The Seam’s technology from the beginning of the company in 2000 through 2011. As Vice President, Information Technology, he directed the design, implementation and development of the company’s global platforms for commodity trading, food trading, commodity loan management, and contract management.

Before his work in agricultural technology, Pryor was instrumental in the development of web and web banking technologies for Share One, Morgan Keegan and International Paper.

Gary Adams

Gary Adams is President and CEO of the National Cotton Council.  He began his career with the Council in 2002 as the Vice President of Economic and Policy Analysis.  His responsibilities include economic outlook for global cotton markets, as well as analyzing the impacts of farm and trade policies as they relate to the U.S. cotton industry.

Gary represented the cotton industry on USDA’s Advisory Committee on Trade from 2005 through 2011 and the NASS Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics from 2003 through 2009.