QOOT Cluster announces newly appointed board members

QOOT Cluster announced the newly appointed board members for the next two years. The board will be meeting regularly to ensure and validate the strategy of QOOT Cluster, meeting with different stakeholders, and recruiting potential new members working on innovation in the agri-food sector.

Nadine Khoury, the president of QOOT Cluster board and COO at Robinson Agri stated, “We, the founding members of QOOT Cluster, worked on strengthening and developing collaboration across the agricultural stakeholders from academia to the private sector, Industry, financial institutions and the Government. Participating in the launching of this cluster was a dream coming true, focusing on very important values, how to cooperate and not compete.”

She added: “It is about the evolution of  Lebanese Agriculture and Food industry, about how we can brand our tasty healthy fresh produce and food, about innovation and the introduction of new techniques, and about fulfilling Corporate Social Responsibility. QOOT Cluster is the platform which will eventually play an important role in building a greener, more innovative, more cooperative and more effective economy.”

The newly appointed board members include:

Nadine Khoury | President of the board, and COO at Robinson Agri

After graduating in 1995 with a B.S. in Agriculture Engineering from the American University of Beirut, Nadine Khoury went to the Kingdom of the Netherlands for a six months training before launching her roses and colored pepper project.
Equipped with an important operational experience, she started working at Robinson Agri, the company founded by her father Sami El Khoury. Armed with a solid belief in the potential of Lebanese Agriculture with the help of a highly specialized team, Nadine ascended the role of COO, directly contributing to the expansion of the Greenhouse & Seed businesses of Robinson Agri, and the establishment of Agrigrow – the professional plant nursery founded in partnership with Dutch company Grow Group, an international front runner and specialist in grafting vegetable plants.
Her focus on innovation pushed Robinson Agri to the forefront of advancing agriculture in Lebanon. Not stopping at agriculture, Nadine worked on the establishment of Elysee WISE in joint venture with Elysee – Cyprus, a factory for irrigation and potable water PE pipes and is actively heading its Business Development Unit.
Over the course of her career, Nadine has served as a member in different professional associations like LDBA, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists and Byblos Industrialists Assembly, and recently as board member in WLC and in Agrytech Program, also as the President of QOOT Agri-Food Innovation Cluster.

Youssef Rifai | Vice president of the board, and Operation Manager at Alrifai

As the operation manager at Alrifai, Youssef leads, trains, and develops the team serving the customers at the retail stores; he also coordinates with purchasing and manufacturing to ensure products availability including working with marketing to develop new products.

Paul Eid | Treasurer of the board, and Co-Founder and CFO of 209 Lebanese Wine

Paul Eid is a financial expert with more than 25 years of experience in Strategy and Financial Engineering, including but not limited to budgeting and planning, banking relations, fiscal & legal relations as well as running shared services units in the MENA region.
Paul contributed to the drafting of different fiscal regulations with the Lebanese Ministry of Finance Authorities mainly on the VAT front.
As a Co-Founder and CFO of 209 Lebanese Wine, Paul leads on the Financial Strategy and Operations of the company. He is also partnering and contributing in the financial management of different successful startups.
Paul translated his experience into coaching and training modules with local and regional accelerators such as Smart ESA Business School and CEWA middle East. He holds a B.S. in Banking and Finance and a master’s degree in Business Administration.

Hilbert Van der Werf | Supply Chain Manager at Brasserie Almaza

Hilbert Van der Werf held several positions at Heineken in the Kingdom of The Netherlands, DR Congo and Ethiopia before settling in Lebanon as the Supply Chain manager at Brasserie Almaza in January 2019.
His main expertise lies in brewing, quality, people and organizational development, and continuous improvement.
Hilbert studied Food Quality Management at Wageningen University from 2002-2008, at the time the Food Valley initiative started there.

Nabil Shuman | General Manager of Agriplus Offshore

Nabil Shuman has extensive experience in Management, Marketing, R&D, and Business Development in the Agri-food industry. He has held several managerial positions in poultry integrations in Lebanon, Yemen, and Sudan, and has served on the board of several institutions in Lebanon and abroad. Currently, he is the General Manager of Agriplus Offshore and the Chairman of the board of Brands Holding.

Rana Abdou | Agriculture Program Manager at Arcenciel

Rana Abdou is an agricultural engineer specialized in Environmental Engineering. After her graduation in 2012 from the Lebanese University, she went to Greece to undertake a 2-year Master of Science program at the Mediterranean agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICH), focusing on Sustainable Agriculture.
After coming back to Lebanon in 2014, she started working with Arcenciel at the Domaine of Taanayel as project coordinator within different projects such as hydroponic, postharvest, composting, etc. In 2015 she moved to Arcenciel’s headquarters as the Agriculture program manager.
Her main expertise lies in agricultural production, agro-food production, water quality, program development, process improvement, strategic planning, quality assurance, project management and organizational development.

Valerie Zakka | Founder of Zakka Technologies

Born into the world of packaging machinery, Valerie has since an early age developed a love for industry and trade, working alongside her late father for many years learning the challenges and requirements of serving customers in the various industrial fields.
Today, managing her own company – Zakka Technologies, Valerie offers innovative packaging and processing solutions and technical service, always finding ways to bring greater value to her customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.