The Team: Our Core Players
Each consultant at FTT has been personally involved in agriculture and small business ventures and has a depth of experience in these particular areas that is unique in the Northeast. We also maintain a network of skilled practitioners in other areas who can assist with projects as needed.
Elizabeth (Apple) Ahearn has over forty years of experience in agriculture, retail and wholesale food industries. As a former manager of three successful retail food cooperatives she brings significant experience in cooperative marketing; retail marketing; cooperative management; and business development. Ms. Ahearn is a founding member of the Cooperative Grocers Association of the Northeast and worked to establish a sister organization in the Southwest. She has managed both retail and wholesale marketing for a 60-acre organic farm, and was on the board of the Massachusetts Farmstand Association. She served as President of the Downtown Business Association in Greenfield, MA and has worked on a variety of community development projects.
Apple served as Executive Director of the Cooperative Development Institute where she oversaw all of CDI’s development activities. During her tenure she provided support for regional business development and expansion projects. Most recently she has developed marketing and business plans for an aquaculture businesses; retail food cooperatives; a renewable energy utility cooperative; and a value-added dairy cooperative. Ms. Ahearn is presently contracting with the Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program.
Christine Serrentino has worked in the field of business development, and marketing and sales (cooperative and retail) for over thirty years. She is a dedicated advocate for sustainable agriculture, an organic grower, former dairy farmer, and business owner. Christine has provided ongoing technical assistance to start-up agricultural, energy, and food cooperatives, as well as providing project management from start to launch. Prior to joining FTT Ms. Serrentino was the marketing and sales coordinator for Our Family Farms, a local dairy cooperative, and developed a strong local market for their milk. She has developed business plans and conducted feasibility studies, designed and implemented market surveys and studies, and worked on value added product development for producers in the apple, dairy and cranberry sectors. Christine provided business planning for Pioneer Valley Photovoltaics, a local worker owned cooperative; and is presently a point person for the Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program.
Patrick J. Deluhery is an attorney with thirty-five plus years of diverse legal experience in all aspects of business and corporate law, concentrating on service to cooperatives, non-profits, agriculture and small business. Mr. Deluhery was in private general practice, concentrating in business law and civil litigation, for five years in Boston before relocating to Western Mass. He became house counsel to the Farm Credit Banks of Springfield where he served for over twenty years working with agriculture, cooperatives, and rural utilities. He then became General Counsel and part of a five-person management team that started Farm Credit Financial Partners, Inc, a back-office support operation for Farm Credit System lending entities, which now serves lender-customers across the U. S. In 1996, Mr. Deluhery began his private law practice, concentrating in general business law, community-based enterprise development, agriculture, cooperatives, and non-profits. He has organized scores of new agricultural and community based businesses throughout the Northeast, many of which he still advises as they continue to grow. He also continues work as a regular consultant to the Farm Credit System and other corporate clients throughout the Northeast. Mr. Deluhery has given numerous presentations on cooperative law and on small and rural business issues at conferences sponsored by USDA, The Cooperative Development Institute and others, and he has written articles on various legal issues for cooperatives and rural businesses. His law office is in West Springfield, Mass.