Presenters

Robynne Anderson
 
Robynne Anderson
President, Emerging Ag Inc.
Robynne Anderson has extensive experience in strategic development and issues management in the international agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain and particularly with farmer organisations. Founder and President of Canadian-based Emerging Ag Inc., her firm provides the secretariat for the International Agri-Food Network. In this capacity, she facilitates private sector engagement at the UN Committee on World Food Security which will be developing Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment over the next two years. She sits on the advisory boards of AgriCapital, BioEnterprise, and FMC as well as working for a broad range of agricultural organisations. Previously, Robynne established Issues Ink, a Canadian-based publishing company specializing in magazines on Canadian and American agriculture. She managed the company for over seventeen years until selling in 2008. Prior to founding Issues Ink, she was a legislative assistant to the then Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. She lives on a family seed farm in Dugald, Manitoba, Canada. Her volunteer work also includes a program in Zambia to teach orphans agricultural skills through schools.

 

Chantal Andriamilamina
 
Chantal Andriamilamina
Principal Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation
Chantal Andriamilamina is a Principal Investment Officer at the International Finance Corporation, and a member of IFC's Global Agribusiness team. She has over 15 years of experience financing private sector investments in emerging markets, across various regions and sectors, with a strong focus on agribusiness, consumer services, and infrastructure. She is currently leading IFC's business development and investment activities in the aquaculture and fisheries sectors. Prior to joining IFC, Mrs. Andriamilamina worked in management consulting and corporate finance advisory services in France. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, USA.

 

Trevor Armitage Trevor Armitage
Director - Farmland Acquisition, Due Diligence and Operations, Farmers Edge
Trevor has a Diploma in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba, majoring in crop production. Prior to joining Farmers Edge Precision Consulting, he was an agronomist for Ag retails throughout western Canada. In 2007 Trevor became a partner in Farmers Edge, with his main focus being on business development throughout the Eastern Prairies region of Canada. Trevor also owns and operates his own farm, using the technologies developed by Farmers Edge. Trevor is now responsible for managing Farmland Acquisition, Due Diligence and Operations in North America.

 

Linda Assante Linda Assante
Partner, Jasper Ridge Partners
Linda Assante is a Partner of Jasper Ridge Partners (formerly Oak Hill Investments) with primary responsibility for manager selection and portfolio construction in real assets. Prior to joining Jasper Ridge Partners, Linda was a Principal with The Townsend Group, responsible for advising clients on constructing real estate investment portfolios, including the sourcing and evaluation of investment managers. She was also responsible for maintaining the firm’s expertise with regard to Asian real estate. Previously, Linda was a Vice President of JPMorgan and its Head of West Coast Real Estate, Lodging & Gaming Investment Banking. Linda has served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of the Domestic, High Return and Global publications of the Institutional Real Estate Letter, is an active member of the Pension Real Estate Association, and currently serves as a board member of the James Campbell Company, a private real estate company based in Hawaii. Linda holds a B.A. degree in Economics & Business from Lafayette College.

 

Carl Atkin
 
Carl Atkin
Owner & Co-Founder, KinnAgri Limited
Carl Atkin is Head of Research and Consultancy at KinnAgri Limited; an international agribusiness management and consultancy business and part of the Investment AB Kinnevik Group. In the agri-investment arena he has experience across Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union including studies on investment opportunities and working on implementation and deployment strategies, encompassing asset selection and on-going management. Carl has a first class Honours Degree in Agriculture and Farm Business Management from Newcastle University (2000) and an MBA (2007). He is Deputy Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Management and a Member of the International Farm Management Association.

 

Luiz Roberto Maldonado Barcelos
 
Luiz Roberto Maldonado Barcelos
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Agricola Famosa Ltda.
Mr. Barcelos is a strategic visionary with a clear sense of purpose and urgency when faced with diverse situational challenges during periods of both declining sales and rapid growth. He is skilled at establishing operational excellence within culturally diverse environments, translating conceptual models into specific growth strategies, and planning/executing multi-faceted global business development campaigns designed to improve market share, gross revenue and EBITDA. Prior to founding Agricola Famosa, Mr. Barcelos was a Partner with the law firm of Batista & Barcelos and a Partner with Alba, Comercial & Export LLP, both in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He received his law degree from the University of Sao Paulo in 1987.

 

Wade Barnes Wade Barnes
Chief Executive Officer, Farmers Edge
Mr. Barnes has been providing crop production consulting services to large farm clients in Western Canada for more than 15 years. In 2005, he founded Farmers Edge, now the largest agricultural consulting firm in Canada, which specializes in precision agriculture, remote sensing and high production agriculture techniques in Canada, United States, Russia and Australia. Farmers Edge also provides land management services to off farm investors such as in-depth land assessments using remote sensing. In 2010, Farmers Edge in co-operation with Dow Agro Sciences created the largest identity preserved production system in Eastern Europe. Using Farmers Edge technology, the project is focused on allowing large food companies to monitor their contracted crops remotely from their off site locations anywhere in the world. Farmers Edge is currently developing systems that will allow investors, farm management and end users to have more access to information on a real time basis.

 

Rajesh Behal Rajesh Behal
Chief Investment Officer, Global Agribusiness, International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Rajesh Behal is a Chief Investment Officer in the Global Agribusiness Department of IFC and leads equity investments and debt financings globally in the sector. He has led and overseen several IFC investments in the beverage sector, PE agribusiness funds, farming/primary production and consumer foods across East and SE Asia, Latin America and Africa. He has spent 10 years working with the IFC. He holds an MBA from Stanford University Business School.

 

Michael Bertram
 
Michael Bertram
Director of Private Equity, NCH Advisors Ukraine
Michael Bertram, Director of Private Equity Investments, is based in Kiev and has been with NCH since 2003. He is responsible for identifying, financing, and developing NCH’s investments in Ukraine, and in certain sectors in Russia, Moldova, and Albania. He also oversees certain existing NCH investments in these countries. Prior to joining NCH, Mr. Bertram was the Vice President and Head of Industry Group at ABB Equity Ventures, where he oversaw investments aggregating $750 million over six years. Before that he was Business Development Manager responsible for private infrastructure projects at ABB. Prior to that, Mr. Bertram was Cost and Risk Manager in ABB’s power generation division. Mr. Bertram received a Diploma in Nuclear Engineering from the Odessa Technical Institute and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Mr. Bertram is a German citizen.

 

Ryan Bisch
 
Ryan Bisch
Principal, Mercer
Ryan is a Principal and Market Leader for the Alternatives Boutique in Canada, a unit within Mercer’s Investment business. Located in Toronto, he leads the manager research and generation of intellectual capital for alternative assets in Canada, spanning hedge fund strategies to private market strategies including infrastructure and real estate. He is also the global director for exotic alternatives research and lead researcher for timber and farmland strategies in North America. Additionally, Ryan works with a small number of institutions providing advice on alternative investment portfolio structuring and manager selection.

 

Anric Blatt
 
Anric Blatt
Chairman, Global Fund Exchange Group
Anric Blatt is the founder and chairman of The Global Fund Exchange Group, a multi-manager and white label fund management business focused on mega themes and vital assets such as water, food, energy and other scarce resources. He is the co-portfolio manager of the AquaTerra and Earth Wind & Fire funds and every year interviews hundreds of specialist portfolio managers and traders active in water, food and energy. Previously he held positions as CIO of the Infiniti Capital Group in Zurich and before that spent a decade in Asia with renowned firms like Kenmar, Forsyth Partners and Horwath Financial. Over the past 22 years, Anric has developed an acute interest and expertise in a wide range of subject matters including history, geopolitics, commodities, technology and finance. He has held active roles on over 50 investment companies, has completed due diligence on thousands of hedge fund investments and has now dedicated his business interests to providing global investors with sustainable investment solutions that will enable them to leave a profitable legacy for future generations.

 

Jim Budzynski
 
Jim Budzynski
Venture Partner, Open Prairie Ventures
Dr. Jim Budzynski is a Venture Partner with ag-tech venture capital firm Open Prairie Ventures and is the Managing Principal of MacroGain Partners, a Carmel, Indiana firm focused on structuring venture and private equity investments in companies in the agricultural, food, and green energy industries. He has provided strategic counsel to dozens of agribusinesses, from start-ups to major multinationals, and frequently has provided strategic technology and market sector assessments to both private equity and venture capital investors. Jim earlier spent 12 years in a variety of positions with Monsanto including product management, marketing, and strategic planning. He is a well-known strategic thinker in the agri-business sector and has published numerous articles and delivered keynote speeches at leading conferences nationwide. Jim grew up in an agribusiness family and has over 30 years of direct agrifood and related markets experience; he holds a B.S. in Agronomy from Purdue University and earned his M.S and Ph.D. in Soil Chemistry from the University of Arizona.

 

Robert J. Calcaterra
 
Robert J. Calcaterra
Managing Partner, StartUp Partners International LLC
Dr. Robert J. Calcaterra is currently a principal in StartUp Partners International that is involved in the start up, structuring, managing, and financing of very early stage companies. Between 2009 and 2012 StartUp Midwest has successfully started, organized, and funded nine companies throughout the Midwest. Dr. Calcaterra serves on the board of directors at CardiaLen, Inc., Euclises Phaarmaceuticals, and SARmont,LLC (a CRO), and has been involved in raising $45M for these companies. He is President of the St. Louis Arch Angels, which has invested over $35M in 35+ companies since 2005. Dr. Calcaterra brought 19 years of experience in incubator management to his position as president and chief executive officer of Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise until July 1, 2008, where he led efforts to commercialize technologies in the plant and life sciences by recruiting and nurturing young entrepreneurs with promising ideas and relevant business expertise. The Nidus Center nurtured 20 client companies and won two consecutive national awards (2005-06) for Incubator Client Company of the Year, and hosted the National Business Incubation Association international conference in 2006. Dr. Calcaterra also taught graduate courses in entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, Arizona State University and Washington University. Dr. Calcaterra did his graduate and undergraduate work in chemical engineering at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with BS and MS degrees. He received his D.Sc. in chemical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and later completed Harvard University's Industrial Research Institute Executive Management Seminar.

 

Charles Cleland
 
Charles Cleland
SBIR National Program Leader, USDA/NIFA
Charles Cleland received his B.A. from Wabash College in 1961, and a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Stanford University in 1966. He spent two years at Michigan State University (1966-68) as a postdoctoral research fellow studying the hormonal control of flowering. He continued his research on the physiology and biochemistry of flowering as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Harvard University (1968-74), Visiting Assistant Professor of Botany at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1974-75), and Plant Physiologist at the Smithsonian Institution Environmental Research Center (1975-87). During this period, he authored over 30 scientific publications. Dr. Cleland joined the USDA as Director of the SBIR program in May of 1987. In 1998 he received a National Tibbetts Award in recognition of his contributions to the SBIR program. Today he continues to work with the USDA SBIR program as one of six National Program Leaders with responsibility for different parts of the SBIR Program.

 

Disque Deane
 
Disque Deane, Jr.
Chief Investment Officer & Co-Founder, Water Asset Management
Mr. Deane has spent the past two decades in the water industry with a focus on water resources, infrastructure development and general water investing. Prior to co-founding Water Asset Management LLC, he founded and held senior management positions as the President of Layne Water Development & Storage (a joint venture with Layne Christensen Company: LAYN:NASD) and as Senior Vice President of Vidler Water Company (a subsidiary of Pico Holdings: PICO:NASD). In 2011, Mr. Deane joined the Board of Advisors of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. Mr. Deane began his professional career with Lazard in Paris and London. Mr. Deane graduated from Duke University in 1982 and from I.N.S.E.A.D in 1985.

 

Philippe de Laperouse
 
Philippe de Laperouse
Managing Director, HighQuest Partners
Philippe de Lapérouse is Managing Director at HighQuest Partners. He has more than 20 years experience in senior leadership positions with global companies in the agro-industrial and value-added food chain as well as in private equity investing. Previously, as director of business development for Bunge North America Inc., he was responsible for the company’s efforts to expand its industrial operations into Mexico and the Caribbean Basin, biotech and e-commerce initiatives and public relations/corporate communications (before and after Bunge’s successful IPO in 2001). Mr. de Lapérouse is a director of Sodrugestvo, the largest independent soybean crusher in Europe with its head office and main production facility in the Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. Mr. de Lapérouse received an MBA from The Darden School of Business at The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia and a BA from Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut.

 

Greg Duerksen
 
Greg Duerksen
President, Kincannon & Reed
Mr. Duerksen is president of Kincannon & Reed, a leading boutique retained executive search firm focused exclusively on the interrelated realms of food, agribusiness, and life sciences. The firm counts among its clients many of the world’s most important companies and non-profit institutions, and has placed senior executives in all functions in all corners of the globe. Kincannon & Reed’s motto is, “We recruit leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy.” Mr. Duerksen joined Kincannon & Reed in 2001, and in 2007, together with two other managing directors, acquired the firm from its founder. Before entering executive search, he was a senior international executive. As CEO, he led the successful turnarounds of a Pepsi-Cola® bottling company in Mexico and of Latin America's largest fertilizer producer and exporter. Prior to these posts, he was Vice President, Marketing & Development of Terra Industries. There he had broad strategic planning and acquisition responsibilities and directed several of the organization's key product lines, as well as product development and technical support for the Fortune 500 company. As chairman of the Food Safety Committee of the Chemical Producers & Distributors Association, he twice testified in Congress on food safety issues. In his early career he was a consultant for McKinsey & Company and as an Associates Fellow wrote case studies for Harvard Business School's acclaimed Agribusiness program. He received a B.A. from Augustana College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is a native of South Dakota, where he grew up on a mixed grain and livestock farm and experienced early career failure as a classical musician.

 

Martin Duhart Martin Duhart
Lead Investment Officer, Inter-American Development Bank
Mr. Duhart is a Senior Investment Officer, based in Montevideo, Uruguay, in the Corporate Finance Division of the Structured and Corporate Finance (“SCF”) Department at the IADB. He joined IADB in 2003, serving in the Restructuring Unit at SCF until 2007, and staying in Washington DC until May 2008. In the period 2007-13 he leaded the financing of (i) Peru LNG for US$ 400 million (Peru); (ii) Adeco for US$ 80 million (Argentina); (iii) Noble Argentina, for US$ 135 million (Argentina); (iv) Loma Negra, for US$ 125 million (Argentina); (v) Montes del Plata for US$ 454 million (Uruguay); (vi) Estancias del Lago for US$ 65 million (Uruguay); and, Tupi for US$ 50 million (Paraguay). One of the areas of expertise in the period 2007-13 has been agri-business. Prior to IADB, Mr. Duhart worked at Fleet Boston in Argentina during 2000-03 in debt restructuring and investment banking. From 1996 to 2000, Mr. Duhart served as Financial Manager in two utilities: Transportadora de Gas del Sur SA (1996-1999), the largest gas transporter company in Argentina, and Azurix Buenos Aires SA (1999-2000), a water and wastewater former utility in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Previously, between 1988 and 1996 Mr. Duhart was part of Bank Boston, heading different corporate banking positions. Mr. Duhart graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) with a degree as Certified Public Accountant and in Business Administration; he also obtained a master in Finance from the Centro de Estudios Macroeconómicos de Argentina.

 

Brad Farquhar Brad Farquhar
Founding Partner, Assiniboia Capital Corp.; Chief Financial Officer, Input Capital Corp.
Brad Farquhar is a founding partner at Assiniboia Capital Corp and Executive Vice-President and CFO of Input Capital Corp. Brad is a trained financial planner and has completed the Canadian Securities Course of the Canadian Securities Institute. He received a Master of Public Administration degree in Electoral Governance from Griffith University in Australia, studied political science at Carleton University, and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts at Providence College. Brad was involved in Canadian politics for 13 years – first as a senior advisor to two party leaders, and then as a candidate for Canada’s Parliament in 2006.

Brad is a Director of Input Capital Corp., Greenfield Carbon Offsetters Inc., an agro-forestry start-up involved in the creation of carbon credits, and is Chair of the Board at SIM Canada. In his spare time, Brad likes to travel with his family to destinations which are off the beaten path, like Niger, Nicaragua, and Mongolia. Next stop, Uzbekistan

 

Jose W. Fernandez Jose W. Fernandez
Assistant Secretary, Economics & Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Mr. Fernandez serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. He leads the Bureau that is responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development, and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for U.S. businesses and the private sector overseas. Nominated by President Obama on August 6, 2009, Mr. Fernandez was sworn in as Assistant Secretary on December 1, 2009. Mr. Fernandez came to the State Department after having served as a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins, and Global Chair of the firm's Latin America practice. For nearly three decades, his practice has focused on Latin America, Europe and Africa, advising clients on international mergers and acquisitions, financings, trade and other matters as the economies of these regions have evolved. Mr. Fernandez was named one of the "World's Leading Lawyers" by Chambers Global for his M&A and corporate expertise, an "Expert" in International Financial Law Review's "Guide to the World's Leading Project Finance Lawyers", and one of the "World's Leading Privatization Lawyers" by Euromoney Publications. He is recognized as a leading Corporate Finance attorney in the Latin American market in the Chambers Global 2008 legal guide and a leading Latin America attorney in the Chambers U.S. 2008 legal guide. He was featured by Hispanic Business Magazine in its "100 Influentials List" for 2006 and 2007.

 

Ben Fishman
 
Benjamin Fishman
Managing Principal, Arlon Group LLC
Benjamin Fishman is a Managing Principal of Arlon Group, the investment arm of Continental Grain Company, and is focused on the activities of the Arlon food and agriculture investment program, which targets investments across the food and agriculture value chain and seeks to provide long-term, growth capital and to fund small and mid-market buyouts for companies. Mr. Fishman began his career at Continental Grain Company in 1998. Mr. Fishman left Continental Grain Company to co-found The Grow Network in 2000, which was sold to the McGraw-Hill Companies in 2004. In 2005, Mr. Fishman was a National Finalist for the White House Fellowship, and currently, Mr. Fishman is a Board Member of Excelline Food Products, LLC, Grandpoint Capital, Inc., K-Mac Holdings Corp., and Rose Displays Ltd. and a Member of the Alumni Council of Collegiate School in New York City. Mr. Fishman received his Bachelor of Arts degree, Cum Laude, from Princeton University.

 

Matthew Fitzmaurice
 
Matthew Fitzmaurice
Founder, Managing Partner, & Co-Portfolio Manager, AWJ Capital Partners, LLC
Matthew Fitzmaurice is a Founder, Managing Partner, and Co-Portfolio Manager of AWJ Capital Partners, LLC. From 2002 to 2005, he was a founder and co-portfolio manager of a long/short equity hedge fund, Talaria Partners, LLC. Prior to Talaria, Mr. Fitzmaurice was with Amerindo Investment Advisors, Inc. (an investment advisor focused on private and public market emerging-growth companies) where he developed and designed hedged products strategies and managed a venture capital fund. From 1989 through 1998, Mr. Fitzmaurice was with the Minneapolis investment bank, Wessels, Arnold & Henderson, where he became a partner and specialized in emerging growth stocks and was responsible for servicing many of the industry’s best performing hedge funds and dedicated short sellers. In addition to his public market experience, Mr. Fitzmaurice has extensive experience in late stage venture capital. His combined hedge fund and venture capital experience is further enhanced by his legal training. Mr. Fitzmaurice received his BA from Georgetown University in 1982 and his JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 1986. Mr. Fitzmaurice resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

 

Blair Fortner
 
Blair Fortner
Director of Economics, Monsanto
Blair Fortner serves as Monsanto’s chief economist and a member of the company’s global strategy team. His work provides the basis for examination of future global growth opportunities for the company. Prior to joining Monsanto, his career included positions at the US Department of State, the US House of Representatives, Citigroup and the US Soybean Export Council. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Arkansas.

 

Hélio Mauro França
 
Hélio Mauro França
Director, Brazilian Enterprise for Planning and Logistics
Hélio Mauro França is 56 and graduated in Law with professional experience in international negotiations, foreign trade, and transport and public policy development. Currently, he is a Director at the Brazilian Enterprise for Planning and Logistics, a federal company responsible for the implementation of the Brazilian High Speed Train and the National Plan for Integrated Logistics. He acted as Executive Superintendent of the National Land Transport Agency – ANTT, an indirect administrative unit of the Brazilian Government, from September 2008 until September 2012, being responsible for the high speed rail project and the areas of international technical and finance cooperation and international relations. He also was Managing Partner and Business Consultant for Oyo & França Business Consulting Ltd, specialized in international marketing, foreign trade and business strategy, whose customers were corporations and professional associations, government agencies and national organizations and government agencies from foreign countries.

 

Ari Gendason
 
Ari Gendason
Managing Principal & Portfolio Manager, Arlon Group LLC
Ari Gendason is a Managing Principal and Portfolio Manager of Arlon Group, the investment arm of Continental Grain Company, and is focused on the activities of Arlon Opportunities Investors, a long/short equity strategy that invests in food and agricultural public equities and select agricultural commodity futures. Mr. Gendason joined Continental Grain Company in 2004. Prior to this, Mr. Gendason worked at Greenbridge Capital, RSL Communications and CIBC Oppenheimer.Mr. Gendason received his both his Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting and his Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Aki Georgacacos
 
Aki Georgacacos
Co-Founder & Managing Director, Avrio Capital
Aki Georgacacos (CA, CFA, CF, Partner) is a co-founder and Managing Director of Avrio Capital. Prior to co-founding Avrio Capital, Aki was a managing Director of FCC Ventures where he led the majority of the fund's investments with a focus on various segments of industrial life science, food and agricultural technology sectors. With over 12 years of experience and as a member of the Board of over twenty portfolio companies, he has played an active role in all facets of strategic planning, corporate development, and overall shareholder value optimization. Before he became a venture capitalist, Aki was a Vice-President at Deloitte Corporate Finance where he advised private and public companies on financing strategies, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, and strategies for maximization of shareholder value. At Deloitte, Aki led numerous domestic and international assignments in the agriculture, food, biotechnology, oil and gas service, and health care sectors. Previous investments include Agribiotics (Acquired by Merck), Walker Ltd. (IPO), Brookside Foods Ltd. (Acquired by Hershey), Ensyn Technologies, Botaneco Corp. (BOT-V), Ascenta Health Care, and MCN Bio-products. Aki is a Chartered Accountant, CFA charterholder and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

 

Patrick Ghidirim Patrick Ghidirim
Managing Director, NCH Capital Russia
Patrick Ghidirim, Managing Director, Private Equity Investments, is based in Moscow. He joined NCH in 2007 and has built NCH’s portfolio of agribusiness assets from start-up into one of Russia’s leading agribusiness players. Patrick has extensive experience in transaction execution, strategy development, and entrepreneurial management in commodities and other cyclical industries. Patrick started his career with JP Morgan in the Oil & Gas M&A group in New York. He expanded his industry expertise to include industrials, business services, telecoms and IT at Goldman Sachs and Berman Capital in San Francisco in the late 1990s – early 2000s. Patrick returned to the commodity industry in 2004 when he joined Bunge, one of the world’s largest agribusiness and food product companies. As part of the Global Strategic Planning group, he headed the investment analysis of projects in fertilizer extraction and processing in Latin America, biodiesel and bioethanol in North America and Western Europe, and was a key contributor in the development of Bunge’s global entry strategy into the sugar industry. After moving with Bunge to Moscow in 2006, he led the execution of acquisitions and corporate strategy development in agribusiness and food processing in Russia and Eastern Europe. Patrick received his BA in Economics from Connecticut College, his Masters in Economics and Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

 

John Goodreds John Goodreds
Senior Director, Global Private Markets, TIAA-CREF
John Goodreds is a director and member of the natural resources team for the TIAA-CREF organization. Mr. Goodreds is responsible for identifying and executing agricultural infrastructure and value added investment opportunities. Previously, he was a member of TIAA-CREF’s alternative investments team focused on buyout funds and associated equity and mezzanine co-investments. Prior to that, Mr. Goodreds spent seven years leading debt transactions on the Corporate Private Placements team and two years with the High-Yield Debt team. He joined the TIAA-CREF organization in 1996. Mr. Goodreds has 22 years of investment experience including a position at National Westminster Bank where he sourced and structured financings for middle market companies. Mr. Goodreds holds a B.A. in economics from Colgate University and an M.B.A. in finance from Columbia Business School.

 

Alyssa Grikscheit Alyssa Grikscheit
Partner, Sidley Austin
Alyssa A. Grikscheit, a partner in the New York office, has a diverse corporate practice that currently emphasizes complex transactions and alternative investment funds. Her experience also includes private equity and hedge funds, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances and restructurings. Ms. Grikscheit is fluent in Spanish and French and has extensive experience in international transactions, particularly those involving Latin America and other emerging markets such as China and India. In addition, Ms. Grikscheit represents sponsors of alternative investment funds in fund formation and other aspects of their operations, including distressed debt, energy, real estate opportunity, agribusiness, microfinance and emerging market funds. Ms. Grikscheit is ranked in Chambers Global, Chambers USA and Chambers Latin America. Ms. Grikscheit actively represents a nonprofit organization in establishing and capitalizing microfinance institutions in underserved emerging markets on a pro bono basis.

 

John Hamer John Hamer
Investment Director, Monsanto Growth Ventures
Dr. Hamer is Investment Director for Monsanto Growth Ventures, with offices in San Francisco, Boston, and St. Louis. Monsanto is a leading provider of seeds and technology to farmers worldwide and was recently listed in Forbes magazine as one the world’s top 10 most innovative companies. Monsanto Growth Ventures, through investment and partnership, seeks to foster the growth of an innovation supply chain that includes researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and emerging high-technology companies. Dr. Hamer’s career spans more than three decades of research, senior management, and investment experience in the life sciences. Most recently, he spent nine years with Burrill & Company, a leading life sciences merchant bank with activities in venture capital, merchant banking, and media. Prior to joining Burrill & Co., Dr. Hamer was the CSO and later CEO of Paradigm Genetics/ICORIA, a leading genomics and ag-biotechnology company that completed its IPO on NASDAQ in 2000 and was later acquired by Monsanto. Dr. Hamer received his PhD in Microbiology from the University of California-Davis and was a visiting scientist in DuPont’s Central Research & Development Group. He later joined Purdue University and rose to the rank of full Professor. He was the recipient of several national awards in the United States, including the David & Lucille Packard Award, and the National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship. At Purdue, Dr. Hamer’s research focused on crop diseases, he pioneered molecular approaches to disease management and control, and worked with numerous international agencies in China, the Philippines, and South America. Dr. Hamer is a passionate believer in the growth opportunity that is emerging in the agricultural value chain in food, health, energy, materials, and chemicals.

 

Steven Hartmeier Steven Hartmeier
Chief Executive Officer, Vestaron Corporation
Hartmeier is President / CEO of Vestaron, which is developing a new generation of insecticides derived from peptides produced by nature. Previously Hartmeier was CEO of NGB Markets, an agricultural technology company. Prior to NGB, Hartmeier was President of Suterra LLC and served as Vice President, Commercial Products and a Corporate Officer, for Verdant Brands, Inc. and President of Consep, Inc. Hartmeier began his career in Sales and Marketing positions with Monsanto Company, and received his B.S. in Plant Science from the University of California, Davis. In addition, Hartmeier is a member of the Economic Development for Central Oregon, Stable of Experts; a ten year member and Board member of the BioPesticide Industry Alliance (BPIA), serving as Secretary/Treasurer, and Committee Chair for the past seven years; a past Board Member of the California Agricultural Production Consultants Association (CAPCA), receiving the Member of the Year Award in 1993, as well as serving as State Legislative Chairman, 1990-1994, and a past member of the UC Davis AGR Alumni Corporation, Board of Directors, 1983-1988

 

Henrik Heiberg Henrik Heiberg
Vice President, Finance & Treasury/Finance Director, Marine Harvest ASA?
Henrik Heiberg is the VP Finance & Treasury/Finance Director of Marine Harvest ASA. Before joining Marine Harvest at its inception in 2006, Mr. Heiberg came from investment banking in London and Oslo, where he was responsible for on a large number of M&A transactions in the Nordic region. Mr Heiberg holds a MSc. from the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) and has a Major in Finance from the Stockholm School of Economics.

 

Jud Hill Jud Hill
Managing Director, NGP Global Adaptation Partners
Mr. Hill joined NGP in 2010 and serves as a Managing Director of the NGP funds. He is an industry leader in the water and environmental services sector. He has over 30 years of experience in both water and environmental service company operations as well as over a decade of private equity experience in the water industry. He leads NGP's efforts in sourcing, execution and monitoring of opportunities in the water and environmental services sectors. Prior to joining NGP, Mr. Hill was a Managing Partner with Summit Global Management, Inc. where he was responsible for all private equity investments in the water sector. From 1999 to 2008, he served as a Managing Director of Aqua International Partners and then The Halifax Group, both affiliates of the Texas Pacific Group. Mr. Hill received a Bachelor of Science in Biology / Chemistry in 1977 from Edinboro State University and a Bachelor and Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering in 1979 from the University of Pittsburgh. He serves as a Trustee of the Water Keeper Alliance.

 

Joshua Hofheimer Joshua Hofheimer
Partner, Sidley Austin
Joshua T. Hofheimer’s practice focuses on representing clients in agriculture, life sciences and information technology sectors. Notably, he represented Monsanto Company in the groundbreaking 2007 Yield and Stress Collaboration Agreement with BASF Plant Sciences LLC to develop high yield and stress tolerant transgenic plant products. From 2008-2010, Mr. Hofheimer was the CEO/Managing Director of Australia’s first publicly listed ag-biotech company, Hexima Limited (HXL:ASX). While at Hexima, Mr. Hofheimer led the company’s successful effort to forge a commercial path for its disease control platform, establishing relationships with Pioneer Hi-Bred, Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, and Australian research centers. Mr. Hofheimer also currently serves on the board of directors of the Australian Center for Plant Functional Genomics, advising on international commercial and strategic development.

 

Tim Hornibrook
 
Tim Hornibrook
Co-Head, Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management
Tim is the Co-Head of Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management (MAFM). Tim has worked for Macquarie for the past 12 years and over the last 9 years has been focussed on agribusiness initiatives. MAFM encompasses over 3.6m hectares of land purchased / leased, developed and operated by Macquarie for agribusiness investments across sheep, beef cattle, and dairy cattle production, row crops, and with prior experience in horticulture, viticulture, and forestry.

Tim is a Director of:
  • Paraway Pastoral Company(PPCo) - the largest combined on-farm producer of sheep and cattle in Australia
  • Lawson Grains - owns and operates row crop properties across diverse geographical regions of Australia
  • Cruzeiro do Sul Grãos (CDSG). CSDG - operates row crop properties across diverse geographical regions of Brazil
  • Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management Ltd
  • Macquarie Farm Services
Tim has prior experience as a director of Harris Dairies.

Tim holds a Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude)majoring in Psychology from Tulane University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of New South Wales, and Diploma of Financial Planning from Deakin University.

 

Joe Hudson
 
Joe Hudson
Managing Director, One Earth Capital
Joe Hudson is a Managing Director of One Earth Capital, a venture firm that specializes in Agriculture. He has more than 20 years of corporate and philanthropic experience in financial services, wireless technologies and environmental industries. He has advised companies in strategic visioning, operational efficiencies, funding, and growth opportunities. Joe has worked with companies such as Barclays Global Investors, Sprint, Wells Fargo Bank, Environmental Defense Fund and the Bureau of Reclamation. He has also worked with numerous Fortune 500 leadership teams, venture capitalists, and smaller entrepreneurial companies across six continents.

 

Eric Jackson
 
Eric Jackson
Chief Sustainability Officer, President Ag Services, Conservis Corp
Mr. Jackson has 30 years of experience in commodity risk management, supply-chain, and international trading. With business experience in 60+ countries, Jackson's former positions include; Manager, Market Development for Pillsbury-Special Commodities Group; CEO & Chairman of International Proteins Corporation; member of the Board of Directors & SVP of The Scoular Company. Along the way he also co-founded several other companies, notably Twin City Milling (animal feed business) and Global Risk Management (corporate commodity risk management advisory service). Jackson participated in the Executive-in-Residence program at the University of Illinois, served as the Senior Carbon Expert at the University of Illinois and was formerly the CEO-in-Residence for Renewable Energy with the University of Minnesota Office for Technology Commercialization. Jackson currently serves on the US Advisory Committee for the Institute of Agriculture based in Iringa, Tanzania. Mr. Jackson has a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has participated in numerous senior executive programs at Harvard, MIT and Rockhurst universities.

 

Brian Jordan
 
Brian Jordan
Vice President & Director, Global Corporate Development, MWH Global
Brian Jordan is a Vice President and Director of Global Corporate Development for MWH Global, a leading provider of consulting, engineering, and construction solutions for the wet infrastructure industry. In this capacity, Brian is responsible for coordinating and leading a variety of the company’s growth efforts including strategic partnerships and mergers and acquisitions, as well as organic growth initiatives aligned with the company’s strategic plan. Prior to MWH, Brian was a Senior Vice President at a Fortune 500 company where he was the executive responsible for profit and loss, sales and marketing efforts, and oversight of strategy and operations for the firm’s water business in a region that extended from the Rocky Mountains to continental Asia. Brian has been active in professional associations throughout his career. He has served on the Board of Directors and been elected, nominated, or appointed to leadership and chair positions for a half-dozen different industry organizations. He is also an active author and public speaker having published or presented several dozen papers over the past decade. A licensed professional engineer in California, Brian has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, and completed graduate studies in the same field at Virginia Tech.

 

Bruce Kahn
 
Bruce Kahn
Sustainability Management Program, Columbia University
Bruce has over 25 years of experience in environmental and investment research and management. Bruce was a Director in Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management division where he acted as an investment strategist conducting high-level analytical research on sustainable investing including clean tech, water and agricultural-based investment strategies as well as ESG/SRI strategies. Prior to that, he managed assets at Smith Barney's Private Wealth Management Group in sustainable investments including agri-business and clean tech for Foundation/Endowment, HNWI and Institutional clients. Bruce currently serves as a Trustee and member of the Finance Committee of the Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation, a US endowment and funder of sustainable agriculture organizations in the US. He also serves as a member of the Board of Visitors for the Gaylord Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is on the Technical Review Panel of National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Recently Bruce has joined the Advisory Council of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and serves on the Advisory Panel of Mercer Investment Consulting and Management’s Sustainable Opportunities Fund. Bruce holds a BA in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut; MS in Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures from Auburn University; PhD in Land Resources from University of Wisconsin, Madison; recipient of both a J. William Fulbright Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Fellowship in ecological economics. Bruce currently is a Lecturer at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in the Sustainability Management Program.

 

Mark Kahn
 
Mark Kahn
Co-Founder & Managing Director, Omnivore Partners
Mark Kahn is the co-founder of Omnivore Partners, a venture fund investing in early stage agricultural technology ("agtech") companies in India. Omnivore supports agtech businesses that are developing solutions to improve farm productivity, support agricultural sustainability, and modernize agribusiness supply chains. Mark is a Director for multiple Omnivore-backed startups, including Skymet (India's leading private weather forecaster), FrontalRain Technologies (cloud-based agribusiness supply chain software) and Arohan Foods (India's first integrated pork processor). Previously, Mark was the Executive Vice President (Strategy & Business Development) at Godrej Agrovet, one of India's foremost diversified agribusiness companies. At Godrej Agrovet, Mark was responsible for corporate strategy, M&A, R&D, and new business incubation. He served as a Director on multiple joint ventures, including Godrej Seeds & Genetics Limited, Godrej Gold Coin Aquafeed Limited, and Likwely (Uruguay) SA. Mark joined Godrej Agrovet from Syngenta, where he managed initiatives in corporate venture capital, emerging markets strategy, and business portfolio planning. He began his career as a strategy consultant with PFM. Mark earned a BA (Honors) from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a Baker Scholar.

 

John Kawola
 
John Kawola
Chief Executive Officer, Harvest Automation
Prior to Harvest, John was the CEO of Z Corporation, one of the early pioneers of the 3D printing industry. Prior to Z Corporation, John held technical and marketing positions at Albany International and General Electric. John holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Renssaeler and an MBA from Union College. John is a Director at Spaceclaim, a 3D Modeling software company.

 

Ejnar Knudsen
 
Ejnar Knudsen
Managing Member, AGR Partners
Ejnar Knudsen has invested in agriculture for over 20 years. As the Managing Member of AGR, Mr. Knudsen currently oversees the management of over $140mm in long-term capital focused on investments in the food and agriculture industries. In 1998 Mr. Knudsen co-founded Craton Capital LLC and has since served as its Portfolio Manager investing in public and private companies. From 2009 to 2011 Mr. Knudsen was Co-Portfolio Manager of Passport Capital's Agriculture Fund. From 2001 to 2007 Mr. Knudsen served as Executive Vice President of Western Milling, a startup feed milling company that grew to over $1 billion in sales. In addition, Mr. Knudsen served in executive roles at various companies owned by Western Milling or its shareholders. These positions included: Executive Vice President of Cilion, a startup ethanol company with over $200 million of equity funding; Executive Vice President of Phoenix Bio Industries, a startup ethanol company that was built and sold; and, Managing Member of Cedar Valley Farms, a large dairy located in Iowa. He also served as an advisor to Limoneira (LMNR), a California producer of lemons, avocados, and oranges; AdecoAgro (AGRO), an Argentina and Brazil based diversified agribusiness and farming company; and, TetraVitae Bioscience, a development stage producer of bio-butanol and bio-acetone. From 1991 to 2001 Mr. Knudsen served as Vice President for Rabobank in New York managing a loan portfolio, venture capital investments and corporate advisory services in the food, agriculture and commodities sectors. Mr. Knudsen received his BS from Cornell University and is a CFA charter holder. He is a member of the Farm Foundation and is on the board of directors for the California Ag Leadership Foundation and Materra, a special situations farming company. Mr. Knudsen lives with his wife, Elizabeth, and their four children in Exeter California.

 

Bryan B. Kornegay
 
Bryan B. Kornegay
President & Chief Financial Officer, Bionitrogen Corporation
Mr. Kornegay has over 17 years of accounting, finance and private equity experience. He is a founder of B Group, a private equity and advisory group that focuses on food, energy, mining and infrastructure in the Americas. He serves or has served on the boards of public and private companies. He worked at Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst for over six years, a private equity firm that raised over US$14 billion in capital and completed over 350 transactions and US$40 billion in value. His work experience includes holding the position of CFO and director for an international river transportation company, an international exploration and production company and an international oilfield services company. Mr. Kornegay performed transaction services and audit work for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Arthur Andersen and was a Certified Public Accountant. He earned a B.B.A. from Southern Methodist University with a major in Accounting and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

 

Arama Kukutai
 
Arama Kukutai
Managing Director, Finistere Ventures
Arama Kukutai joined Finistere Ventures in 2005 as a Managing Director focusing on Agricultural Innovation. Mr. Kukutai has had a successful career in sectors spanning agribusiness investing, corporate banking and international trade. Mr. Kukutai serves on the boards of Hawaii BioEnergy LLC, and Somark Innovations, Inc., and is a Board Observer with SG Biofuels. He has been actively involved in developing early stage technology networks for Agricultural technology through work with the USDA Commercialization program for SBIR grantee companies and as an initiator of the annual Ag Innovation Showcase in St Louis, MO. Mr. Kukutai is also active in advising on new Agricultural technology innovation in Australia and his native New Zealand. Finistere has been a pioneering venture fund in the Agriculture sector, with successful exits such as Athenix, Inc.

 

Roberto Lenton
 
Roberto Lenton, Ph.D.
Founding Executive Director, Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, University of Nebraska
Dr. Roberto Lenton is the Founding Executive Director of the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska and Professor of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A specialist in water resources and sustainable development with some 40 years of international experience in the field, Prof. Lenton earned a civil engineering degree from the University of Buenos Aires and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has served as chair of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and of the Technical Committee of the Global Water Partnership, and is a coauthor of Applied Water Resources Systems, a coeditor of Integrated Water Resources Management in Practice, and a lead author of Health, Dignity and Development: What Will it Take?, the final report of the United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation, which he co-chaired. Until January of last year, Prof. Lenton was the Chair of the Inspection Panel of the World Bank. Earlier, he was senior advisor at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, director of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Division of the United Nations Development Programme in New York, director general of the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka, and program officer in the Rural Poverty and Resources program of the Ford Foundation in New Delhi and New York. He has served as adjunct professor in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT.

 

Henning Lund
 
Henning Lund
Equity Research, Seafood, Pareto Securities
Henning holds a Master of Management from the Norwegian Business School (siv.øk. BI). Henning has been a seafood analyst for 13 years with prior employers as DnB and Glitnir among others. He has focused on seafood farming, but has also long experience in valuation of wild catch companies and the seafood processing industry. In addition Lund has followed the fishmeal/oil industry in Peru, Chile and Norway. Prior to being a financial analyst Lund worked as Research Director in a marketing research company in Norway.

 

Prem Maan
 
Prem Maan
Managing Director, Southern Pastures Management Limited
Prem Maan is a founder of Southern Pastures LP (SPLP), a specialist pure institutional fund investing in free-range pastoral dairy farms and associated investments in New Zealand. Mr. Maan is responsible for managing the overall portfolio, governance, risk management and portfolio construction. At a farm level he is focused on the benefits that pasture renewal and soil improvements deliver. Mr. Maan founded the Foundation Securities Group in 2004, the forerunner to Southern Pastures, and has held various senior positions in the investment banking industry with Citibank (Australia and New Zealand), Deutsche Bank (New Zealand), Credit Agricole (Hong Kong and Singapore) and Banque Indosuez (New Zealand). An economist by training, he has also worked for AMP, The Rural Bank of New Zealand, and agriculture focused Lincoln University.

 

Mike Maires
 
Mike Maires
Senior Real Estate Portfolio Manager, Utah Retirement Systems
Mike Maires is a Senior Real Estate Portfolio Manager for the Utah Retirement Systems. He is responsible for acquisitions, portfolio/asset management, dispositions, and strategic planning. Mr. Maires is a graduate of the University of Utah with a B.S. degree in Finance and an MBA degree. He holds the CRE designation from The Counselors of Real Estate and has served in leadership positions. He has been with the Utah Retirement Systems for nineteen years. Prior to that, he was a commercial real estate appraiser for a regional firm. He has more than 23 years experience in real estate valuation, management, investment and financing.

 

Steel Maloney
 
Steel Maloney
President, Valley Water Management
Mr. Maloney’s 30 year career has focused on water quality and efficient management of water resources. He holds degrees in hydrology and environmental science and has completed projects in numerous U.S. states and several countries for all type of agricultural producers. Areas of work include irrigation, wastewater reuse, water rights, water treatment and environmental issues associated with water resources. Regulatory negotiation, irrigation with lower quality water, and turnkey projects are areas of specializations. He is the President of Valley Water Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Valley Irrigation providing water management solutions to agriculture. Project teams have completed over a thousand projects providing turnkey solutions for irrigation of all types of water; domestic and international, and include consulting, engineering design, soil science, agronomy, hydrogeology, engineered pump stations and controls, data management and turnkey system installation.

 

Michael McCloskey
 
Michael McCloskey
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Select Milk Producers; Co-owner & Executive Chairman, Fair Oaks Dairy Farm
Dr. McCloskey has held leadership positions in every aspect of the dairy industry – forage production, raw milk production, animal health & welfare, sustainable operating practices, milk marketing, value-added dairy processing, dairy product innovation, regional & national political issues, and international trade. Dr. McCloskey began his career by founding and operating a dairy consulting and veterinarian practice. Dr. McCloskey formed a milk marketing business, Quality Milk Sales, and founded two dairy cooperatives, Select Milk Producers and Continental Dairy Products. Dr. McCloskey was instrumental in formation of Southwest Cheese, the largest cheddar plant in the world, as well as the establishment of CS facilities, a state-of-the-art milk powder plant. Most recently, Dr. McCloskey led the formation of Fair Life, a joint venture with The Coca Cola Company to market specially formulated dairy beverages, such as Core Power, a high protein muscle recovery drink. Dr. McCloskey began his career as a dairy producer in 1988. Presently, he is the co-owner and Executive Chairman of Fair Oaks Dairy Farm, a leading raw milk producer located in northern Indiana with 15,000 milking cows and 15,000 acres of forage production land. In addition, Dr. McCloskey is actively involved in the ownership and management of dairies in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Oregon. Dr. McCloskey serves as the Chairman of the National Dairy Sustainability Initiative and a board member of the National Milk Producers Federation and participates in the Federal Order Policy, Dairy Export Policy, and Immigration Policy committees. Dr. McCloskey obtained his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Mexico, Mexico City and completed a specialty in dairy production medicine and milk quality from the University of California, Davis.

 

Charlie McNairy
 
Charlie McNairy
Chief Executive Officer, International Farming Corporation
Charlie McNairy is the CEO of International Farming Corporation, an investment manager focused on the agricultural sector. Since 1871, the firm and its affiliates have expanded into activities throughout the agribusiness value chain, including financial services for farmers. The firm’s principals have farming experience in the Americas, Europe, and Africa and are among the leading experts in maximizing farmer productivity through the application of technology. Mr. McNairy began his career in Morgan Stanley’s New York City real estate division where he focused on real estate-oriented principal investments and REIT advisory work. Mr. McNairy was a Morehead Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa and Academic-All ACC at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he played basketball for Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith. Mr. McNairy received his MBA from Harvard University.

 

Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell
Managing Director, Diapason Commodities Management
Mark McDonnell is a Managing Director at Diapason Commodities Management and is responsible for Institutional Sales. Mark has over 20 years experience in Financial Services. Prior to joining Diapason Mark held senior positions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, AIG Financial Products and Lehman Brothers. Mark has an honours degree in Psychology and an MBA from University College Dublin.

 

Robert Meaney Robert Meaney
Director, Irrigation Association; Senior Fellow, Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska
Robert Meaney worked in international operations at Valmont Industries, Inc. from 1994 until his retirement as Senior Vice-President and Corporate Secretary in 2012. Before joining Valmont, he worked in the U.S., Asia and Europe for Continental Can Company for 20 years. Bob served as an engineering officer in the US Navy. He has a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Bob was a 2012 Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard. Currently, he is a director of the Irrigation Association and a senior fellow at the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska.

 

Jose Minaya
 
Jose Minaya
Managing Director, Head of Natural Resources & Infrastructure Investments, TIAA-CREF
Jose Minaya is a managing director and Head of Natural Resources & Infrastructure Investments for the TIAA-CREF organization. Mr. Minaya's responsibilities include building and managing the Agriculture, Timber, Energy, and Infrastructure investment origination programs, and overseeing TIAA-CREF’s relationships with various investor and strategic partners. Most recently, he was Head of Natural Resources Portfolio Management where he was responsible for the organization’s agriculture and timberland portfolios. Previously, Mr. Minaya managed transactions involving privately-placed debt and equity. He joined the TIAA-CREF organization in 2004. Mr. Minaya has 17 years of investment experience including positions at AIG Global Investment Group where he was involved in emerging markets equity transactions and the investment banking group at Merrill Lynch where his responsibilities included mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions. Mr. Minaya holds a B.S. in finance from Manhattan College, where he was a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, an international economics honor society, and an MBA from Dartmouth College, Amos Tuck School of Business where he was a Robert Toigo Fellow.

 

Clay Mitchell
 
Clay Mitchell
Managing Director, Fall Line Capital
Clay Mitchell is a fifth-generation family farmer from Iowa. Inside an old dairy barn converted into a make-shift technology laboratory, he and his father take the results of deeply introspective studies of their fields and build mechanical, electrical, and systems solutions that permeate global agriculture, earning The Mitchell Farm the reputation as one of the most advanced grain farms in the world. Clay has an SB in Biomedical Engineering from Harvard University and is a Saltonstall Fellow at Cornell University.

 

Kim Morison Kim Morison
Managing Director, Blue Sky Water Partners
Kim Morison is a senior executive with over 20 years’ experience in agribusiness, water markets, commodity and currency derivatives trading, and international soft commodities markets. Since 2010 Kim has been Managing Director and Investment Director of Blue Sky Water Partners, a specialist manager of investments in water entitlements (water rights) and water infrastructure. The company manages the Blue Sky Water Fund, which invests in a diversified portfolio of Australian water rights. Blue Sky Water Partners’ 100% owned subsidiary, Water Utilities Australia, manages investments in Australian water utilities and water infrastructure across urban and rural markets. Kim was previously General Manager of Marketing at CSR Sugar, Australia’s largest sugar company and a Division Director of an international cotton trading business at Macquarie Bank.

 

Gene Moses Gene Moses
Strategy Officer, Agribusiness & Forestry, International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Mr. Gene Moses is the Strategy Officer for the Global Agribusiness and Forestry investment department of International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing unit of the World Bank Group. As Lead Coordinator for IFC's ASAP implementation team (Agribusiness Strategic Action Plan), he acts as liaison for the Agribusiness team with numerous groups around IFC investment and advisory services, Environment & Social team, and agriculture sector experts of the World Bank. Mr. Moses joined IFC's Agribusiness Department in 2006, and he has been involved with all new investment projects since then. Prior to IFC, he started his career as an Investment Banking Analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York City. He was part of the founding management team for a global e-commerce company, eventually managing its strategy consulting team and was responsible for over 30 international clients. He was also practice leader for a leading global strategy consulting firm. Mr. Moses holds a Bachelors degree from Georgetown University and a Masters degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), both in Washington DC. A U.S. citizen, he has lived and worked in several countries, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Canada, Taiwan and Japan. He currently lives in Washington DC.

 

Adam Oliver Adam Oliver
Partner, Brown & Co.
Adam Oliver is a Partner at Brown & Co and leads their Central and Eastern European practice. With 15 years experience of large scale ag in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, Adam has developed the Partnership's investment consulting practice to include a range of Due Diligence, Valuation – and post acquisition services. Working with institutional investors and private offices, advice is provided on diversified investment strategies across the region followed by execution and ensuring performance at the farm level is achieved. Adam provides senior level strategic and operational advice to a number of large scale farming companies across the region and took part as a senior executive in the largest primary ag IPO to date. Adam holds a BSc in Agriculture from Wye College, London University.

 

Gary Pike Gary Pike
Chief Executive Officer, Broadacre Agriculture
Gary Pike is the founder of PMG and has worked for 18 years advising Canadian farmers. He holds BSc in Agriculture from the University of Alberta and active roles as a Director of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and the Alberta Conservation Tillage Society. Furthermore, he is a respected member of the John Deere Global Ventures Group and the Canadian Wheat Board Advisory Committee. Gary previously operated a 5,000-acre grain farm in Alberta and Saskatchewan. As the Chief Executive Officer of Broadacre, Mr. Pike is dedicated to growing Broadacre in a profitable and sustainable manner and maximizing shareholder returns while developing opportunities for the next generation.

 

Frank Plessmann Frank Plessmann
President, Agriworld GmbH
Frank Plessmann, CAIA, born in 1969, is founding and managing partner of Agriworld GmbH, Hamburg Germany and Agriworld Fund Inc., Greenville, MS. He is a farmer by training who studied agricultural science & economics in Germany and abroad, finalized by a doctorate in farm management. After several years of positions at the World Bank Group in Washington DC, the Federal Agricultural Research Centre, in Germany, and working as a consultant in one of the Brazilian frontier regions. Frank Plessmann established a cash crop farm in eastern Germany (Brandenburg) and two agricultural investment funds in the US. His vast knowledge & experience are applied to structure, manage, and analyze agricultural investment solutions. Besides farming he likes hunting and riding horses. He is married and has two children.

 

Berry Polmann Berry Polmann
Executive Director, Adveq
Berry Polmann leads Adveq's global real assets initiative. Prior to joining Adveq in 2007, Berry worked as a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he served Switzerland based private equity funds, hedge funds, and real estate funds with audit, fund structuring, and tax related services. He was also a member of PricewaterhouseCoopers' European team for pan-European asset pooling for pension funds. Berry has a master's degree in economics and a bachelor's degree in government politics from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

 

Randall Pope Randall E. Pope
President & Chief Executive Officer, Westchester Group, an affiliate of TIAA-CREF
Randall holds both a Bachelors degree in Agricultural Business and a Master's Degree in Agricultural Economics. He joined Westchester in 1995 where he became a partner and President of the Company. In 2010 he became President and CEO responsible for the day-to-day management of the company, asset and business strategy, asset performance, and underwriting and approving all agricultural investment activity. Randall is a former member of the AgriFinance Magazine editorial advisory board, a founder and former Director of Partners for Agricultural Literacy, a frequent speaker at National and International Pension Fund and Agricultural Conferences and a past member of the National Agricultural Credit Committee. He has been a frequent group leader at the Harvard Executive Agribusiness seminar and visiting professor at several agricultural colleges.

 

Blu Putnam Bluford H. Putnam
Chief Economist & Managing Director, CME Group
Bluford H. Putnam is the Chief Economist and Managing Director at CME Group. Blu joined CME Group in 2011, after a long career in finance ranging from his first position with the New York Federal Reserve Bank in the 1970s, to Morgan Stanley on the research side of our business, then worked as a chief investment officer for Bankers Trust and later Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC). Blu earned his Ph.D. in economics from Tulane University, has published numerous academic articles and five books in international finance, and is also know for his quantitative research in applying Bayesian statistical methods to financial markets.

 

Alejandro Quentin Alejandro Quentin
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Pampa Capital
Mr. Quentin has extensive experience in the agribusiness industry in Latin America. In 2002, Mr. Quentin founded together with Soros Fund Management, Adeco Agropecuaria (NYSE: AGRO). Mr. Quentin was a member of the Board of Directors. He implemented the management turnaround of Pecom Agropecuaria S.A and put in place Adeco's current managment team. Furthermore, he was responsible for its operational oversight and expansion and acquisitions of its Argentine, Brazil and Uruguay operations.

 

Anna Rath Anna Rath
Chief Executive Officer, NexSteppe
Anna Rath is a pioneer in the development of the dedicated energy crop industry. She was formerly Vice President of Commercial Development for Ceres, where she built and managed all commercial functions including the launch of the world’s first dedicated energy crop brand (Blade®) in 2008. Prior to this, Rath was a consultant with McKinsey focused on corporate strategy, assessment of new business initiatives and business building in various technology sectors. She holds a JD from Yale Law School, an MS in Genetics from the University of Michigan and a BA in Biology from Macalester College.

 

Rory Richards Rory Richards
Director & Chief Executive Officer, RM Williams Agricultural Holdings
Rory Richards holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Management from the University of Natal, South Africa. Rory has had 24 years of exposure to the best and worst of agricultural environments having been closely involved in operational and corporate agriculture on two continents: farming in Africa and involved in growing and developing a corporate agricultural business in Australia. He has managed diverse portfolios where challenges have been intense political interference, poor infrastructure, non-developed markets and extreme financial pressure on one hand and highly sophisticated competitive markets on the other. RM Williams Agricultural Holdings is a large agricultural business spread across Queensland and the Northern Territory in Australia which is focussed on protein production – beef, poultry and lamb – underpinned by secure water reserves and sustainable environmental practices including the development of large-scale organic protein production and investigation of carbon sequestration projects.

 

Steve Rhodes Steve Rhodes
CEO and Chairman, The Trendlines Group; Chairman, Mofet Venture Accelerator
Steve Rhodes, CEO and Chairman, The Trendlines Group; Chairman, Mofet Venture Accelerator
Steve began his professional career in 1979 with the Chicago branch of Bank Leumi, where he advanced through a number of financial marketing and lending positions including director of marketing. While working at the bank, Steve completed an MBA from the University of Chicago and received a CPA from the State of Illinois. When he moved to Israel in 1985, Steve continued with Bank Leumi, serving as deputy manager of the Bank's International Division. In 1988, Steve joined SRD Medical as the company's CFO, later becoming vice president of sales and marketing. He left the company in 1993, to create Trendlines International, a business development consultancy for seed- and early-stage companies, with Todd Dollinger. In 2004, together with Todd, Steve created the Trendlines Israel Fund to invest in the portfolio companies of the Misgav Venture Accelerator, an Israeli government licensed business incubator, on whose board Steve had served for many years. In 2004, Steve became the CEO of the Misgav Venture Accelerator, focusing the incubator's innovation efforts on the life sciences, particularly medical devices. As manager, he concentrated his attention on increasing the incubator's value through hands-on managerial mentorship to portfolio companies and providing much-needed business development support to them. In 2010, the Misgav Venture Accelerator, under Steve's leadership, received the "Best Incubator" award from the Government of the State Israel. The incubator management, mentorship, and funding models developed by Steve at Misgav were brought to Mofet Venture Accelerator when The Trendlines Group acquired it in 2007. Today, Steve shares the positions of Chairman and CEO of The Trendlines Group with Todd and additionally serves as chairman of the Mofet Venture Accelerator, Israel's leading agritech-focused incubator, and as a director in numerous public and private companies.

 

Scott Robertson Scott Robertson
Business Development Director, DuPont PIoneer
Scott Robertson joined DuPont Pioneer in early 2010 and is currently holds the position of Business Development Director with primary responsibility for the business development portfolio involving the acquisition of equity. He is also a part-time team member of DuPont’s corporate venture capital group. Previously, Scott was an investment professional at MPM Capital, a life sciences-dedicated venture capital fund with committed capital under management in excess of $2 billion. Prior to joining MPM, Scott was an Associate at Merrill Lynch & Co. in the Healthcare Investment Banking group. Scott was a Business Scholar at the Marshall School of Business and has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern California.

 

Aaron Schapper Aaron Schapper
Vice President & General Manager, International Irrigation, Valley Irrigation
Aaron Schapper earned his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering as well as a Bachelors of Art in Mandarin Chinese from the University of Utah. He continued his education at Kellogg Northwestern University and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, earning a Masters of Business Administration, as well as earning a Chinese Certificate in Mandarin Chinese at the Chinese Cultural University in Taiwan. His professional career began in the carbon fiber composites industry with experience in both Europe and Asia. He then moved to Orbit Irrigation Products, where he was based out of Shanghai, China. It was there that Schapper served as General Manager of Asia Operations. During his successful tenure at Orbit Irrigation, he built new markets, led multiple manufacturing facilities, launched start-up ventures, and revitalized non-performing operations in the Chinese marketplace. Schapper joined Valley Irrigation in 2011 as Vice President and General Manager of International Irrigation, where he is responsible for sales & service, manufacturing, international product development, joint ventures, and acquisition opportunities.

 

Detlef Schoen Detlef Schoen
Managing Partner, Farm Investments, Aquila Capital
An agronomist, farmer and former global agri-business executive, Mr. Detlef Schoen is a Managing Partner, Farm Investments at Aquila Capital. Mr. Schoen heads up Aquila’s agricultural team, which currently has more than USD 250 million assets under management and acts as an agricultural and agribusiness investment manager with a global presence and subsidiaries in New Zealand, Australia, Uruguay and Chile, Romania and Eastern EU as well as representatives in Brazil and Canada and USA. Currently the team manages more than 60 farms in New Zealand, Australia and Brazil with more than 53,000 cows and nearly 30,000 hectares. Mr. Schoen has over 30 years experience in the international agribusiness. After completing a degree in agronomics he began his career with Cargill - having held a range of positions at the firm Mr. Schoen was Managing Director of the European Commodities Merchandising Division. He then ran his own farm services and grain merchandising business for a time before returning to global agribusiness as Manager of International Grains for NIDERA. Mr. Schoen held several non-executive and supervisory board positions in farming and agri-business.

 

Jeff Schmalz Jeff Schmalz
President, Soy 20/20
Jeff Schmalz is currently President and CEO of Soy 20/20, a business development organization focused on bioscience innovations and new global business opportunities for Canadian soybeans and related agricultural products. Prior to Mr. Schmalz’s appointment to Soy 20/20, he held a variety of executive positions in the consumer packaged goods industry, most notably with General Mills, Nabisco Limited and Burnbrae Farms. Jeff has a strong track record in evaluating and developing solid teams, managing established businesses, creating and gaining acceptance for new products and in international partnerships. He uses his skills as a natural business developer and leader in the Canadian agricultural food and bioproduct sector.

 

Desmond Sheehy Desmond Sheehy
Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer, Duxton Asset Management
Desmond Sheehy (CIO) is the co-founder of Duxton Asset Management (Duxton). Prior to joining Duxton, Desmond worked for DeAM Asia from July 2005-April 2009, where he was the Head of the Complex Asset Investments Team, raising approximately USD 600 million worth of assets and launching 3 funds. In addition to providing fiduciary oversight and managing the day-to-day running of the funds, Desmond’s roles included sourcing and evaluating new opportunities for investment, planning, structuring, financing and conducting in-depth financial, technical, legal and financial due diligence of investments. Prior to joining DB, Desmond worked at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as a Senior Investment Officer in both Washington DC and Hong Kong, where he was responsible for the origination, execution and supervision of investments throughout Asia, working on several innovative and successful deals across the region. Before joining IFC, Desmond spent nine years as an engineer working throughout Europe and Asia on large infrastructure projects. Desmond holds an MBA from INSEAD (1998) and a BE (1988) from UCC in Ireland.

 

Jonathan Shrier Jonathan Shrier
Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security, U.S. Department of State
Mr. Shrier became the Acting Special Representative for Feed the Future in June 2011. He leads diplomatic efforts to advance the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative, with a particular focus on major donor and strategic partner countries as well as multilateral institutions such as the G8 and G20. Mr. Shrier came to the State Department’s Office of Global Food Security from the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff. Mr. Shrier has served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, where he helped to design and establish the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas launched by President Obama. While at the National Security Council and National Economic Council, Mr. Shrier coordinated interagency policy at the intersection of energy, climate, and agriculture, including responses to the spike in commodity prices in 2007-2008. A career Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Shrier handled international trade and investment issues for then Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs Josette Sheeran, just prior to her appointment as head of the World Food Program. During his service at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Mr. Shrier worked with USAID to establish a development assistance program for Tibetan communities in China, with a focus on agriculture-led development. Mr. Shrier has earned degrees from the National Defense University (M.S. in National Security Resource Strategy), University of London (M.B.A. in International Management), London School of Economics (MSc in International Relations), and Dartmouth (A.B. in Government). His languages include Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, French, and Spanish.

 

Rohit Shukla Rohit Shukla
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Larta Institute
Rohit Shukla is the founder and CEO of Larta Institute (www.Larta.org), a leading innovation hub dedicated to accelerating the transition of innovative technologies to the marketplace where they can help the human condition. He has advised governments, multilateral organizations, communities and entrepreneurs throughout the world, creating initiatives that expand entrepreneurship, promote commercialization and enhance the global competitiveness and impact of regions and enterprises across the globe. An established thought leader, respected practitioner and educator on innovation, commercialization, and technology-based economic development, Rohit pioneered Larta’s Network-Centric approach to entrepreneur assistance – an approach currently implemented in Larta’s many Commercialization Assistance Programs, including those designed and managed for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Larta also produces the annual Ag Innovation Showcase in partnership with the BRDG Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, a global event that spotlights cutting edge agricultural technology solutions and gathers agriculture’s industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors.

 

James Siggs James Siggs
Director, MASDAR Farming Ltd
From farming family, with a BSc in Agricultural Economics and an MBA, James began his career managing arable farms in England. In 1989 he became Head of Estates Department of Lonsum in Indonesia, with 50,000 ha of plantations. He then moved to management consulting to large-scale farms globally. As the founding CEO of Feronia Inc. he built an idea into a company with a market capitalisation of $ 90 million. In November 2011 with MASDAR International Consultants he founded MASDAR Farming to manage large farms in Africa and Asia; MASDAR Farming is managing the operations of DT Plantations Inc. in Mindanao, Philippines.

 

Jason Silm Jason Silm
Head of Agriculture Fund Management, VTB Capital
Jason is an experienced agriculture and food chain investment professional and has over 20 years of experience in agribusiness funds management, strategy development, operations and supply chain management in grains, oil seeds, forestry, almonds and dairy industries globally and emerging markets (Brazil, Russia and China). Over the past year Jason has been based in Moscow as Head of Agriculture Investments within the Private Equity group of Russia’s largest investment bank VTB Capital. Prior to this Jason was the Global Operations Manager of Agribusiness for Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management being responsible for overall asset management with operations responsibility for assets with a NAV in excess of US$ 1,200m, including a wide range of food supply chain assets in Australia and Brazil plus extensive Chinese deal experience. Jason was a Director of Macquarie Forestry Services, Macquarie Agricultural Services and Macquarie Farm Assets and Resources Management. He was also an Australian Securities and Investment Commission (“ASIC”) Responsible Officer for various funds, and an Executive Committee Member for the Macquarie Crop Fund and the Australian Dairy Fund. Jason holds a Bachelor of Business degree from Charles Sturt University.

 

Dave Smardon Dave Smardon
Managing Partner, Bioenterprise Capital
A seasoned executive, Mr. Smardon has a track record of transforming innovative technologies into businesses that compete successfully on the world stage. After founding Learning Connections and Commcorp Technologies Inc., he switched his focus to venture capital and investment activities, establishing and growing the Nibiru group of companies. Mr. Smardon has also held a variety of senior-level positions within leading companies, including Apple Computer Inc., where he headed up the Canadian arm of Apple's venture capital group, delivering returns on investment of 43 percent. As CEO of Bioenterprise Corporation, Canada's leading accelerator for agriculture- and biotech-based business, he has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs grow and expand their operations. Mr. Smardon acts as an advisor to a number of government funding programs, volunteers for several industry associations and serves as an active board member of more than a half-dozen companies.

 

Ryan Smith Ryan Smith
Director, Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group
Ryan Smith is a Director in CFIG located in New York. Ryan is responsible for sourcing and underwriting fund and co-investments, as well as managing client relationships. Ryan focuses on investments in the Infrastructure and Real Assets space, including providing senior leadership on cleantech, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture initiatives for the group. Ryan joined Credit Suisse in 2001, and has been responsible for oversight of business development, investor relations and operations management. He serves or has served as a board observer for a number of portfolio companies, including Invenergy, Pinova, SolarReserve and TAS Energy, as well as serving on advisory boards for a number of established and emerging private equity funds. He received a BA degree from University of Notre Dame. He serves on the Credit Committee of Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union, a community development credit union in New York City.

 

Till Stoll Till Stoll
Sustainable Development Expert & Member of Investment Committee, SIP Latam Agrifund
As a member of the Investment Committee of SIP Latam Agrifund, Mr. Stoll is responsible for the Fund’s sustainable development strategy and environmental & social performance of its farms in Latin America. He previously worked as an economist for Credit Suisse and several international organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the International Finance Corporation. In 2006, he founded Green Destinations, a company that specializes in developing concepts and master plans for ecological and resource-efficient land use. Mr. Stoll was Chairman of the Environment Committee of the Swiss Business Council and founder of the Swiss Environment Initiative. He studied agricultural economics at Oxford University and Cambridge University, and was a fellow at the Economics Department of Harvard University.

 

Scott Su Scott Su
Technology Ventures Unit, Sime Darby Research Sdn Bhd
Scott Su heads the Technology Ventures team at Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd. Sime Darby is the world's largest listed oil palm plantation player with over 500,000 Ha of planted estates globally. One of the key roles of his team is to search for and assess new technologies that can contribute to the company's performance. Scott has previous experience in life sciences research, business development, and is focused on the commercialization of technologies. He holds an MSc in molecular biology and an MBA from INSEAD.

 

Craig Tashjian Craig Tashjian
Principal & Founding Partner, Amerra Capital Management
Craig has been a commodities professional for over 25 years, with expertise covering global agricultural, energy, metals and trade finance markets. Prior to founding AMERRA in 2009, Craig managed Societe Generale’s Natural Resources business line in the Americas for 11 years. Upon joining Societe Generale in 1997, Craig led the development of Societe Generale’s New York based Commodities & Trade Finance Group creating one of the leading market players as exemplified by top league table rankings. Previously, Craig served as the Global Head of Commodity Finance at Standard Chartered Bank, managing multinational commodities finance teams. Craig holds an MBA from Rutgers University and a BS in Finance and Accounting from Lehigh University.

 

Jim Taylor Jim Taylor
Partner, Avrio Capital
Jim has been involved with venture capital for the last 10 years. Prior to Avrio, Jim established Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Ventures where he was responsible for developing the venture capital program, strategy, investment thesis, operating procedures, guidelines and processes. In addition, he was an active investor with a particular focus in growth stage companies in the Industrial Products sector. Before FCC Ventures, Jim was responsible for the Bank of Montreal Capital Corporation's activities in Western Canada. Following his experience at Bank of Montreal Capital Corporation, he worked for Westcoast Energy to help establish a structured finance group. Jim's years of experience in venture, mezzanine and subordinated debt markets are combined with valuable operating experience at a small manufacturing company in Calgary. Previous investments include Associated Proteins, Bento Nouveau, BIOX Corporation (Investment position acquired by Birch Hill Partners), Commercial Solutions Inc. (TSX: CSA), and Houweling's Nurseries. Jim has Bachelor of Art's (Economics) degree from the University of Alberta and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He spends time as a volunteer youth group leader and assists in community welfare projects.

 

Jude Uzonwanne
 
Jude Uzonwanne
Head of NIRSAL Project Implementation Office, Central Bank of Nigeria
Mr. Uzonwanne is the Head of the NIRSAL Project Office at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). At CBN, Jude is focused on building a new, commercially focused non-bank financial institution which sells credit guarantees and offers investment partnerships to inbound investors into Nigerian agriculture. Prior to joining NIRSAL, he was an Associate partner with Monitor Group, a global strategy consulting company. Mr. Uzonwanne was responsible for managing Monitor’s Nigeria business including relationships with private companies, government agencies and non-profit groups. Working out of Monitor’s New York, Cambridge and Johannesburg offices, Jude was an adviser to agribusiness focused entities including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Southern Highlands Breadbasket Project (Tanzania) and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Jude has also worked extensively on corporate strategy challenges for private companies in the US, Europe and North Asia. Jude is a 1998 Honors graduate (Economics and Political Science) of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

 

Jon Vandenheuvel Jon Vandenheuvel
President & Co-Founder, Africa Atlantic Holdings Ltd
Jon Vandenheuvel is President and co-founder of Africa Atlantic Holdings Ltd (Dubai), and co-founder of Africa Atlantic Franchise Farms Ltd (Ghana). Africa Atlantic is farming in Ghana, completing grain field trials using center pivot irrigation, and has registered a long-term agricultural lease on 10,400 hectares on the shores of Lake Volta, one of the world’s largest reservoirs. Jon is a frequent presenter at international business events focused on agricultural investment in Africa. Prior to Africa Atlantic, Jon built a government policy consultancy, advising Fortune 500 companies and industry associations, and earlier spent 10 years as a senior congressional aide working at the U.S. Capitol. Jon has an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, a B.A. from Wheaton College (IL), and has taken courses at the Ghana Institute of Management. Jon and his family have lived in Ghana and currently reside in Maryland.

 

Avtar Vasu
 
Avtar Vasu
Senior Managing Director, Real Returns, UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust
Avtar Vasu is a Senior Managing Director of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. The Trust provides post-retirement medical benefits for more than 800,000 retirees of GM, Ford and Chrysler. The Trust has approximately $55 billion in investment assets. At the Trust, Mr. Vasu is responsible for building a portfolio of real returns strategies, including real estate, commodities, natural resources, and infrastructure. Prior to joining the Trust, Mr. Vasu was a Managing Director at the Harvard Management Company (HMC) in Boston. Mr. Vasu holds an MS in Civil Engineering from SUNY at Buffalo, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

 

Robert Verigan
 
Robert Verigan
Partner, Sidley Austin
Robert L. Verigan is a partner in the Corporate and Securities practice group of Sidley’s Chicago office. His principal areas of practice include mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and venture capital/private equity investments. Mr. Verigan represents companies in a range of industries involved in various public and private mergers, acquisitions and dispositions (including cross-border and contested transactions). Mr. Verigan has worked with issuers and underwriters in a variety of initial and follow-on public offerings, including over twenty S-1 offerings, and private placements of debt and equity securities. He also represents issuers and investors engaged in various stages of venture capital and private equity funding.

 

Robert Verigan
 
Perry Vieth
President & Chief Executive Officer, Ceres Partners
Mr. Vieth founded Ceres Partners in 2007 and has served as its President and Chief Investment Officer since, guiding the growth of the firm to over $200 million. Formerly he served for ten years as CIO of Fixed Income & Currency at PanAgora Asset Management in Boston, where he was responsible for research, investment strategy and oversight of assets exceeding USD 7 billion. In 2007 he was Pensions & Investments top-performing fixed income manager with a return of 16.1%. Previously, Mr. Vieth served as a portfolio manager at Fleet Investment advisors, Fuji Securities and Chicago Research & Trading Group. From 1982 to 1986, Mr. Vieth practiced law in Chicago specializing in securities and corporate law. He has a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School and a B.S. in accounting from Marquette University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the Boston Securities Analyst Society. Perry serves on the University of Notre Dame Law School's Advisory Council and several charitable organizations' Board of Directors.

 

Darryl Vhugen Darryl Vhugen
Senior Attorney, Landesa
Darryl Vhugen is a Senior Attorney and Land Tenure Specialist at Landesa with expertise in land tenure security and legal aid. He has broad field experience in Africa and South Asia, previously leading Landesa’s Andhra Pradesh office in India. He currently leads Landesa’s Large Scale Acquisitions of Land initiative. Before joining Landesa, he spent 25 years in private law practice advising foreign and domestic clients in a broad range of business matters involving the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia, the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia. He received a BA with high honors from Lewis & Clark College (Portland, Oregon) and a JD with honors from the University of Washington School of Law (Seattle).

 

Bradley Wheaton Bradley Wheaton
Agricultural Product Specialist, Associate Director, Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management (MAFM)
Bradley Wheaton has over 15 years experience in agriculture, including five years of corporate directorship experience in the agribusiness industry in Australia. Bradley has joined the MAFM team as a Product Specialist for the Americas and is a director of Macquarie Crop Partners GP LLC. Bradley’s experience is broad having been involved in developing agricultural and renewable energy investments in Australia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. He has advised on agriculture policy to government and agriculture industry groups in Australia. Brad also has a solid grounding in agricultural operations management with experience with large-scale production, processing and marketing of agricultural products. He has a Masters of Commerce (Economics) with from the Universities of NSW (Aust.) and Copenhagen (Denmark), a Masters in International Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Sydney (Aust.).

 

Mark White Mark White
Head of Real Assets, Albourne Partners
Mark White is the Head of Real Asset strategies at Albourne Partners and is responsible for overseeing the due diligence and portfolio construction for Albourne’s RA clients. He derives his experience in Real Assets from two distinct career paths, the first a 14yr career in resource management with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Northern Mines and Development and the second a 14 yr career in institutional finance. His finance career includes education, pension management, and consulting. In 2008 Mark joined Albourne Partners to assist in developing the Real Asset practice. Focusing on private market analysis in Agriculture, Timber, Mining and Infrastructure. With a combined 28 years of experience in resource management and finance, Mark is uniquely positioned to assist clients in portfolio development, due diligence, and monitoring of their Real Asset portfolios.

 

Martijn Wilder Martijn Wilder
Partner, Baker & McKenzie
Martijn Wilder AM is a lead partner in the Baker & McKenzie's Global Agribusiness practice advising across the agribusiness sector. He advises a broad portfolio of Agribusiness clients including Agri investors, Agri Investment Funds and corporate agribusinesses especially in the beef, fisheries and forestry sectors. He also heads the firm’s global Environmental markets practice and much of his work relates to the inter-relationship between Agricultural operations and Agricultural investments and issues of sustainability, energy and bio-fuels and climate change. Martijn's other roles include Adjunct Professor of Climate Change law and Policy at the Australian National University; Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research Department of Land Economy University of Cambridge; Chair of Low Carbon Australia; Director of WWF Australia and he is on the Board of the Australian Government’s $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

 

Henry Wilkes Henry Wilkes
Chief Executive Officer, InvestAg Savills
Henry Wilkes has 25 years agricultural and other property experience, of which the last 18 years has involved a wide variety of international agricultural and other real estate projects, many of which have been in Central Europe. Prior to founding InvestAg Savills, he was a Director of Savills (L&P) Ltd, with whom he worked for the previous 12 years. Henry has particular experience of large-scale international farmland investments; also the creation and asset management of investment funds / projects. He has travelled extensively, appraising and advising on international farmland investments and markets. Henry is a Chartered Surveyor and Corporate Finance Representative. He lives on his family’s arable farm in the UK.

 

Thomas Willardson Thomas Willardson
Chief Financial Officer, Sapphire Energy
Thomas 'Tom' Willardson joined Sapphire Energy as Chief Financial Officer in 2013, bringing more than 30 years of experience in leading financial initiatives for public and privately held companies. Most recently, Mr. Willardson served as CFO at Aurora Algae, Inc., a producer of high-performance, premium algae-based products for the pharmaceutical, nutrition, aquaculture, and fuels markets. Previously, he was CFO at Energy Recovery, Inc., a global leader in the design and development of energy recovery devices for desalination and other industrial processes, where he led the company's successful IPO initiative. At Cost Plus, Inc., the specialty retail store chain, he served as executive vice president and CFO, overseeing all companywide financial initiatives, including a significant restructuring of the company's bank credit lines. As CFO at Visual Sciences, formerly WebSideStory, a software company that pioneered what is today SaaS and the Cloud, he helped lead the company through an aggressive growth period of more than 40% annually and oversaw its subsequent IPO. As CFO at Archimedes Technology Group, a privately funded nuclear waste remediation technology company, he led a successful series D funding round and helped design an ESCO-similar plan to share in cost savings created by the company's own technology. Mr. Willardson also previously held senior finance executive roles with Leap Wireless International, Bechtel Corporation, The Fremont Group, and Fluor Daniel. He holds a B.S. in Finance from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Southern California.

 

Oliver Williams Oliver Williams
President, Hancock Agricultural Investment Group
Mr. Williams is President of the Hancock Agricultural Investment Group. He directs the institutional farmland investment program and serves on the Investment Committee of the Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG). Previously, Mr. Williams coordinated asset management activities and was part of the senior management team. Prior to joining HAIG in 1997, he spent 5 years with the First Pioneer Farm Credit, ACA, one of the largest farm credit associations in the country. At Farm Credit, he was responsible for evaluating and appraising farmland and farm businesses for potential loans. He also managed a farm loan portfolio, which included both row and permanent cropland. He is a member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, the Association for Investment Management and Research and the Boston Security Analysts Society. He has a BS in Agricultural Economics, with a concentration in finance, from Cornell University.

 

Mark Zenuk Mark Zenuk
Managing Director, NGP Global Adaptation Partners
Mr. Zenuk joined NGP in 2010 and serves as a Managing Director. He leads the firm’s efforts in the agribusiness sector, leveraging his global reputation and 20-year industry expertise in acquiring and operating large-scale assets in the storage, processing, transportation and merchandising of agricultural commodities. Prior to joining NGP in 2010, he served in many roles with Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM), most recently serving as President of Global Oilseeds, the largest Global Business Unit at ADM, comprising over $24 billion in sales and operating profit of $1.3 billion. These divisions employed 8,600 people, had 116 inland terminals, and 112 oilseed, crushing, refining and industrial facilities. From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Zenuk was Managing Director for Europe and Asia. In 2005, he was elected as a Corporate Vice President of ADM. From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Zenuk served as Senior VP for ADM’s North American & European Oils & Fats division. Prior to joining ADM, he served as General Manager (Commodity Marketing Group) for the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Marketing Manager for the Canadian Wheat Board. Mr. Zenuk received a B.S. in Agricultural Economics in 1990 from the University of Saskatchewan.

 

Matt Zuga Matt Zuga
Managing Director, Syngenta Ventures
Matt Zuga is a Managing Director of Syngenta Ventures, an investment vehicle of Syngenta Corp., a Switzerland based agribusiness company. He was also a founder and managing member of Red Abbey Venture Partners, where he is currently a member of the Investment Committee. Mr. Zuga was responsible for managing all of the firm’s investments, which consisted of 24 companies, 15 privately held and 9 publicly traded. He is currently the Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alba Therapeutics, Inc. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Arginetix, Inc. and a Board observer at Advanced BioHealing, Aegerion Pharmaceutical, Sirtris Pharmaceuticals and Stromedix, Inc. Prior to Red Abbey Venture Partners, Mr. Zuga worked in the investment banking department of Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc. from 1993 to 2003 and was the Head of the Life Sciences Group from May 2000 to December 2003. Mr. Zuga’s prior work experience includes positions at Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (investment banking), Southeast Bank, N.A. (commercial lending), IBM Corporation and General Motors Corporation. Mr. Zuga received an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BS in Business Administration/Finance from The Ohio State University.