AgTech Fund I Portfolio (Early Stage)
AgriFood Fund II Strategy
Our holistic investment approach to AgriFood realizes value across the entire value chain from pre-production to distribution. Growth and late stage investments are an underserved market need in Agriculture and Food, and we’re biased towards underinvested sub-sectors within these verticals.
Much of our investing happens between the coasts. Our St. Louis location puts us within 500 miles of 70% of US agriculture production. Additionally, the highest concentration of plant science PHDs in the world live in the St. Louis area, giving us a unique position to scout, form relationships, and strike deals with this rich talent pool.
Our AgriFood Fund II Process
Our exhaustive, metric-driven underwriting process ensures we invest in the best of the best. We lean towards tech-enabled, sustainable AgriFood companies in the late stage VC/growth stage with converging to positive operating cash flow. This limits risk and leads to outsized returns.
We lead deals and work with entrepreneurs through active board participation. We create distinctive, highly effective Value Enhancement Plans for each of our investments to ensure our entrepreneurs reach scale.
Organic & Non-GMO Ingredients
Disruptive Products and Supplements
Processing & Production
Shelf Life Extension
Producer to Consumer Connectivity
We bring a breadth of quality sector experience to every investment. Our team has a combination of investment and operating experience working with growth stage companies and are able to leverage our broad networks to lead diligence and work with entrepreneurs.
Dave has over three decades of experience in the food and agriculture industries. Before joining Lewis & Clark Partners, David served as President (Food Group) for 1800Flowers.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: FLWS), a manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of floral, food, and gift products with revenues exceeding $1.2 BN in 2017. His responsibilities at 1800Flowers.com included an approximately $700mm revenue stream; 2,000 permanent and ramped to 10,000 employees seasonally; 3,000 acres of fruit farms; and eight food manufacturing, assembly, sorting and distribution facilities.
Prior to that, David served as Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Alpine Confections and Chief Executive Officer of Fannie May Confections Brands. Alpine grew from a $12mm entity to over $130mm before successfully exiting to 1800Flowers.com. He previously worked in the Strategy and Business Development Group of Cargill, Inc., an international marketer, processor, and distributor of food, financial, and industrial products.
David was raised in a small farming community in Indiana, where his family owned the local grain elevator, feed mill, seed dealership, fertilizer distributor, and railroad. Over the course of his career, David has been involved in 40+ M&A transactions and joint ventures.
David is a veteran (U.S. Army, 4th Infantry Division). He holds a B.B.A. Finance and Business Economics from the University of Notre Dame and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
Thomas J. Hillman
Tom Hillman has been involved with private business enterprises over the course of his career, during which time he’s owned more than 50 companies in a wide variety of industries. He previously served as Director of Answers (internet lead generation and search engine company) and founding shareholder and Board member of Hoover’s, Inc. (public business content and research company). He was also Director/Owner of Rainforest Aquaculture, a world-leading tilapia farm.
Tom currently serves on the Barnes Jewish Hospital Board of Directors/Executive Committee, leading the Finance and Planning Committee, and recently joined the BJC board of Directors. He is on the Board of Trustees and assorted National Councils at Washington University in St. Louis.
Mr. Hillman served as Board President of the Center of Creative Arts (a St. Louis-based community performing arts center) and Chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization – St. Louis chapter. He holds his B.S. from Washington University in St. Louis.
Larry Page, PhD
Dr. Larry Page led five investments in Ag Fund I and is a Board member or observer in four Lewis & Clark Ventures portfolio companies. Larry joined Lewis & Clark in 2016 after working at PierianDx, a start-up specializing in clinical bioinformatics, where he managed several facets of the business including on the laboratory and sales teams. He was also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Nidus Partnership, and he served as Chief Technology Officer of Terra Biologics, a start-up working to commercialize cyanobacteria-based biofertilizers.
Larry enjoys serving as a Preliminary Judge at Arch Grants, as a member of the Selection Committee for Invest Midwest, and as a Young Friend of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
Larry received his PhD in Biochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis, where his thesis focused on the basic mechanics of photosynthetic light harvesting. He conducted undergraduate research on plant molecular biology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he received a B.S. in Biochemistry.
Tim Hassler is responsible for deal sourcing, due diligence, investment, and portfolio management for the Lewis & Clark AgriFood Fund. Prior to joining Lewis & Clark Partners, Tim was a former Managing Director for Advantage Capital Agribusiness Partners (ACAP), a $154.5M Rural Business Investment Company focused exclusively on the food and agribusiness sector. Tim managed all aspects of the fund, including fundraising, deal sourcing, due diligence, portfolio management, and reporting. He led six investments for ACAP and served as a board member or observer on each investment.
Additionally, Tim was co-founder of Patriot Capital Funding, a specialty finance company providing mezzanine debt. One-stop debt financing and equity co-investment to companies primarily owned by private equity sponsors. His responsibilities while at Patriot Capital Funding spanned all elements of the investment process including; Chief Investment Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer. Tim has previous experience with U.S. Bank covering food and agribusiness lending group in the capital markets division.
Tim received his B.S. of Finance from the University of Illinois and his M.B.A. from Washington University.
Meg Lane has experience in a wide range of accounting functions including financial reporting, budgeting/forecasting, implementation and evaluation of internal controls, and external auditing. In her professional career, she has worked with a diverse group of companies in a variety of industries such as financial services, real estate, and health care. She serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Lewis & Clark Holdings, Ventures, Capital and Real Estate and assumes various roles in those companies as a Board member/observer and Investment Committee member.
Meg was formerly the Controller at Allegro Senior Living, a developer and manager of senior housing communities; she was also an Auditor at Deloitte LP.
Over the course of her career, Meg has been involved in 20+ M&A transactions. She holds her B.S.B.A. in Accountancy and her M.S. in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame.
David Russell, PhD
David Russell is focused on the AgriFood Fund looking at plant productivity, farm productivity, and supply chain efficiency. Prior to joining Lewis & Clark Partners, David led Monsanto’s Biotechnology Prospecting Team looking for innovative opportunities to support the Monsanto agriculture technology platforms. As part of this effort, he continued to build an extensive Ag Tech network including research institutes, universities, start-ups, and agriculture companies.
In a previous role, David helped lead the development of animal feed and grain processing traits as part of the Renessen LLC JV. At Renessen, David was V.P. of Product Development & Technology and led the technology, product development and regulatory science functions. He started his Ag career with Agracetus, Inc., an early Ag biotec startup, where he led teams developing new seeds traits and investigating novel plant seed approaches to animal nutrition and human health.
David received his B.S. from U of Minnesota, Morris, his PhD from Rice University in microbial gene expression, and did a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University exploring light regulation in corn.
JoAnn has extensive investment and operating experience owning, advising and managing companies in the food and agriculture sectors. As a Lewis & Clark Operating Partner, she continues as the Managing Partner and President of Demeter LP, a privately held agribusiness firm headquartered in Fowler, Indiana.
Through multiple acquisitions and management agreements, Demeter owned and operated numerous grain facilities in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. At its peak, Demeter grew to be one of the largest grain companies in North America. Corn, soybeans, wheat and specialty grains originating at these grain facilities were merchandised and sold into the poultry, ethanol, processing and export markets. In 1996, the majority of the Demeter grain assets were acquired by the Archer Daniels Midland Company. Demeter continued to operate and organically grow the remaining grain assets and businesses. Recently, the company agreed to sell its core business, its grain assets, to The DeLong Company of Clinton, Wisconsin.
JoAnn is the current chair of the National Grain & Feed Association and serves as a trustee of Purdue University. She was elected to the board of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in 2010, chosen as one of the Indiana Chamber Volunteers of the Year in 2018, was vice chair in 2020, and was recently appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors for 2021. Her achievements also include being awarded the AgriVision Award from the State of Indiana in 2010 and being appointed to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiation by President George W. Bush in 2003 and again in 2005.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hanover College, majoring in business.
Mr. Welker is a senior executive with over 30 years of experience in Fortune 100 and startup companies focused in the agriculture, chemicals, and materials industries. Notably, Steve managed the global alfalfa seed business for a division of Land O’Lakes, one of the leading co-ops in U.S. agriculture. Prior to his role at Land O’Lakes, he held several commercial roles at Monsanto and multiple commercial and technical roles at large chemical companies including DuPont, Monsanto Chemical, and Solutia, as well as small companies and start-ups.
Most recently Steve completed the Distinguished Career Institute Fellowship at Stanford University. As a farmer from the Midwest, Steve’s time at Stanford included mentoring agtech startups and sharing his farming and agribusiness experience with the investor community focused in the agricultural markets. His experience as a farmer, businessman, and engineer has led to a deep interest in developing and commercializing technologies and practices to help farmers improve profitability and promote sustainable food practices.
Steve earned his Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri and a Masters of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis.
Steve is originally from St. Louis. He has enjoyed time living in Ohio, Delaware, and Texas before returning to St. Louis where he raised his family. Steve and his wife have 2 wonderful daughters who reside in California and Michigan. In his free time, Steve enjoys biking, hiking, following college football, and traveling to visit his daughters.
David Poldoian has led companies, both large and small, public and private, across a range of industries including consumer goods, professional services, and financial services. He’s served as trusted advisor and consultant to Fortune 500 CEO’s and other leaders helping to address key strategic and operating issues.
David has been affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis for over 20 years. He is an award-winning member of the adjunct faculty of its Olin Business School where he teaches entrepreneurship and strategy. Prior to joining Lewis & Clark Partners, David served as the Chief Executive Officer of IronRock Investments. He was also President and Chief Operating Officer of Everest University Online and Vice President and Partner at Bain and Company.
David holds his B.A. from Tufts University and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Jessie Chapel has been with Lewis & Clark since 2013 and leads the Investor Relations group at Lewis & Clark AgriFood. She handles all communication with investors, coordinates and collects subscription paperwork, manages capital call and distribution-related activities, and most recently helped raise over $400M for Lewis & Clark AgriFood and Lewis & Clark Ventures. She also leads the PR, communication, and marketing strategy for Lewis & Clark AgriFood.
Jessie currently administers private equity, venture capital, and growth equity funds within Lewis & Clark AgriFood, Lewis & Clark Ventures, and Lewis & Clark Real Estate. She has extensive experience in due diligence, providing accurate and detailed financial reports, superior client relation support, asset and portfolio management, and tax credit sales transactions. During her career, she served in supervisory positions in the loan processing and closing department at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and personally closed over $750M in loans under the Home Affordable Refinance Program.
Jessie holds a B.S. in Finance and Banking from the University of Missouri – Columbia.
Suhas has over a decade of experience in Food and Agriculture as an Investor and Operator. He is currently responsible for making and managing investments on behalf of Lewis & Clark AgriFood across the AgriFood ecosystem. He has been instrumental in making five new investments and has worked on boards of companies in the Automation and Robotics spaces including companies such as Aker Technologies, BinSentry and Tortuga.
Previously, Suhas helped build and scale a row crop seed business of GEO Biotechnologies in India, and has worked extensively with farmers. He also has a breadth of investment experience working on the limited partner side of private investments as well as in M&A and Buyouts.
Prior roles also include working with G2 Capital Advisors, a boutique investment advisory firm, and subsequently with College Hill Capital Partners, a Boston based Private Equity firm, where he evaluated several investments in the Restaurant & Food Industries. Suhas also worked with the Private Equity Investment Committee of the Babson College Endowment where he helped manage the portfolio of private investments and evaluated investments in Fund Managers.
Suhas is passionate about investments and entrepreneurship, and is a member of The Takshashila Institution, A Public Policy Think Tank.
Suhas has an MBA from Babson College with a focus on Finance and Entrepreneurship, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronics Engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University.
Matt is a Vice President at Lewis and Clark AgriFood. Prior to Matt’s role at Lewis and Clark, he was a Principal at Cultivation Capital and Yield Lab, helping build an AgTech related investment fund.
Matt led the launch of the Yield Lab Europe, an agriculture technology venture fund and accelerator based in Ireland. Matt has been as an agriculture technology analyst and spent time in an agriculture technology startup, CoverCress, helping them breed plants, tending greenhouse and harvesting genetic nurseries.
Matt previously lived in Salt Lake City as a competing member of the United States Long Track Speedskating Team. Matt served on the U.S. Speedskating Board of Directors from 2012-2018 and serving as an Officer and as Chair of the Athletes’ Advisory Council. Matt currently is Vice Chair of the Young Friends of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
Matt graduated in 2018 with a Masters of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis.
John is an Associate at Lewis and Clark AgriFood, where he is responsible for research, evaluation, due diligence and execution of investments in the AgriFood sector.
Prior to joining Lewis and Clark, he was an Associate at Growth Catalyst Partners, a middle market private equity firm focused on tech-enabled services. At GCP, John helped evaluate and execute platform and add-on investments, as well as due diligence, research and ongoing portfolio management. Before that, he was an Analyst in the Investment Banking Division at Jefferies, where he focused on advising mid and large-cap industrial clients on M&A and capital raising transactions.
John has a BS in Accounting and Finance from the University of Kansas, where he graduated with honors and distinction.
Graham is an associate at Lewis & Clark AgriFood, joining the team in 2020. He previously worked at Bitcoin Depot, and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey where he worked in the Leveraged Finance group.
Graham received his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College where he studied finance.
He enjoys traveling, watching soccer, and spending time with family.
Rose is an Executive Assistant at Lewis and Clark AgriFood. With over 20 years of experience supporting C-Level executives, she brings both organization and efficiency to the team. Rose has an extensive background in complex calendar management, travel coordination, research and event planning. Prior to joining the team, she worked for Lone Peak Group.
Marisa Nardoni has more than 15 years of proven experience in both the operations management and client advisory realms of the professional services industry. She has extensive operational experience, varied consulting knowledge and broad customer service skills which enable her to capably serve both internal and external stakeholders.
Before joining Lewis & Clark Partners, Marisa served as Operations Manager for MarketSphere Consulting, LLC. She was also a Senior Consultant for Deloitte & Touche, LLP, as well as the Office Manager for Drill String Services, Inc.
Marisa holds her B.S.B.A. in Computer Information Systems from Spring Hill College (Mobile, AL).
Susannah is the Product Line Manager of Ball Horticultural Company, a global breeder and distributor of ornamental flowers and plants. At Ball, she works in vegetable product development and oversees distribution for Chile and Mexico.
Prior to returning to the Chicago area to join the Ball family business, Susannah worked on a sustainable livestock farm, Stone & Thistle, in upstate New York where she raised hogs, broiler chickens, cattle, sheep and dairy goats for 8 years. When not managing the farm or working various NYC farmers markets, she helped out on a friend’s organic vegetable CSA.
Ms. Ball completed her studies at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, Loyola University, and the University of Cambridge.
In her spare time, Susannah enjoys running, exploring local forests, and continues her passion for animal husbandry by having too many pets in her apartment.
Cees (Case) Boonman was President of Ball Seed Company, that services over 7,000 commercial greenhouse flower growers in North America. Mr. Boonman retired from Ball in 2016 after 22 years of service.
Prior to joining Ball, he held several senior management positions with leading firms in the vegetable seed industry, including general management roles in European markets and in the U.S.
Mr. Boonman is a native of The Netherlands. He earned a Master’s degree in International Business from Catholic University in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
As an AgriFood Advisory Group member, Dave Dressel brings more than 30 years of experience in the pet food, animal feed, and food ingredients industries. Dave is both Partner and Owner of Diversified Ingredients, a leading supplier of pet food, dairy, feed, and food ingredients located in St. Louis County.
Thanks to Dave’s vision, Diversified Ingredients also owns Ingredient Logistics Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Diversified Ingredients founded in 2015. This company handles all of Diversified Ingredients’ logistical needs, is asset-based with operations in Pennsylvania and Southwest Missouri, and is a registered 3PL (third-party logistics). Dave is also the Founder, Partner, and Owner of Ingredient Distribution Services. Formed in 2018, Ingredient Distribution Services is an importer of animal proteins and starches, with its own storage facility in Southwest Missouri.
Along with partner Johnson Farms, Diversified Ingredients recently purchased Foremost Farms’ Minnesota-based drying plant. The new company, Preston Protein Products, is a producer and contract dryer for whey proteins, milk powders, and buttermilk powders. Preston Protein Products is a certified organic facility.
Dave holds a BSBA in Finance from the University of Missouri- Columbia.
Robb Fraley, PhD
Dr. Robert (Robb) Fraley is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Monsanto Company. He is widely recognized as a key contributor to the worldwide science and agriculture communities – most notably, for developing the first genetically modified crops as a solution for farmers battling pests and weeds that threatened yields and food production.
He grew up on a small farm near Hoopeston, IL and attended the University of Illinois, where he earned a PhD in Microbiology and Biochemistry. Throughout his career, Robb has authored more than 100 publications and patent applications relating to technical advances in agricultural sciences. Recognitions for his contributions include being a recipient of: The National Medal of Technology (1998), The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Distinguished Service Award (2007), The World Food Prize (2013) and The of the Order of Lincoln (2020).
Today, Robb resides with his wife, Laura, in St. Louis and in his newest role, he has become a leading voice for agriculture, passionately working to reset the public conversation about science. As he often says, “We can develop the greatest scientific innovations the world has ever seen, but if we can’t find ways to communicate and engage more effectively, nothing else will matter.”
Mark Izzo, PhD
Mark is an entrepreneurial-minded research & development executive with significant experience driving innovation at large CPG companies, as well as general management of ingredient suppliers and small CPG. In his current role as SVP and Chief Disruption Officer at Post Holdings, Mark seeks to create value organically by leveraging emerging disruptive technologies to drive the creation of new food markets. Izzo leads a disruptive innovation team that incorporates full-service launch capabilities in one place… with dedicated sales, marketing, and supply chain functions supported by a broad network of Post Holdings functions enabling rapid business setup.
As the former Vice President of R&D at Pinnacle Foods, Mark led product development across a diverse portfolio including Birdseye, Hungry Man, Duncan Hines, Wishbone, and Vlasic. Among other initiatives, Mark collaborated across the organization to develop and execute a strategy resulting in the launch of several $100+ million innovation platforms across frozen and bakery R&D.
Prior to his role at Pinnacle Foods, Mark served as Vice President of R&D and Innovation at Post Holdings, where he managed a diverse innovation portfolio across breakfast and snacking. He created and led a cross-functional team that spearheaded joint concept/product development with major retailers, resulting in two Walmart test markets and multiple category leading launches. He also teamed with Post’s sales force to form a Costco business team and develop a Costco-specific pipeline. Additionally, Mark led the integration of PowerBar R&D from Nestle into Post R&D and transitioned existing product lines from in-house to external manufacturing.
Mark also served in R&D leadership roles at the Campbell Soup Company (leading product development for Campbell’s US-branded businesses including beverages, sauces, and pasta meals), Post Foods LLC (managing the R&D organization responsible for product, process, and packaging development for a diverse $1B+ portfolio of cereal brands), Nutraterra LLC (creating and launching a high-end brand of snacks and beverages), and Orafti North America (creating a market-leading nutraceutical ingredient business by selling a prebiotic fiber to the US market).
Both a successful business leader and an accomplished scientist, Mark also worked as a Senior Research Scientist for M&M Mars. He holds a BS in Biochemistry, an MS in Food Science, and a PhD in Food Science, all from Rutgers University.
Bob Lumpkins is a career ag and commodity executive. He spent 38 years with Cargill Inc. in a series of financial and general management positions, retiring as Vice Chairman in 2006. While at Cargill, he put together the merger of Cargill’s fertilizer business with publicly-traded IMC Global to form The Mosaic Company, a Fortune-500 leader in phosphate and potash fertilizers. Bob served as Chairman of Mosaic from its 2004 founding until stepping down in 2018.
He currently serves as a senior advisor to Varde Partners, a global credit-oriented alternative asset manager, and on the advisory board of private equity investor Metalmark Capital. He has been an independent director of several multinational companies, a Trustee of Howard University and of the Educational Testing Service.
He has a B.S. in Mathematics with honors from the University of Notre Dame, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Kim grew up in the heart of the Midwest in Indiana, graduated with a degree in agronomy from Purdue University, and has dedicated over 30 years to the agribusiness industry. She has proven experience in the areas of strategic planning and innovation, brand development, sales leadership, general management and operations.
Kim joined The Mosaic Company in 2019 as VP AgTech & Innovation, Strategy & Growth, to serve on the Global Strategy Team focused on R&D and innovation related to Mosaic products and services.
Before joining Mosaic, Kim founded NFocus Partners a boutique consultancy in 2009. She served both small start-up companies bringing technology, products and services to the industry and established companies looking for creative and pragmatic strategy and solutions to growing their business.
Prior to NFocus, Kim led the consumer products division of Chemtura corporation, where she managed the global enterprise with 900 employees and 5 dedicated manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. During her tenure, she served as a change agent to re-structure and reduce division costs, improve margin and focus resources on the most profitable segments of the enterprise. Prior to her appointment as Group President, she led the US sales team for the BioLab division.
Before joining Chemtura, she held the position of VP of Sales and Marketing of Nutra-Park, Inc., a biotech firm specializing in plant growth regulators. She developed and executed the comprehensive sales and marketing plan for the launch of the company’s product portfolio and designed an innovative “grower to grocer” revenue strategy.
Kim served as Director of Global Supply Chain for BASF, where she managed project groups in Europe, North America and Latin America. She optimized projects and processes in the manufacturing and supply chain organization. She joined BASF as National Sales Manager for the US crop protection division, post acquisition of American Cyanamid, leading the integration and restructuring of the team.
Kim began her career with American Cyanamid’s crop protection division, taking on increased levels of responsibilities for market and brand development, including the launch of two brands and revitalization of two others. She managed the promotions and programs for the company’s 2000+ member AgriCenter™ dealer network in her role as Director of Retail Distribution.
Edmund O’Keeffe has over 25 years experience in management and board roles in the food and beverage sector in both North America and Europe. He is Chairman of O’Keeffes Group, an Irish retailer with pet, furniture and wine stores. He serves on a number of boards: Bay State Milling, a leading North American flour milling and specialty grain company, Main Street Gourmet Bakery, a private equity backed US bakery focused on the instore bakery channel and BinSentry, a Canadian innovator of things solution technology provider to the grain industry. Prior board experience includes Liberte Brands, Canada’s leading organic dairy and Pineridge Bakery.
Edmund served in a variety of roles from 1994 to 2019 for Cott Corporation, the world’s largest producer of beverages on behalf of retailers, brand owners and distributors. Joining Cott in its early growth phase he progressed into positions in Product Management, Strategy, Corporate Development, Investor Relations, Communications and Strategic Planning. Most recently he was President of Cott Beverages LLC, responsible for an $80 MM 130 employee business unit that provided global R&D, product development, technical services, concentrates and sales to 67 countries. Prior to this role, Edmund served as President of Cott’s Royal Crown Cola International, a branded franchise beverage portfolio with bottlers across 64 countries.
Edmund graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Commerce and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. He was a former Research Associate for Professor Ray Goldberg at Harvard Business School and is currently a member of Harvard University’s Private and Public, Scientific, Academic, and Consumer (PAPSAC) Food Policy Group.
As a Lewis & Clark AgriFood Advisory Group member, Shari brings extensive strategic experience leading multi-stakeholder organizations. She currently serves as President and CEO of Farm Foundation, where she leads operational improvements, establishes new programs (including those that expand diversity), and initiates the vision process alongside the Board.
A fifth-generation farm owner herself, Shari provides firsthand knowledge regarding the integration of precision AgTech tools into day-to-day operations. Before taking the lead role at the Farm Foundation, Shari served as CEO of Illinois-based Family Farms, LLC, an enterprise of five companies providing business, financial, and farm input services to around 1,000 farms throughout the U.S. and Canada. She also led overall value creation, growth strategy, and commercialization for the New Hampshire-based data analytics technology firm Applied GeoSolutions, LLC; prior to that, she founded (and served as president of) Cambium Strategies, LLC. During her six years at Cambium, Shari led strategy projects for a range of food and agriculture organizations from Fortune 200 companies to mid-sized firms to global NGOs.
Shari is highly effective in strategic business problem-solving and communication, having served as a Global Coach for MBACASE.com and as the co-director of the consulting academy at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. She also conducted strategic analysis with the Boston Consulting Group (London, England) and, while working as an Institutional Sales Executive for London-based McKinley Allsop Limited, initiated European market expansion.
Currently, Shari sits on the St. Louis Federal Reserve Board, The Nature Conservancy Board of Trustees, and the Soil Health Institute Board of Directors (Executive Committee). She previously held board-level positions at Coastal Pet Products Inc., Farm Credit Mid-America, SEED Corp, and the Local Growers Guild.
Shari holds an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Kansas. She is an active Harvard alumna, serving on two fundraising committees, including one for an endowed chair in honor of her professor Ray Goldberg, the “founding father” of agribusiness.
Martha Schlicher, PhD
Dr. Martha Schlicher currently serves an Entrepreneur in Resident at BioGenerator, a part of BioSTL focused on investments in the Agri Food Tech space as well as the CEO of two early stage agricultural startups: Impetus Agricultural Co and Plastomics, Inc.. Dr. Schlicher has more than 30 years of global experience leading the identification, development, commercialization, strategy, marketing and sales of new life sciences technologies and in the turnaround of organizations seeking new growth trajectories.
She most recently served as the CTO of Mallinckrodt Specialty Generics where she had responsibility for research and development, clinical pharmacology and development, program and portfolio strategy and management and regulatory sciences for the development and support of new generic drug products and new development platforms. Prior
Previously, Dr. Schlicher served as the vice president of corporate social responsibility, sustainability and stakeholder engagement at Monsanto. Additional leadership roles at Monsanto included new product crop strategy and development, environmental and regulatory science and policy, sales and marketing and Office of the President. She has additionally held roles leading business development at Divergence, an Ag tech start up sold to Monsanto, and GTL Resources, a renewable energy company sold to CHS.
Dr. Schlicher currently serves on the board at Greenlight Biosciences, the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and the Scientific Advisory Board for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. She previously served on the board of GTL, publicly traded on the London AIM, the board of privately held, Illinois River Bioenergy, the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board to Secretary Moniz, as a Trustee for the St. Louis Academy of Science, and as a member of the United States Department of Energy Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee, and as an industry advisor to the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy Research at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Department of Agricultural Economics at University of Missouri – Columbia.
Dr. Schlicher holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Indiana University, a doctor of philosophy degree in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA from Northwestern University.
Ian Ward, PhD
Ian Ward serves as the Chief Growth Officer for Rahr Corporation, charged with the identification, evaluation and guiding strategic initiatives and investments in Rahr’s operating business units and passive investments taking on the role in March 2020. Ian joined Rahr Corp in 2004, when Rahr acquired Brewers Wholesale Inc. forming the BSG business unit, distributing malt, hops and other brewing ingredients to the craft brewing, winemaking and distilling industries.
From 2004 until 2006 he led the sales team as Commercial VP and in 2006 was promoted to the role of President. During his leadership BSG grew from three operation centers to fourteen across North America with a CAGR growth rate in excess of 25% over 15 years. He led three acquisitions in the U.S and one in Canada, which added four additional sites. In 2011 he led the purchase of a 10-acre apple processing facility in the Yakima Valley for conversion to hop processing and storage. In 2017 he created the BSGi business unit and made two acquisitions. The first: Bevie with operations in New Zealand, UK, Holland and Australia, and later in 2018 invested in a Joint Venture- Bintani with four locations across Australia. He serves on the Boards of both Bevie and Bintani.
He has presented at numerous conferences and meetings throughout North America and Europe on the topics of enzymology, beer clarification and stabilization and latterly the malt and hop industries.
Prior to his work in the U.S. Ian worked for Savilles Clarification, then part of the Laporte Group, as an R&D chemist. Published a number of papers on beer clarification and filed a UK Patent for a novel clarification procedure.
Ian received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Birmingham in the UK, his research focused on using 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance studies of borate complexes of phenol-formaldehyde polymers used as foundry binders. His undergraduate research focused on lithium ion conducting polymers also at the University of Birmingham receiving a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry.
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