December 6, 2016, Chicago
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Crystal Ballroom A

Presentations by scientists and entrepreneurs driving innovation in the seed industry include:

Innovating in Seed Treatment – Requirements and Future Trends in the Industry

Ioana Tudor, Global Head Seedcare at Syngenta

Ms. Tudor is the Global Head of Seedcare, a $1bn business for Syngenta. Prior to this she was Head of Diverse Field Crops (sugar beet, sunflower and oilseed rape). Other highlights of her career of 19 years with Syngenta include VP of Business Development for NAFTA Corn & Soybean seeds business in Minnesota, USA and strategy and biotech traits portfolio management roles in Basel, Switzerland. Ioana Tudor is a graduate of the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania and has an International MBA degree from the University of South Carolina (USA) and University of Economics, Vienna, Austria.



Rusty - AST

New Breeding Technology Breaks the Genetic Diversity Barrier

Richard Greubel, CEO, Kaiima

Mr. Greubel serves as Kaiima’s Chief Executive Officer since 2015. Mr. Greubel most recently worked as President of the Human Nutrition & Health for DSM, the world’s leading supplier of nutritional ingredients to the Pharma, food and feed industries. Previously, Mr. Greubel served as a Group VP and International President at Tyson Foods and before that held a number of positions at Monsanto. While President of Monsanto Brazil, he was responsible for the seeds, traits and herbicide businesses.

Kevin Cook

New Breeding Technology Breaks the Genetic Diversity Barrier

Kevin Cook, CTO, Kaiima

Mr. Cook serves as Kaiima’s Chief Technology Officer since 2015. Prior to that, he served in R&D leadership roles at Monsanto Company, including Global Corn Trait Integration Lead and as a Regional Lead for Line Development Breeding. Mr. Cook’s expertise includes product development, native & transgenic trait development, pipeline management, crop phenotyping and plant breeding.

 Plant Response

Leads of Natural Origin for Novel Resistance to Pathogens

Tom Snipes, CEO, Plant Response

Tom Snipes is the new CEO of Plant Response Biotechnology and is currently in the process of relocating from Savannah, GA to Plant Response headquarters in Madrid, Spain. Tom is a Business graduate of the University of South Carolina and his career has spanned the agriculture value chain with experience in crop protection, primary and specialty nutrients, retail/distribution and business development. He spent almost a decade with Koch Industries in a number of leadership roles and most recently was the Eastern US Business Unit Manager with Pinnacle Agricultural Distribution.


Smartfield™ FIT System: Applications for Crop Monitoring and High-Throughput Phenotyping

Mario A. Carrillo, PhD, VP of Agronomic Services, SmartField

Mario Carrillo leads Smartfield’s Agronomy Department. Prior to joining Smartfield, Carrillo served as a Director of Strategic Seed Projects at Chromatin, Inc. and held leadership positions at Monsanto as Product Development Manager for DEKALB corn germplasm and as Technology Development Manager for specialty crops.

He holds degrees in agronomy and crop protection from the Pan-American School of Agriculture (El Zamorano) in Honduras, a M.S. from Mississippi State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Carrillo is currently accredited as a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) and Certified Professional Agronomist (CPAg) by the American Society of Agronomy.

Brent Craig

Biologicals as Part of an Integrated Seed Treatment Platform

Brent Craig, North America Product Management Lead for Seed Applied Solutions, Monsanto BioAg

Brent Craig is the North American Seed Applied Solutions Lead. In this role, Brent leads the development of marketing, product, strategic and tactical plans for North America. Brent joined Monsanto in 2009 and during his tenure he has held roles in marketing and sales in both Vegetable and Row Crops business divisions of Monsanto. Brent graduated with a B.S. in Finance and a B.A. in Political Science from Miami University in Ohio, followed by an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. Brent lives in St. Louis with his wife Margit and two daughters.


Cystine Knot Peptides: A Rich Source of Traits for the Protection of Plants

Robert M. Kennedy, PhD, CSO, Vestaron

 Robert Kennedy, PhD, joined Vestaron in 2009 and has led the research and development team leading to the first commercial introduction of a venom peptide in the agricultural space. Vestaron has also received substantial grant support from the Foundation for the NIH for development of a novel mosquito control agent. Prior to Vestaron, over 12 years Bob led multiple technology groups including a cardiovascular discovery team and a chemistry technology acquisition team for Pfizer. Bob has held multiple full and part time academic positions at Western Michigan Medical School, University of Michigan and Columbia University.


Effective Biologicals and Traits from the Plant Microbiome

Natarajan Balachander, Director of Business Development, AgBiome

Natarajan ‘Bala’ Balachander has over two decades of experience in the ag industry developing and commercializing new to the industry products.

In his current role as Director of Business Development at AgBiome responsibilities include business development efforts for R&D partnerships and commercial agreements to support the development and advancement of AgBiome’s microbe based pipeline products for both biologicals and traits.

Prior to joining AgBiome, Bala worked at Landec Ag in various capacities eventually leading the organization in developing and commercializing polymer seed coatings from 1995-2012 and more recently at INCOTEC Field Crops N.A managing INCOTEC’s North American business for field crops as President and General Manager.


Panel – Challenges to Commercializing New Seed Technologies

Moderator: Brendan Johnson, Partner at Bryan Cave LLP

A new wave of innovation is now coming to the industry, where small companies and startups are developing the next generation of products. These technologies are moving beyond traditional crop protection and are providing benefits in unique ways including reducing resources, managing plant performance in changing climatic volatility, improving soil health and even changing the most fundamental parts of photosynthesis. The panel will focus on the challenges that small companies face in bringing such products to market, the current innovation pipeline, and will also touch on what the technology landscape could look like over the next 10 years.