team


 

    Management Team


     

    ANNARATH

    CEO
    Anna Rath is a pioneer in the development of the dedicated energy crop industry. She founded NexSteppe in 2010 to develop and commercialize optimized crops for the biofuels, biopower, biogas and biobased product industries. Rath was formerly Vice President of Commercial Development for Ceres, where she built and launched their energy crop business. Prior to Ceres, she 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. She also serves on the Biotech Industry Organization’s Industrial and Environmental Section Governing Board and was recently awarded BIO’s Rosalind Franklin award for leadership in industrial biotechnology. She was ranked #52 in Biofuels Digest’s Top People in Bioenergy for 2013-14, #48 for 2015 and #33 for 2016.


    HANSMILLER

    CFO
    Hans Miller has been involved in the seed business for over 25 years. Most recently he was the CFO at W. Atlee Burpee Company, where in addition to accounting and finance, his responsibilities included brand licensing and managing internet marketing. Miller’s experience in the seed business began at Ball Horticultural Company where he held several positions in finance and operations and also served on the SAP system implementation team. His international experience includes acquisitions, start-ups and design of cost management systems. Miller began his career as an auditor at Arthur Andersen & Co. He is a CPA, holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago-Booth School of Business and a BS in Accounting and Finance from Oklahoma State University.


    JERRYO’REAR

    Vice President, Breeding, Agronomy & Production
    Jerry O’Rear brings to NexSteppe more than 20 years of experience in sorghum breeding, foundation seed production and parent seed production. He managed the turnaround of Garrison & Townsend and helped establish it as the leading independent sorghum seed company. The company was later sold to Advanta, where he became Advanta’s global sorghum lead, managing a network of more than 25 breeders worldwide. O’Rear has taken leading roles in many industry organizations including being a Board member and then President of the Texas Seed Trade Association, a member of the Texas A&M Sorghum Advisory Board, a member of the Texas Crop Testing Advisory Board, a member of the Sorghum and Millet Germplasm Advisory Board and a member of the Texas Sorghum Growout and Quality Advisory Board. He obtained his BS in Plant Science from West Texas State University.


    JASONBLAKE

    Vice President, Business Development – North America, Europe and Africa
    Jason Blake is a global executive in business development & marketing with over 20 years of leadership experience, combining capabilities in planning and leading mission-critical corporate strategies. Jason has diversified experience, cutting across the Biotechnology, Transportation, and Software/IT industries. Most recently at Novozymes, Jason served as Director of Biomass Business Development, in charge of accelerating the commercialization of the biofuels industry. Previously at FedEx Corporation, Jason developed innovative solutions to broaden the FedEx global portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services around the world. He has lived and worked on four different continents including Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Jason received his Bachelor’s degrees in both International Affairs and East Asian Studies from Lewis & Clark College in Portland Oregon.


    MAURICIOBARBOSA

    Director of Breeding – South America
    Mauricio Barbosa has over 12 years experience in plant breeding and developing technologically advanced breeding processes. Barbosa began his breeding career working on high-oil content corn varieties. Barbosa’s work at Monsanto led to the identification and development of several corn hybrids and inbred lines adapted to Brazil’s Center Highlands and Safrinha growing season. After establishing a double haploid breeding program in Brazil and leading several research stations across Central Brazil Barbosa went on to develop, construct and lead a new research facility for Monsanto in Northeast Brazil to conduct multi-crop and multi-season breeding and agronomy research. Barbosa earned an Agronomy degree and Master’s degree in plant pathology from ESALQ/USP and his PhD in Plant Breeding from UNESP-Jaboticabal.


    PAULTWINE

    Vice President, Business Development – Asia Pacific
    Paul Twine brings to NexSteppe more than 20 years of experience in global agri-business. Prior to joining NexSteppe, Twine had a highly successful 12 year career with Monsanto Company. During this significant and ground-breaking period in the seed and biotech industry, he helped develop and deliver advanced technology in seed, biotechnology and chemistry to millions of farmers and stakeholders across the Asia Pacific region including Australia, South East Asia, China and Pakistan. Key regional roles held by Twine at Monsanto include business development, marketing strategy and finance. Twine hales from Western Australia and spent his early years on the family cattle farm before transferring his commitment to agriculture into the corporate world. Paul holds a Masters in Agribusiness from the University of Melbourne.


    RICARDOBLANDY

    Vice President, Business Development – South America
    Ricardo Blandy is a global executive with over 12 years of experience in agriculture, most of it in business development and building new businesses. Having worked in India, Singapore, Germany and England, he has focused his career on bringing innovation and new technologies to the agricultural world. Most recently at Novozymes, Ricardo served as head of Biomass Business Development in Latin America, in charge of accelerating the commercialization of the biofuels industry. Previously at Monsanto, Ricardo had key roles in founding the licensing business in Brazil and later as the lead for the soybean and cotton value capture systems in the main agricultural states of Brazil. Ricardo received his degree in Business Administration from Fundacao Getulio Vargas College in Sao Paulo.


    RODRIGORITTER

    Global IT Director
    Rodrigo has 12 years of software development experience focused on genetic breeding, bioinformatics and process automation. In 2002 he worked on the Sugarcane Genome project team, and in 2003 he was invited by the founders of CanaVialis – a Votorantim Ventures startup – to lead their systems development effort, wherein he created the Canasis application, a software system responsible for critical process management. He was head of IT for the Company until its acquisition by Monsanto five years after its foundation. At Monsanto, Rodrigo joined TPS (Technology Pipeline Solutions) as a member of the team responsible for launch and support of new applications in several countries working with multidisciplinary teams. Rodrigo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from UEPG (State University of Ponta Grossa – PR), a Project Management post-graduation title from Unicamp and an MBA focused on IT Project Management from FGV (Getulio Vargas Foundation).

    Board of Directors


    ANNARATH

    CEO
    Anna Rath is a pioneer in the development of the dedicated energy crop industry. She founded NexSteppe in 2010 to develop and commercialize optimized crops for the biofuels, biopower, biogas and biobased product industries. Rath was formerly Vice President of Commercial Development for Ceres, where she built and launched their energy crop business. Prior to Ceres, she 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. She also serves on the Biotech Industry Organization’s Industrial and Environmental Section Governing Board and was recently awarded BIO’s Rosalind Franklin award for leadership in industrial biotechnology. She was ranked #52 in Biofuels Digest’s Top People in Bioenergy for 2013-14, #48 for 2015 and #33 for 2016.


    GORDONBLACK

     
    Gordon Black is CEO and Founder of East West Capital Limited. He has extensive work experience in the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region for corporations operating in the investment banking, life sciences and real estate investment industries including: J. B. Were (Goldman Sachs JBWere), Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, New York, E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. Inc (global head office Wilmington Delaware and Asia Pacific) and Ipoh Limited, Sydney, Australia. Black has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, and a Biochemistry/ Chemistry degree from the University of New South Wales, Sydney.


    DENNISCOSTELLO

     
    Dennis R. Costello is a Managing Partner of Braemar Energy Ventures II and has been an active venture capital investment professional for over twenty-five years. Previously, Costello was a partner with Advent International, an international private equity firm where he rose to chief investment officer for North America. He began his career in alternative energy with positions as a project manager at Midwest Research Institute and as a member of the original staff of the National Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), which is now the National Renewable energy Laboratory (NREL). Costello holds an M.S. degree in business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, an M.A. in economics from Ohio State University and a B.A. in economics from the State University of New York (SUNY), College at Fredonia.


    JERRYFIDDLER

     
    Jerry Fiddler is the Founder of Wind River and was for 23 years its CEO and Chairman. Since it was founded in 1981, Wind River grew to become a leading device software provider, with over $400 million in annual sales and a market cap well over $1 billion. Intel acquired Wind River in 2009. Fiddler is currently the Chairman of Solazyme, a leading biofuels and biobased products company. He also sits on several other corporate Boards, serves on the University of California President’s Advisory Board on science and innovation, is president of the foundation Board of Chabot Space & Science Center, and is a trustee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, and The Jazz School. He received a BA in music and photography, and an MS in computer science, both from University of Illinois.


    RICARDOMADUREIRA

     
    Ricardo Madureira is a pioneer in Private Equity Investment in Brazil. Currently, he is a Director at Patria Investmentos, one of the largest alternative investments houses focused on Latin America. Ricardo is also acting CEO at Vogel Telecom, a Patria’s portfolio company. Prior to that role, Ricardo was the New Business Director at Promon and Managing Director at Genes. Genes is an organization that aims to invest in sustainable power generation projects in Brazil. Before joining Promon Group, Ricardo acted as the Global Strategy and Product Director at Monsanto in the U.S. and as Head of South America Crop Protection Division in Brazil. Prior to Ricardo’s leadership at Monsanto, he acted as CEO at CanaVialis, a company focused on sugarcane and energy crops. He led CanaVialis from its start-up to its acquisition by Monsanto. Prior to joining Canavialis, Ricardo was Operations Director at Votorantim New Businesses, a venture capital firm that invested in CanaVialis. Ricardo also held several leadership positions at AmBev (American Beverage Company). Ricardo holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Sibel Institute of Technology and an MBA from FDC. He also is a graduate of the OPM Program at the Harvard Business School.


    DEANOESTREICH

     
    Dean Oestreich spent his entire career with Pioneer Hi-Bred, starting as a Corn Breeder in 1974 and rising through the ranks to Chairman in 2007, then finally retiring in 2009. In 1999, DuPont purchased Pioneer for $9.6 billion. During his 35-year tenure, Oestreich held a series of leadership positions including serving as Pioneer’s 10th President and DuPont Vice President and General Manager, Vice President and Business Director, North America Operations, Vice President of Global Production Operations, and Vice President for the Africa, Middle East, Asia and Pacific Business (1999). Oestreich currently serves on the Board of Directors for Alliant Energy Corporation, a leading utility in the U.S. for biopower and biomass co-firing. Oestreich graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in agronomy.

    Advisory Board


    BRENTBEAN

     
    Brent Bean is the agronomist for the Sorghum Checkoff Program. Prior to this he served as Director of Agronomy for NexSteppe from 2012 to 2015. Bean joined NexSteppe from the Texas A&M System after serving the Texas Panhandle region as Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Research Agronomist for 25 years. Bean received the Texas AgriLife Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for his comprehensive work with forage sorghum in 2006. He is an active member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Southern Weed Science Society. Bean earned a BS and MS degree from Texas Tech University in Crop Science and a PhD from the University of Nebraska in Weed Science.


    MARK D. JANIS

     
    Mark D. Janis is the Robert A. Lucas Chair of Law and the Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Research at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Janis has authored a number of books, including the treatise IP and Antitrust (with Hovenkamp, Lemley and Leslie), two casebooks (Trademarks and Unfair Competition: Law and Policy (3d. Ed.), and Trade Dress and Design Law, both with Dinwoodie) and other books on trademark law (with Dinwoodie). He has published numerous law review articles and book chapters on patent law, intellectual property and antitrust, trademark law, intellectual property protection for plants, plant biotechnology and intellectual property protection for designs.

    Prior to joining the faculty at Indiana, Professor Janis was the H. Blair & Joan V. White Chair in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Iowa College of Law. He practiced patent law at Barnes & Thornburg (Indianapolis) from 1989 to 1995.


    BILLJOHNSON

     
    Bill Johnson is the founder of Biomass Consulting Services, a company that works with growers, processors and end users of biomass for industrial uses. Prior to founding Biomass Consulting Services, Johnson was Manager of Biofuels Development for Alliant Energy Corporation. While there, he was responsible for the biofuel supply, including overseeing research of purpose-grown energy crops, forest and crop residuals, biofuels supply chain development and the company’s efforts to support biofuels densification research. Before coming to Alliant Energy, Johnson was Dean of Agriculture and General Education at Blackhawk Technical College, Janesville, Wisc. Johnson is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with degrees in Animal Science and Reproductive Physiology-Endocrinology.


    FERNANDOREINACH

     
    Fernando Reinach is a General Partner of Fundo Pitanga, a venture capital fund. From 2001-2010, he was a general partner at Votorantim Novos Negócios, the venture capital and private equity arm of Votorantim, a large private industrial group in Brazil. He was a Professor at the University of São Paulo, was involved in the creation of two technology companies as well as in the coordination of the first Brazilian Genome Project. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Amyris Biotechnologies. Reinach was a Biotechnology Research Fellow from the Rockefeller Foundation and a Research Scholar at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He holds a biology degree from the University of São Paulo and a PhD from Cornell University Medical College.


    JONATHANWOLFSON

     
    Jonathan Wolfson is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Solazyme. Prior to founding Solazyme, Wolfson held a variety of positions in finance, business and law at 7thOnline and Triarc and served as Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of InvestorTree. He sits on the Boards of the Clean Economy Network and Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and is on the governing Board of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section. Wolfson also serves on the Executive Council for the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA). In September of 2009, he accepted the Green Leap Award from the Clinton Global Initiative for his commitment to commercializing Solazyme’s breakthrough technology for renewable oil production for fuel and for food. Wolfson holds JD and MBAdegrees from the NYU School of Law and the NYU Stern School of Business.