Speakers

A learning event like no other in the fertilizer industry...


Below you'll find an extraordinary assembly of thought leaders in the fertilizer industry ready to share their ideas on the major business considerations of operating in the specialty and premium fertilizer market.

They are looking forward to seeing you in Charlotte and sharing their expert knowledge!

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Neil Fleishman
Senior Industry Analyst
Green Markets
Neil Fleishman has analyzed global fertilizer markets and companies for over a decade.

His work with Green Markets includes the Global Fertilizer Quarterly series covering each of the N, P, and K markets in detail. Mr. Fleishman also produces fertilizer market research on a variety of topics of import to the industry, and leads/contributes to bespoke market research and advisory projects.

Previously, Mr. Fleishman worked at the Susquehanna International Group as a trading desk Sector Specialist. Neil holds a BS in Business Administration (Finance concentration) from Drexel University and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.
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Sam Wilson
Chief Technology Development Officer
Verdesian Life Sciences
Sam Wilson, is Chief Technology Development Officer, Verdesian Life Sciences. He brings more than 30 years of experience to lead the development of new technologies in all product categories.

Prior to this position, Wilson served as the global field development manager for FMC, where he managed new product development and led research for more than 250 trials around the world. While at FMC, he was presented with the North American Crop Innovation Award for product development, project leadership and teamwork.

Wilson also held product development and technical service positions with United Agri Products, Zeneca AG Products and Monsanto. Wilson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees of science from North Carolina State University and received his doctorate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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John Breen, PhD
Director of Research Alliances and Regulatory Affairs
Actagro

John Breen is Director of Research Alliances and Regulatory Affairs; he joined the company in 2014. In this role, he works with other members of the Actagro science and management team to make strategic decisions on Discovery research and Actagro’s technology pipeline. He works externally to explain Actagro’s technology to our customers and industry groups. John also oversees regulatory strategy and approvals. Additionally, he leads the activities surrounding Actagro’s development of purposeful intellectual property.

John joined Actagro from Dow AgroSciences LLC, where he worked for 18 years. He was Regulatory Leader for Japan and Korea for two years, then served as R&D Leader in that geography for seven more years, which included responsibility for all people leadership, field research, product development, regulatory science, and regulatory approvals, leading a team of 18 scientists. This included approvals for GM cotton, soybean and corn traits, and external technology matters. Previously, he was Customer Agronomist for rice herbicides and range & pasture herbicides in the US South, contributing to Reduced Risk regulatory approvals and product launch support in those markets. He also worked in field and greenhouse research on rice and turfgrass herbicides.

John’s academic training is as a Systems Agronomist and Weed Scientist. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis, where he did field research and simulation modeling on weed competition in water-seeded rice in California and Japan. He served on the editorial board of the journal Weed Biology and Management for 13 years, eventually serving as Associate Editor-in-Chief. He has published research and review papers in various journals, and was an adjunct faculty at the Weed Science Center, Utsunomiya University in Japan.

He reads and speaks Japanese fluently. He has a 29 year-old son, and is an avid golfer.

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Justin Stewart
U.S. Marketing Leader, Nitrogen Stabilizers
Dow AgroSciences, LLC

Justin Stewart is the U.S. Marketing Leader for Nitrogen Stabilizers for Dow AgroSciences. Justin joined Dow AgroSciences in 2007 and has experience in a wide range of markets and businesses including Turf and Ornamental, Structural and Post-Harvest Commodity Pest Control, Small Grains, and Nitrogen Stabilization.

Since taking over as the Marketing Lead for Nitrogen Stabilizers, Justin has been responsible for the overall strategic direction of the business. Responsibilities include analysis of current and future market opportunities, business development, and strategy implementation.

Justin holds a BS degree in Agronomy and MS in Plant Pathology; both from Purdue University. He also holds a MS in Industrial Administration from Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.

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Bradly Shaver, PhD
Specialty Division Agronomist
Helena Chemical
Brad Shaver received his Ph.D. in Plant and Environmental Sciences from Clemson University in 2015 where he studied nematology and turfgrass pathology. Previously, Brad worked as a sales rep and branch manager for Helena Chemical Company in North and South Carolina. He returned to Helena in 2015 as an agronomist and covers the golf, ornamental, lawn care, and industrial vegetation management markets across the entire US. Brad lives in Lyman, SC with his wife and two children.
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Peter Aleman
Agronomist
Bio-Gro, Inc.
Peter Aleman is the originator and owner of Bio-Gro, Inc. Peter has been involved in soil and plant nutrition since 1982. This includes working with growers and dealers in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe.  Peter’s specialty is designing fertilizer programs and products that maximize production in yield and quality as well as improve cost per unit of production.
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Dr. Srinivas Makam
Molecular Microbiologist
Global Organics Group
Dr. Makam has joined Global Organics to discover and guide the Integrated Life Science Research Center towards agricultural biology, ecology and genomics innovation. Dr. Makam is a seasoned scientist with over 22 years of research experience in Molecular Plant Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Genomics. He has also been an author in over 10 scientific publications and published abstracts in peer reviewed scientific journals. Prior to joining Global Organics, in his leadership capabilities, Dr. Makam served as a Team Lead/Scientist for the Monsanto Company, Senator/Vice President representing the Horticulture Department at Purdue University and a Research and Technical Coordinator at Arizona State University. He also completed his Post-doctoral assignment from Arizona State University. In addition, he possesses multiple years of teaching and leadership experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr. Makam received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture/Horticulture from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India, his Master of Science in Plant Physiology working on Abscisic Acid Hormonal Signaling and Immunology applications from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India. He obtained his Doctorate in the field of Molecular Plant Physiology/Microbiology/Biochemistry/Genomics from Purdue University researching on Plant Hormone Auxin Signaling.
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Christine Lensing
Economist – Specialty Crops
CoBank
Christine holds a master's degree in agricultural and applied economics from Virginia Tech. She has several years of experience in the finance industry both in South Africa and the U.S. Prior to joining CoBank's Knowledge Exchange Division as a Senior Economist covering the specialty crops industries in 2015, Christine worked for Rabobank in California.
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Josh McGill
Process Engineer and Special Projects Manager
Applied Chemical Technology
Josh McGill is a Special Projects Manager with Applied Chemical Technology (ACT), a process-development engineering firm located in Florence, AL. ACT works with customers to design and develop new products and processes in multiple industries including biomass, fertilizer, specialty chemical, mining, and others. In this role he leads teams of engineers, designers, technicians, and fabricators toward the successful implementation of projects. Some recent projects include multiple downdraft gasification facilities, waste mineral recovery process, modular liquid fertilizer production unit, and a polymer production system. His expertise is in project and fiscal management, project estimating, scope development, business development, and strategy implementation. Josh holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University and a MBA from The University of Alabama.
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Chris Pearson
Chief Revenue Officer
Future Harvest Developments
Chris is the Chief Revenue Officer for Future Harvest Development bringing new and innovative solutions to both the hydroponic and indoor growing industries. Prior to that role, Chris was Canadian Commercial Director for Ducati North America, where he was responsible for positively affecting sales targets and performing research and analysis.
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Mr. Nick Young
Supervising Special Investigator
California Department of Food & Agriculture's Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program
Nick Young is the Supervising Special Investigator for the California Department of Food & Agriculture's Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program. Nick has been with CDFA for ten years and was instrumental in the development of the inspection protocol for their Organic Input Material Program implemented worldwide. His role involves education and outreach, as well as regulatory enforcement of fertilizing materials. Nick currently serves of the Board of Directors of Association of American Plant Food Control Officials. Nick has a degree in Plant Science from California State Polytechnic University Pomona, where he also taught as an adjunct professor, as well as a degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Nick lives in Orange County, California with his wife, seven year-old daughter, and two year-old son.
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Dale Edgington
Purchasing & Production Manager
Cameron Chemicals, Inc.
Dale Edgington gained his BS degree in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University and began his career in the fertilizer industry in 1985. The first half of his career was spent in retail operations, marketing fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and related services to farmers in Michigan.

In 2003, Dale transitioned to the micronutrient fertilizer manufacturing business where he has been ever since. Responsibilities include purchasing and formulating various fertilizer products with the elements nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, boron, iron and zinc. The business was owned by Agrium, U.S. Inc. until April of 2015 when it was sold to another long standing micronutrient manufacturer, Cameron Chemicals from the state of Virginia.
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