What We Stand For
It’s time for us to demand more from our plants and less from our planet.
At Verdesian Life Sciences, we enable a more sustainable, profitable future for farmers through nutrient use efficiency. We firmly believe that sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive, and our technologies are designed to protect the environment while helping farmers outdo what they’ve always done.
Everything we do at Verdesian has the best, long-term interest of the grower in mind. Our portfolio of products and technologies enhance nutrient uptake, reduce nutrient losses to the environment and improve yield potential.
We are committed to helping farmers maintain and improve water quality and soil health, and are adamant in our belief that we can do this together. Sustainability is a global movement, but big changes start with small actions. One practice, one tool or one new agronomic opportunity can improve nutrient efficiency, increase yield and dial up profits.
We Are The Nutrient Use Efficiency People
Established in 2012, Verdesian Life Sciences offers farmers and growers the biological, nutritional, seed treatment and inoculant technologies that maximize performance on high-value row crops and specialty crops, as well as turf and ornamental plants. With a diverse product portfolio of over 300 patent properties, our solutions are designed to enhance crop uptake, reduce nutrient losses to the environment, and improve yields for all growers. We are committed to the research and development of nutrient use efficiency technologies that make farming more efficient, more sustainable, and more profitable.
Our technologies are supported by exclusive licenses and research partnerships with leading global research institutions and universities, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California Riverside, University of Chicago, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. As a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Partner, we are committed to researching and developing environmentally sustainable products.
Investing in both science and people, we develop and retain the best and brightest talent in the industry to bring our technologies to the grower.
Headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, we have production and manufacturing facilities strategically located in Pasco, Washington; Kentland, Indiana; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; South Salt Lake City, Utah; and North Lima, Ohio.
What We Believe In
As the Nutrient Use Efficiency People, Verdesian Life Sciences is committed to making farmers more profitable through sustainable and responsible means. However, those two words are not lip service; we live by them. Our nutrient use efficiency technologies are designed to protect the environment while helping farmers outdo what they’ve always done. Sustainably.
Just as important is our commitment to improving the lives of those around us. Agriculture is inextricably tied to every fiber of life, and so should everything we do. It is our duty to do what we can to improve the lives of those around us.
At Verdesian, we are committed to helping farmers maintain and improve water quality and soil health, and are adamant in our belief that we can do this together. Sustainability is a global movement, but big changes start with small actions. One practice, one tool or one new agronomic opportunity can improve nutrient efficiency, increase yield and dial up profits. With a diverse product portfolio of over 300 patent properties, our solutions are designed to enhance crop uptake, reduce nutrient losses to the environment, and improve yields for all growers. We are committed to the research and development of nutrient use efficiency technologies that make farming more efficient, more sustainable, and more profitable. To learn more, watch this video.
Commitment to the 4Rs
Ever since its founding, Verdesian Life Sciences has been a firm believer in the 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework. The 4Rs is a deep-seated belief in achieving cropping system goals, such as increased production, increased farmer profitability, enhanced environmental protection and improved sustainability.
To achieve those goals, the 4R concept incorporates the:
- Right fertilizer source at the
- Right rate, at the
- Right time and in the
- Right place
To learn more, visit https://nutrientstewardship.org/4rs/ .
Verdesian and the IAWA
As a leader in Iowa agriculture, Dave Schwartz is passionate about sustainable farming, first as a grower himself, but also as a VP of Sales at Verdesian Life Sciences. Schwartz’s involvement on behalf of Verdesian with the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) is a testament to that dedication.
The IAWA is increasing the pace and scale of farmer-led efforts to improve water quality in Iowa. Founded in 2014 by Iowa Corn, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association, IAWA is building public-private partnerships focused on implementing water quality solutions. Verdesian Life Sciences is a proud member of the IAWA Business Council, of which Schwartz has served as chairperson.
Doing what’s right doesn’t mean doing what’s just right for the bottom line. We also are committed to doing what’s right for people. Our most important asset is our people. That belief extends beyond just our own employees but also to our retail partners and our grower customers. But that philosophy also conveys just as equally to our neighbors and to strangers. At Verdesian Life Sciences, we are committed to making the world a better place for the great people that inhabit it.
When floods ravaged parts of the Midwest during the spring of 2019, Verdesian Life Sciences employees decided to act. Over the course of several weeks in March and April 2019, members of Verdesian’s sales, technical services, marketing, operations (and more) departments crisscrossed across Nebraska cooking burgers and brats, delivering meals and hope to farmers and retailers impacted by floods that washed out roads and bridges, not to mention fields and crops. The group of Verdesian representatives fed and fellowshipped in places like Fullerton, Oakland, Tekahmah, West Point and more. “The agricultural industry is a family – it’s close-knit,” said Scott Ahrenholtz. “We are all one family and when they are in need we are here to help.”
Click here to learn more about the “Nebraska Strong” movement.
Habitat for Humanity
As the son of a builder, home construction is in the blood of Kenneth Avery, CEO, Verdesian Life Sciences. Helping to build homes for those less fortunate is part of his DNA – and it has become a major part of the DNA at Verdesian, as well.
For 30 years, Avery has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. He currently serves on the Board of the Wake County (NC) Habitat for Humanity. During his time in Cary, Avery has inspired his Verdesian colleagues to take time out at least once a year for a building project.
“I am a firm believer in the adage that we leave things better than we found them, and our involvement with Habitat affirms that. I am very proud of Verdesian’s commitment to giving back to those who just need a little bit of help.”
Verdesian Gives Back
In July 2018, Verdesian Life Sciences celebrated the winners of its Performance Guarantee Giveaway in two small farming communities in the Midwest. In Stitzer, Wisconsin, cattle rancher and grower Marland Bode and his wife LeeAnn received a brand-new Ford F-150, while in Ethan, South Dakota, ag retailer CHS Farmers Alliance Co-op won $30,000 to spend on local community causes.
The monetary prize will go far in Ethan, a 329-person town whose wide array of public resources and strong sense of community pride belie its tiny population. CHS Farmers Alliance Co-op manager Mark Endres divided the $30,000 prize between five programs in Ethan: $8,000 to upgrade the baseball diamond park, $10,000 for the public school, $5,000 for the city, $4,000 to complete the American Legion memorial park, and $3,000 to fund children’s art classes and other needed resources at the community center.
“We believe sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand,” said Dave Schwartz, VP of Sales. “We call ourselves ‘The Nutrient Use Efficiency People™,’ and we’re constantly researching and producing new solutions to help farmers grow more with less inputs.”
Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, and Belonging
At Verdesian, we believe our most important asset is our people. This belief extends beyond our team to our partners, grower customers, neighbors, and communities we serve. Our vision is to leave the world better than we find it by embracing our differences and fostering a diverse and inclusive working environment where we value our team’s backgrounds and experiences.
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CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Kenneth Avery is a strategic leader with more than 25 years of experience in delivering on global, financial and operational goals. His expertise in agriculture spans across row crop operations and vegetable markets to seed and trait engineering. Avery’s ultimate vision for agriculture is to provide farmers with better opportunities through solutions based on sustainability for growers and their land.
Through a transformative leadership style, Avery strives to reach long-term business success by enabling internal resources to reach 100 percent of their capabilities. By committing to a consistent strategy and approaching business with a global perspective, Avery has created value in a diverse variety of industries and operations.
Avery earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in accounting from Mississippi State University and is a certified public accountant. Prior to being named as CEO of Verdesian Life Sciences, Avery was the vice president of global vegetables at Monsanto. Throughout his career, Avery has also held positions with Delta and Pine Land Company, Eagle Materials, and Arthur Andersen LLP.
CHIEF SCIENCE OFFICER
Dr. Kuide (“Kwey-deh”) Qin currently works for Verdesian Life Sciences in Cary, North Carolina as the Chief Science Officer. At Verdesian, he leads R&D and new product development for nutrient use efficiency technologies to make farming more efficient, more sustainable and more profitable.
Prior to Verdesian, Kuide held scientist and leadership roles at Dow AgroSciences, and at Bayer Crop Science for leading the efforts to develop and transfer technologies in agricultural chemicals and in spray application equipment from the lab to the field. His background also includes novel technology and IP assessment, product positioning and business development, initiating innovation programs and launching programs to improve return on R&D investment.
With comprehensive training background in soil science at NC State University, in executive leadership at the University of Notre Dame, and earning his PhD in chemical engineering at University of Florida, Kuide is able to guide the Verdesian team to discover the best technology fit for Verdesian at the NUE space that eventually brings the maximum benefit to the growers.
In his role, Kuide is responsible for providing technical and strategic directions to executive management team for R&D of product technologies in four platforms including bio-stimulants, fertilizer enhancers, micronutrients, and seed treatment Inoculants, as well as people leadership for staff from discovery research, IP development, field development to product positioning and commercialization support globally. Kuide He is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). He has also been serving for more than nine years on the International Standard Organization (ISO)’s Equipment for Crop Protection committee to help bring economic and business benefits to the growers in the U.S. and globally.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Amy Diebler serves as Verdesian Life Science’s Chief Financial Officer, where she is responsible for finance, tax, treasury, legal and IT. Amy joined Verdesian Life Sciences from Chiesi USA, a pharmaceutical company, located in the Research Triangle Park area of NC, where she served as Senior Vice President and CFO. Her career at Chiesi USA also included roles as Senior Director, Corporate Finance and Development and Director, Finance Reporting. Prior to Chiesi USA, she worked in the audit and assurance practice at Ernst & Young LLP.
Ms. Diebler earned her Master’s of Accounting and a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Stetson University. Diebler is a Certified Public Accountant in both North Carolina and Florida.
CHIEF MANUFACTURING OFFICER
Sam Oliver serves as Verdesian Life Science’s Chief Manufacturing Officer, where he is responsible for supply chain, customer service, and all of manufacturing plant operations.
Sam is an experienced operational and supply chain executive with 31 years of agricultural and food industry experience in crop protection chemical manufacturing, row crops seed production, vegetable seed production, injectable pharmaceutical, artificial sweetener and animal agriculture. He is a proven and accomplished organizational leader in international corporations and startup companies who has consistently delivered results through broad optimization programs, business turnaround initiatives, acquisition and divestiture and new organizational development.
Sam has a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Washington University. He resides Raleigh, NC, with his wife, Cheryl, and daughter, Anna.
PRESIDENT, SPECIALTY MICRONUTRIENTS
Jason Gordon currently serves as Verdesian Life Science’s President of Specialty Micronutrients, where he is responsible for the oversight of sales, marketing, diversification, growth, strategy, new business, and product development for the specialty micronutrients business unit. He also is a member of our Executive Leadership Team.
Prior to the acquisition of QC Corporation by Verdesian in 2015, Gordon joined QC Corporation in 1996 after graduating from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri (Accounting and Finance). During his college years, Jason learned his family business firsthand by working in manufacturing and production at the plant in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Over his 25-year career in the agricultural sector, Gordon served QC Corporation in various leadership roles such as EVP Sales, COO, CFO, and was ultimately President and CEO, before selling to Verdesian.
Gordon has been an integral part in three major company expansions, including the development of our state-of-the-art compaction granulation facilities, which allowed the company to grow and diversify into the fertilizer and agricultural markets, with value-add specialty micronutrient products.
Jason and his wife Allyson (his high school sweetheart of 30 years), have two children, Jack (17) and Harris (13) and live in the Baltimore metropolitan area.
SVP SPECIALTY STRATEGY, US
Andrew Duff serves as Verdesian Life Sciences’ Senior VP, Specialty Strategy, US. Previously he served as SVP, US Sales, Nutritionals and Polymers.
Andrew was raised on a farm in the Mississippi Delta and has a diverse background in U.S. agriculture. After leaving the family farm, Andrew attended business school at the University of Mississippi and then obtained a law degree and MBA from Mississippi College. After a few years of practicing law, his passion for agriculture led him back to the ag industry where he worked as a chemistry sales rep for Valent and then Monsanto. While at Monsanto, Andrew held positions as U.S. Corn Trait Marketing Manager, Regional Account Manager, Area Business Manager and Deltapine Marketing Manager.
In 2013, Andrew joined Pinnacle Agriculture, a newly formed company aspiring to create a national retail and distribution business in the U.S. At Pinnacle, Andrew held leadership roles as Regional Business Director, VP of Marketing, National Sales Manager, and VP of Seed Strategy and Procurement. Most recently Andrew led a team to create a new seed company, Mission Seed Solutions, LLC, under the Pinnacle Agriculture corporate umbrella. Today Pinnacle is the fifth largest retailer in the U.S.
Andrew and his wife, Tracy, have two children, Brady (10) and Reagan (6) and live in the Memphis metropolitan area.
EVP, INTERNATIONAL, M&A & STRATEGY
Rick Riegner is EVP, International, M&A, & Strategy at Verdesian Life Sciences based in Cary, North Carolina working to bring Verdesian’s unique value proposition to key strategic accounts and build Verdesian’s business and strategic sales goals.
Rick worked with McKinsey and Company since 2014 as an Implementation Leader/Engagement Manager serving a number of clients in steel, global packaging, media, chemicals and more. In these roles, he negotiated contract strategies, led commercial transformation across sales and marketing, implemented digital pricing tools, and much more. Prior to McKinsey, Rick served as a General Manager with Cummins Bridgeway in Pittsburgh from 2009-2014. Prior to Cummins Bridgeway, he worked as a Global Petroleum Marketing and Sales Coordinator, Latin America, for Caterpillar.
Rick earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Marketing at Michigan State University, and a Master of Business Administration, Finance and Operations, from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.
Outside of work, Rick enjoys reading, fishing, golfing and spending time with his wife Krista, daughter Ella, and dog Charlie. He also enjoys supporting his beloved Michigan State Spartans.
VP, LATAM - CARIBBEAN - IBERIAN; VP, INTERNATIONAL SPECIALTY STRATEGY
Serving as VP of LatAm/Caribbean/Iberian & VP of International Specialty Strategy, Augusto Meneses leads sales activities and business acquisition integration, plant regulatory and product development programs, marketing campaigns and accompanying sales tactics in these markets. In this position, Meneses recruits Latin American, Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula based account managers to achieve regional sales objectives in the agriculture market. He also leads all the International Specialty Strategy.
With 25 years in the business, Augusto possesses specialized knowledge in crop protection and plant nutrition products, particularly in fruit, vegetables, tropical, industrial and row crops. His career includes manager in various roles at Copeval Chile, Northeast Sales Manager at SQM Mexico (Mexican subsidiary of SQM Chile), Director of Fertilizers at Ducor Mexico (a DuPont company), and Plant Nutrition Product & Market Manager at Gowan Mexicana and Gowan Company in Yuma, AZ.
Augusto is a graduate of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Agronomy and his Agricultural Engineering.
Augusto is married with two daughters, a son, and a canine friend Tyson. He enjoys golfing, fishing, mountain biking and enjoying his time with his family.
Augusto is currently the longest serving Verdesian employee.
GENERAL MANAGER, US SALES
Paul Beck is General Manager, US Sales. Previously he led Verdesian’s marketing team as VP, Global Marketing.
Beck comes to Verdesian from Bayer CropScience in Durham, where he was a Channel Marketing Manager for the past three years, responsible for the development of the U.S. channel strategy, resulting in dramatic improvement in channel partner perception of Bayer. Before that, Beck spent five years at John Deere Water in San Marcos, CA, first as a Strategic Marketing Manager and then as North American Marketing Manager, leading a team responsible for product management and doubling the product portfolio. Beck has also held positions with John Deere in Cary and with Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City, UT.
Beck earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Business, with a minor in German, from Linfield College in McMinnville, OR, and his MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. In addition, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany, where he researched the impact of the Euro conversion on international trade within the Saarland region of Germany.
Beck and his wife, Megan, have three boys: Harrison, Eli, and Asher, which means he often spends his weekends coaching soccer. An avid outdoorsman, Beck enjoys skiing, mountain biking, camping, hiking and whitewater rafting. He also enjoys running – he typically runs one marathon a year.
DIRECTOR, REGULATORY AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
As director of regulatory and project management, Gary oversees the day to day activities of the North American regulatory group, and coordinates the generation of regulatory chemistry, toxicology, residue, and environmental fate data in support of Verdesian product registration.
Gary has more than 30 years’ experience in the agricultural chemical industry serving as a scientist, manager, or director for several companies including CIBA-Geigy, Griffin LLC, Rivendell International USA, Arysta LifeScience, and United Phosphorus prior to joining Verdesian.
Gary holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Northern Michigan University, and a doctorate in bioorganic chemistry from the University of Connecticut.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, EUROPE AND AFRICA
Having joined Verdesian in January 2021, Emmanuel has experience in providing sales and development strategies to distribution partners across the markets in Europe and Africa. He brings 25 years of experience within the Agricultural industry and has worked for major global companies including Timac, Monsanto, Agro USA and Danone.
Susan Barnes Waldo, PHR, SHRM-CP
VP, GLOBAL HUMAN RESOURCES
Susan Barnes Waldo, PHR, SHRM-CP, is the VP, Global Human Resources at Verdesian Life Sciences. Susan is a certified Human Resource professional with more than 25 years in human resources, accounting and business development. She has worked in both the private and public business sectors with a portfolio of industry types.
Prior to Verdesian, Susan was in the recruiting industry for many years. She spent three years as Branch Operations Manager at Express Employment Professionals, and she served as Human Resources Director for CGM Group as well as Southern Energy Management, Inc.
Susan earned her bachelor’s degree in Management from East Carolina University. She has been heavily involved with the Society of Human Resource Management, where she has served as a Mentor, Membership Chair, VP of Membership and Workforce Development Director for the Triangle (NC) chapter.
Chief Information Officer
Teresa Vannatta is the Chief Information Officer with more than 20 years experience in the Agriculture Industry leading Information Technology and Supply Chain organizations. Previously she held the role of the VP of Supply Chain & Customer Service where she led the organizational investment in Customer Service and Planning and created operational excellence with the core system platforms.
Teresa grew up in Palmyra, MO, which is a small rural community just northeast of St. Louis. She earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Biology, Psychology and Information Management. She has one son, Noah.
VP, Global Marketing
Brady joined Verdesian from CIVCO Medical Solutions where his most recent role was the Director of Global Sales Strategy and Operations. In this role, he focused on securing and enhancing strategic channel partnerships for both the U.S. and international markets, expanding the U.S. direct sales team, creating sales enablement tools, and managing day to day operational sales functions. Prior to his role with CIVCO, Brady was a lead Consultant with Context Network, a strategy consulting firm specializing in the agriculture and biotechnology sector. At Context Network, Brady led teams to provide strategic recommendations on marketing and channel strategy, mergers and acquisitions targeting, and market development for both mid-sized and large multinational corporate clients. Brady also worked for Teach for America in Charlotte, NC, and in Tulsa, OK, both as a high school algebra teacher and later as an advisor and coach to new teachers.
Brady is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, with a degree in business. He also earned his MBA from the University of Iowa. He lives in North Liberty, IA, where he resides with his wife Evie and their three children, Harper, Noelle and Smith.