Board of Directors

(Board members sorted by last name in alphabetical order)
Jeff Taylor
Jeff Taylor
Non-Executive Chair

Jeff Taylor has farmed actively with his family for over 35 years. He is the fifth generation to be farming the family farms. Mr. Taylor is a former member of a bioscience work group that provided qualitative information to the Iowa Innovation Council for policy recommendations to support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies. Mr. Taylor serves as a manager on the Ames Seed Capital L.L.C. Board of Directors. Managers are elected by the shareholders to oversee the pool of funds contributed by private sources to provide equity financing, help create and retain jobs, and provide positive economic impacts for Ames area start-ups. He has served as a director of Lincolnway Energy (LWE) since it was organized in May of 2004 and currently serves as its board chair. Mr. Taylor also serves an advisory role on Power Pollen, which collects, preserves and applies pollen to enable efficiencies in plant productivity. Mr. Taylor received a BS Degree in Farm Operations & Agricultural Studies from Iowa State University.


Duane Harris, Ph.D.
Duane Harris, Ph.D.
Non-Executive Director

Duane Harris has over 30 years of experience in private equity investing. He helped build Churchill Capital, co-founded Northstar Capital, and formerly was a partner at LFE Capital, all in Minneapolis. Currently he is a partner at Next Level Ventures in Des Moines. He also serves as a partner of Capital Management Resources, a Minneapolis-based administrator for investment funds. Prior to his investment career, Duane was an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, a professor of economics at Iowa State University, and a manager of corporate M&A and business development activities at General Mills. He holds a Ph.D. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.S. and B.S. from Iowa State University.


Tom Hoegemeyer, Ph.D.
Tom Hoegemeyer, Ph.D.
Independent Non-Executive Director

Tom Hoegemeyer grew up on a mixed livestock and seed farm in Dodge County, NE. He received his Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics from Iowa State University and grew Hoegemeyer Hybrids into a top 25 business in the seed industry, developing a reputation as one of the most respected and innovative plant breeders in the seed industry along the way. After selling Hoegemeyer Hybrids to Pioneer (now Corteva), he joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a Professor of Practice where he studies genome-wide selection, drought tolerance, and supports the recovery of Native American maize varieties while imparting his decades of experience in plant breeding, genetics, operations management, and leadership to new students.


Dan Northrup
Dan Northrup
Non-Executive Director

Dan Northrup is a mission-driven scientist motivated to contribute solutions for food production and climate change. Dan trained in genetics and immunology before focusing on agricultural research as a Booz Allen consultant to ARPA-E. At ARPA-e he supported a research portfolio that included phenotyping technologies and field sensors to boost productivity and promote efficiency and sustainability. Dan worked for Benson Hill leading projects in animal nutrition and market development for soy protein ingredients. He is currently a Principal of Science and Technology at Galvanize Climate Solutions.


James Schnable, Ph.D.
James Schnable, Ph.D.
Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer

James Schnable is a second-generation plant geneticist and the Charles O. Gardner Professor of Maize Quantitative Genetics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He serves on the scientific advisory board of GeneSeek, Inc and as an external consultant to the scientific advisory boards of several billion-dollar plant science companies. His research is currently supported by the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Nebraska Corn Growers. As a founding partner in three successful startups in his field, Data2Bio, Dryland Genetics, and EnGeniousAg, Schnable understands the synergy between academic research and entrepreneurship. He received his Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the University of California-Berkeley and his BA from Cornell University.


Patrick S. Schnable, Ph.D.
Patrick S. Schnable, Ph.D.
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Patrick S. Schnable is a renowned crop geneticist with a history of excellence in both academia and the start-up world. He is the recipient of multiple honors and awards and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His academic research on crop biology, bioinformatics and genetics has been presented in leading international conferences and published in high-profile journals, resulting in an h-index of 81. At Iowa State University, he is the Iowa Corn Promotion Board Endowed Chair in Genetics, a C.F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor, the Baker Scholar of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, and the Director of the Plant Sciences Institute. He has founded and managed several ag-tech startups and serves on the scientific advisory boards of several plant breeding companies. He has a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Cytogenetics from Iowa State University and conducted post-doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Köln, Germany.


Roger C. Underwood
Roger C. Underwood
Non-Executive Director

Roger Underwood is an entrepreneur with decades of experience and excellence in the agricultural industry. For as long as he can remember Roger has been fascinated with the world of plants. After founding a small startup with his partner, Jeff Becker, he grew it into a global company with $265 million in annual sales and sold it to BASF for $1.02 billion. He is now involved in many agricultural and philanthropic projects while maintaining board positions in several agriculture-based start-ups to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurial ventures.