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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 NUE 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; and North Lima, Ohio.


Executive Leadership

Kenneth Avery
Kenneth Avery

Kenneth Avery

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.


“Farmers have many choices in a year—land, seed, and a lot of decisions in between. It’s a lot of trust they put into our company as an input provider. Verdesian’s mission means providing our growers a near-term return on investment and long-term return on the environment.”

Andrew Duff

Andrew Duff

Senior VP, US Sales, Nutritionals and Polymers.

Andrew Duff serves as Verdesian Life Sciences’ Senior VP, US Sales, Nutritionals and Polymers. Andrew is responsible for managing sales activities, assigned Region VPs, National Accounts, National Equipment Programs, Governmental Affairs and Special Projects with objective achievement for the Agriculture & Turf Market in the U.S. for Verdesian. Andrew leads the Commercial Senior Management Team based in the Memphis area.

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 fe[...]w 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.



Augusto Meneses

Augusto Meneses

Director of Sales for Mexico and Latin America

Serving as the Director of Sales for Mexico and Latin America, 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 Mexico and Latin American based account managers to achieve regional sales objectives in the agriculture market.

With 22 years in the business, Meneses 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, North East Sales Manager at SQM Mexic[...]o (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.

Meneses 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, MTB and enjoying his time with his family. He is a catechist and altar server volunteer at Saint Michael Catholic Church in Cary, NC. Augusto is the second longest Verdesian employee after Verdesian’s founder, JJ Grow.



Chuck Broughton

Chuck Broughton

Vice President, Sales, Seed Treatments & Inoculants

Charles “Chuck” Broughton is vice president of sales for Verdesian’s seed treatments and inoculants division in the United States and Canada. A current resident of south central Iowa, Chuck brings nearly 30 years of experience to lead the seed treatment and inoculant sales team. His position is focused on expanding a rapidly growing line of new product innovations and gaining commitment among team members to bring a creative edge to the seed treatment and inoculant market.

Prior to this position, he served as the global commercial director for the DuPont Pioneer seed treatment division, where he launched seed treatments in the Americas and implemented marketing strategies on a global level.[...] Additionally, Chuck has worked for Novozymes Bioag Group, where he led sales and marketing teams, as well as EMD Crop Bioscience, Strategic Diagnostics Inc., Meteorlogix, Pharmacia Corporation and Novartis Crop Protection. He is an alumnus of Iowa State University’s agricultural business program.



Francis X. Pirozzi

Francis X. Pirozzi

CPA, Chief Financial Officer

With a proven track record in start-up enterprises as well as established firms, Frank Pirozzi brings an excellent set of financial skills to help lead Verdesian.

His experience includes dealings with global mergers, acquisitions and risk management for diverse agricultural and consumer companies as well as financial providers. Most recently, Pirozzi was director and assistant treasurer of Red Hat Inc. where he managed a global $1.3 billion portfolio of financial investments and risk management for an enterprise that grew revenue from $600 million to more than $1 billion within a four-year span.

Prior to his financial oversight at Red Hat, Pirozzi was vice president of finance for Etigra i[...]n Cary, North Carolina. He has also served in various managerial positions in North Carolina-based businesses, including R.H. Donnelley, TIMCO Aviation Services Inc., Jefferson Pilot Financial and Remington Arms Company.



Mike King

Mike King

Executive Vice President of Operations

Mike King, executive vice president of operations, is responsible for overseeing Verdesian's global manufacturing, procurement, supply chain, customer service and logistics.

Mike has 30 years of experience in the agricultural chemical industry across a variety of manufacturing, operations, and supply chain roles. King previously spent almost five years with ADAMA as their operations manager. Prior to that, working from the bottom up, he spent almost 20 years with FMC working in various positions in manufacturing, operations, and supply chain, serving as production supervisor, master production scheduler, SAP implementation support and power user, operations manager, global formulations pla[...]nner, and ultimately, plant manager.

While working as the operations manager at FMC, King earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL. He is Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) through the Association for Operations Management and is a Lean 5S facilitator.

Mike and his wife, Michelle, have two children, Myranda and Dylan and live in North Raleigh.



Jennifer Neilson

Jennifer Neilson

Global Human Resources Director

Jennifer is global HR director for Verdesian Life Sciences based in Cary, North Carolina.

Jennifer brings over 22 years of experience in human resources to support all Verdesian employees and contractors. She consulted with Verdesian prior to being brought on board as an employee and part of the leadership team.

Prior to Verdesian, Jennifer carried a book of business of 70 clients over a seven-year period as an independent HR consultant. Her clients spanned small to large enterprises some with over 1,000 employees from a spectrum of industries spanning legal, services, grocery, agriculture, clinical research, healthcare, and information technology. She has worked for Paychex, LC Industrie[...]s and Saia-Burgess Automotive supporting their human resources’ strategic planning, management and direction.

Neilson holds a bachelor’s degree in business from North Carolina State University with a HR concentration. She holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification and SHRM Senior Certified Professional certification.



Kirsten Carlos

Kirsten Carlos

Verdesian Legal Manager

Kirsten Carlos is a legal frontrunner who has delivered both legal management and legal documentation against all deadlines for more than 14 years. Her expertise within the legal field spans litigation, creditor’s rights, and intellectual property.

Through her progressive management style, Kirsten strives toward long-term business success by providing top legal services that strategically safeguard the company’s interests. By committing to a consistent strategy, and by approaching business from an aggressively defensive perspective, Kirsten has efficiently created enterprise value.

Kirsten earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, and a paralegal certificate from American Bar Ass[...]ociation approved Meredith College-Paralegal Program. Prior to being named Legal Manager of Verdesian Life Sciences, Kirsten was a legal professional at Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, LLP and Myers Bigel P.A. in Raleigh, North Carolina.

She lives in Raleigh with her husband and has two grown daughters in college.



Kuide Qin

Kuide Qin

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 agricultural chemical product development and applications. His background also includes novel technology and IP assessment, product positioning and business development, initiating innovation programs and launching programs to improve return on RandD investment.

Qin earned his B.S. in Chemica[...]l Engineering from Tianjin University in Tianjin, China, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida. He has more than 15 years of experience in the research and development in agricultural inputs that contribute to sustainable agriculture and modern farming. He currently holds 12 granted U.S. patents on pesticide formulations and applications.



Rick Riegner

Rick Riegner

VP of Business Development & Strategic Accounts

Rick Riegner is VP, Business Development & Strategic Accounts 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.



Gary Orr

Gary Orr

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 Universit[...]y of Connecticut.



Paul Beck

Paul Beck

Vice President of Global Marketing

Paul Beck is VP, Global Marketing, overseeing all VLS marketing and communications efforts based in our Cary, NC.

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.



Martin Brown

Martin Brown

MANAGING DIRECTOR, EUROPE AND AFRICA

Having joined Verdesian in November 2015 and based in the UK, Martin is Managing Director for Verdesian Europe and Africa providing sales, development and regulatory strategy to distributing partners across these markets. A key focus for the Europe team is seeking potential distribution partners and building new channels to market to exploit Verdesian technologies and product portfolio.

Martin has over 40 years’ experience in the agricultural sector having pre-Verdesian been CEO and board member of a highly innovate Venture Capital funded R&D biotech company Exosect Ltd based in the UK, focusing on out-licensing of electrostatic technology for delivery of pesticides and biologicals, operati[...]ng on a Global basis. Previously, Martin spent 2 years operating out of Cyprus as business director for a major agricultural distribution company creating and establishing new distribution outlets in Balkans and Eastern Europe. In addition, he worked for over 20 years in senior business roles with ICI, Zeneca Agrochemicals and Syngenta across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Indian subcontinent and during that time was also chairman of Zeneca Turkey and for 4 years was based in Kenya developing ICI's agricultural business across East and Southern Africa.

Following a short career in the merchant navy, Martin entered Glasgow University and gained Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science. Martin has 3 daughters and one son and in his earlier days he played volleyball and squash to national league level. Today his interests are windsurfing, sailing, road cycling, skiing and long walks with his dogs and friends, and entertaining friends on the origins and history of Scotch whiskey and the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns.



Jason Gordon

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 Ca[...]pe Girardeau, Missouri. Over his 22 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 28 years), have two children, Jack (14) and Harris (11) and live in the Baltimore metropolitan area.



John Matheson

John Matheson

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION, SALES, TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Based in Singapore, John Matheson serves as Business Development Planning and Implementation, Sales, Technical Support for Verdesian Life Science distributors and customers in the near east, middle east and far east, including such countries as Australia and New Zealand Africa, Asia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Australia, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Japan, Vietnam, Africa and Indonesia. Matheson focuses on finding new distribution channels for Verdesian proprietary technologies, setting up research, and providing sales and technical support to distributors, retailers, agricultural advisers and farmers.

John has over 40 years of experience in international business, 22 of those in n[...]utrient use efficiency technologies for applications in turf, ornamentals, specialty agriculture and broadacre crops. Prior to Verdesian he was International Director for Simplot Agribusiness Professional Products Division based in Malaysia, Australia and then Singapore. John holds a mathematics degree from the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and has worked in international business, as well as agricultural, turf and ornamental markets for more than 35 years.

He enjoys travel, working with distributors and growers in remote areas, introducing them to technologies that bring economic returns, while at the same time reducing the impact on the land. The son of a Petroleum Engineer who grew up as an expatriate in Latin America, USA, Europe and Asia, John has lived most his life an expatriate. John was a former musician and now enjoys playing in an amateur band and playing the odd gig at pubs in Singapore. He enjoys tennis, reading, bike riding and hiking. His three kids, two girls and a boy, live in Toronto, Canada.