Competition Judges for 2016
Craig Rupp, Director of Engineering, The Climate Corporation
Craig has over 25 years of engineering and entrepreneurial experience. Craig started his career in 1988 as a hardware engineer at Motorola, designing and developing the first GSM mobile station. He subsequently transferred his talents to Motorola’s Iridium project and became a Lead Engineer, addressing satellite communication issues.
In 1995, Craig co-founded Alliance Technologies Group (ATG), a contract and consulting firm providing RF solutions to the manufacturing industry. In 2000, Craig dissolved ATG and landed at John Deere, designing and developing Deere’s Starfire receiver and Greenstar display. In 2002, Craig re-ignited ATG and focused on providing state-of-the-art RF measurement and generation algorithms for high-volume manufacturing. National Instruments (NI) acquired his company in 2005.
Craig then spent 10 years at National Instruments, becoming a Chief Architect. He architected, designed, developed, and first deployed AM, FM, RDS, Bluetooth, GSM, EDGE, CDMA2k, EVDO, WCDMA, TDSCDMA, and LTE measurement solutions. His actions were seminal in growing NI’s RF business to $130MM in revenue. His success in Q4 of 2011 finally took the company over their $1B hurdle.
In 2012, Craig’s co-founded 640 Labs, a data collection and analytics company focused on agriculture. Craig was the CTO at 640 Labs and lead the company in developing the 640 Drive, a device capable of transmitting both machine and agronomic data to the cloud, and the 640 Cloud, a complex data storage and analytics platform. Craig’s company achieved VC funding and was acquired by The Climate Corporation, a division of Monsanto.
Craig is passionate about technology and is not afraid of adopting new technology. Raised on a farm in northwest Iowa, he earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Iowa State University in 1988 and subsequently earned his master’s degree in 1990 from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He currently has 13 patents.
George Kellerman, Chief Operations Officer & General Partner, Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley
George Kellerman is a founding member of Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (“YMVSV”) where he oversees YMVSV’s AgTech initiatives and serves as its Chief Operations Officer & General Partner.
Prior to joining YMVSV, George was a Managing Partner at Crystal Tech Fund, and prior to that he was a Managing Partner at 500 Startups where he oversaw finance, legal, and investor relations for a portfolio of over 750 companies and $120M in assets. Before becoming an early stage investor George served as a senior executive at companies such as Dell Japan, Experian Interactive, Yahoo Japan Corporation, and Yahoo!
George earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Hawaii and a J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law. George also served as a Combat Medic in the US Army Reserves and as a Firefighter & Rescue Crew Chief in the US Air Force.
Bob Peterson, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board, Broadband Antenna Tracking Systems, Inc. (BATS)
Mr. Peterson started his career as a software development engineer for the Department of Defense at Naval Avionics Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mr. Peterson quickly became project engineer for a smart Air-To-Ground bomb test set revision project. Mr. Peterson started his first business in 1990 when he founded a software development firm (Eclipse) which he grew to over $7 Million in revenue in 1996. In 1997, Mr. Peterson founded and was CEO of RealMed Corporation, a company focusing on health care real-time claims resolution (eligibility, adjudication and payment). Mr. Peterson secured 35+ Million in equity financing for the company and the company filed to become a public company in 2001. Mr. Peterson left RealMed as a full time employee in 2001 to pursue other opportunities but remained an active board member until 2004. Mr. Peterson possesses a strong technical background in engineering and software development along with 25+ years of entrepreneurial business development, financing and management. Mr. Peterson holds a bachelors’ degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. *BATS’ provides a proprietary software and hardware platform that locates, locks and tracks wireless broadband communication access points. BATS’ enables organizations to rapidly deploy self-healing, fixed or mobile broadband wireless networks over long distances without skilled technical resources.
Bill Thompson, Owner, Thompson Farms
Bill Thompson has been farming in Parke County, Indiana for 45 years. He attended Wabash College and Indiana State University. He plants corn and soybeans and recently converted to 15″ row corn. He has experience with ridge till but now no tills all his acres. He has also planted cover crops for 30 years and uses Precision Planting technology such as auto steer guidance and variable ratings of seed and fertilizers.