Speakers 2017

Ted McKinney, Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture

Ted will address the teams and crowd at NextGen Expo on June 23rd at 10:15am.

Ted McKinney was sworn in as director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture on January 7, 2014, by Governor Mike Pence. With more than 25 years of agriculture leadership experience, Director McKinney brings extensive knowledge and an understanding of Indiana and global agriculture to ISDA. Prior to joining ISDA, he was Director of Global Corporate Affairs for Elanco Animal Health, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company. Director McKinney grew up on a family grain and livestock farm in Tipton, Indiana.

He began his career in 1981 when he joined the Agricultural Chemicals business of Elanco Products Company, later moving to the parent company, Lilly. In 1990, he joined Dow AgroSciences where he spent nearly 20 years in a variety of Corporate Affairs responsibilities. In 2009, he returned to Elanco in Global Corporate Affairs. During his Dow AgroSciences tenure, he took leave in 2000 to serve as co-founder and Interim Executive Director for the Council for Biotechnology Information, a public information program sponsored by a consortium of companies involved with the development of crop biotechnology.

Ted is co-chair of the National FFA Conventions Local Organizing Committee for Indianapolis, and a member of the Indiana State Fair Commission. He served on the boards & executive committees for the Washington, D.C.-based International Food Information Council (IFIC) and Denver-based U.S. Meat Export Federation, as well as the lead team for the International Federation of Animal Health (IFAH). In Indianapolis, he serves on the Mayor’s Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC), and at Purdue on the Dean of Agriculture Advisory Committee. From 2009 until 2010, he served as chair of the Indiana Agriculture Regulatory Structure Task Force, a working group commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Indiana.

McKinney is a 1991 graduate of the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program and a 1992 graduate of the Stanley K. Lacey Indianapolis Executive Leadership Series. He was honored in 2004 by the National FFA Organization with an honorary American FFA Degree. McKinney was a 10-year 4-H member, a former Indiana State FFA Officer, and a graduate of Purdue University where he received a B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics in 1981. During his time at Purdue, he received the G.A. Ross Award as the outstanding senior male graduate. In 2002, he was named a Purdue Agriculture Distinguished Alumnus. Ted is married to Julie Ann. They have three children: Brad, Brooke, and Caroline, two who are married, and two granddaughters.


Mark Young, Chief Technology Officer, The Climate Corporation

Mark will kick off the competition for the second year in a row, addressing attendees and teams on the morning of June 24th at the Seeding Competition.

Mark leads the development of a unified technical vision, architecture, and roadmap to help The Climate Corporation deliver an industry-leading digital agriculture platform. Mark has 18 years of experience in Silicon Valley and previously served as a Director of Mobile Product Excellence at Yahoo, the Chief Technology Officer of Mobile Technology at Zynga, and the Founder and Chief Technology Officer at HipLogic. Mark has a B.S. in Computer Science from Purdue University.



Kip Tom, Chief Executive Officer, Tom Farms

Kip will address the crowd prior to the Awards Ceremony at the Seeding Competition on June 24th. 

Seven generations of Kip Tom’s family have farmed the land in northeast Indiana. A life-long resident of Kosciusko County, Kip grew up on his family’s farm in the community that his ancestors homesteaded in 1837. In 1952, Kip’s parents started out with 120 acres and today under Kip’s leadership, the business has grown to over 25,000 acres with locations in the U.S. and in Argentina. Tom Farms is considered a global leader in agriculture production and an early adopter of new technologies. They have investments in Silicon Valley in agriculture data science companies, partnering with Silicon Valley high-tech corporations. The farm business also manages commodity trading operations across Indiana. Tom Farms has grown to be one of the largest seed suppliers in the U.S. to Monsanto. Kip is a frequent resource for institutional investors seeking information on trends in the agriculture industry. He has served as a consultant/advisor to more than 60 funds over the past five years and often speaks at investor events in New York, San Francisco and Boston. Kip helped bring well-paying jobs to Indiana as a member of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels and serving under both Governor Daniels and Governor Mike Pence. During his 12 years of service, Kip was an important part of Indiana’s job creation efforts, which broke records for job creation and attraction nearly every year. In 2015, Kip turned over daily operations of Tom Farms to the next generation. He now pursues his passion to see that others, regardless of the industry they represent, have the opportunity to live the American dream and build businesses from very modest beginnings. These efforts complement the stated objectives of President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence. Kip is involved in several philanthropic organizations focusing on food security issues domestically and globally. He has traveled to and worked in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Tanzania and numerous other developing nations. Kip serves on the board of directors for a number of agriculture-related business organizations – he is a member of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a trustee of the National 4-H Foundation and a member of the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Foundation Board of Directors. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council at Purdue University. The Tom family business has been awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Additionally, Kip has received the National Leader in Agriculture Award from Agriculture Future America (AFA), Indiana AgriVision Award from Governor Daniels, Purdue Apex Award and the U.S. Top Producer Award for Agriculture from Farm Journal. Kip has an advanced management certificate from Texas A&M in agriculture economics and attends executive business

George Kellerman, Chief Operations Officer & General Partner, Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley

George will address the crowd prior to the start of the Weed & Feed Competition on June 25th. 

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.



 Craig Rupp, Director of Engineering, The Climate Corporation 

Craig will address the crowd prior to the Awards Ceremony at the Weed & Feed Competition on June 25th. 

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.

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