Looking to the Future of Ag Science
Connecting industry leaders to address the core agricultural challenges of today and tomorrow
In-Person Roundtable Event
May 11-12, 2023
North Carolina State University Plant Sciences Building
Raleigh, North Carolina
From efficiently feeding a growing planet to improving lives and protecting our natural resources, our biggest challenges will require collaboration to discover and apply new technology and ideas, while also educating the next generation of ag science leaders.
Flad is hosting an exclusive symposium and panel discussion that will bring together academic, corporate, and government leaders in an intimate setting to share their diverse perspectives and insights on the future of agriculture science and its impact on the physical spaces in which we work. The two-day event will be held at North Carolina State University's world-class agricultural research facility, which was designed by Flad and opened in 2022.
Event ScheduleThursday, May 11
- 3:00–4:30 pm // Tour of NC State Plant Sciences Building
- 6:00 pm // Cocktail Hour Followed by Dinner
Friday, May 12
- 8:00–9:00 am // Breakfast and Welcome Address
- 9:00 am–noon // Speaker Sessions
- 12:00–1:00 pm // Lunch
- 1:00–3:00 pm // Speaker Session and Panel Discussion
- 3:00-3:30 pm // Closing Remarks
- Keynote: Adrian Percy, Ph.D. – Executive Director, North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative, NC State University
- Brad Ringeisen, Ph.D. – Executive Director, Innovative Genomics Institute, UC Berkeley
- Phil Taylor, Ph.D. – Director of Open Innovation and Outreach, Bayer Crop Science
- Elliott Kellner, Ph.D. – Senior Program Manager, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
- Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D. – President and CEO, Soil Health Institute
- Karen LeVert – Co-founder and President, Ag TechInventures
- John Gottula, Ph.D. – Director of Crop Science, Agriculture US-Based, SAS
- Laura Westby, J.D. – Chief Legal and Operations Officer, Oerth Bio
- Deborah M. Thompson, Ph.D. – NC State University
Director of Research Partnerships, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Associated Faculty, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics
Speaker and Panel Bios
Adrian Percy Ph.D.
Executive Director, North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative, NC State University
An advocate for modern agriculture, Adrian oversees the NC PSI, which aims to leverage interdisciplinary science and technology through public-private partnerships advancing the plant sciences to the benefit of growers, consumers, and other food chain stakeholders. In addition, he is a Venture Partner at technology and life sciences venture capital investor Finistere Ventures LLC and serves on the board of directors of multiple biotech firms.
Brad Ringeisen Ph.D.
Executive Director, Innovative Genomics Institute, UC Berkeley
Brad is a physical chemist and pioneer in live cell printing. He guides the scientific and development strategy of the Innovative Genomics Institute, whose mission is to bridge revolutionary gene editing tool development to affordable and accessible solutions in human health and climate. Previously, Brad was Director of the Biological Technologies Office at DARPA, where he managed a division working at the cutting edges of biology, physical sciences, and engineering.
Phil Taylor Ph.D.
Director of Open Innovation and Outreach, Bayer Crop Science
With over 15 years of AgTech industry experience, Phil plays a central role in fostering strategic relationships around the globe and developing programs to accelerate innovation. A strong champion for both external and pre‐competitive partnering as a driving force for innovation and change, Phil has held multiple leadership roles at Bayer focused on delivering collaborative approaches to enable R&D. He is a member of multiple advisory boards and professional society committees.
Elliott Kellner Ph.D.
Senior Program Manager, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Elliott is a scientific professional with experience leading multi-institutional sustainability efforts, developing strategic partnerships, and managing collaborative programs. In the role of Director of Commercial Innovation at the Danforth Center, he works to create and execute a broad strategy to leverage the unique resources of the Danforth Center in support of a dynamic regional economy. After completing his doctoral program at the University of Missouri, Elliott served as a research scientist and faculty member at West Virginia University. As Chesapeake Bay Science Advisor, he spent three years supporting the efforts of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to mitigate the impacts of agriculture on water resources.
Co-founder, Ag TechInventures and Venture Partner, Pappas Capital
Karen is a Pappas Capital Venture Partner and leads the firm's Specialized Fund Management expansion with a focus on identifying agricultural technology investment opportunities. She has over 25 years of experience in executive management, technology commercialization, and progressing early-stage technologies as co-founder and CEO of two innovation labs, Southeast TechInventures and Ag TechInventures. Karen serves on the board for several organizations, including the NC Biotechnology Center and AgLaunch.
Wayne Honeycutt Ph.D.
President and CEO, Soil Health Institute
Dr. Honeycutt leads the Soil Health Institute's programs to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soils. Previously he served as Deputy Chief for Science and Technology with USDA-NRCS in Washington, D.C. and as a Research Soil Scientist and Research Leader with the USDA-ARS New England Plant, Soil, and Water Laboratory. Dr. Honeycutt was a 2018 recipient of the Hugh Hammond Bennett Award, the Soil and Water Conservation Society's highest individual honor.
John Gottula Ph.D.
Director of Crop Science, Agriculture US-Based, SAS
John is an AgTech innovator with an applied crop science background and a passion for analytics. Holding a doctorate from Cornell University, John formerly directed crop biotechnology studies and led global agronomic development programs. John is the co-creator of #AgileAg, a movement to link agile processes with crop science to drive analytics adoption in the agriculture industry.
Laura Westby J.D.
Chief Legal and Operations Officer, Oerth Bio
A seasoned general counsel, Laura has deep experience managing intellectual property and providing strategic business and legal counsel for AgTech companies. Her passion for agriculture was cultivated during 15 years at Syngenta in various positions in the U.S. and Switzerland, including the global role of Associate General Counsel for Crop Protection. Prior to joining Oerth Bio, Laura was SVP, Legal and IP for agriculture-based startup Invaio Sciences, a Flagship Pioneering company.
Deborah M. Thompson Ph.D.
Director of Research Partnerships, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences,
Associated Faculty, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, NC State University
A biotechnology and agricultural biotechnology professional with over 15 years of research and development experience, Deborah builds collaborative research relationships between CALS faculty, staff, and students as well as industry partners across the state, the nation, and the world. She has worked for academic, corporate (from startups to multinational companies), government, and not-for-profit institutions and mentored over 30 interns from high school, undergraduate, and graduate student to postdoctoral fellow.