Jason Aytes, Executive Vice President
Jason brings extensive experience in sales, M&A, and capital raising. He has been actively involved throughout his career in high-level institutional sales, origination and execution of debt capital markets transactions, and the origination of investment banking and management consulting engagements. Most recently, he advised on the asset purchase of a start-up renewable energy company, then as one of the first employees, helped it grow exponentially. Jason holds a degree in Finance and Banking from the Universty of Missouri.
Mark Schmidtlein, CEO of American Walnut Company LLC
Mark Schmidtlein is the Owner and CEO of American Walnut Company, a 100-year old company and the world’s largest provider of American walnut gunstocks for hunting and sporting shotguns and rifles. Prior to his ownership of this company, Mark spent more than 25 years in the banking business working for UMB Bank of Kansas City and The Private Bank and Trust Company (Chicago). Mark has an MBA from Rockhurst University and a BS in Agriculture from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He serves on several non-profit boards, as well as Probiotic Holdings and 9 Point Energy boards.
Mark Schmitz, V.P. of Research & Engineering for Labconco Corporation
Mark Schmitz presently serves as V.P. of Research & Engineering for the Labconco Corporation, a 90-year-old, KC-based manufacturer of laboratory equipment serving the worldwide needs in academic, clinical, industrial, pharmaceutical research, as well as criminal forensics. For the past 20 years, he and Labconco have grown through a relentless appetite for new product development. He is integrally involved in growth strategies, product positioning, researching new products, key account sales and all compliance issues. His leadership places a strong customer focus across all things technical: Design, Customs, Sales Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Service and Quality.
Thad Simons, Managing Director at The Yield Lab
Thad Simons is the founding Managing Director of The Yield Lab, an agricultural technology seed capital fund/accelerator based in St. Louis, Mo. He is also Board President of the International Food and Agribusiness Association (IFAMA). He is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Novus International, Inc. and continues in the role of Senior Executive Advisor to the Board of Directors.
Ed Stevens, President at Pulse NeedleFree Systems
Ed Stevens serves as President for Pulse NeedleFree Systems, a medical technology company focused on development of needle-free pharmaceutical injection systems for the animal health and human health industries, based in the Kansas-City area. As a graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, he previously worked at area law firm Shook, Hardy, & Bacon, as well as Quest Diagnostics.
Matt Wood, Founder and CEO
Matt has been a pioneer in developing probiotic technologies since 1996. He has led the development and commercialization of probiotic consortia fermentation technologies for multiple industries, as well as the development and expansion of SCD Probiotics’ global network of manufacturers and distributors. In 2012, he led the launch and funding of Proviera Biotech to develop and commercialize sustainable products for the leather tanning industry. Matt earned his bachelor’s degree in soil and atmospheric sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his master’s degree in bioproduction from the University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan. In 2011, Matt was awarded for his contributions to soil science and sustainable technology by Poland’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Marek Sawicki. Fluent in English, Spanish, and Japanese, Wood is a frequent guest speaker and thought leader across the globe on sustainability and probiotic technology.