Meet the 2015 Future Giants
A passion for agriculture and the seed industry drive success.
Early career individuals are not only working closely with seasoned veterans to learn about the issues and what has and hasn’t worked in the past, but are paving their own path with a drive that could only come from a true passion for agriculture and the seed industry. Seed World, in partnership with the American Seed Trade Association’s Future Seed Executives, will honor one of these outstanding leaders as a Future Giant at ASTA’s 132nd Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. Regardless of who takes home the award, it’s clear the future of the seed industry is in good hands.
Meet Jamey Albrecht
Leading Mycogen Seeds forage seed business, Jamey Albrecht is responsible for strategically aligning products, resources and investments to grow the company’s silage and forage portfolios. She also develops multi-year product portfolio plans, including product advancement and forecasting and creates resources to bring value to seed products from planting through feeding.
A 2009 Purdue University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics, this Indiana native found her niche in the seed industry through her love of livestock. She attended junior college at Black Hawk College in Kewanee, Illinois.
Albrecht actively seeks out professional development opportunities. Aissa Good, senior project manager for the Purdue’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business, says during the past few years, “she has been actively pursuing professional growth opportunities through educational programs offered by the center.” These include the ASTA Management Academy and the Seed Leadership program. “These coupled with her career at Mycogen Seeds are a great example of her commitment to the industry and desire to deepen her knowledge and expand her skills,” Good says.
In her position at Mycogen, Rick Henley, corn business lead for Dow AgroSciences, North America, says that “she is a person who thinks about what comes next, how that can separate us from the rest and what has to be done to see that through to the next phase, and then she plans for implementation, which is the hardest step.”
Albrecht started at Mycogen in 2009 as a sales representative in Washington and Oregon where she established the Mycogen brand in a new geography. In less than three years, she grew the business from less than 500 bags to 10,000 through her service to dairymen from planting to harvest. This earned her the title of Mycogen Seeds Rookie of the Year in 2011. Then in 2013, she moved to Indianapolis as corn product manager and transitioned to her current role in September 2014.
Albrecht is also a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association and in 2012 was an honorary member of the Washington State University Dairy Club.
Meet Andrew Ferrel
An agronomist by trade but a leader by nature, Andrew Ferrel takes the initiative to go the extra mile for customers of Mycogen Seeds, a part of Dow AgroSciences. Ferrel earned a bachelor’s degree in crop and soil management and a master’s degree in soil fertility and plant nutrition from Purdue University in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Since then, he’s been serving as a commercial agronomist for Mycogen Seeds in Coatesville, Indiana.
In this role, he serves as the primary field contact for technical agronomy support, serving customers across the state. He’s also responsible for coordinating plot planning and data management for the seed sales team and supportive dealers. Additionally, Ferrel provides agronomy training for the development and continuing education of company personnel its network.
His direct supervisor, Mark Riehl, Eastern Regional agronomy leader, says that Ferrel is always excited to discuss agronomic situations. “He’s created a biweekly newsletter of local agronomic information for sales reps, dealers and grower customers in his area,” Riehl explains. “This along with other educational materials he’s developed have been so successful, we’ve transferred the learning to other districts and teams to implement.”
Ferrel has also showed leadership through his volunteer work for the agriculture department and FFA chapter at Lebanon Senior High School in Lebanon, Indiana. In describing a recent interaction with Ferrel, Kristen Scott, Lebanon High School agricultural science and business teacher, says he worked one-on-one with students to evaluate the studies they had conducted while offering his own knowledge and expertise to help them improve their projects or encourage them to dig deeper into their study.
While in school, Ferrel interned for two summers with DuPont Pioneer and AgReliant Genetics. His goal: to become “the agronomist” in Indiana.
Meet Gabriel Flick
Hailing from Caldwell, Idaho, Gabriel Flick plans to one day own his own seed company and he’s been laying the groundwork to make that dream a reality. Flick earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Iowa State University in 2011. Currently, he’s working to complete his master’s in crops and soil science at Oregon State University.
For his graduate student project, Flick is conducting research on post-harvest management of seed and volunteer plants related to Brassica seed production in the Willamette Valley. “Gabe is an exceptional student as shown in his academic record,” says Carol Mallory-Smith, a professor of weed science at Oregon State University and Flick’s graduate advisor. “In addition, Gabe is easy to work with and gets along well with other members of the Weed Science Group. He is a natural leader and students gravitate to him.”
Flick, an agricultural enthusiast, just started a farm and provides custom seed harvesting services for local growers.
In 2009, Flick got his first internship with a seed company, Rogers Seed Company, as a production intern in Nampa, Idaho. From there his interest in the seed industry has only grown. He also completed an internship with Nunhems USA as a production technician and from 2011 to 2013 served as production manager for Dorsing Seeds Inc.
“Gabe believes with good communication that he will be able to help provide sustainable ecology by discussing options with farmers to fulfill their needs, as well as the production companies and market place requirements and demands,” says Nancy Aerni, vice president of Turf Merchants, Inc., who first met Flick during a scholarship interview and has since kept in touch. “He’s one of those ‘diamonds’ you find very few of out there in our world.’”
Flick’s goal: to one day own his own seed company.
Meet Samantha Sisk
Corporate communications manager for AgReliant Genetics, LLC, Samantha Sisk has turned the company’s limited communications reach into a seamless strategy integrating all aspects of the company, according to Thomas Koch of AgReliant Genetics.
A 2010 graduate of Purdue University’s agricultural communications program, Sisk has been nothing but tenacious in her involvement at the local, state and national levels. She is active in the American Seed Trade Association’s Communications Committee and the Future Seed Executives program. She’s also served on the Indiana Crop Improvement Association’s Corn Belt Conference Planning Committee, the National FFA Career Development Event Committee, is a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association and volunteered as a Mini 4-H Club co-leader in Hamilton County. Additionally, Sisk is pursuing a Master of Business Administration with a sales management concentration at Ball State University.
“Samantha’s job performance has driven the respect others have for her,” Koch says. “In her role, she must work with all six brands of AgReliant as well as the production and research departments. Her position is one of the most cross-departmental … with all departments calling her one of their own.”
Katherine Mayberry, general counsel for AgReliant Genetics, says that when Sisk is heading projects, “she is able to make valuable individual contributions and bring out the best in others while keeping the team focused and productive.”
Additionally, assistant director of Academic Programs for Purdue’s College of Agriculture, Tracie Egger, writes: “Samantha’s talent to connect with people to help them succeed, her knowledge of communication and public relations aspect of the industry and her dedication to AgReliant Genetics are key reasons why she is able to frequently contribute significantly to the overall success of the seed industry.”