January 5, 2015: Automation and Technology in Agriculture (click link to register)
We likely all know the difference in the taste of locally grown produce; think of tomatoes in January in New England! And then there's managing crop growth and harvesting which is backbreaking work that often uses low wage labor. And, we have such a short growing season here... or do we?
Let's see why agriculture and Massachusetts may appear more often in the same sentence! And how technology is helping with growth in diverse applications from golf course management, to local crop growth, to management of large nurseries.
- John Kawola, CEO, Harvest Automation www.harvestai.com
- Brad McNamara, CEO, Freight Farm www.freightfarms.com
- David Wooden, CTO and Co-founder, Plantbid www.plantbid.com
- Jeff Barton, Founder, Water Fresh Farm waterfreshfarm.com
John Kawola is tasked with leading the team at Harvest Automation in
commercializing first products and building a platform for future expansion. Harvest Automation is a
material handling company known for robotics innovation. Harvest's robots
resolve acute manual labor problems across multiple industries, starting with
Agriculture. In many industry sectors labor availability, changing labor laws,
and tightening environmental regulations are simply unsustainable. These
fundamental risks and cost pressures are driving a critical need for
Prior to Harvest, John was the CEO of Z
Corporation, one of the early pioneers of the 3D printing industry. Z Corp was acquired
in 2012. Prior to Z Corporation, John held technical and marketing positions at
Albany International and General Electric. John holds a BS in Mechanical
Engineering from Cornell University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from
Renssaeler and an MBA from Union College.
Brad McNamara is the CEO and co-founder of Freight Farms. Freight Farms Inc.
manufactures fully-operational farms from upcycled freight containers. Using
advanced growing technologies and human-centered design principles, the company
affords food- and business- minded folks alike the opportunity to create a
local food economy- no matter their background or geography. Freight farms are
now operating in cities across the US and Canada, creating year-round access to
local, fresh produce for restaurants, universities, corporate campuses, hotels,
small businesses, and farmers.
As a champion for sustainability and
eco-friendly practices, Brad has deftly combined his business and marketing
background to help bring his latest company, Freight Farms, to the world stage.
He and his co-founder, Jon Friedman, have developed a product that allows any
business or individual to grow a high-volume of fresh produce in any
environment regardless of the climate. He has big expectations for the future,
envisioning Freight Farms scattered across the globe making a dramatic impact
on the way food is produced. Brad has an MBA and Masters in Environmental
Science from Clark University.
is CTO & Co-founder of Plantbid, a horticulture platform for wholesale
landscapers. Offering the industry’s largest online database of plants
from more than 200 nurseries nationwide, Plantbid is a time- and cost
efficient sourcing solution for landscapers and an effective tool for nurseries
to find new customers and sell more product.
over 10 years of experience developing software systems and algorithms and
managing technical teams. David is an active angel investor and serves as
technical advisor to startups in the Boston area.
cofounding Plantbid, David was software lead for Boston Dynamics, an
engineering and robotics design company that is best known for the development
of BigDog. He was also a member of the Georgia Tech Darpa Urban Challenge
team where he led software design and development.
David holds a
PhD in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech.
Jeff Barton, Co-founder and General Manager, Water Fresh Farms, started WFF in 1997 with the premise that there was a need for
great-tasting produce that was grown locally, year round, and free of
pesticides. Using state of the art
hydroponic growing techniques, Water Fresh Farm provides consumers at their
marketplace and throughout Greater Boston with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers,
basil, baby spinach, and a variety to herbs grown at Water Fresh Farm.
Jeff’s 25 years of business experience was developed in
the technology arena rather than directly in agriculture, working for IBM,
Apple Computer, and several small software and research companies.
Contact the Chairs if
you have an interest in serving on the Steering Committee. One year+
commitment, attendance at committee meetings and programs, ability to
attract panelists/speakers/cases and organize/ moderate the program 2x a year in a timely fashion. Build a strong(er) network, meet interesting people, lead, and help. Membership included as a small reward fro us to you.
Committee: Lori Jones, Kevin Derwin, Dan Hulub, Kapeel Krishana, Sharad Mehta
Committee Chair Lori Jones