HIAWATHA, KS, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - (TSX: HEM) The new AgJunction executive leadership team is being announced today by Chief Executive Officer Rick Heiniger. The executive team joins Mr. Heiniger in executing the Company's new strategy following the divesture of non-agricultural operations announced on January 31, 2013.
"With a focused strategy on precision agriculture, we have an unprecedented opportunity to further our market leadership position," said Mr. Heiniger. "Bringing together management talent of this caliber into a single, streamlined organization will allow us to build a broad platform for growth and expansion."
The AgJunction Executive Team includes the following members:
Wes Dittmer, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer: Mr. Dittmer brings with him over two decades of finance and accounting leadership experience, having held executive positions at both public and private technology companies including Sprint Wireless, Embarq and Novacare. While at Sprint, Mr. Dittmer served as Director of Wireless Data Services, and later, Vice President of Corporate Development with Embarq. Previously, he served as Controller for Novacare and CFO of National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, a provider of integrated technology solutions. In addition to corporate finance, investment and tax strategy, Mr. Dittmer also has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a BA in Accounting from the University of Missouri and an MBA in Finance from Rockhurst University.
Charlie Wohlers, Vice President of Operations: Mr. Wohlers joins the AgJunction executive team with 25 years of management experience across a wide spectrum of manufacturing operations. Most recently Mr. Wohlers served as Vice President of Operations with Garsite, a division of Walker Group Holdings specializing in the design and manufacture of aviation refueling vehicles. Previously he served as General Manager, Aeration Solutions, President of the Truck Equipment Group, a division of Heil Environmental Industries, and President of Delavan Commercial Products, a leading manufacturer of nozzles for agricultural and industrial applications. In addition to his expertise in leading complex, multi-site manufacturing operations, Mr. Wohlers also has extensive experience in enterprise management applications and quality system implementation. He holds a BS in Management Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Dr. Neil Rutland, Vice President of Global Engineering: Dr. Rutland joined Hemisphere GPS in 2009, and has since led engineering and development teams to deliver the industry's most advanced machine guidance platforms. In January 2013, Dr. Rutland was promoted from Engineering Director, Machine Control Systems to Vice President of Global Engineering. Prior to joining Hemisphere GPS, Dr. Rutland held various engineering leadership roles with MBDA Missile Systems, including Manager of Guidance, Control and Navigation for MBDA's United Kingdom engineering facility and Senior Principal Guidance and Control Engineer. Previous to MBDA, he served as Senior Control Systems Engineer with Alenia Marconi Systems, an integrated defense electronics company, where he supported advanced engineering development for the Submarine Systems Group. He holds a BS in Mathematics from the University of Manchester, and his MS and PhD from the University's Control Systems Center.
Jeff Farrar, Vice President of Sales: Mr. Farrar began his agricultural marketing career in 1991 with RHS, Inc., providing over 20 years of field sales, customer service and agricultural marketing leadership throughout the evolution of Hemisphere GPS. Mr. Farrar has been instrumental in the launch and development of the Outback Guidance line of products and services in the US, Canada and Australia for over a decade. In addition, he provides a key leadership role in the development and management of the Company's strategic OEM accounts worldwide. Mr. Farrar was promoted to Vice President of Sales in November 2012. He holds a BS in Agricultural Economics from Missouri Western State University.
Landon Morris, Vice President of Marketing: Mr. Morris brings with him over 15 years of agricultural marketing experience, having held senior leadership positions with multi-national organizations as well as venture-backed agricultural start-ups. Before joining Hemisphere GPS in November 2012, Mr. Morris served as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development with Solum, Inc, a Silicon Valley start-up with a focus on precision agriculture field measurements. Previously, he served as Vice President of Marketing and National Accounts with MachineryLink , and prior, Senior Vice President of Market Development with Grain Processing Corporation. Mr. Morris began his career in the plant genetics industry holding market research, product marketing and business development roles with Pioneer Hi-Bred/ DuPont. He holds a BA and MS in Economics from Iowa State University.
Karen Beckett, Director of Human Resources: Mrs. Beckett provides human resource functional leadership with 17 years of progressive personnel management, culture building, and administrative experience from both public and private companies. Mrs. Beckett joined Hemisphere GPS in 2004 where she led human resource management as well as US facility safety programs. Previously, she held the position of Facility Human Resources and Safety Manager with Northwest Pipe Company. Mrs. Beckett holds her Professional in Human Resources Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management.
Steve Shannon, Director of Quality Assurance: Mr. Shannon joins the AgJunction team with 25 years of experience spanning manufacturing quality assurance, product assurance, operations management, and ISO9000/AS9100 quality and audit system design and implementation. Most recently Mr. Shannon served as Director of Quality Assurance with Weckworth Manufacturing, Inc. where he directed and managed all assurance activities for a broad product line serving both government and commercial accounts. Previously, Mr. Shannon held quality assurance leadership positions with CNH, Acu-Trol, Siemens and Allied Signal Engines. In addition to his extensive experience in quality assurance process design and implementation, he also provides leadership in the areas of field product testing, quality assurance training, and QMS design and deployment. He holds a BS in Management Science from Park College and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Pat Pieper, Director of Information Systems: With over 20 years' experience in strategic IT management, Mr. Pieper brings a broad, solutions-oriented approach to AgJunction. Mr. Pieper specializes in developing high-performance, self-directed teams to optimize resources. Most recently, he served as IT Manager with Kinze Manufacturing, the largest privately held manufacturer of agricultural equipment in North America, where he led the development of a best-in-class IT organization and infrastructure. Previous to Kinze, he served as Director of IT with E. Ritter and Company, Information Systems Manager, BASF, and Information Technology Manager, American Cyanamid Corporation. Mr. Pieper holds a BS in Information Systems from Hannibal-LaGrange College.
The Company is continuing to implement the refocused strategy announced last November and to ensure that the foundation necessary to support future growth is in place. The aforementioned executives will report to Mr. Heiniger, who assumed his current role in September, 2012.
Establishing a new leadership team is a critical milestone," added Heiniger "The restructuring has progressed as planned, and we are now looking ahead together as a team with a focus on the future."
Hemisphere GPS (to be renamed "AgJunction" following shareholder and TSX approval) provides innovative hardware and software applications for precision agriculture worldwide. The Company holds numerous patents and markets its products and services under leading brand names including Outback Guidance®, Satloc®, and AgJunction® Cloud Services. AgJunction supports advanced farming practices and enables seamless data connectivity among growers and their agricultural service providers. The Company is headquartered in Hiawatha, Kansas, with facilities in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Manitoba and Queensland, Australia. Hemisphere GPS is doing business as AgJunction and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the symbol "HEM" and is one of the TSX Cleantech designated companies. For more information, please go to www.corp.agjunction.com.
The above disclosure contains certain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond Hemisphere GPS' control, including: the impact of general economic conditions, industry conditions, increased competition, the lack of availability of qualified personnel or management, fluctuations in foreign exchange or interest rates, stock market volatility and market valuations of companies with respect to the announced transactions and the final valuations thereof, and obtaining required approvals of regulatory authorities. Hemisphere GPS' actual results, performance or achievement could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by these forward-looking statements and, accordingly, no assurances can be given that any of the events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will transpire or occur, or if any of them do so, what benefits, including the amount of proceed, that Hemisphere GPS will derive therefrom.
SOURCE: Hemisphere GPS Inc.
For further information:
President and Chief Executive Officer
Hemisphere GPS Inc.
(403) 259-3311 www.corp.agjunction.com
E.vestor Communications Inc.