Skip to main content

NC Ag Biotech Summit: Speakers Day One

*Please note that Bios/Headshots will be posted as they become available
 

Todd Armstrong, Ph.D.
Senior Director, United States Beef Operations, Elanco


Dr. Armstrong is the senior director of United States (U.S.) Beef Operations at Elanco Animal Health.  In this capacity since January 2013, he is responsible for the U.S. Affiliate Beef Business. Since joining Elanco in 2000, he has held a number of management positions within the company.   His previous role was senior director of global regulatory where he was responsible for Elanco’s global regulatory strategy and operations. Dr. Armstrong received B.A. in biology and French from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, a M.S. and Ph.D. from North Carolina State University, a M.S. from Purdue University, and a MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.  Prior to his current responsibilities, he has held various other positions in Elanco across the commercial and R&D organizations. Dr. Armstrong serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Society of Animal Science and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Indiana 4H Foundation.

Bill Buckner
President and Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation


In January 2012, Mr. Buckner became president and chief executive officer for an independent, nonprofit institute headquartered in Ardmore, OK.  The Noble Foundation, founded in 1945, conducts direct operations, including assisting farmers and ranchers, and conducting plant science research and agricultural programs, to enhance agricultural productivity regionally, nationally and internationally. After obtaining his B.S. degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1980, he joined USS Agricultural Chemicals, a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation in Centralia, MO as a retail sales representative. In 1982, he joined Commerce BankShares for three years as an agriculture loan officer.  From 1985 to 1993, he held various positions with the animal health subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, Pitman-Moore, Inc., in Chicago.  In 1993, Mr. Buckner joined Bayer AG as a marketing executive in the Companion Animal Health business in Shawnee Mission, KS.  He moved to Monheim, Germany in 1996 where he worked for the Animal Health Business Group as a business development manager. He became vice president/general manager of Bayer's Canadian Agricultural business in Toronto in 1998. Mr. Buckner was appointed president and CEO of Bayer CropScience, Inc., in Calgary, Alberta in 2002. He relocated to Research Triangle Park, NC as senior vice president of Commercial Operations for Bayer CropScience LP in 2004 and was appointed country head for the U.S. Crop Protection business in 2005.  He was elected president and CEO of Bayer CropScience in April 2006 and retired in December 2011. Mr. Buckner serves on the boards of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Wilbur-Ellis Company, Mercy Hospital, and the Farm Foundation. 

Jay Byrne
President, v-Fluence Interactive


Mr. Byrne is president of a strategic communication and research agency providing public affairs and issues management support to s multi-national corporations, leading academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and government agencies across the globe.  Mr. Byrne has more than 25 years of experience in public affairs and complex issues management.  Previously he led corporate communications for Monsanto Company directing global biotechnology acceptance communications, media relations, and employee communications.  Mr. Byrne served as chief spokesperson, chief of staff and deputy assistant administrator for legislative and public affairs at the United State Agency for International Development (USAID).  During his tenure at USAID he acted as the White House spokesman and media coordinator for the G-7 summit and numerous other administration international economic development and trade initiatives.  He has held senior communications positions with the Clinton/Gore administration and presidential campaigns, Congressman Joe Kennedy, Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, and Congressman Mike Kopetski.  Mr. Byrne is a contributing author for the book “Let Them Eat Precaution” (AEI 2005) and he has published articles on strategic communications, reputation management and new media strategies in various trade, professional and peer reviewed journals. He is a graduate of Tufts University.

Ruben Carbonell, Ph.D.
Chair, NC AgBiotech Advisory Council; Director, Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center; Director, William R. Kenan, Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science


Dr. Carbonell joined North Carolina State University in 1984 after ten years on the faculty at the University of California, Davis.  He is also the Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at North Carolina State University (NCSU).  Dr. Carbonell is an author on over 230 research publications in international journals and over 30 patents.  He is an expert on multiphase transport and colloid and surface science as applied to protein purification processes from biological fluids, particularly affinity separations.  In 2007, he was awarded the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, the highest award bestowed on university faculty at NCSU.  Dr. Carbonell was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2014.  He is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2007), and a fellow of the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society (2008).  He completed his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Manhattan College in 1969 and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1973.

Cecilia Chi-Ham, Ph.D.
Director, Research Planning, HM.Clause


Dr. Chi-Ham spent over 11 years at University of California, Davis (UC Davis) developing initiatives focused on transfer and commercialization of public-sector based agricultural technologies for humanitarian and commercial purposes.  She served as a founding member of the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA), a global intellectual property sharing initiative housed at UC Davis and established by the Rockefeller and McKnight Foundation in 2004.  At PIPRA, she led the Science & Technology Program, which developed a patent ‘pool’ of plant transformation enabling technologies and generated and field-tested of a number of biotechnology crops. While at UC Davis, Dr. Chi-Ham implemented the Corporate Affiliate Partnerships Program for Seed Central, a seed industry cluster surrounding UC Davis with a growing number of companies and organization in the global seed and food industry.  In August 2014, she became director of Research Planning at HM.Clause, a business unit of the Limagrain Group that specializes in breeding, production and commercialization of vegetable seeds varieties.  HM.Clause, one of top 5 vegetable seed companies in the world, offers over 2,000 varieties in more than 20 vegetable crops, in more than 100 countries.

Richard "Rick" DeRose, Ph.D.
Global Expert Technology Acquisition, Syngenta Biotechnology


Dr. DeRose is an experienced scientist and new business development expert with over 25 years' experience in plant biotechnology, and 14 years international experience. He received his B.S. from Clemson University and a Ph.D. in medical microbiology and immunology from Wake Forest University's Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He is currently a global expert for Technology Acquisition with Syngenta, and a member of the board of directors for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Foundation at North Carolina State University. His prior roles with Syngenta included lead for the Technology Strategy and Integration group and senior manager focusing on business development.  Dr. DeRose also worked for several other leading agricultural companies as head of Plant Molecular Biology and Fungicide Biochemistry, director of Genomics and Bioinformatics, and managing the science and technology strategy for new business ventures in the areas of Health & Nutrition, "BioEconomy Crops" and "BioMaterials" (respectively, Red, Green and White biotechnology). He is credited with co-inventing "GA-21" Roundup Ready corn and was one of the founding scientists for the French Plant Genomics initiative, Genoplante. Dr. DeRose has demonstrated extensive experience in open innovation translating identified market needs into actionable research strategies via the integration of external collaborative research with internal projects and capabilities.

Doug Edgeton
President and Chief Executive Officer, North Carolina Biotechnology Center


Doug Edgeton joined NCBiotech in October 2012 and currently serves as the president and chief executive officer.  Previously, he served as the senior vice president for financial planning and development, bringing extensive experience in executive-level health care and business administration and community service.  He received his B.S. degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and MPH and MBA degrees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  Mr. Edgeton worked at UAB for 20 years, first at University Hospital in hospital administration and later in central administration.  He spent the last six years of his tenure with UAB in the University School of Medicine, which included terms as assistant dean for resource management and associate dean for administration and finance. In October 2000, Mr. Edgeton moved to Winston-Salem as vice president for health affairs, finance and administration and chief operating officer (COO) of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.  In 2001 when the school became part of the newly created subsidiary corporation, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, he was appointed senior vice president for finance and administration and COO. With a reorganization of the medical center in 2007, Mr. Edgeton was promoted to executive vice president and COO.  Additionally, in August 2007, he became president of Piedmont Triad Research Park and in 2008 he was appointed executive vice president for medical center administration.  Mr. Edgeton has maintained extensive involvement in professional, community and civic organizations, and has served on the Salem Academy and College Board of Visitors.

Kevin Folta, Ph.D.
Chairman and Professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida


Dr. Folta’s research program examines the functional genomics of small fruit quality, and how specific light wavelengths can be used to modulate fruit flavor and postharvest attributes. He has edited two seminal texts in fruit genomics, published over 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and led the International Strawberry Genome Sequencing Consortium that published the 12th completed plant genome in 2011. Dr. Folta has been recognized with several awards including NSF CAREER, HHMI Distinguished Mentor, and UFRF Research Professor, among others. His background as president of his college debate/forensics organization instilled valuable skills in communication that complement the scientific training. His current interests are continued research and teaching about genetic improvement of Florida’s horticultural crops to maintain profitable, sustainable production with less environmental impact. Dr. Folta received his B.S. and M.S. from Northern Illinois University in 1989 and 1992, and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998.

L. "Val" Giddings, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation


Dr. Giddings oversees the life sciences activities with a particular emphasis on agricultural biotechnology.  He also serves as President and CEO of PrometheusAB, Inc., providing consulting services in regulatory compliance, media, and strategic planning.  Before joining the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, he served for eight years as vice president for Food & Agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).  At BIO, Dr. Giddings built a highly regarded program representing global biotech companies in policy, regulation, media and international affairs relating to agricultural biotechnology.  He holds a Ph.D. in genetics and has three decades of experience in biotechnology policy and regulation.  Before joining BIO, he spent eight years with the biotech products regulatory division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  While with USDA he was international team leader and branch chief for Science & Policy Coordination.  During this time, he gained substantial international experience, serving on the United States delegations to negotiate the biodiversity treaty, and to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.  Dr. Giddings arrived in Washington in 1984 to join the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment where he directed and contributed to studies related to biotechnology, the environment, and regulatory policy.  He has also served as expert consultant to the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank, USDA, United States Agency for International Development, and numerous companies, organizations and governments around the world.

Michael Hansen, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Scientist, Policy and Advocacy Division, Consumers Union


Dr. Hansen has been largely responsible for developing Consumer Union (CU) positions on
safety, testing and labeling of genetically engineered food and mad cow disease. Since 2003, he has worked on a multi-state effort to ban the use of food crops to produce pharmaceutical drugs and industrial chemicals, and is widely quoted in the media. He has served on the USDA Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology and on the California Department of Food and Agriculture Food Biotechnology Advisory Committee. He was appointed to a FAO/WHO Joint Consultation on Genetically Engineered Animals in 2003. In June 2005, he joined the Board of ETC Group, previously known as RAFI. Dr. Hansen authored the CU book Pest Control for House and Garden, and co-authored Pest Management at the Crossroads. He has also written reports on alternatives to agricultural pesticides in developing countries, pesticide and agriculture policies of the World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and recombinant bovine growth hormone. He also co-authored Pharmaceutical Rice in California: Potential Risks to Consumers, the Environment and the California Rice Industry. Dr. Hansen received his undergraduate degree with Highest Distinction from Northwestern University and his doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan. He did his post-graduate study at the University of Kentucky on the impacts of biotechnology on agricultural research, and conducted field research on pest management in Mexico.

Tamar Haspel
Journalist, Washington Post


Ms. Haspel has been writing about food, health, and science for two decades. She has written for a host of magazines and newspapers, and currently writes for the food and science sections of the Washington Post. Ms. Haspel’s monthly column, Unearthed, deals with food supply issues, and biotech, pesticides, food additives, antibiotics, honeybees, and organics are all on her radar. She also helps her husband on their oyster farm, Barnstable Oyster, where they grow about 100,000 oysters a year, and are destined for New York restaurants, in the waters off Cape Cod. They also raise chickens and pigs, and keep bees.

Matthew Kane
Chief Executive Officer, Precision BioSciences


Mr. Kane, a co-founder of Precision BioSciences, has served as Precision's chief executive officer and as a member of the Board of Directors since its formation in 2006.  He brings a wealth of life science business development and technical experience to the company.  While leading Precision, the company has formed multi-million dollar alliances with leading biopharmaceutical and agricultural firms including DuPont Pioneer, Bayer, and several others.  Previously, Mr. Kane was an integral part of Suros Surgical Systems, a venture-backed, oncology-focused firm.  Suros was acquired in 2006 by Hologic in a deal valued at $300 million. Mr. Kane was named one of the "40 Under 40" by the Triangle Business Journal and has worked with two seed stage venture capital firms.  He received his M.S. in bioengineering and B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from Duke University.

Richard Linton, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University


Dr. Linton earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in food science, and a doctorate in food science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  Prior to his current role, Dr. Linton served as department chair of Food Science and Technology at the Ohio State University, and as a faculty member of the Department of Food Science at Purdue University.  His area of expertise is development and implementation of food safety management programs, including Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point systems.  Throughout his career, Dr. Linton has received several service awards, including the Purdue University Extension Award of Merit and Purdue University Faculty Scholar.  The Institute of Food Technologists has recognized him for his leadership with the Howard Macy Award and the Myron Solberg Award.  Dr. Linton has been serving as the dean of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) since 2012, leading a college of over 325 faculty in 16 different departments, over 2500 undergraduate students, and nearly 750 graduate students. He currently leads more than 650 different agriculture-related research projects in CALS, and oversees 18 research farms, 20 field operations, and 6 aquaculture facilities.  Under his direction, the college has developed a new strategic plan that focuses on “building people, programs, and partnerships.”  Collaboration with industry and government is critical to the mission of the college.

Philip "Phil" Miller, Ph.D.
Vice President, Global Government and Regulatory Affairs, Monsanto


Dr. Miller joined Monsanto in 1994 and has held numerous roles in the Monsanto Technology organization spanning Chemical Discovery and Biotechnology Research & Development.  His key roles include director of Biotechnology Crop Yield Enhancement and Crop Genomics research, Monsanto/Ceres Research Collaboration Lead, director of the Monsanto Connecticut Research Center and Biotechnology Corn Pipeline Strategy Lead.  Prior to his current role, Dr. Miller served as vice president of U.S. Product Management and vice president of U.S. Technology Development.  He obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Florida.  Dr. Miller serves on United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Health (NIH), National Academy of Sciences – National Research Council, and National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored review panels/advisory boards, and as a scientific reviewer for numerous journals.  He is the inventor on more than 20 patents and an author on 17 scientific papers and book chapters.  He has represented Monsanto on the Qualisoy Board, the Grower Advisory Council (GAC), and is a member of Monsanto’s Management Advisory Council (MAC).

Adam Monroe
President, Novozymes North America


Mr. Monroe is president of Novozymes North America, serving at the company’s regional headquarters located in Franklinton, North Carolina.  He began with Novozymes in 1991. He previously held responsibility for operations in Mexico and Brazil as well as the customer base in North and South America, and served as director of Supply Chain Operations, Americas. Mr. Monroe also successfully established the company’s global manufacturing supply line of enzymes for the United States biofuels, now a core of its business. He currently serves as chair of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s Industrial & Environmental Board. He also serves on the boards of North Carolina BIO and Governor Bev Perdue’s North Carolina Business Committee for Education. Mr. Monroe received a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Arkansas.

Timothy Persons, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist, United States Government Accountability Office


Dr. Persons was appointed in July of 2008 and is a member of the Senior Executive Service of the United States (U.S.) federal government. He is also the co-director of GAO’s Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering (CSTE), a group of highly specialized scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and information technologists. In these roles he is an expert advisor and chief consultant to the GAO, Congress, and other federal agencies and government programs on cutting-edge science and technology (S&T), key highly-specialized national and international systems, engineering policies, best practices, and original research studies in the fields of engineering, computer, and the physical and biological sciences to ensure efficient, effective, and economical use of science and technology in government programs. Dr. Persons also works with GAO’s chief technologist to lead the production of technology assessments for the U.S. Congress on topics such as additive manufacturing, nanomanufacturing, freshwater conservation technologies, climate engineering technologies, and next-generation nuclear detection and non-intrusive imaging systems. Prior to joining GAO, Dr. Persons held key leadership roles in the National Security Community. He is a 2012 recipient of the Arthur S. Flemming award in recognition of sustained outstanding and meritorious achievement within the U.S. federal government; and a 2012 recipient of GAO’s Big Picture Award for significant project achievement involving the ability to look longer, broader, and more strategically at key national or global issues. In 2007, Dr. Persons was awarded a Director of National Intelligence Science and Technology Fellowship focusing on computational imaging systems research. He was also selected as the James Madison University (JMU) Physics Alumnus of 2007. He has also served as a radiation physicist with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his B.S. in physics from James Madison University, a M.S. in nuclear physics from Emory University, and a M.S. in computer science and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Wake Forest University. Dr. Persons is a senior member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), serves on the World Future Society Global Advisory Council, and has authored or co-authored an array of journal, conference, and technical articles

Sonny Ramaswamy, Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture


Dr. Ramaswamy was appointed to serve as director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in 2012 where he oversees NIFA awards funds for projects that address the needs of farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers.  Prior to joining NIFA, he served as dean of Oregon State University’s (OSU) College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station.  Previously, Dr. Ramaswamy was associate dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture and directed the agricultural research programs from 2006 to 2009.  Prior to joining the Purdue faculty, he was head of Kansas State University’s Department of Entomology from 1997 to 2006 where he held the title of distinguished professor.  He also served on the faculty of Mississippi State University and as a research associate at Michigan State University.  As an insect physiologist, he worked on the integrative reproductive biology of insects.  Dr. Ramaswamy has received research grants from many federal agencies and has published nearly 150 journal articles, book chapters, and a book.  He has received a number of awards and honors as a scientist and department head, including being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Fellow of the Entomological Society of America; and Distinguished Graduate Alumnus of Cook College, Rutgers University. He received a bachelor of science in agriculture and a master of science in entomology from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India, and his doctorate in entomology from Rutgers University. Dr. Ramaswamy is also a graduate of the University of Nebraska’s New Academic Chair’s Program and Harvard University’s Management Development Program.

Brandy Salmon, Ph.D.
Senior Innovation Advisor, Lead, Food and Agriculture Practice, RTI International


During almost 20 years in technology commercialization and business development, Dr. Salmon has led a full spectrum of commercialization and transfer activities on a wide range of technologies and has played critical roles in moving innovations from discovery to successful commercialization.  She leads Innovation Advisors' food and agriculture practice for corporate and federal clients, providing strategic advising, technology landscaping and scouting, trend analysis, ideation and facilitated brainstorming, market opportunity and competitor assessments for biobased innovations including agricultural, bio-medical, nutritional, and food and beverage technologies.  Dr. Salmon speaks to a range of audiences on best practices in innovation and, along with her colleagues, works with cross disciplinary teams within organizations to consider and optimize innovation practices and strategies.  She brings the unique perspective of having worked across the innovation value chain, including for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company, a small angel/venture-backed agricultural biotechnology university start-up, and a university technology transfer office.  Dr. Salmon earned her M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, completed post-doctoral studies at Washington University School of Medicine as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow, obtained a Ph.D. in microbiology from Cornell University, and received a B.A. in biology from University of Virginia.

Steven "Steve" Savage, Ph.D.
Independent Communicator and Consultant, Savage and Associates


Dr. Savage has more than 30 years of experience in agricultural technology having worked in academics (Colorado State University), at a global research company (DuPont), at a biocontrol/biotechnology start-up (Mycogen), and for the last 16 years as an independent consultant.  Since 2009, he has written more than 250 posts on his Applied Mythology Blog and elsewhere, addressing myths and disinformation about pesticides, biotechnology and other aspects of modern agriculture.  He speaks frequently for a variety of audiences. Originally trained in biology (B.S. Stanford) and then plant pathology (M.S., Ph.D. University California, Davis), Dr. Savage has worked across a broad spectrum of crops and technologies.  He has been involved in the development of crop protection approaches spanning synthetic chemistry, natural products chemistry, biological controls, microclimate modification, traditional breeding and biotechnology.  He has also worked on the development of sustainability metrics, biofuel crops, and post-harvest waste reduction.

Thomas Schafer, Ph.D.
Vice President, BioAg Research & Development, Novozymes

Dr. Schäfer has 20 years of experience in research & development (R&D) and business development from a technical and market perspective in both enzymes and microbes. His functional experience includes innovation, R&D management, R&D strategy, due diligence and business development.  Since 1994, Dr. Schäfer has worked at Novozymes-Novo Nordisk A/S in various roles from research scientist, department head of Bacterial Screening, director of Microbial Discovery and Bioinformatics, senior director of Biobusiness and vice president Innovation Office and Microbial Biotechnology.  Currently, Dr. Schäfer is the vice president of BioAg and Industrial Microbiology. He also works as consultant within biotechnology for and has published papers with the World Wildlife Foundation, World Economic Forum, German Bioeconomy council, board member of Cluster Industry Biotechnologie 2021 and NIDUS’ Strategic Technology Council. In 2013, he received the Industrielle Biotechnologie Nord award for special achievements in fostering industrial biotechnology. He received his Ph.D. in microbiology from Freie Universtät Berlin, Germany.

Steven "Steve" Shafer, Ph.D.
Associate Administrator for National Programs, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture


Dr. Shafer is the senior leader and manager for planning, prioritizing, and budgeting the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) national research programs in crop and animal production and protection, natural resources and sustainable agricultural systems, and nutrition, food safety, and product quality.  More than 7000 research scientists and support personnel conduct ARS research at more than 90 locations in the United States and abroad.  Some of his previous positions in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) include director of ARS’ Beltsville Agricultural Research Center; ARS deputy administrator for Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems; ARS Midwest area director; ARS national program leader for Global Change research; deputy director for Environment and Plant Health in the USDA Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis; plant pest risk analyst in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; and ARS Research plant pathologist in Raleigh, North Carolina, with concurrent faculty appointment in the Plant Pathology and Soil Science departments at North Carolina State University (NCSU).  Dr. Shafer’s research focused on effects of air quality on plants, microorganisms, and soils.  He received B.S. in agronomy and M.S. degrees from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from NCSU, all in plant pathology. 

Bo Stone
Co-Owner and Operator, P&S Farms


Mr. Stone and his wife Missy operate P&S Farms with his parents in Rowland, North Carolina.  They farm about 2,500 acres of row crops including corn, soybeans, and wheat.  They also raise about 10,000 pigs annually and have about 100 head of beef cattle.  They also grow 2.5 acres of strawberries and 4 acres of sweet corn, both of which supply their roadside market to customers in the area.  He is a board member of the Robeson County Farm Bureau and the Cape Fear Farm Credit Association. P&S Farms has won a number of awards for their conservation and stewardship practices, as well as their use of modern technology to make the most efficient use of resources.  The farm was recognized as the Sunbelt Expo Farm of the Year for North Carolina in 2010.  P&S Farms was also named Conservation Farm of the Year for the state in 2012.  Mr. Stone was selected as one of four US Farmer’s and Rancher’s Alliance (USFRA) “Faces of Farming and Ranching” for 2012 and 2013.  He has participated on several national panels for the “Food Dialogues” series, an open forum by USFRA to engage the public directly about food and farm production practices.

Ronald "Ron" Stotish, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer, AquaBounty Technologies


Dr. Stotish joined AquaBounty in 2006 as vice president for Regulatory Affairs. Prior to joining AquaBounty, he was executive vice president for Research & Development at MetaMorphix, Inc. He previously served as vice president for Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development at Fort Dodge Animal Health, and held a variety of positions at American Cyanamid. Dr. Stotish began his career in basic research at Merck. He has degrees in biochemistry and over 40 years’ experience in the discovery, development, and commercialization of new animal health products.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and serves on the Food and Agriculture Section Governing Board of BIO.  Dr. Stotish is a member of the World Aquaculture Society, Global Aquaculture Alliance, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

E. Norris Tolson
Former President and Chief Executive Officer, North Carolina Biotechnology Center


Mr. Tolson, an Edgecombe County native with a distinguished career of leadership in industry and public service, was president and chief executive officer of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center from July 2007 to September 2014. He had served on the Biotechnology Center's Board of Directors since 1997, and as a member of the Executive Committee since 2001. Mr. Tolson has served the state as secretary of commerce and as secretary of transportation, charged by Governor Jim Hunt with reorganizing both departments. In 1999, he served as chairman of the North Carolina Hurricane Floyd Relief Fund, established to help victims recover from that disaster. In 2001, Governor Mike Easley appointed him secretary of revenue, where he remained until taking the leadership post at the Biotechnology Center in 2007. He also served in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 1994 until 1997, representing parts of Nash, Edgecombe, Pitt and Wilson counties. In March 2009, Tolson was honored with the Watauga Medal, the highest non-academic award bestowed by North Carolina State University. Three months later Governor Bev Perdue appointed him to the university’s Board of Trustees, where he was Vice Chairman and First Vice Chair of the executive committee until June 30, 2013. He also served as a member of the Audit, Finance and Planning committee and as Chair of the University Affairs committee.  Mr. Tolson is also a former board member of the North Carolina New Schools and former ex officio member of the North Carolina State University (NCSU) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Alumni & Friends Society board. He received a CALS 2009-2010 Distinguished Alumnus award, in recognition of his “outstanding career achievements, which have brought honor and recognition to the College,” and for his “commitment to the land-grant principle of service to community, state and nation.” He graduated from NCSU with a bachelor's degree in crop science and agribusiness in 1962.  He also served in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps from 1963 to 1965. Prior to his election to the General Assembly, Tolson held various domestic and international research, marketing and sales responsibilities with E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. From 1965 until his retirement in 1993 he served in the company's agricultural products and electronics divisions, and lived in Europe for several years. He is a member of the N.C. State Alumni Association Board of Directors, and CALS Alumni and Friends Society advisory boards. Mr. Tolson serves on boards for North Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience, the Academy for Leadership Excellence within the United Methodist Church, and as an active member of the NC AgBiotech Advisory Council.

Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, Ph.D.
Head, Biotechnology, Syngenta Biotechnology


Dr. van Lookeren Campagne received his M.S. degree in biology and a Ph.D. in developmental biology from Leiden University in the Netherlands. He then spent five years in New York City at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University working on signal transduction in cancer.  He began at Columbia doing postdoctoral research in the department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.  Later, Dr. van Lookeren Campagne became an associate research scientist and an assistant professor in the same department.  In 1993, he returned to the Netherlands where he began working on plant development at Plant Research International in Wageningen, first as section leader and later as department head.  In 1999, Dr. van Lookeren Campagne moved to industry, joining Aventis CropScience (now Bayer CropScience) as team leader for Reproductive Biology in Gent, Belgium. In 2002, he was named deputy head of Research, Bioscience for Bayer CropScience in Lyon, France. Two years later, Dr. van Lookeren Campagne became head of research for BioScience, the seeds & traits business of Bayer CropScience back in Gent, Belgium.  In 2009, he assumed his current position as Head, Biotechnology for Syngenta, based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.