AGILITY Innovation Summit

The Future of Food | Feb 9 & 10, 2017

Mark Thompson

Vice President, Strategy, Agrium (TSE:AGU)

Mark joined Agrium in 2011 and was appointed to his current role as Vice President, Strategy in 2016. In this role, Mark leads the development of Agrium’s corporate strategy, along with oversight responsibilities supporting the continued growth of the organization.

Prior to this role, Mark held the position of Senior Director, Strategy, as well as Manager, Business Advisory & Analysis, supporting Agrium President & CEO, Chuck Magro, in an advisory and analytical capacity on key strategic initiatives across the organization. From 2011 to 2015, he held various roles in key functions, including Investor Relations, Corporate Development & Strategy and Continuous Improvement within the area of Wholesale Sales, Marketing and Distribution.

Colin Rush

COO, Agricultural Division, Clean Seed Capital Group (TSXV: CSX)

Colin is a senior operations leader with nearly 20 years’ experience in the North American agricultural equipment industry.

Colin has held senior positions with John Deere, Case IH and JCB Canada. In 2010 Colin assumed the role of Senior Director of Specialty Business, North America for Case IH. Case IH is one of the world’s largest agricultural equipment manufacturers with significant planting and seeding equipment market share in all major marketplaces. During his tenure Colin significantly increased North American sales and market share for the Company’s nearly $1B division of planting, seeding, tillage, and application products. Subsequent to Case IH, Colin became the head of Canadian operations for JCB, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction and agricultural equipment. During his time leading JCB Canada, Colin doubled the number of agricultural dealers to deliver significant sales growth while increasing sales margin.

Colin holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanized Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Business Administration in Agricultural Economics from the University of Guelph.

Tom Burke

Senior Investment Advisor, Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management (TSE:CF)

In Canada, Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management is a leading, independent wealth management firm. Tom is a dedicated senior investment advisor at Canaccord with over 22 years experience in managing both private client and specialized institutional portfolios. He is well known for his hands-on research approach that spans both multinational large cap companies all the way down to microcap growth investments. Tom believes that diversification and income generation in a portfolio gives investors an edge over simple passive investing.

John P.A. Budreski 

Executive Chairman, EnWave Corporation (TSX-V: ENW)

Prior to joining EnWave Corporation in 2014, Mr. Budreski accumulated over 30 years of extensive capital markets and executive management experience. John has a professional history of advancing and accelerating businesses, as well as tangible engineering experience.

Over the past two and a half years, Mr. Budreski has significantly contributed to the ramp up in commercialization of EnWave’s proprietary Radiant Energy Vacuum dehydration technology and continues to lead the strategic implementation of EnWave’s corporate plans.

He was formerly a Vice Chairman of Cormark Securities Inc. from 2009 to 2012 and President and CEO of Orion Securities Inc. from 2005 to 2007, prior to its successful sale to Macquarie Bank. He has filled the roles of a Managing Director of Equity Capital Markets and Head of Investment Banking for Scotia Capital Inc. from March 1998 to February 2005 after starting out as a Managing Director of US Institutional Equity Group for Scotia Capital. He also held senior roles in investment banking and equity sales and trading for RBC Dominion Securities. Mr. Budreski is currently a Director of Sandstorm Gold Ltd., Alaris Royalty Corporation. He is also the Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Morien Resources Corporation.

John Snell

Senior Vice President, FCM Division of INTL FCStone Financial Inc., (NASDAQ: INTL)

John Snell, Senior Vice President at INTL FCStone Financial Inc. has over 35 years of experience developing and implementing commodity price risk management strategies.  After growing up on the family farm in Decatur, IL, John completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois and received a Master of Science degree from Georgia Tech.   His career began as the grain and soybean analyst for Merrill Lynch after which he worked independently as a broker and a consultant.  John founded Risk Management Incorporated (RMI) in 1988 to provide services and products to mitigate price risk in commodity exposure.  RMI, which executes approximately $16 billion in commodity contracts for its clients each year, became a wholly owned subsidiary of INTL FCStone Inc. in 2010. INTL FCStone Inc. (NASDAQ: INTL) is a Fortune 500 company that provides clients across the globe with a comprehensive range of customized financial services and tools to help them protect their margins and manage volatility. Through its regulated subsidiaries, it is a leading global franchise in agricultural products and provides services in virtually every major agricultural market in the world.

Preet Marwaha

Executive Vice PresidentHempco Canada Superfoods (TSX.V – HEMP)

From learning to cook in his grandmother’s kitchen to VIP Chef and Guest Speaker at a United Nations conference, Preet Marwaha’s life has been defined by food. 

He was not to know just how much until struck with a life threatening illness at 18. Then, food became the path back to health and his life’s mission: to create a paradigm shift in how people live, starting with food and the systems that produce it.

Today, he is an in-demand nutrition and food authority, locally and globally. He founded the popular Vancouver based OrganicLives™ line of raw organic food products, has worked with the UN Environment Program, India-Canada Organic Agriculture Association, World Wellness Project, and the Safe Planet Campaign; and developed and taught curriculums for Vancouver’s Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Preet also coaches people with acute or chronic illnesses, elite athletes and those who want to optimize their wellbeing. He believes that by reconnecting with our food—and understanding agriculture, production and manufacturing systems and the impact of our choices—the shift back to an optimal, sustainable way of living is possible.

Matthew von Teichman

CEO & President, GreenSpace Brands (TSXV: JTR)

Entrepreneur, CEO, Father (not in that order)

Matthew von Teichman started his business career at 19 years old taking over a bankrupt restaurant near his University hometown of London, Ontario. He and his partners assumed ownership of a struggling enterprise and within 6 months made it into a thriving venture, selling it 18 months after launch. His next venture led him to visit the Student services business, launching a franchised window cleaning company in 1998. After 2 successful seasons, with 5 franchises established, he sold See Thru Window Cleaning and co-founded Canada’s first Internet recruitment service, JobShark Corporation. JobShark evolved from a single office in midtown Toronto to become a thriving small business with offices in 7 countries and over 100 employees.

After selling JobShark in 2001, Matthew founded Life Choices Natural Foods, an Organic frozen food business that went on to become GreenSpace Brands. Starting Life Choices with no employees and no clue how to create a food business, Matthew persevered and eventually became an overnight success (over more than 10 years). Since 2002, when Life Choices was founded, GreenSpace has grown to a business with 8 brands and counting, $40 million in revenue and counting, and has become one of the most admired businesses in the North American food market.

When not working, Matthew can be found travelling, skiing, golfing, playing tennis, reading history or business books and generally doing fun things with his family and friends.

Remi Schmaltz

CEO & Director, Decisive Farming

Remi has a love of agriculture, technology, and sales and marketing.  When it comes to knowing the agriculture industry and its history, he has a proven track record of success.  In 2006, Remi and his brother took over the family Ag-retail (DynAgra) and starting incubating the next technologies and launched Decisive Farming in 2011.  Then in 2012 they sold the family business (DynAgra) to a fortune 500 company, CHS Inc.

Carlo Dade

Director of the Centre for Trade & Investment Policy, Canada West Foundation 

As Director of the Centre for Trade & Investment Policy, Carlo Dade develops and leads research to promote growth and profitability in western Canada’s export economy. Carlo has a long history in international public policy most recently as Senior Fellow in the University of Ottawa’s School of International Development and Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Carlo has been a leading voice in debates on recent Canadian free trade agreements and development of trade infrastructure. He has a reputation for big-picture thinking and is a leading global expert on pan-Pacific trade, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Pacific Alliance trade blocs. He is one of Canada’s leading commentators on North American competitiveness and Canada-Mexico relations. Carlo is a highly sought-after media commentator throughout North America.

Jayaranjan Anthonypillai

Founder & CEOBerkeley Biolabs

J is an avid entrepreneur, a biologist and the founder/CEO of Berkeley Biolabs (, an innovative incubator for early stage biotech and chemtech companies in the Bay Area. He recently launched The Berkeley Program ( which shepherds young scientists at the middle and high school levels through the iterative process of bringing ideas from the lab into products and services.  This program is currently being developed to include undergraduate students. J is a Canadian who currently lives in the Bay Area where he wears many hats, and is in constant pursuit of defining the role of science in our world.

Ken Gossen

Executive Director, Food and Bio Processing Branch, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Ken Gossen is the Executive Director, Food and Bio Processing Branch (FBPB) at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.  The FBPB’s mandate is to develop programs and services to encourage the growth, diversification and competitiveness of the agricultural, food and bio processing industry.  The hub of the FBPB is the Food Processing Development Centre (FPDC) and the Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator (APBI) located in Leduc, Alberta.  The FPDC provides product and process development support to the processing industry.  Attached to the FPDC is the APBI with eight individual suites which processing companies can lease for a maximum period of three years while they are growing their business.

Ken grew up on a dairy farm near Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  Before joining Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development he held a number of progressive positions at Cargill Foods and United Grain Growers.  Ken’s extensive experience ranges from working with small to medium size enterprises in a business development capacity to working with multinational firms in investment and policy related issues.  Ken holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Eric Chalmers

Lead Data ScientistFarmers Edge

Dr. Eric Chalmers is the lead data scientist at Farmers Edge, and oversees the development of machine-learning and artificial-intelligence-based systems to support precision agriculture. Eric obtained a BSc and PhD in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Alberta. He then conducted artificial intelligence research in the Neuroscience Department at the University of Lethbridge before accepting a position on the Data Science team at Farmers Edge. He has applied machine learning technologies to problems in many fields, including medicine, sports, and agriculture, and has developed several new machine learning algorithms along the way. Eric is now excited to be applying these technologies to support agronomists’ and farmers’ efforts to increase production and lower costs. 

David Chan

Data Scientist, Cybera

David facilitates the management and operations of Cybera’s Rapid Access Cloud, a national award-winning service that provides free cloud computing resources to Alberta-based educators, researchers, non-profits and small to medium sized organizations. He has been studying data science since 2012, and helped lead the development of the company’s data science team. This group is using a scientific approach to analyze data stemming from a variety of sources to extract descriptive, predictive and prescriptive insights. David is a PhD graduate from the University of Calgary, where he used high performance computing to investigate protein dynamics and interactions in atomistic detail.

Mark Carlson

Managing DirectorVerdex Capital

Mark joined AVAC Ltd. as Vice President, Investment in 2009, and is also the Managing Director of AVAC’s Ag Tech Investment group Verdex Capital Inc. In his role, Mark is responsible for all aspects of investment operations. Mark has directed venture capital and investment financing for a broad range of early-stage technology companies for the past 15 years. His sectors of investment expertise span the agriculture value chain, complemented by internet-powered and related software businesses, manufacturing, and life science which are all synergistic to Ag Tech investing. Furthermore, Mark’s comprehensive, hands-on knowledge of irrigated crop and cow-calf production gleaned from his farm up-bringing and ranching experience augments Verdex’s agricultural technology investment strategy and investment decision. Mark has a Bachelor of Economics and an MBA.

As AVAC’s Vice President, Investment and Managing Partner of AVAC’s Ag Tech investment group, Verdex Capital Inc., Mark has spoken at numerous conferences, including the Agri Innovation Forum, and the Agri Investment Forums.