POWERPOLLEN LEADERSHIP TEAM
Todd Krone, Ph.D
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Todd Krone co-founded PowerPollen after more than 20-years leading seed and biotechnology advancements at leading global agribusinesses, Corteva Agriscience and Bayer. In these roles, Todd led research and commercialization teams for many of the biotech traits currently on the market. He was responsible for directing the technical strategy and trait development efforts globally across five commodity crops. Todd earned a Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics from University of Minnesota and a Master of Science from the University of Illinois.
Co-Founder and Chief Intellectual Property Officer
Jason Cope brings more than 20-years of industry experience in the development of theoretical and applied engineering solutions from leading global agribusinesses, Corteva Agriscience and Bayer. In these roles, Jason leveraged his broad knowledge of science, engineering and technology to deliver next generation biotech products. He currently holds more than 40 granted US and worldwide patents and oversees PowerPollen’s intellectual property strategy. He also guides operations and engineering initiatives for the company.
Mark Westgate, Ph.D
Chief Science Officer
Dr. Mark Westgate is a globally recognized crop reproductive physiologist and recently retired from Iowa State University where he was a faculty member for 21+ years. Mark served as the past president of the Crop Science Society
of America, and brings the science and biology expertise to the development and implementation of pollen preservation protocols for scaled pollen handling systems
Director of Engineering
Jason Kelsick joined PowerPollen in 2020 to lead its engineering team, after 13 years at Corteva Agriscience. Since receiving a master’s in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University, Jason has held several roles including for a large aerospace company creating and managing the development of 3D simulations for satellite ground and launch operations, and for a small robotic systems integration company developing conceptual simulations and mechanical design for agricultural, construction, and automotive industries.
Mike Lauer, Ph.D
Director of Operations
Dr. Mike Lauer has more than 25 years of experience in the seed industry leading teams to characterize inbred parents of pre-commercial and commercial hybrids for producibility and leading production research teams to enhance cost effectiveness in corn seed production. Previously, Mike was an assistant professor of agronomy at The Ohio State University. Mike earned a Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of Missouri and conducted post doctorate research at University of Delaware.
Federico Valverde, Ph.D
Director of R&D; Biology
Dr. Federico Valverde is a plant physiologist focused on understanding cellular metabolism and interactions. Federico’s 25+ years of research on multiple crops brings a broad perspective on solving agricultural challenges. Previous roles involved research on mechanism of tolerance to nutritional, mechanical and temperature stresses. Federico holds a Ph.D. in horticulture from Iowa State University.