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.
Chief of Staff/CHRO
Christine Bobst is an executive team leader with over 25 years of agricultural industry networking and experience focused on talent development, succession planning, business strategic planning and internal operations that support leadership teams in achieving outstanding results. Since 2017, Christine has offered consult to PowerPollen’s leadership team focused on talent, strategic planning and business process & administration optimization and has helped to accelerate the growth, internal structure, operations, and early successes of PowerPollen.
Sr. Director of Finance/Controller
Crystal Bruntz joined the PowerPollen team as Sr. Director Finance & Controllership and is responsible for financial planning, accounting, and reporting. Crystal comes to us with a wealth of experience in finance, domestic and international tax & accounting, systems implementation, total rewards & compensation, and education. She has background working for Iowa companies; including Maytag, Kum & Go, and Pioneer (now Corteva). Crystal most recently served as a Lecturer of Accounting for Central College. Crystal earned her Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Central College and her MBA from Drake University.
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
Senior 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.
Chief Commercial Officer
Sarah Pirolli joined PowerPollen in 2021 to help the company build and expand strategic partnerships and licensing portfolio, while scaling its grain technology solution. With more than 20 years of working in the agricultural commodities industry, Sarah has held multiple senior management roles at Cargill, The Andersons and Murphy-Brown LLC (now a part of Smithfield Foods).
Federico Valverde, Ph.D
Senior 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.