John Saunders, 43, is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company, serving in this position since 1998. Mr. Saunders founded our company in 1998 and has served as the Chief Executive Officer since then. Previously, Mr. Saunders was a partner and consultant for Pathfinder Consulting Services, Inc. in Parker, Colorado. An expert in both technology and the livestock industry, Mr. Saunders is a graduate of Yale University. Mr. Saunders brings to the board over 25 years of business, finance, marketing and leadership experience in agricultural, livestock and food industry. He also brings experience in corporate governance and board leadership as a chairman, making him a well-qualified candidate for a director of the Company.
Leann Saunders, 44, has been the President of the Company since 2008. Prior to 2003, Mrs. Saunders worked for PM Beef Holdings (“PM”), an integrated beef company, and developed a supply system for PM’s Ranch to Retail product line and managed PM’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Process Verified program. She then served as the company’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining PM in 1996, Mrs. Saunders worked for McDonald’s Corporation as a Purchasing Specialist, and Hudson Foods Corporation. Mrs. Saunders graduated with a B.S. in Agriculture Business and an M.S. in Beef Industry Leadership from Colorado State University. Mrs. Saunders sits on the Board of Directors for the International Stockmen’s Education Foundation, and was Chair of the United States Meat Export Federation for the 2014-2015 year. Mrs. Saunders has served on our Board of Directors since January 2012 and brings to the board over 25 years of diverse business leadership experience in supply chain and marketing as well as extensive knowledge of executive compensation and corporate cultures. Her broad understanding of the agricultural, livestock and food industry makes her a well-qualified candidate for a director of the Company.
Graeme Rein, 36, is the founder, managing member and Chief Investment Officer of Yorkmont Capital Management. Mr. Rein is a former audit professional at Deloitte & Touche, chartered financial analyst with Bares Capital Management and an active CPA. He graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas with a Masters in Professional Accounting. Mr. Rein has served on our board since May 2016 and brings more than 10 years of business-related experience, with expertise in finance, accounting, and investments.
Michael Smith, 63, has extensive expertise in all aspects of the cattle business and in trading commodities. Since 1986 Mr. Smith has traded commodities and has formed and managed various entities that own and operate cattle feed yards and large ranching operations. He graduated with a B.S. in Animal Production from Texas Tech University. He is a director of the Texas Livestock Marketing Association and National Finance Credit Corporation of Texas and also serves on the executive committee of both companies. Mr. Smith has served on our board since May 2016 and brings to the board over 40 years of business, finance, marketing and leadership experience in the agricultural and retail industries.
Pete Lapaseotes, 56, is a 3rd generation farmer/feeder agri-businessman from Bridgeport, Nebraska. For over 30 years, Mr. Lapaseotes has co-owned and operated Lapaseotes LTD, CPN Farms and Greenwood Ranch consisting of irrigated farming, cow-calf operation and finishing feedyards. Pete is a stockholder of 21st Century Equipment a large John Deere dealership, 21st Century Water Technology, Dinklage Feedyards, Valley Bank and Trust/Western States Bank located in Nebraska and Colorado. Pete sits on several Boards including Dinklage Feedyards as President, Valley Bank/Western States Bank, Global South Fork Solutions, Greek Orthodox Church, North Platte Natural Resource District, Bridgeport Community Center Foundation, TeamMates and the Paul Engler Entrepreneur Program at the University of Nebraska. Mr. Lapaseotes has served on our Board of Directors since May 2006 and brings to the board over 40 years of business, finance, marketing and leadership experience in the agricultural and retail industries, making him a well-qualified candidate for a director of the Company.
Adam Larson, 45, has been involved in the cattle feeding and ranching business since 1991. During that period, he has been a member and manager of eight family organizations involved in cattle ranching and cattle feeding and is primarily involved in cattle financing. Mr. Larson is a graduate of the University of Colorado. Mr. Larson has served on our Board of Directors since May 2006 and brings to the board over 25 years of business experience in cow/calf ranch operations, as well as expertise in investments and finance, making him a well-qualified candidate for a director of the Company.
Dr. Gary Smith, 76, serves as a University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Colorado State University-Fort Collins and on the Graduate Faculty of Texas A&M University-College Station. In 2011, Dr. Smith retired from his position as a professor in the Department of Animal Science at Colorado State University, a position he held since 1990. Dr. Smith received his Ph.D. in Meat Science and Muscle Biology from Texas A&M University. Dr. Smith has also taught at Washington State University, Texas A&M University and FSIS-USDA National Meat Inspection Training Center. Dr. Smith is a member of multiple professional associations and societies and has received numerous academic awards. Dr. Smith has served on our Board of Directors since May 2006. He has an excellent national and international reputation as a meat, food and animal scientist with expertise in meat science and food safety. He is also recognized for the quality and quantity of his scientific publications. Dr. Smith’s advice and counsel on meat sciences and food safety are relied upon by government agencies (USDA and U.S. Food and Drug Administration), commodity-group associations (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Meat Institute, etc.), private industry (JBS S.A., Cargill Meat Solutions, Tyson, etc.) and international organizations of countries such as Australia, Uruguay, Japan and the European Union. He also has valuable corporate governance experience serving on other company boards and committees, making him a well-qualified candidate for a director of the Company.
Robert Van Schoick II, 64, has more than 35 years of experience in the Animal Health Industry holding various Senior Executive roles in Sales and Marketing for Merck Animal Health and Merial. He joined Med-Pharmex Animal Health as President in 2006 and helped form Cornerstone Animal Health in 2013. His career accomplishments include several successful product launches and the effective management of the “fighting brand” strategy to defend the IVOMEC franchise. Additionally, Mr. Van Schoick is the original architect of the Sales Agency Distribution System currently used by Merial and several other manufacturers. As a result of his noted industry expertise, Bob has held numerous Animal Agriculture board positions including serving for the National FFA Foundation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the International Stockmen Education Foundation. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Austin College and a B.S. in Animal Science from Texas A&M. Mr. Van Schoick has served on our Board of Directors since May 2006 and brings to the board diverse leadership experience in the animal health industry as well as extensive knowledge of executive compensation and corporate cultures. His valuable corporate governance experience and expertise in investments and finance makes him a well-qualified candidate for a director of the Company.
Tom Heinen, 59, has been a co-president of Heinen’s Fine Food Stores (Heinen’s) since 1994. Heinen’s specializes in offering the freshest, highest quality foods while providing world-class service in 18 neighborhood locations serving various communities throughout Northeast Ohio. Since 1994, Mr. Heinen has managed the labor relations, central manufacturing, and the overall strategic direction for the meat, foodservice and bakery areas of Heinen’s. Mr. Heinen graduated from Bucknell University in 1977 with a B.S. in Business Management. He also serves as a board member of The Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland. Mr. Heinen has served on our Board of Directors since September 2012 and brings to the board over 40 years of retail expertise, business experience and strong management skills. His broad understanding of consumer demands within the food industry makes him a well-qualified candidate for a director of the Company.