Speakers

Tom Gimbel 

Tom Gimbel is the founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a national staffing, recruiting and culture firm headquartered in Chicago. LaSalle has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for 12 years, Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work for in Chicago” and “Best Medium Workplaces,” Forbes’ “Best Professional Recruiting Firms,” Inc. Magazine’s “Best Workplaces” list, and Crain's Chicago Business' "Best Places to Work in Chicago" for 6 years. 
  
With over 25 years of industry experience, Gimbel is an expert on sales, hiring, corporate culture and management/leadership, contributing to Inc., Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal. Gimbel also appears frequently on CNBC and in The New York Times, Fortune, Crain’s Chicago Business, among others. 
  
Gimbel is on the Board of Directors of Start Early, the American Staffing Association and Lurie Children’s Hospital Foundation. He also has been an active member of Young Presidents’ Organization for the last 10 years as well as of the Economic Club of Chicago.

Eric Snodgrass 

Eric Snodgrass is the principal atmospheric scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions, where he develops predictive, analytical software solutions to manage weather risk for global production agriculture. He provides frequent weather updates that focus on how high-impact weather events influence global agriculture productivity. His current research uses machine learning to better understand field-level weather impacts on yields in the U.S. and to increase confidence in long-range weather prediction. He presents his research as a featured speaker at over 120 conferences annually where he provides logistical guidance and solutions to weather sensitive financial institutions, farmers, commodity traders, and other stakeholders. Snodgrass is a co-founder of Global Weather and Climate Logistic, LLC and Agrible, Inc which were both acquired by Nutrien Ag Solutions in 2018.

Before transitioning to Nutrien Ag Solutions, Snodgrass was the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2006-2019. Each year, he guided over 1800 students through the wild side of weather in ATMS 120: Severe and Hazardous Weather. He taught advanced courses on General Physical Meteorology, Meteorological Instrumentation, while routinely guest lectured for multiple disciplines across campus including the College of Law and the College of Agricultural and Consumer Economics. He also taught advanced courses for the Environmental Sustainability Program on Renewable and Alternative Energy. Snodgrass currently serves as the chair of the Alumni Council for the Department of Atmospheric Science’s at the University of Illinois.

Paul Neiffer

Paul Neiffer is an agribusiness certified public accountant and business adviser for CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. He specializes in income taxation and accounting services related to farmers and processors. Paul works with farmers and processors providing income tax advice and compliance services, and he consults with farm families on succession planning issues and opportunities.

He also helps farmers understand the proper use of accounting systems to more profitably run their business. He authors a monthly column for Top Producer magazine called “The Farm CPA” and has written several articles for various farm magazines and media outlets.    

Sarah Beth Aubrey 

Sarah Beth Aubrey, founder, A.C.T., holds a Bachelor of Science in agricultural communications from the University of Illinois and a Master of Science in strategic communication from Purdue University. She began her career with Novartis moving next into business development and training with ABG Inc. (Adyana). Entrepreneurial at heart, at 26 she launched a retail meat business and at 30 a grant writing firm. Both businesses have been sold to investors. As the former CEO of Prosperity Ag LLC, Sarah Beth wrote over 300 successful grants in 29 states, yielding nearly $100 million in funding. She is technically savvy in understanding the complex issues facing agriculture and professional development today. She blogs on these topics for Forbes.com within the Forbes Coaches Council, and her column, The Farm CEO Coach, launched in Top Producer magazine in July 2017. The author of five books, Sarah Beth is also part of the adjunct faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) where she designs curriculum and teaches graduate classes.

Bret Oelke

Bret Oelke is the owner of Innovus Agra LLC, an agricultural business consulting company that provides business management services to agricultural producers and the businesses that support them. Bret is also a partner in Heartland Livestock Services, a company that provides a marketplace for breeding livestock and breeding livestock auctions. He is retired from the University of Minnesota agricultural business management ream. Bret holds a bachelor’s degree in animal and range sciences from South Dakota State University and his master’s degree in agribusiness from Kansas State University.

Rena Striegel

Rena Striegel is an internationally recognized business coach and consultant with over 20 years of experience working directly with farmers, ag leaders, senior executives and entrepreneurs to identify and implement strategies that create growth and profitability. In her role with Transition Point Business Advisors, she leads client projects in the areas of strategic planning, business succession and continuity planning and employee/leadership development. Most of her current clients are large family-owned farm operations. Rena grew up on a dairy and hog farm in What Cheer, Iowa, and she is a professional EOS implementer as well as a certified business coach and holds an MBA from the University of Iowa.

Dan Basse 

Daniel Basse is president of AgResource Company. The company is a domestic and international agricultural research firm located in Chicago. AgResource forecasts domestic and world agricultural price trends and provides information/research to farmers, elevators, soy and corn processors, wheat millers, food companies, trading companies, importers, exporters and meatpackers. AgResource’s research is sold around the globe. Daniel is an economist that has been in the commodity business since 1979. Raised on a dairy/grain farm in Waukesha, Wis., Daniel has a keen sense of production agriculture. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1979, and has worked with Professional Farmers of America, Brock Associates and the ag research division of GNP Commodities in Chicago. In 1987, he founded AgResource Company to serve the market research needs of the world agricultural community. Daniel sits as a member of the U.S. Farm Foundation and holds global conferences on agriculture in Canada, Switzerland and Brazil.

Chip Flory 

Chip joined Pro Farmer as a floor reporter for Futures World News in January 1988 after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in ag journalism. He spent three years reporting from the floors of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as bureau chief for FWN. Chip moved to Pro Farmer headquarters in 1991 where he started as electronic services editor. With Pro Farmer, he served as senior market analyst, general manager, editor of the company’s flagship newsletter for 17 years, editorial director and is now editor emeritus for Pro Farmer. Chip is the host of Farm Journal Media’s issues-driven “AgriTalk” and markets-driven “AgriTalk After the Bell.” Chip is also the Farm Journal economist, providing market insights for readers in each issue of Farm Journal.

Stephen Nicholson 

Nicholson has more than thirty years of experience in cash grain markets, hedging, commodity/ingredient procurement, commodity risk management and commodity analysis. A native of Iowa, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Farm Operations and Agricultural Education and a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, both from Iowa State University.    Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, Nicholson was most recently Category Manager and Chief Economist with International Food Products, a trader and distributor of food ingredients. Responsibilities included procurement and trading of vegetable oils, corn sweeteners, starches and grain products, along with consulting assignments.   From 2001 to 2007, he was a Senior Economist with Doane Agricultural Services in St. Louis as the oilseed analyst.   Nicholson also has nearly fifteen years of experience in the food and beverage industry.

Shay Foulk

Shay Foulk is an Ag Business Consultant at Ag View Solutions. Their team focuses on profit management, business structuring, transition planning, and farm professional development through peer group facilitation. They work with producers across the United States and Canada in depth for their operational needs, as well as focusing on profit management through their Profit Manager system. 

Robin Crow

Robin Crow’s journey as an author, speaker, entrepreneur and CEO is an American success story.As a business leader, Robin has gained a deep reservoir of experience as he has tirelessly
developed and evolved each of his three companies.

He is the CEO of Dark Horse Recording, a scenic three-studio complex and resort he built from the ground up. Founded in 1992, Dark Horse has attracted some of the most celebrated artists in the world including Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Megadeth, Taylor Swift, Neil Diamond, Jeff Beck, One Republic, Alison Kraus, Korn, Faith Hill and countless others.

In 2010, Crow founded Dark Horse Institute (DHI), a post-secondary institution offering Audio Engineering, Film Production and Music Business to young entrepreneurs. Their programs accelerate the learning process in an experiential, full immersion environment. Through this process DHI is changing the way education is conducted. Their mission is to create the most compelling educational model of the 21st century. Because of DHI’s disruptive model, they have continued to experience explosive growth. In 2012 Robin established Dark Horse Luxury Rentals, a property management company specializing in high end residences. Since purchasing their first property in Colorado, they have built an exemplary reputation ensuring clients enjoy every aspect of their stay. The company now owns five properties in Telluride CO. and Nashville TN. As an author and speaker Robin has directly impacted the lives of millions with his best-selling books, CDs, audio programs, and public speaking engagements. He has given over 2,200 presentations to a wide range of corporate and business audiences. His best-selling books include Evolve or Die, Rock Solid Leadership, Jump and the Net Will Appear and soon to be released The Intelligence Revolution. Robin divides his time living in Tennessee and Colorado.

Peter Martin

Peter Martin leads companies to their next stage of growth. Whether in need of a jump-start or currently undergoing runaway growth, he develops a game plan so business leaders can confidently choose among the best alternatives. His experience has transcended several industries including agriculture, business services, distribution and manufacturing. Peter participates in a number of continuing education programs to stay current on the latest trends in the debt and equity markets and the merger and acquisition industry. He serves as a success catalyst and valued adviser to business owners and leadership teams. Peter received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Northern Colorado and his MBA with an emphasis in finance and accounting from Regis University.

Sarah Frey

Frey Farms is a Certified Woman Owned Business founded by Sarah Frey in 1992. Headquartered in Keenes, IL, Sarah and her four older brothers operate farms and facilities in seven states. Frey Farms distributes fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the country serving the nation’s top 25 retail chains. With a mission to end food waste in the fresh produce industry, the family makes natural food products and beverages from imperfect or “ugly fruit”. They produce a line of beverages and fresh juices under the Sarah’s Homegrown and Tsamma Watermelon Juice brands.

Sarah Frey has been described by the New York Times as “the Pumpkin Queen of America”. Sarah sells more pumpkins than any other producer in the United States. She is the author of the best-selling book The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life–and Saved an American Farm published by Random House in August of 2020. Sarah will serve as Co-Executive Producer of the upcoming ABC television series of The Growing Season based on her story.