Our People

Executive Team

Picture of staff member Daphne  Preuss

Daphne Preuss

President and Chief Executive Officer

As Chromatin’s CEO, Daphne Preuss has assembled a vertically integrated sorghum business with state-of-the-art technologies, a market-leading breeding team, and global sales and distribution networks. After joining the company in 2006, she led the transition from a research stage to a commercial stage, through a series of alliances with leading agriculture companies, acquisitions, and commercial product sales. Preuss previously spent 16 years in plant research, founding Chromatin to commercialize synthetic chromosome technology developed in her laboratory at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and The University of Chicago. She served as the chair of the international committee that oversaw the sequencing of the first plant genome and currently serves on the Board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization as a member of its Food & Agriculture Governing Section Board. She earned a Ph.D. from MIT and performed postdoctoral work at Stanford.

Picture of staff member Mike Battin

Mike Battin

Vice President of Business Development and National Sales

Mike Battin continues to lead the rapid growth of Chromatin’s domestic sales force, leveraging his 20 years of sales experience in the agriculture industry. Over the course of his career, he has held positions with ADM, Garst, Syngenta, Producers Hybrids and Monsanto Company. Prior to joining Chromatin, Battin was a member of the Monsanto Crop Protection team.

Picture of staff member Charles Miller

Charles Miller

Vice President of Business Development and International Sales

Charles Miller leads Chromatins international alliances and brings extensive experience in international business development. Before joining Chromatin, he was a principal in the sorghum company, MMR Genetics/Richardson Seeds, and after its acquisition by NuFarm, became the Global Development Manager for the sorghum business. Prior to that, he worked for Mars, Inc. for many years where he gained deep experience in trading, logistics, and treasuries. In addition to his role with Chromatin, Miller is also serving in the American Seed Trade Association as Chairman of the Corn and Sorghum Division.

Picture of staff member Yale Peebles

Yale Peebles

Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development

Yale most recently served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Nature's Sunshine Products and prior to that as Vice President of Strategy at Guilford Mills/Lear Corporation where he was instrumental in spearheading domestic and international acquisitions, partnerships and joint ventures/alliances.  He also served in roles of increasing responsibility in strategy and business development at United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and Tyson Foods, and also has prior experience as a consultant at Bain and Company.  Yale is a graduate of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania’s MBA program and the United States Military Academy at West Point, after which he served as an officer in the U.S. Army.

Picture of staff member Troy Randolph

Troy Randolph

Chief Financial Officer

After serving as an Officer in the U.S. Army, Troy began a corporate career at General Electric where he spent 10 years in roles of growing responsibility, starting with GE’s Appliance division and subsequently becoming a member of the GE Corporate Audit Staff, after which he joined the finance team at GE Healthcare. From there he served as CFO of GE Nuclear’s Global Laser Enrichment Program. After leaving GE, Troy transitioned into private equity owned businesses, serving as the VP of Finance/CFO for Guilford Performance Textiles, an automotive textile manufacturer and a portfolio company of Cerberus Capital. While at Guilford, Troy was a key leader in the company’s successful sale and integration into Lear Corporation. Most recently, Troy was the CFO of Nautic Global, a private equity backed recreational boat manufacturer, and fourth largest domestic producer of pleasure craft. Troy holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University.

Picture of staff member Scott Staggenborg

Scott Staggenborg

Vice President of Research & Development

Scott Staggenborg leads Chromatin’s innovation and commercialization team that is customizing sorghum feedstocks for renewable energy. Staggenborg brings over 25 years of agronomic and crop physiology experience, most recently as the Co-Director of the Great Plains Sorghum Improvement Center and a Professor at Kansas State University. He previously managed the USDA grant panel that provided the NIFA Bioenergy CAP award, and has worked closely with farmers and extension educators to develop and adapt new cropping systems. Staggenborg received a Ph.D. in Agronomy and Crop Physiology from Texas Tech University.

Leadership Team

Picture of staff member Larry Lambright

Larry Lambright

Director of Sorghum Breeding

Larry Lambright has assembled a leading sorghum breeding team at Chromatin, focusing on grain, forage and sweet sorghum. He brings 35 years of commercial experience in the development and release of more than 100 improved sorghum hybrids to U.S. and international markets. While serving as the North American Sorghum Breeding Lead at Monsanto, he managed all US sorghum breeding programs, parent seed projects and production research efforts. Additional responsibilities have included Foundation Seed Manager and Plant Breeder/Site Manager for DEKALB genetics Corporation, where he managed and directed hybrid breeding programs for grain sorghum, silage sorghum and sorghum sudangrass for markets around the world. Currently, Lambright serves on both the Sorghum Foundation Board as well as the Sorghum Improvement Council of North America.

Picture of staff member Larry McDowell

Larry McDowell

Director of Field Operations

As Director of Field Operations, Larry McDowell brings over 42 years of sorghum operations, R&D, and management expertise to the Chromatin team. McDowell served as the owner and president of Sorghum Partners, Inc. prior to joining Chromatin. He has held various roles overseeing the production of sorghum, cotton, corn, and sunflower throughout US and International markets and is the owner and operator of Rio Blanco Farms and Wake Land and Cattle in Crosbyton, TX. McDowell is President-elect of the Texas Seed Trade Association.

Daphne Preuss

President and Chief Executive Officer

As Chromatin’s CEO, Daphne Preuss has assembled a vertically integrated sorghum business with state-of-the-art technologies, a market-leading breeding team, and global sales and distribution networks. After joining the company in 2006, she led the transition from a research stage to a commercial stage, through a series of alliances with leading agriculture companies, acquisitions, and commercial product sales. Preuss previously spent 16 years in plant research, founding Chromatin to commercialize synthetic chromosome technology developed in her laboratory at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and The University of Chicago. She served as the chair of the international committee that oversaw the sequencing of the first plant genome and currently serves on the Board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization as a member of its Food & Agriculture Governing Section Board. She earned a Ph.D. from MIT and performed postdoctoral work at Stanford.

George Arida

Managing Director at Venture Investors LLC

George Arida is a Managing Director with Venture Investors LLC, a Madison-based venture capital firm.  George currently serves as the Board Chair for Chromatin, Inc., Celleration, Inc., and Juventas Therapeutics, and served as Board Chair of Zystor Therapeutics (acquired by BMRN) and Nerites Corporation (acquired by Kensey Nash), and also currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors at NanoBio Corporation.  He is also a founding Director of the Mid-America Healthcare Investors Network, an association of over forty regional venture capital firms active in early stage healthcare investing.  George previously served as CFO for a financial consulting and brokerage firm.  Prior to this, he held positions in executive management, technical marketing, sales and engineering at U.S. Filter Corporation, Betz Laboratories, and Alar Engineering.  George earned his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MBA with high honors from the University of Chicago.

 

Bob Saul

Managing Director, Barings Alternative Investments

Mr. Saul is a Managing Director at BAI.  He spent fifteen years as a Partner and Director of Northern Hemisphere Investments at GMO Renewable Resources in Boston. He recently joined BAI as a Managing Director for land-based investments. At GMO RR, Mr. Saul invested more than $2 billion in forestry and agricultural properties in 21 States and several Latin America countries In addition to these acquisitions, Mr. Saul completed more than $1 billion in dispositions to complete the round trip process for six of the eight funds he managed. He brings a broad base of operational experience to BAI as well as first hand knowledge of complex contractual arrangements with joint venture partners, environmental groups, and county, state, and federal agencies. 

John A. Greaves

Worldwide Director, Specialty Crop Improvement at Kemin Industries, Inc.

Dr. Greaves has over twenty-one years of business and research leadership experience in the agri-biotechnology industry. In his current role as the Worldwide Director, Specialty Crop Improvement at Kemin Industries, Inc., Dr. Greaves coordinates a global team of plant breeders, horticulturalists, analytical chemists and field agronomists with research programs located in the USA, China and India using plants to produce target molecules. Previously, Dr. Greaves has held several executive roles, including: President of Hy-Line International, President of Kemin Agri-Foods, North America and Vice President of Research & Development for Kemin Industries, Inc., and Kemin Biotechnology, L.C.

Nicholas Schupbach

Managing Director, Barings Alternative Investments

Nicholas Schupbach is a Managing Director at BAI.  He's spent eight years with Wood Creek covering agricultural resource investments, with specific sector coverage spanning permanent crop farmland, row crop farmland, water, agricultural IP, and land development. Mr. Schupbach joined Wood Creek in 2006 from Rayner & Stonington, where he was an analyst and trader. He is a CFA charter holder.

Robert Shapiro

Co-Founder and Managing Director at Sandbox Industries

Robert Shapiro is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sandbox Industries. He was formerly Chairman and CEO of Monsanto Company. Upon the merger of Monsanto with Pharmacia & Upjohn, he served as Chairman of the newly-formed Pharmacia Corporation. Previously, Bob was President of Monsanto’s Agriculture Group, Chairman and CEO of The NutraSweet Company (a subsidiary of Monsanto), and President of the NutraSweet Group of G.D.Searle & Co., where he previously served as Vice President and General Counsel. Before joining Searle, Bob was Vice President and General Counsel of General Instrument Corporation. Prior to this, he practiced law in New York City; served in government as Special Assistant to the General Counsel and later to the Undersecretary of the U.S Department of Transportation; and as a professor of law at Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Bob has served on the boards of the New York Stock Exchange (later NYSE Euronext), Citigroup, Inc., Rockwell International, Silicon Graphics, Inc., and Sequus Pharmaceuticals. He currently serves as a director of Theranos, Inc., Sapphire Energy, Inc., Intrexon Corporation, and Elevance Renewable Sciences. He has also served on the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and on the White House Domestic Policy Review of Industrial Innovation. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Meghan Sharp

Venture Principal US, at BP Alternative Energy

Ms. Sharp is a member of BP’s corporate venture team. Investments span the BP Group, focused on emerging, strategic technologies in five areas: bioenergy and biomaterials; energy efficiency and storage; carbon management; renewable power; and oil and gas. Ms. Sharp focuses on bio-based investments for the team and serves on the board of Chromatin Inc., Biosynthetic Technologies, Verdezyne, and Taxon Biosciences. Ms. Sharp received her Ph.D. in microbial genetics from the University of California, San Francisco, performed post-doctoral work in plant genetics at the University of Chicago and the Carnegie Institution of Washington at Stanford University, and received her MBA from Columbia University.

David L. Zimmerman

Former Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at QFS Asset Management, L.P.

Mr. Zimmerman is the former Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of QFS Asset Management, L.P., a Greenwich, Connecticut-based alternative asset and risk management firm. Prior to joining QFS, he served as General Counsel of LiveWire Capital, a private equity investment and management group, and as Chief Compliance Officer of Chilton Investments, a hedge fund manager.  Mr. Zimmerman is a member of the board of the Byram Hills Education Foundation. He began his career as a mergers and acquisitions attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell. Mr. Zimmerman received his B.A. in history from Yale and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.