Vonnie Estes

BioTech Ag Expert / Keynote Speaker (Day 2)

Vonnie’s career has been driven by a passion for agriculture, technology and sustainability. Currently a consultant in Ag innovation, she has held leadership roles at prominent companies including DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta along with start-ups and venture funds to identify revolutionary science and bring products to market. She has built a number of agricultural and bio-industrial start-ups with successful exits. Serving on company, advisory, industry, and government boards, she is a known voice in the industry with frequent publications and speaking engagements. She has a vision to commercialize new technologies creating revolutionary products that are good for people and the planet. Vonnie is one of the leading female executives in the biofuels industry and winner of the 2017 Rosalind Franklin Award for Biotechnology. Vonnie will be speaking about the role of Big Data in agriculture and emerging biotechnologies as they apply to urban agriculture. Read some of Vonnie's articles on AgFunder here.


Allison Kopf

Agrylist Founder & CEO / Smart Resource Management Panelist

Allison Kopf is the founder and CEO of Agrilyst, the virtual agronomist powering the horticulture industry. Agrilyst won the highly coveted Disrupt Cup at TechCrunch's Disrupt event in San Francisco. Kopf was named the 2016 Changemaker of the Year by the Association for Vertical Farming and Entrepreneur of the Year by Technical.ly Brooklyn. Prior to founding Agrilyst, she helped BrightFarms become one of the leading indoor agriculture companies in the U.S. Kopf serves on the boards of the Santa Clara University School of Engineering and Cornell University's Controlled Environment Agriculture program and is a mentor with #BUILTBYGIRLS and Square Roots Grow.


Jeff Bisberg

Illumitex CEO / Smart Resource Management Panelist

Jeff Bisberg is CEO of Illumitex Inc., The Digital Horticulture LED Company™.  Illumitex LED lighting solutions provide the best red’s, blue’s, and green’s to improve crop quality and quantity, with a digital layer that delivers actionable analytics to positively impact the growers success.  Jeff came to  Illumitex from GE where he was Chief Strategy Officer for Current’s IOT platform.  Prior to GE Jeff was co-founder CEO of Albeo an award winning Industrial SSL company.

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Myriam Dormer

The Nature Conservancy Director of Conservation / Smart Urban Development Panel Moderator

Development professional with seven years experience in project management and a deep understanding of tools used to streamline the work involved in achieving impact. Skilled at steering community development through advocacy, relationship management, organizational development, and revenue generation. She has a Masters in Development Practices program from Emory University and is committed to conservation and sustainable community development.


Laura Seach

Foodshed.io Founder and Product Lead / Smart Distribution Panelist

Laura entered the world of AgTech from a background in sustainable architecture in design.Her interest in ecological infrastructure led her to explore systems of local agriculture in urban spaces. As a farmer and digital product designer, she is currently lead the product management and app design for Foodshed.io.Foodshed is focused on providing transparent sales, marketing, and distribution networks for small farms and their buyers. Through this work, Laura and her team are developing a strategic marketplace that aims to connect sustainable producers to local wholesale markets in an effort to support healthier communities and stronger local economies


Betsy McKay

The Wall Street Journal Senior Writer / Smart Operations Panel Moderator

Betsy McKay is a senior writer for The Wall Street Journal covering U.S. and global public health. From 2009-2015 she was Atlanta bureau chief, managing a team of reporters who cover the Southeast U.S. She joined The Wall Street Journal in 1996 in Moscow, where she covered Russia's post-Soviet political and economic transformation. Ms. McKay is a member of a team of Journal reporters awarded the 1999 Pulitzer Prize in the international reporting category for in-depth analytical coverage of the Russian financial crisis, and has won other awards for health related coverage.


Chris Manning

Produce Grower Assistant Director / Smart Retail Panel Moderator

Chris is a multimedia journalist with a passion for digital media currently working as an editor for GIE Media, specialized in ‘Greenhouse Management’ and ‘Produce Grower’ magazines.

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Andrew Carter

Smallhold Co-Founder  / Smart Retail Panel

Andrew Carter has over 10 years of experience  in controlled environment farm systems design, operations, and horticulture. His previous work includes Brightfarms, Windowfarms and Blue Planet Consulting.

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Mark Korzilius

Farmers Cut GmbH Founder  / Smart Operations Speaker

Mark Korzilius studied economics at EBS in Frankfurt. Mark has extensive knowledge from the restaurant and food retail business and is the original founder of Vapiano AG (www.vapiano.com), a fast casual restaurant chain offering freshly prepared Italian food. Vapiano has today over 170 restaurants around the world, over 60 of which are located in Germany where the concept was first implemented in 2002. Mark is co - founder of and shareholder in Farmers Cut, and responsible for technology and business development.


Tinia Pina

Re-Nuble Founder & CEO  / Smart Resource Management Panelist

Ms. Tinia Pina is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Re-Nuble, Inc. Ms. Pina's pioneering business model has earned her a Huffington Post Millennial Impact Grant, the American Express Emerging Innovator award and a MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneur grant, among other honors. She received her B.S. in Business Information Technology from Virginia Tech and is a SWANA Certified Composting Systems Technical Associate.


Mario Cambardella

City of Atlanta Director of Urban Agriculture  / Smart Urban Development Panelist

Mario Cambardella is a licensed landscape architect, a certified erosion and sedimentation design professional, holds a master of Environmental Planning and a master of Landscape Architecture from the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. Since December 2015, Mario has served as the City of Atlanta's first Urban Agriculture Director. Housed in the Mayor’s Office of Resilience, Mario is responsible for agriculture-related policy development, program management, and technical expertise for food production, aggregation, distribution, and restoration within the City limits. Mario is an Eagle Scout, member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, board member of the MicroLife Institute and Keep Chamblee Beautiful. And holds memberships to the Urban Land Institute, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Planning Association, and the American Community Gardening Association. 



Jason Chmura

KSS Architects Senior Associate / Smart Urban Development Panelist

Jason Chmura is a registered architect and LEED AP with a history of projects across the Northeast region. A graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology, Jason has been practicing in New Jersey since 2004. Jason was most recently involved in the LEED Gold Monninger Center at FDU and the proposed LEED Platinum Wellness Center at the Willow School, which is currently under construction and also seeking Living Building Status from the International Living Building Institute. Jason was a speaker track chair at the 2011 and 2012 East Coast Green events and is currently a co-chair for a series of sustainability practice groups at KSS.


Robin Metcalfe

Food+City Director / Smart Distribution Moderator

From the age of 10, Robyn Metcalfe was engaged in food entrepreneurism, loading her red wagon with avocados that grew in her family’s California backyard to sell to the neighborhood. Metcalfe arrived in Austin in 2011 and quickly got to work on how to catalyze Austin’s entrepreneurial food scene and founded The Food Lab at UT in March of 2012. She leverages a PhD and MA in History from Boston University with more than 30 years as the founding director and CEO of Kelmscott Rare Breeds Foundation and Farm. Since founding the UT Food Lab, Metcalfe has quickly advanced the attention and academic rigor applied to the food sector.


Christine Gould

Thought for Food Founder & CEO / Smart Education Panelist

Christine is the Founder & CEO of the Thought for Food (TFF) Foundation, the world's leading next-generation innovation and collaboration platform for food & nutrition security. Her vision is to incentivize and share tech and business model breakthroughs developed by young people around the world in emerging areas such as synthetic biology, controlled indoor growing, precision agriculture, logistics and appropriate solutions for smallholders.
In 2013, Christine was named as a founding member of the Ashoka League of Intraprenuers. She also serves on the Boards of Young Professionals in Ag Development (YPARD) and the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF). She holds an MPA with a concentration in Science and Technology Policy from Columbia University, and has worked on ag related projects in NYC, Washington, DC, Brussels, Port-au-Prince and Basel.


Mark Horler

Association For Vertical Farming Head of Operations / Smart Resource Management Moderator

Mark became interested in Vertical Farming a few years ago, particularly in its potential for revitalizing run down areas in a genuinely sustainable way. He spent a few years traveling around the UK, talking to experts and examining a variety of projects. In the end this resulted in a book and then a campaign, both known as Regrowth. From there, he made contact with the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) and was subsequently invited to take on the role of UK Regional Manager, and is currently Manager of Operations at the AVF.


Derick Lee

Pilot City Founder & Chief Architect / Smart Education Panelist

From San Leandro, California, Derick was concerned that the people weren’t presented the opportunity to build their own city. As founder of Pilot City, he thus focused in on the educational system as a strategic mechanism to create sustainable innovation ecosystems from within the city’s community.


Jeffrey Dorman

University of Georgia Professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics / Smart Retail Panelist

Jeffrey Dorfman is an economist and professor at The University of Georgia, where he has been since 1989. He teaches classes in microeconomic theory, the economics of the food industry, and macroeconomic theory and policy. He performs research mostly on productivity measurement, economic forecasting, and the economics of growth and sprawl. He has authored three books, most recently Economics and Management of the Food Industry, over seventy academic journal articles, and a variety of other articles published in trade publications, the popular press, and on the web. He writes regular opinion columns for RealClearMarkets.com and Forbes. In 2013, he was elected as a Fellow by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. He has testified to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, to the Georgia Senate Special Committee on Feedgrains, and to a USDA Panel on Farmland Preservation. He served as editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics from 2009-2012. He is a consultant to a variety of businesses, foundations, and local governments with past and current clients including Sprint, Kinder Morgan, the American Farmland Trust, Pennington Seed, Fulton County Schools, and numerous city and county governments in the Southeastern U.S. He is married, with one daughter, and attends Alps Road Presbyterian Church where he serves as treasurer.