Latham Hi-Tech Seeds announces Ryan Schon of Ankeny, Iowa, as its general manager.
"We've had the pleasure of working with Ryan in different capacities for the past 20 years, and we're pleased that he is has joined our management team," says John Latham, president of third-generation, family-owned Latham Hi-Tech Seeds in Alexander, Iowa. "Latham Seeds has experienced 15 consecutive years of growth, and we believe Ryan will help us grow in areas that will allow us to provide even greater support and services to our dealer network and farmer-customers."
Latham says Schon's background in agronomy, marketing, and precision agriculture, combined with his education and experience, will help his company gain greater efficiencies.
"Ryan's fresh perspective will allow us to consider new business approaches and opportunities. He also understands the intricacies of working with other family-owned seed companies, plus he has experience working with his own family's business," says Latham.
Schon grew up in Glidden, Iowa, where his family owned a lumber and construction business. His grandparents also farmed in Carroll County.
"I learned so much growing up in a family business: working hard, making work fun and doing whatever it takes to get the job done," says Ryan, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from Iowa State University and holds a Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University.
Schon most recently served as senior corporate development manager for Granular and led the post-acquisition integration of Granular with Encirca. He provided a voice for farmers as new Encirca Services were developed with Pioneer Agronomy Science, data scientists, software development, field teams, and external collaborators.
Prior to working for DuPont Pioneer, Schon was a business development manager and traits marketing lead with Monsanto. He and his family also lived abroad for one and a half years.
"The most amazing thing I observed is that all those farmers had the same farmer spirit," says Schon, who has visited farmers on six continents and in about 25 countries. "In many cases, I didn't know their language and we talked through a local translator. But there's a universal farmer spirit that comes from putting all your faith in a seed that you've put in the ground and knowing that your livelihood depends on what it produces."
Schon says he enjoys having the opportunity to return to his Iowa roots and enjoys being part of the U.S. seed industry.
"The seed industry is so collegial. Practically every seed company started as a family farm," says Schon. "In a previous job, I organized a customer meeting for leaders from all the independent seed companies. I quickly learned that the best thing we could do is make time at the beginning of the meeting for everyone to spend time together catching up.
"I don't think there are many industries where that would be true, and I really enjoy the comradery. I look forward to maintaining and strengthening the contacts I've made within the industry. I especially welcome the opportunity to work with the Latham team to lead the the company into this next generation of growth."