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Rooted by heritage in Iroquois County, Illinois, Mr. Miller returned to his native farming community in 2005 after a 30 year career in banking and real estate financial management. Purchasing a small 10 acre family farmstead, he re-connected with local relatives farming organically. In 2007 he started Iroquois Valley Farms LLC by connecting a small group of family and friends to a 142 acre farm.
Prior to seeding sustainable farmland ventures, Mr. Miller held executive positions at Bank of America, Santa Fe Southern Pacific and First Chicago Corporation. His extensive experience in structuring alternative real estate investments led to the formation of Iroquois Valley Farms, the first private company in the United States to integrate farmland and organic food production, utilizing mostly mid-size family farmers.
An MBA graduate of Columbia University’s School of Business and 1975 graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, Mr. Miller views education as the primary key to changing the nature and health of our current food production system. In this regard, Mr. Miller is a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Environmental Studies at Loyola and was recently honored by the University (Damen Award) for distinguished services in the field of environmental sustainability. He resides nearby in Winnetka, Illinois along with his wife and three children.
As Chief Financial and Investment Officer, Mark has responsibility for financial systems and reporting, budgeting and forecasting, reviewing new funding opportunities, monitoring and tracking the investment portfolio, and evaluating new deals. Mark sees Iroquois Valley as a great vehicle for improving the health of the planet and raising awareness of the multitude of benefits achieved through farming organically. And with farmers in his family, the company’s mission is a personal one.
Mr. Schindel received his BS in Finance from the University of Illinois, and his MBA from Northwestern’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Before joining Iroquois Valley, Mark spent most of his career in the private equity business; and as a financial consultant and private investor. Mr. Schindel lives in Chicago, and enjoys tennis, downhill skiing, and hiking around the world.
Mr. Lau has several areas of responsibility including multi-year budget modeling, long-term planning for the company and evaluating new business/geographic opportunities as well as management of specific programs including the Young Farmer Land Access Program and a farmland ownership transition program. He also monitors and evaluates developments in such areas as climate change and the environment, capital markets, regulation, and technology for factors that may have long-term implications for the Company and its farmers. Mr. Lau reports directly to the CEO; and coordinates his duties with the CFO and Managing Director of Business Operations. Mr. Lau also supports development of offering materials, investment sales and investor relations.
Mr. Lau has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Economics from Lawrence University, and a Masters of Management from Northwestern University. He was previously a member of the Chicago Board Options Exchange from 1983 until 1999, and a member of the Chicago Board of Trade from 1985 until 2007. He is a life member of the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy.
Sally Dodge and Dale Guldbrandsen have served as Northeast Community Development Managers for Iroquois Valley Farms since 2013.
Sally was a pioneer in the locally grown foods movement beginning in the 1970s and 80s, when she managed a large beefalo operation in Vermont, and later created the Taste of Vermont, an annual event that linked farmers and chefs, and grew into the Vermont Fresh Network. Joining Iroquois Valley Farms has enabled Sally to contribute many years of experience in the promotion of organic farming, farm economics, and healthy food. Sally is a member of the board of advisors of Soil4Climate.
Dale worked on his grandfather’s farms near Peoria, Illinois, during his youth, and also on farms near Plymouth, Michigan. He worked in Fortune 500 companies for 30 years, and later provided performance improvement services in many economic sectors, including manufacturing, health care and education. He has now circled back to the food and farming revolution as his main passion in joining Iroquois Valley Farms.
Sally and Dale enjoy working with farmers, investors, and many agricultural and conservation organizations to promote the mission of Iroquois Valley Farms. They both believe that supporting regenerative, organic agriculture is the best work they can do to mitigate climate change, and save the planet for their grandchildren. They live in Vermont, and enjoy sourcing their food from local farms, and cooking from scratch.
Mr. Bianucci has long been passionate about food sovereignty, social justice, health, organic farming and agroforestry. He works to maximize the social and environmental impact of Iroquois Valley Farms. He has extensive corporate experience in branding, marketing and sales. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Bianucci has co-founded publications and been a successful independent trader and trading advisor. Computer User magazine was the country’s first regional computer publication and published monthly for 24 years. Mr. Bianucci graduated from Harvard College.
A native of Hanover, NH, Alex’s wide variety of experiences has brought him on adventures in cities all over the country and many farm stands and country houses in between. Alex fell in love with food making his own after school snacks, and went on to work in restaurants and farms, own a food cart company and produce a renowned pop-up beer garden for the 2014 World Cup.
Alex sees food as the perfect conduit for making lasting environmental and social change with its necessary role in our everyday lives and its increasing presence in modern culture and society. To Alex, the power of Iroquois Valley Farms lies in its ability to combine innovative finance with old-fashioned stewardship of the land, all while providing a profit for its stakeholders.
Alex received his BA in History from Columbia University in 2006 and his MBA from Babson College in 2017. He and his wife Anna have a son named Homer and two lovable mutts named Ishi and Tim.
At Iroquois Valley, Claire’s work centers around communicating the company’s impacts across audiences. She loves telling the stories of Iroquois Valley farmers and creating content that captures how the company works with farmers and investors to create change. She is also the primary contact for new farmer outreach. Claire works within operations getting to know farmers, understanding their needs and practices, and helping them move through the pipeline. She is passionate about creating a more sustainable, just, and empowering food system.
Claire completed her bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and French from Loyola University Chicago in 2014. Within philosophy, Claire gravitated toward intersections between social / political philosophy and environmental / agricultural ethics. After graduation, Claire spent a year in Madison, WI working as an AmeriCorps Farm-to-School educator. Claire resides in Chicago. She spends her free time creating art, gardening, and traveling.
Dr. Rivard has a long history of entrepreneurship in the medical and health field. After earning his undergraduate and medical degrees from Loyola University of Chicago, he began a practice in the newest medical specialty of the time, emergency medicine. After 26 years – and having raised two children — he changed careers and founded Illinois Vein Specialists in Illinois in 2008, another growing medical specialty business. He also began diversifying his investments to focus on health and organic farmland. His interest in organic farming goes beyond profit. It also includes the mission of creating a more socially conscious and sustainable future for his children. Dr. Rivard is now reaching out to other physicians and health care professionals to bring attention to the varied health illnesses associated with our current food production system. Specifically, he is concerned about the growth of Type 2 diabetes, food allergies and various cancer incidences that may be associated with our food choices. He views investing in Iroquois Valley Farms as a chance to both reclaim our health and sustainably grow capital.
Mr. Ambriole, his wife, and his parents farm around 1,800 acres in Huntington County, Indiana near Ft. Wayne. Mr. Ambriole is the first farmer to join the Board and brings a wealth of experience and energy to the group. Currently, he farms 500 acres of certified organic land, half owned and half leased. An additional 300 acres of farmland is being transitioned to organic certification, including the Company’s Old Oak and Sparta Woods farms. Mr. Ambriole is an active user of cover crops (rye grass, buckwheat, oats, oil seed radishes and clovers) and has a custom cover crop seeding business, along with an organic fertilizer business using on-farm earthworm production. Along with the typical grain crops, he also grows organic greenhouse tomatoes and raises Nubian goats for local cheese production.
Mr. Ambriole was awarded Indiana State Star Farmer in 2008 and Huntington County Conservation Farmer in 2010. He is a Supervisor on the Huntington County Soil & Water Conservation Board and a member of the Organic Valley Grower Pool.
Ms. Buckley is a senior executive with diverse strategic planning and management experience. She presently serves as a Division Director of Internal Services for her Tribe, the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin. As Division Director, Ms. Buckley provides the leadership and strategic direction to seven departments, forming integrated systems for the Nation in Technology, Media, Agriculture, and the grants department. In the agricultural practice, Ms. Buckley oversees the 80-acre organic farm (Tsyunhehkwa) as well as the Cannery, Pantry, and Aquaponics system. She has written and managed several grants funded by the USDA (Farm-to-School, Local Food Productions, ValueAdded Products), the EDA (conceptual development of a Food Center for entrepreneurs) and was a founder for the Food Sovereignty Summit (a national forum for agricultural learning).
Ms. Buckley has a broad experience in creating and implementing business plans, market development for business expansion, and assessing business performance — both domestically and internationally. Her domestic career includes various industries (global architecture, banking, manufacturing, and technology distribution). Her international concentration is in Latin America, where she previously worked for a Chilean airline, and on an architectural judicial project funded by the World Bank. She promotes business with a profound dedication to quality, ethics, and best practices.
Ms. Buckley holds a BA in Spanish from University of Missouri-St. Louis, a Certification in Latin American Studies, a Masters in International Business Administration from Saint Louis University, and is presently working on her doctorate degree with a research stream in the effect of bank ownership. Ms. Buckley speaks fluent Spanish.
Ms. Dodge is a long-time farmer, creative entrepreneur, successful business owner, and energetic environmental activist. She has been Northeast Community Development Manager for Iroquois Valley Farms since 2013. She manages her family’s 350 acre farm in Pownal, Vermont, leasing it to several organic operators. She co-owns a flock of Katahdin sheep, and with her partners, manages them by the Alan Savory Holistic Management system. She is a former beefalo farmer, raised and marketed grass-fed beef before its importance to consumers became widely embraced. She is one of the pioneers of the locally-grown food movement, and created Taste Vermont, a bi-annual event in the ’90s which promoted public awareness of specialty farmers in Vermont and their importance to the Vermont brand.
Ms. Dodge served as a trustee of the Vermont Land Trust, where she took part in helping the organization move toward supporting diversified farms and farm acquisition programs. She is a member of the board of directors of the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation, and serves as their liaison to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
She is an owner of The Mountain Goat, an outdoor outfitting store in Manchester, Vermont. She lives in Manchester with her husband, Dale Guldbrandsen, who partners with her in their Iroquois Valley Farms position.
Mr. Lau is an independent securities and commodities trader. He was previously a market maker on the Chicago Board Options Exchange for 16 years and has been a member of the Chicago Board of Trade for 20 years. He holds degrees from Lawrence University and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mr. Lau is a life member of the Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club, and since 2010 has co-managed Two Roads Farm LLC, a 320 acre organic farm in central Illinois.
Malaika Maphalala is a Private Wealth Advisor and Partner at Natural Investments LLC, a national SEC registered Investment Advisory firm that has specialized in exclusively socially and environmentally responsible investments for over 30 years. A lifelong advocate for social change, Malaika is driven by a passion for finding innovative approaches to bringing people and resources together to address social and environmental complexities.
In her role as Wealth Advisor, Malaika provides portfolio management and financial planning for high-net-worth individuals, families, and institutions across the country that want to use their wealth as a tool to transform society and economic systems using humane, restorative, and ecological principles as the guide. She specializes in Regenerative Investing, which is investment that directly supports the regenerative capacity of communities and ecosystems. Her areas of special interest and expertise encompass investments in sustainable agriculture, community development, clean and renewable energy, cooperative businesses, and microfinance.
Malaika received her BA from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands and she holds a Certified Private Wealth Advisor® designation from the Investments and Wealth Institute in conjunction with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
She currently lives full time on the island of Hawaii, her home for almost 25 years, where she and her family tend and enjoy their beloved, rural, solar-powered, organic farm and homestead.
After a 30-year career in corporate finance and real estate, Mr. Miller returned to his native Illinois landscape in 2005 by purchasing a 10 acre farm from a family estate of his relatives. Keeping the farm in the family, he re-connected with local relatives and friends farming organically. In 2007, he co-founded Iroquois Valley Farms LLC to enable a new generation of farmers and investors to support healthy food production. Mr. Miller is currently CEO and President of the Company.
Prior to developing sustainable farmland ventures, Mr. Miller held executive positions at Bank of America, Santa Fe Southern Pacific and First Chicago Corporation, including the management and oversight of large leasing portfolios. In 2008 he formed Working Farms Capital, an entity seeding new ventures in sustainable agriculture while providing transitional farm management services.
Mr. Miller is a 1975 graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, and a 1978 graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. Mr. Miller views education as the primary key to changing the health and economics of our current food production systems. In that capacity, Mr. Miller is a founding member of the advisory board for Loyola University’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability and is a recipient of the Institute’s first Damen Award, recognizing his services related to positive environmental change. Mr. Miller resides in Winnetka, Illinois with his wife and family. He continues to restore his small organic farm in Iroquois County, a family heritage since 1875, now being transitioned to native prairie and permaculture production.
Mr. Miller is a co-founder of Iroquois Valley Farms LLC, and has served as it Chief Executive Officer continuously since the company’s founding in 2007. He has previously served on the Board of Managers.
Teresa Opheim is a Senior Fellow at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and Renewing the Countryside, where she focuses on farm succession issues. She also has served as a staff member at Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT and as the Project Director of Iroquois Valley Farms’ Conservation Innovation Grant. Teresa was the Executive Director of Practical Farmers of Iowa from 2006 to 2016. She served as Executive Director of the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and has worked for the Iowa Environmental Council, the Environmental Law Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She is the editor of The Future of Family Farms: Practical Farmers’ Legacy Letter Project (University of Iowa 2016). Teresa has journalism and law degrees from the University of Iowa. Teresa and her family reside in Minneapolis.
Ms. Reedy brings to Iroquois Valley Farms the broad business experience she gained through her management, executive and board level involvement with Reedy Industries, Inc. In her role as chief financial officer of Reedy Industries, Inc. for over 25 years, Ms. Reedy had responsibility for the management of the IT, Human Resources, Legal, Risk Management, Financial and Accounting functions of this privately held, third generation business. Ms. Reedy is committed to environmental causes including such organizations as the Nature Conservancy and Illinois PIRG; and is a regular donor to organizations whose mission is environmental health and sustainability. She currently serves on the board of “Feed the Dream”, a not-for-profit organization which provides nutrition resources, education, and training to women and young children in rural villages of Guatemala.