Margaret Maizel, founder and president of VISUAL FARMS, is an expert in geospatial systems.
She has improved or created new programs at local, state and federal levels. As a member and Chairman of the Clarke County, VA Planning Commission for ten years; she was the author and appointee by Virginia’s Governor to the VA State Land Records and Mapping Commission. She was then Founder and Principal Investigator, of a congressionally funded program through USDA for a decade to integrate federal geospatial systems to support rural decision-makers. For fifteen years, she was co-owner-operator of a registered Angus cow-calf operation in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Following an M&A, in 1999, she became VP, Integrated Systems at VantagePoint Network, Deere & Company in Fort Collins, Colorado and later consulted for some of the world’s largest agriculture manufacturers, seed companies and national conservation organizations.
Margaret launched VISUAL FARMS in 2015 to apply her early knowledge in AI in medical research with her co-founder, Ron Olson and her colleague Cecil Samuel to provide farmers with new AI tools for profitability and farm sustainability. She prototypes new applications and analytics solutions with complex information systems for Visual Farms’ applications and public policy connectivity in the agriculture industry.
A seasoned technology entrepreneur and business leader with demonstrated experience delivering innovative, artificial intelligence-driven digital transformation solutions, Cecil Samuel oversees VISUAL FARMS’ entire technology operations, from product planning, establishing processes and product team governance to setting technology direction, rolling out large-scale, real-time machine learning platform-based solutions and end-to-end product lifecycle management.
Cecil and Margaret Maizel, first met over twenty years ago at the Deere & Co’s VantagePoint Network, in Fort Collins Colorado. Throughout his three-decade career, he has held leadership positions in incubating global technology and innovation centers of excellence (CoEs) and has achieved success in operationalizing and scaling them up to enable rapid business growth and value, primarily in the well-funded Health Care venues. Cecile’s primary industry focus has been in the U.S. health care, agriculture and government sectors through his company Novacis Digital, co-located at the Indian Institute of Information Technology, - Madras in Chennai India and Atlanta Georgie..
As co-founder and Chief Agronomist for Visual Farms, Ron Olson was central to the process of validating Visual Farms by organizing and supervising field trials, testing the efficacy of the program to deliver yield enhancing and profit building tools direct to farms.
An experienced Agronomist for over 40 years and accomplished research and development manager, Ron brought a strong background in the development, introduction and implementation of new crop nutrition products and crop production systems originating at The Mosaic-Cargill Company, a Fortune 500 company based in Tampa, Florida to his work at Visual Farms
He and his wife, Ann were founders and owners of an agriculture software company that designed the original GIS mapping technology to link soil sampling, fertilizer and pesticide applications and yield mapping systems to GPS to begin knowledge-based platforms to aid in decision making. His company partnered with John Deere U.S to develop the John Deere Precision Farming business unit. He then directed research and training focused on bringing the newly developing precision ag technologies and the new opportunities and benefits available to farmers.
Later as the Senior Sales Agronomist for Cargill he built and managed the Mosaic North America agronomy platform for corporate agronomy and served as a member of the Worldwide Agronomy team. His consulting firm, Olson & Associates offers information and solutions to farmers and commercial ag entities, based on his many years of innovative experience as an agronomist.
Ron continues consulting and research through Olson & Associates. He is a trusted advisor and consulting Chief Agronomist to Visual Farms.
Leveraging extensive experience across the entire product lifecycle (Pragmatic-certified in marketing), from marketing strategy, business planning and product planning through to positioning, pricing, promotion and working with sales to help build pipelines, close business and develop strategic partnerships, Mark Demers brings an outstanding large-scale efforts coordination ability to VISUAL FARMS.
With a track record of increasing sales and partnerships, streamlining operations, building and positioning new products in new markets and developing solid branding and communications, Demers has directed executive strategic planning sessions, developed and revised company business models/strategy/vision, built marketing plans and budgets, developed strategic product plans and roadmaps, created new field-based solutions with a full complement of launch materials, managed international product launches and developed alliance/channel playbooks.
Mark is currently responsible for marketing SAS digital products in multiple disciplines across the world where SAS is the largest private company to support their customers with digital analytics. Sr. Director at SAS Illuminating Analytics across All Industries
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Having grown up on a multigenerational crop and livestock farming operation near Creighton, Nebraska, Betty Luce understands the importance of America’s family farms and recognized the value VISUAL FARMS’ innovative solutions bring to farmers across the U.S. and around the world
Luce’s father served as President of the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association in the 1950’s, actively working with agronomists at the University of Nebraska to develop NC+ Hybrids, producing improved seed varieties acclimated to growing conditions throughout the state. Luce invested in VISUAL FARMS in her father’s name to support his values.
Beyond being VISUAL FARMS’ founding investor, she is also an advisor, continuing to support the company with encouragement, enthusiasm, advice, strategy and additional funding as needed to support the ongoing development of Visual Farms.
Luce is a successful businesswoman, with a lifetime of experience in historic preservation, building renovation and real estate sales..She has participated in the founding of several non-profits, and currently is Vice President of the Board of Trustees of St. Elizabeth’s, an intentionally inclusive K-8 Episcopal School.
The chairman, president and general manager of Fairholme Farms in Lewisville, Indiana, Charles M. (Kim) Drackett, Jr.’s Fairholme Farms was one of Visual Farms’ trial farms piloting the company’s technological solutions for Farm4Cast and BestSeedChoicetm.
As an entrepreneur — and through his work at Fairholme Farms — Drackett brings significant business and management level experience from inside the agriculture industry and from the financial services industry. Prior to Visual Farms, he served as a trustee of the Indiana Pork Producers Association and as a director of the Cincinnati Nature Center, where he was chairman of its Agricultural Operations Committee. He also previously served as director of Ameriana Bank and director of Ameriana Bancorp since its formation in 1990. Through his prior business experience, he brought significant technological applications knowledge to Visual Farms, adding additional value to the Visual Farms early Board of Directors.