Board of Directors
Roger Underwood, Chairman
Principal, Riverwood Management & Co-Founder, Becker Underwood
Roger C. Underwood, a native of Atlantic Iowa, lives in Ames, Iowa. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University in November of 1980.
After working in two different crop protection distributorships, Roger Underwood and high school classmate Jeff Becker co-founded Becker Underwood in 1892. The company developed a specialty colorant to mix with ‘Round Up’, the herbicide to “mark” where Round Up was sprayed. The formula was a big success with company sales in its first year being $45,666.88. From there the company diversified to produce specialty seed colorants, seed coatings, yield enhancing biological inoculants and multiple biological crop protection products. The company eventually grew to $265 million in sales by 2013, with ten offices spread between seven countries on five continents with 420 employees.
In 2012 Becker Underwood was sold to BASF- The Chemical Company.
Currently, Roger is active in many philanthropic projects raising money for the Boy Scouts, TKE fraternity, Iowa State University, and other organizations. He is an active founding limited partner in The Rural American Fund, a private equity fund making strategic investments in agriculture. He serves as a board member for a number of companies including Kent Corporation of Muscatine, Iowa, a third generation family owned grain processing and animal feed company, Albaugh Chemical, Ankeny Iowa, a global producer of crop protection products, Mississippi River Distilling, of Le Clair, Iowa and La Cross Seed, an alfalfa and cover crop seed company doing business in Midwestern U.S.
Underwood has received many honors and awards from Iowa State University, including being named the Order of the Knoll Outstanding Young Alumnus in 2000. In 2008 he was awarded the ISU College of Ag and Life Sciences Floyd Andre Award for outstanding contributions to Agriculture. In 2011 he received the Iowa States Cardinal and Gold Award. He is a member of the ISU Foundation Board of Governors and recently chaired ‘Campaign Iowa State’, the university’s $867 million dollar fundraising campaign. In 2005 he and his wife Connie provided a $1.5 million cash gift to establish the entrepreneurship program for students at Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Underwood makes regular presentations on entrepreneurship and emphasizes the importance of making business decisions that are holistic in nature.
Roger and Connie have been married for 30 years and have two sons, Andrew and William.
Associate Director for External Relations, Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, Strategic Initiatives, Corporate Relations, AgriLife Research
Granddaughter of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and father of the Green Revolution Dr. Norman Borlaug, Julie is currently Associate Director for External Relations at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture & Strategic Initiatives for Texas A&M AgriLife Research. She advocates for educating and engaging the next generation to ensure continued scientific and technology advances in agriculture to feed a growing world population.
Executive Director of the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance
As the Executive Director of the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA), Sean leads the organization to increase the pace and scale of farmer-led efforts to improve water quality. Sean works with key public and private sector partners to champion farmer engagement and adoption of conservation practices that improve water quality. Sean has more than 20 years of experience in conservation and agriculture including leading diverse coalitions dedicated to improving water quality. He formerly directed The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) North America Agriculture Program. He also served as state director of the Iowa Chapter of TNC where he chaired the Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy campaign. Prior to that, he directed national land stewardship campaigns with the National Wildlife Federation. Sean served in a variety of senior staff positions at the U.S. Department of the Interior and also worked on wetlands and water quality issues for the National Audubon Society. Sean is a member of the Farm Foundation Roundtable and serves on the board of the Crop Life Foundation. He is also chair of the Conservation Reserve Program Committee of the Iowa NRCS State Technical Committee, serves on an advisory body for the U.S. Soybean Export Council and the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award review committee.
Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President, American Vanguard
As COO of AMVAC, Dr. Trogele oversees global sales, marketing and business development for AMVAC, growing the business across multiple product lines and geographies. Over the past 28 years, he has worked in positions of increasing responsibility within the agribusiness sectors of agrichemicals, biotechnology and plant nutrition. Earlier, Bob served as the President of the Asia Pacific division of FMC Corporation and as the North American Area Director of their agricultural solutions business.
President and CEO, CropLife America
Jay Vroom has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of CropLife America (CLA) since 1989. He has been a leader in U.S. agribusiness trade associations for his entire career. In his current role with CLA, Vroom heads the leading U.S. trade group for the crop protection industry in the U.S. CLA performs federal and state lobbying, science and regulatory advocacy, and proactive litigation work on behalf of its members. Its principal issues revolve around articulating the benefits of crop technology in enhancing food, fiber and renewable fuel production; and advocating for clear, science-based regulations, which ensure the safe and effective use of crop protection tools. Through its membership in the Brussels-based global federation CropLife International (CLI), CLA is a strong voice in many international venues on issues critical to the plant science industry. Vroom is a senior member of CLI’s Crop Protection Strategy Council.
Vroom is a founding member of the CropLife Foundation, serving as chairman since its inception in 2001, and now serves as the Foundation’s Vice-Chair, since 2015.
Vroom was a member of the youth organization, Future Farmers of America, and served as an elected state officer in Illinois. Today, he is a member of the FFA Foundation’s Individual Giving Council and Board of Trustees.
Chief Marketing Officer, Land ‘O’ Lakes
Tim oversees business-to-customer and business-tobusiness branding, marketing strategy and is responsible for building marketing competencies across all businesses and geographies for Land O’Lakes, Inc. He also has oversight for FLM+, a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes. During his 31-year-career, Tim has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor and skilled marketer.
Prior to Land O’Lakes, Tim was the CEO and president, International, at mcgarrybowen. In that role, Tim lead the rapidly expanding global offering, while also continuing to steer the Chicago office. His career in advertising has allowed him to help build many well-known brands, from General Mills to Frito Lay, from Sears to Mondelez, from Disney to Wrigley, and from Kraft to Clorox. He’s accumulated a considerable collection of Effies and other awards along the way.
Tim earned his bachelor’s and his MBA from Michigan State University. He lives in downtown Minneapolis and in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood during the week and spends his weekends hibernating at his cabin in the Michigan woods.