Selection Committee

The selection committee process is facilitated by Expedite Animal Health.

The members of the 2021 Selection Committee have a long and distinguished track record in the animal health industry. They bring a mixture of entrepreneurial and established company experience and understand the financial aspects of developing and acquiring technologies.

Andrea Sellers

SellersA_bioPartner, STINSON LLP
Kansas City, MO

Andrea is a registered patent attorney with an emphasis in the chemical, biosciences, and animal health fields. She has significant experience in patent prosecution, infringement counseling, and licensing regarding biochemical, chemical, and mechanical inventions.  Andrea has developed particular experience in negotiating and drafting intellectual property agreements, including complex technology development and license agreements covering a wide range of technologies.  She also has extensive experience counseling clients of all sizes and stages on strategies for intellectual property protection tailored to the specific client's needs.

Brett Morris, CFA®

Brett Photo

Managing Director, Cavallo Venture
Kansas City, MO

Brett is a Managing Director at Cavallo Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wilbur-Ellis. Brett has spent nearly a decade in venture capital, company building, and corporate development and strategy across the agriculture and animal nutrition/health industries. Prior to Cavallo, he helped lead venture investing and the incubation of new startups for TechAccel. Brett graduated from the University of Kansas and is a CFA® charterholder.  

Cary Christensen, DVM

Cary ChristensenSenior Consultant, Brakke Consulting, Inc.

Kansas City, MO

After receiving his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Iowa State University, Dr. Christensen worked for 16 years as a practicing veterinarian and partner in a mixed animal veterinary practice in Iowa. His transition to industrial veterinary medicine began in 1988, when he joined Diamond Scientific Company as a technical services veterinarian.  After its acquisition by Bayer Animal Health in 1989, he served in a number of key positions, including: marketing manager of livestock products, director of veterinary services, and senior director of strategic growth and veterinary services for Bayer.  In 2015 he retired after seven years as Bayer’s senior director of the farm animal and equine business unit.   His Bayer career of more than 25 years included serving 13 years as a member Bayer’s North American management team.  In mid-2015 Cary joined Brakke Consulting, Inc., and is continuing his career as a consultant to the animal health industry. 

Chris Ragland

Photo_Ragland_2.9.13 copyKCCEO, Animalytix, LLC
Salisbury, MD

Animalytix® LLC and its Canadian affiliate, Animalytix Ltd. provide an array of market insight and electronic publishing services to manufacturers, distributors, veterinarians and retailers in the United States and Canada.  Animalytix maintains a comprehensive database of more than $50 billion in sales history for vaccines, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, human labeled pharmaceuticals and supplies consumed in the US veterinary and OTC markets. Additionally, Animalytix maintains a comprehensive library of product labeling and safety information which it makes available through the Compendium of Veterinary Products and its COMPAS Safe Data Services.  The company recently expanded its insight services to include practice level reporting through its Vetalytix veterinary services division, offering the industry’s first platform designed to deliver internal profit center-level reporting for the practice owner.

Christie McFall

McFall_headshotBusiness Development Director, Great Range Capital
Kansas City, MO

Christie is the Head of Business Development for Kansas City based, private equity firm Great Range Capital. Since 2019 she has been responsible for leading and executing the firm's business development and marketing activities to maintain a steady stream of high-quality investment prospects.

Prior to her current position, Christie served as the Vice President and Managing Director of dvm360 (formerly UBM Veterinary), an animal health publishing and trade show business serving the worldwide veterinary community. By leveraging data and analytics, technology advancements, and a new brand, she created a new business model and strengthened the customer experience, delivering the division’s first growth in three decades. Her work earned her the 2019 Change-Maker Award from Folio Magazine.

Previously in Christie’s career she has served as the Director of Digital Marketing for Meredith Corporation and has experience as an Account Director for firms including The Integer Group,  Jack Morton Worldwide, and Momentum Worldwide, Christie led the design-to-execution management of sales and marketing strategies across revenue channels. While at Momentum Worldwide, she was awarded the Organic Growth Initiative Chairman’s Award from the Interpublic Group of Companies.

Christie holds a B.A. from the University of Iowa. She has been selected to participate in various corporate leadership initiatives including UBM’s Executive Leadership Forum and WPP’s Stream Conference. She dedicates time to the Great Plains SPCA as a volunteer.

Crissa Cook

CACProfilePic (3)Partner, Hovey Williams LLP
Overland Park, MO

Crissa is a Patent Attorney and Partner at Hovey Williams LLP. She represents large, medium, and small clients across the U.S., as well as several internationally-based corporations and institutions. Her practice focuses primarily on patent preparation, prosecution, enforcement, and licensing in the animal health, life science, chemical, pharmaceutical, medical, mechanical, and food science arts. She also helps companies, institutions, and universities manage and evaluate their IP portfolios and those of their competitors, including the preparation of non-infringement and invalidity opinions, as well as various agreements (e.g., non-compete, non-disclosure, material transfer, etc.). She also handles due diligence, trademark, and trade secret matters. Crissa is also an Adjunct Professor at The University of Kansas School of Law.

Donald Schwartz

Untitled1Principal, Elders Rede LLC | Animal Health Industry Advisors
Duluth, GA

Since retiring from Boehringer Ingelheim in 2017, Don has joined the boards of several biotech companies and has founded Elders Rede, LLC which advises AH Industry clients on a wide variety of subjects including product development, business development and regulatory strategy. 

Previously, Don worked for Merck & Co., Inc. as a manager of global marketing communications and as an executive director of Merial’s US Business Operations with responsibilities for business development, market research, regulatory, customer care, veterinary technical solutions, public affairs and business analytical functions.  Don has extensive experience in marketing, A&P, product management, finance, manufacturing, media management, packaging development, trademark development and distribution among other business skills.  Don was instrumental in the launch of several landmark products including IVOMEC, HEARTGARD and FRONTLINE PLUS and led the development of the OraVet line of oral care products.

Don has been the head of a successful advertising and communications agency specializing in pharmaceutical and technical products.  He has several books to his credit, including Genus Bos: Cattle Breeds of the World, the standard reference on the subject.  

He earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Union College in Schenectady, New York, did graduate work in biology at NYU and has an MS in management from CUNY. Under duress, he will also admit he went to law school. Don is currently deputy managing director of Canopy Animal Health.

Edward Robb, DC, MS, DACVN

ED Robb Web

CEO, BioPharmaPotentials (BPP)
Kansas City, MO

Dr. Edward Robb is CEO of BioPharmaPotentials LLC (BPP) a Kansas City animal health-based consultancy that enables its global partners to  achieve their extreme potential. Services include development/ technology evaluations including regulatory GAP reviews, due diligence and assessments of new and repurposed chemical and biologic entities. BPP executes/conducts critical Proof of Concept and Proof of Value studies to define your products potential opportunity runways. In addition, BPP executes host/target animal pivotal (cGCP) and non-pivotal clinical efficacy and safety studies (cGLP) under laboratory or clinical settings. Scope includes pharmacokinetic and food safety studies. BPP develops regulatory and development strategies for small molecules (FDA-CVM), biologicals (USDA CVB), medical devises and nutraceuticals. Alliances with Klifovet AG, in Germany can extend these reviews to include European assessments and execution. The practice also engages on behalf of its clients various public and private funding sources. BPP aligns and represents our clients with Contract Research, Development and Manufacturing organization (CRO, CDMO, CMO) in the development of manufacturing and quality programs (cGMP) including  analytical/formulation development. BPP will provide project management to support the technology/product plan. Dr. Robb serves on the Boards of various start-up organizations predominantly in the role as Chief Scientific/Veterinary/Strategy Officer.

Dr. Robb has a BS in Animal Science, DVM from Cornell University and a Masters in Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania; he is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Robb has five years of clinical practice and has held various senior leadership positions in Research and Development, Product Development and Business Development at Upjohn, Pharmacia, Pfizer, Embrex, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, CEVA and Parnell (see Linkedin profile). Dr. Robb’s strong track record for delivering value thru innovation and a legacy of leading organizations that achieved game changing registrations and successful commercialization that spans across species lines, therapeutic areas, technology platforms and geographies.

Emily Aston, DVM, PhD

Emily Aston HeadshotScience Advancement Manager, TechAccel
St. Louis, MO

Dr. Aston is a Science Advancement Manager at TechAccel, a venture and technology development organization focused on the advancement of science in agriculture and animal health. She seeks and develops new investment opportunities in animal health and coordinates multi-stage science advancement projects involving multiple research partners.

Dr. Aston is a veterinarian with expertise in virology, immunology, vaccines, and poultry management. She obtained her veterinary degree from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, and she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis.

At UC Davis, Dr. Aston was elected a Leaders for the Future Fellow and participated in the University of California Entrepreneurship Academy. Dr. Aston also worked closely with the UC Davis commercialization office to coordinate an entrepreneurship symposium to provide startup resources and networking opportunities with the technology transfer office, UC Davis-based founders, and accelerators.

Kerryann Kocher

Kerryann Kocher _ headshot

Cheif Executive Officer, Vytelle

Kerryann Kocher has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of our new combined companies (Vytelle and GrowSafe). Prior to her current appointment, Kerryann founded and led Rock Road Consulting, a boutique business consulting practice dedicated to animal agriculture and focused on helping clients translate their technology into meaningful value for farmers, ranchers and producers. At Rock Road, Kerryann served a range of clients from multi- national animal health companies to venture capital firms and start-ups.

Kerryann started her career at Elanco Animal Health where she held several roles spanning sales, marketing, and business unit leadership. Kerryann then joined Bayer Animal Health as the Head of the US Food Animal business, managing sales, technical, and marketing operations across all major protein species (Beef, Swine, Poultry, Dairy).

Kerryann grew up in Iowa on a progressive grain and livestock farm, still in operation today. She is a graduate of Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education. She and her husband, Matt, have three children, five show pigs and reside in rural Kansas...on a rock road.

Laura Treml, VMD, PhD

Laura Treml

Head of Veterinary Product Development USA, knoell Animal Health LLC
Garnet Valley, PA

Dr. Treml currently serves as US Head of Veterinary Product Development for knoell Animal Health, an animal health consultancy that provides regulatory and clinical trials expertise and services to support companies developing biologics and pharmaceuticals for veterinary use.

Prior to joining knoell, Dr. Treml served as Principal for Argos Biopharma Consulting, where she advised start-ups and established companies on biotherapeutic development.  Previous industry positions included Vice President, Drug Development for Aratana Therapeutics where she led the preclinical and clinical development teams for all products and Manager of the Companion Animal Efficacy group at Bayer Animal Health. Over the past ten years, Dr. Treml and her teams have been responsible for approval of over eleven new animal drugs and label extensions. Before coming to industry, Dr. Treml served as Medical Director of a multi-doctor corporate practice and practiced clinical medicine for over ten years.

Dr. Treml received her veterinary medical degree and PhD in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania, and her BS from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. 


Rich Shuler

Rick-ShulerPresident & CEO, Shuler Consulting Services
Norcross, GA.

Shuler Consulting Services is focused on working with companies in the area of innovation, planning and execution. SCS has more than 30 years of experience in creating and building successful businesses and developing a strong market position for their products and services. Rich Shuler has worked with businesses, producer organizations, churches, and universities to develop long range strategic plans and organizational structure. SCS also assists businesses in acquiring products and technologies that fit the company’s strategic focus.

CEO and President of Shuler Consulting Services, Rich also is an Operating Director for the private equity firm, Paine Schwartz Partners and also serves as Chairman of the Board of their Animal Health & Nutrition holding company. The companies he has been involved in establishing include: Pro Vet, a veterinary distribution business; VetLife, a technology start-up that went on to become a pharmaceutical firm; Ivy Animal Health, a generics-focused family business that developed novel differentiated technologies; Ivy Natural Solutions, that developed products for non-antibiotic alternatives for performance, health, and food safety; and AgSpan Analytics, a big data specialist. He is also one of the founders and investors of AGL-Vetrax, an animal sensor company and cloud analytics solution. Rich also serves as Vice President of the Board of Casa Brasil/Little City Coffee Roasters and is an investor in the company.

Sam Al-Murrani, PhD, MBA

SAM-al-murraniManaging Director, Babylon BioConsulting LLC
Topeka, KS

Dr. Sam Al-Murrani, is Managing Director of Babylon BioConsulting LLC (BBC), a human and animal health full service consulting firm. BBC specializes in pre-revenue and early stage valuations of Animal Health and Biotech companies and provides clients with investor outreach, due diligence, business development and intangible asset management and valuation services.

Sam is recognized as an industry and technical expert with numerous editorials and articles in various industry and scientific peer reviewed journals. He serves as director on the boards of several human and animal health companies and is an advisory board member for the International Animal Health Journal. A summary of his professional experience can be found on his Linkedin page.

Dr. Al-Murrani has a B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D. in Immunology/Biochemistry from the Roslin Institute and the Department of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Edinburgh. He holds an M.B.A. in Finance from Baker University.

Tony Simpson

TS HeadshotPresident, AgTech Advisors, LLC
Kansas City, MO

Tony Simpson is the President and founder of AgTech Advisors, LLC, a consulting firm focused on supporting entrepreneurs and investors in the agtech and animal health sectors. Previously, Tony was a Managing Director for the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) where he led the organization’s investment efforts in agtech, animal health and bioenergy. He led KBA’s investments in companies such as Aratana Therapeutics, Green Dot, SmartVet, and Advanced Animal Diagnostics. He was also responsible for KBA’s participation in the USDA Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership and KBA’s support and funding for research associated with the National Bio and AgroDefense (NBAF) facility.

Before joining the KBA, Tony spent 11 years in the fuel ethanol industry. He was a General Manager with Broin Management (now POET Biorefining), where he led the business start-up of two major green-field ethanol plants in Albert Lea, Minnesota and Caro, Michigan. For both companies, Tony led the organization of the business structure, hiring of the management and operations team, and the initial start-up of the facility. He also led each company through subsequent equity drives, refinancings and expansion efforts, adding both capacity and new businesses to each company. Later, he led ED&F Man’s U.S. ethanol division, where he was responsible for both business development and operations management of facilities in Caldwell, Idaho and Kingston, Jamaica. Tony started his career as a grain merchandiser with ADM, and was later the General Manager of ADM Milling Company’s Minneapolis “A” mill, where he had responsibility over all commercial and operational functions of an 11,000 cwt/day flour mill and bakery ingredients facility. 

Tony serves as a Principal Advisor to the Larta Institute, where he mentors early-stage agtech, animal health and bioenergy companies on the development and execution of their commercialization strategies. He also serves on the board of directors of Green Dot Holdings and SmartVet. Tony chairs the Selection Committee for the Food and Ag Track of InvestMidwest and serves on the Selection Committees of the Animal Health Investment Forum and the Ag Innovation Showcase.

Tony holds an Economics Degree from Millikin University, an MBA from the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, and completed the Private Equity and Venture Capital Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School.

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