Landus Cooperative Executive Team

Milan Kucerak, Chief Executive Officer

WCC14EMPLOY0076Formerly president and CEO of West Central Cooperative, Kucerak helped guide the merger with Farmers Cooperative Company to form Landus Cooperative. He joined West Central in 2006, and prior to becoming president served as executive vice president of dairy and animal nutrition. Under his leadership, West Central saw significant growth in its branded dairy nutrition products. Kucerak also oversaw the successful merger of West Central and Dedham Coop’s feed departments into the branded 360 Feeds operation. Previously Kucerak was director of credit at Purina Mills, Inc. (now a part of Land O’Lakes, Inc.) and leader of Purina Ag Capital, a small national bank system. Kucerak was also with Farm Credit Services for 17 years, where he held a variety of leadership roles. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Albany (New York) and an MBA from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

Mark Miner, Chief Financial Officer

Mark MinorMiner brings to Landus Cooperative three decades of cooperative experience, including over half a dozen company integrations. He began his career at his family’s business, Miner Farm Supply, which was an agronomy facility. The company was purchased by Mid-Iowa Cooperative in 1986, and Miner stayed on as assistant manager, later relocating to Earlham, Iowa, as the location manager. Miner moved to Farmers Cooperative in 1996, first working as a financial analyst and then as chief financial officer/vice president of administration, where he oversaw accounting, IT and communications functions.

Brett Bell, Chief Operating Officer

Brett Bell has been named Chief Operating Officer. Bell oversees operations at the cooperative’s more than 70 locations across Iowa as well as the agronomy business and logistics division. He joins the cooperative from Cargill and has nearly 20 years of experience in retail agronomy sales, marketing, consulting and management. Bell holds a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and an MBA from Purdue University.

Ron DeJongh, Chief Commodity Marketing Officer

 In his role, DeJongh is responsible for the strategic direction of grain policies, inventory and quality control policies, as well as farmer-facing grain marketing programs offered by our Grain Marketing Advisors including our Cooperative Advantage Package.

In Ron’s accomplished career he has both domestic and international experience in grain marketing, operations, P&L responsibility and supply chain management with multimillion-dollar agri-businesses. Most recently serving as the Senior Vice President at Columbia Grain he provided leadership for grain, seed, agronomy and specialty crop businesses focused on revenue optimization processes. His leadership experiences at Columbia Grain also included directing operations of all elevators and rail transportation, fertilizer warehousing operations and doubling grain volumes through acquisitions, joint ventures, and organic growth. Formerly in the cooperative system at AGP Grain Ltd., he held various grain leadership roles in merchandising, marketing and export spanning over 17 years. He has an agricultural business administration degree from the University of Minnesota.

Rick Vanderheiden, Chief Strategy Officer

WCC14NovBOD0001RTAt West Central Cooperative, Vanderheiden served as executive vice president and CFO. He was responsible for the administration and technology department, along with accounting, finance, HR, information technology, risk management and communication. With more than 25 years of management experience, Vanderheiden has worked with companies such as Channel Bio Corporation, Renewable Energy Group and regional CPA firms. He has comprehensive experience in establishing and directing operations and accounting departments, executing system reviews and performing financial reporting and analysis. Additionally, he is well versed in federal and state tax requirements, business analysis and planning, and U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Vanderheiden holds a bachelor’s degree from Buena Vista University.

Janelle Thomas, Chief Human Resources Officer

Thomas oversees benefits, compensation, employment law and compliance, and recruiting for Landus Cooperative’s nearly 900 full, part-time and seasonal employees.  She is responsible for salary and benefit program administration, strategic planning, risk management, succession planning and comprehensive training and development programs.  She joined Landus Cooperative in 2016 and her career history also includes 14 years of progressive HR leadership roles at Fisher, an Emerson business.  She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a Masters’ in Business Administration from Iowa State University. Thomas has earned SHRM-SCP accreditation by the Society for Human Resource Management and SPHR certification by the HR Certification Institute.

 

Mark Cullen, Chief Animal Nutrition Officer

WCC14EMPLOY0069Mark Cullen serves as the Chief Animal Nutrition Officer at Landus Cooperative. He is responsible for the cooperative’s dairy, beef and swine nutrition manufacturing businesses. Under his leadership his business units saw significant growth in its branded dairy nutrition products, SoyPLUS®, SoyChlor®, and PASTURChlor® which are marketed domestically and internationally. Additionally, he collaborates with the grain division on direct ship export of soybeans, both bulk and containerized shipments.
Cullen has more than 20 years of experience in the cooperative system in management, sales and manufacturing operations including oversight for HACCP and ISO certifications. Cullen holds a bachelor of science degree in agricultural business from Northwest Missouri State University.

Robert Barker, Chief Information and Technology Officer

Barker oversees the technology team positioning systems and internal process to integrate every aspect of our business and provide real-time data internally and to customers. In a nearly three decade career, Barker has experience implementing business intelligence strategies. He has experience modernizing companies’ online presence and improving customer-facing experiences. Barker’s career experience includes serving in IT leadership roles at Ingram Barge Company, The Manitowac Company, and Ford Company. He has his degree from Purdue University and holds PMP Certification from the Project Management Institute.