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

Bell is responsible for the overall operations of Landus Cooperatives facilities, direction of the millwrights, and large capital projects. Additionally, Brett serves on the board of directors for three joint venture companies in which Landus Cooperative has an equity stake.

Brett’s career spans various roles in sales, marketing, consulting and general management with Syngenta, Ag Partners LLC, AGB, and most recently, Cargill. The ten years spent with Cargill were based in their worldwide headquarters in Minneapolis, where he served as the U.S. Crop Inputs Product Line Lead and Regional Agronomy Leader for Cargill’s U.S. grain and agronomy business. Bell earned his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State and his MBA from Purdue.

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

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Vanderheiden heads up the strategy team, which includes business development, business implementation, communications and internal audit. The primary focus of this group is to work with Landus Cooperative management teams to identify needs, develop action plans, and to oversee the implementation and monitoring of plans.

Vanderheiden’s career spans four decades and includes leadership roles in finance, accounting, and operations at Monsanto, Channel Bio Corp, and General Electric. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Buena Vista University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Janelle Thomas, Chief Human Resources Officer

In her role, Thomas oversees the human resources, safety, and quality departments. This includes the functions of recruitment, talent development, payroll and benefits, employee relations, safety programs, quality management, and regulatory compliance. She joined Landus Cooperative in 2016.

Previously working at an Emerson business and Todd & Sargent, she has nearly 20 years broad-based human resources experience including talent acquisition, organizational development, compensation management, benefits administration, human resources systems and technology, and employee and labor relations. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a MBA 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.

 

Tim Unruh, Chief Agronomy Officer

Unruh oversees the agronomy business including sales, marketing, product procurement and precision ag. Prior to joining the cooperative he enjoyed a long career in various segments of the agriculture industry including Winfield United, John Deere Financial and Helena Chemical. Unruh holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Ashford University.