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.

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.

Roger Fray, Chief Commodity Marketing Officer

WCC14NovBOD0029RTFormerly Executive Vice President of Grain at West Central Cooperative, Fray has served in brokerage and grain merchandising management roles for over 30 years in Ohio, Missouri and Iowa. Fray has been an NFA Series III licensed commodities broker for 30 years, and currently serves as a board member on the Executive Committee for the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) as well as on NGFA’s rail shippers and receivers committee. He is currently first vice chairman of the Transportation, Elevator and Grain Merchants Association (TEGMA) board of directors and is a member of the GEAPS foundation board. Fray has also served as a member of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board’s Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council (RSTAC) and was an arbitrator in the first rail case brought before the NGFA. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from University of Missouri at Columbia.

Mark Cullen, Chief Animal Nutrition Officer

WCC14EMPLOY0069At West Central Cooperative, Cullen was executive vice president of animal nutrition, responsible for the cooperatives dairy, beef and swine nutrition manufacturing businesses. He joined West Central as part of its merger with Dedham Coop’s feed departments which created the 360 Feeds business. Prior to that, he worked for Land O’ Lakes Purina as a livestock product specialist. 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.