One conversation with Mitch Frazier and you will feel his energy surrounding Indiana’s agbioscience sector. As President + CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, Mitch unites innovators, companies, academia, philanthropy, and producers to create and advance programs and activities that help fuel economic growth, accelerate innovation, and feed the world. It goes without saying, Mitch is a guy on the go and would likely welcome another cup of coffee.
Mitch brings a unique skill set to lead this team with a background in public service, technology, and agriculture. He most recently served as CEO of regional John Deere retailer, Reynolds Farm Equipment, and has also held roles as vice president of Marketing at TinderBox and vice president of Marketing, Investor Relations Officer at ExactTarget. Mitch also led media relations for Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ economic development team and served in various U.S. Army Civilian leadership roles.
Mitch is an Indiana native and U.S. Army veteran, having served five years on active duty where he achieved the rank of Sergeant. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing and a Master’s in Business Administration – both from Upper Iowa University.
SENIOR MANAGER OF COMMUNICATIONS
Cayla Chiddister coins her upbringing as “farm-adjacent,” but she didn’t discover her passion for the agbiosciences until later in life when her career in broadcast led to telling the story of Indiana agriculture.
As senior manager of communications, Cayla works closely with strategic partners to produce timely and relevant information for stakeholders + partners and for public education + awareness efforts, too. You’ll hear her work on the Ag+Bio+Science podcast with Inside INdiana Business and read it in our monthly newsletter, among other places. Where there is communications, there is Cayla.
A lifelong Hoosier, she has great pride in the welcome mat that Indiana has rolled out for collaboration among key industries, higher education institutions and startups. Cayla is a proud graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY + GROWTH
Dan Dawes is our champion connector and metrics keeper. He also spends one day a week as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Purdue Foundry where he helps students, faculty and local alumni move innovative ideas to the marketplace more effectively.
Prior to AgriNovus Indiana, Dan had an impressive 30+ year career at DuPont Crop Protection and served in a variety of sales and marketing roles. His extensive experience in business leadership, project management, marketing and sales makes him a critical asset to advancing Indiana’s agbioscience sector. He leads the efforts of building an agbioscience entrepreneurial ecosystem and serves as a catalyst for strategic collaboration among individuals, corporations, industry associations, government and universities.
Dan is a proud Boilermaker. He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis on Ag Economics and currently serves as Vice Chairman for the Board of Directors for the Purdue Alumni Association.
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS + ENGAGEMENT
Libby Fritz is our supreme multi-tasker. She collects information quickly, can swiftly and effortlessly bounce between projects and has the memory of an elephant.
In her role as our director of all things messaging, she leads our communication and marketing efforts, stakeholder engagement messaging and event development. If there is a way to tell our story—whether through fun computer stickers, airport advertising or bringing people together to engage in a conversation—she will find it!
Libby has been telling the Indiana agriculture story to several different audiences throughout her career. She understands the importance of sharing the story to legislators and elevating farmer success stories from her time at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the fun challenge of sharing the agriculture story to urban audiences from her time at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center. She is a Boilermaker through and through with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communications.
MANAGER OF DIGITAL MEDIA
Kaylee Kerr has always had a knack for storytelling. Throughout her life, she would spend her free time filling sketchbooks with drawings, taking countless photographs and creating videos to document her favorite moments.
Producing meaningful stories remains an essential part of her professional career and personal life. As digital media manager, she joins the public education + awareness team to help tell the agbioscience story through social media and design. A born-and-raised Hoosier from a family of farmers, it’s also no surprise that Kaylee found her way back to her Indiana roots.
Her once creative hobbies turned into passions that led her to pursue a B.A. in Communications (Electronic Media) with minors in graphic design and photography and an M.A. in Communication and Business Leadership at High Point University.
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION
Geoff Zentz has a history of helping others transform great ideas into successful realities. As our senior director of innovation, he focuses on some of the agbioscience sector’s most pressing challenges – from hunger to sustainability – and connects these challenges to innovators and entrepreneurs to solve.
Giving entrepreneurs the tools to thrive and grow their businesses is what Geoff has been doing throughout his career. He most recently served as managing director of gener8tor’s gBETA, a nationwide startup accelerator serving multiple industry verticals across several states. Geoff has also held roles at Up Nest, One Click Ventures and SHS International, Inc., and is on the board of directors for Leadership Johnson County.
Geoff graduated from Franklin College with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.