Executive Team

David Vaughn, President & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Vaughn brings over 20 years of senior executive experience in precision guidance and agri-business to AgJunction. His roles include executive-level positions with Topcon Positioning Systems Inc., NovAtel Inc., Magellan and Trimble Navigation Limited. He has served on the board of directors for a number of technology corporations and has extensive professional experience in the high tech sector, including serving in an executive capacity with Apple Inc. and Hewlett-Packard. Mr. Vaughn holds an MBA in Operations Research and a BS in Electronics from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Mike Manning, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Manning joins AgJunction from Unitech Holdings where he served as Chief Financial Officer and was responsible for the company’s overall financial operations, mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning, treasury, financial reporting, and information technology. Previously, Mr. Manning was employed at ASSA ABLOY’s Global Technologies Division where he served as Global Chief Financial Officer of the division’s Hospitality business unit. In addition, Mr. Manning served first as Chief Financial Officer and then as President of the US Legal Entities of Cargotec Holding, Inc. Mr. Manning holds an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of South Florida, and a BBA in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Mark Bittner, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Customer Care

With over 30 years of sales management experience, Mark Bittner brings much to the AgJunction team. Mr. Bittner has served in executive roles at Novariant, Topcon, Tierra S.p.A, Proxim Wireless, At Road, and has held other leadership roles at Trimble and ExxonMobil. Mr. Bittner holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix as well as a BS in Marketing from Central Connecticut State University.

Husam Kal, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations & Business Information Systems

Mr. Kal brings in over 25 years of supply chain, operations and engineering experience, including executive roles at Novariant and Tria, as well as influential leadership roles at Trimble, Proxim, Lucent Technologies, and Hypercom. Mr. Kal holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix as well as a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University.

Bob Barjesteh, Vice President M&A, I.P. and General Counsel

Bob Barjesteh joined the AgJunction team January 2016 as VP of Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Intellectual Property (IP) and General Counsel (U.S.). Mr. Barjesteh was most recently the Managing Director-Chief Legal Officer at ClaroVia Technologies LLC., a specialty intellectual property and corporate transaction advisory firm. As managing director at ClaroVia, he was responsible for providing advisory services to clients - including Novariant which was acquired by AgJunction in October 2015 - on IP monetization, strategic alliances, M&A and other complex corporate transactions. Over the past twenty years Mr. Barjesteh held executive and management positions at ClaroVia, 3M Company, and Arthur Andersen LLP. He has accumulated extensive experience identifying and evaluating business opportunities for technology licensing, strategic alliances and other complex corporate transactions.

Dr. Neil Rutland, Vice President of Global Engineering

Dr. Rutland joined AgJunction Inc. (previously Hemisphere GPS) in 2009, and has since led engineering and development teams to deliver the industry's most advanced machine guidance platforms. In January 2013, Dr. Rutland was promoted from Engineering Director, Machine Control Systems to Vice President of Global Engineering. In November 2015 after the Merger with Novariant, Dr. Rutland took charge of the combined engineering team including the integration of the engineers from Novariant. Prior to joining AgJunction Inc., Dr. Rutland held various engineering leadership roles with MBDA Missile Systems, including Manager of Guidance, Control and Navigation for MBDA's United Kingdom engineering facility and Senior Principal Guidance and Control Engineer. Previous to MBDA, he served as Senior Control Systems Engineer with Alenia Marconi Systems, an integrated defense electronics company, where he supported advanced engineering development for the Submarine Systems Group. He holds a BS in Mathematics from the University of Manchester, and his MSc and PhD from the University's Control Systems Center.

Karen Beckett, Director of Human Resources

Ms. Beckett provides human resource functional leadership with over 20 years of progressive personnel management, culture building, and administrative experience from both public and private companies. Ms. Beckett joined Hemisphere GPS in 2004 where she led human resource management as well as US facility safety programs. Previously, she held the position of Facility Human Resources and Safety Manager with Northwest Pipe Company. Ms. Beckett holds her Professional in Human Resources Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management.

Jonathan W. Ladd, Senior Strategic Advisor

Mr. Ladd has over 35 years of senior management experience in the GPS/GNSS and the wireless industries. Mr. Ladd was Senior Advisor to the CEO and a Board Member at Novariant until its merger with AgJunction Inc. Mr. Ladd’s past board positions include Trusted Positioning Inc., Nexteq Navigation, RF Monolithics and Hemisphere GNSS Inc. Mr. Ladd’s past executive positions include CEO and Chairman of Brilliant Telecommunications prior to its sale to Juniper Networks and President and CEO of NovAtel Inc. prior to its sale to Hexagon AB. Mr. Ladd had held past executive positions at Thales Navigation, Magellan Inc. and Ashtech Inc. Mr. Ladd received a B.S. with distinction in Surveying Engineering from the University of Maine and is a member of Tau Beta Pi.

Rick Heiniger, Senior Project Advisor

Mr. Heiniger has successfully developed and introduced new technology platforms and led entrepreneurial growth in the agriculture industry for over 30 years. He has a proven track record of assessing trends and responding with commercial innovation. His passion lies at the intersection of improving efficiency in the field and commercializing new technologies. His experience and industry relationships transcend international markets in both the machinery and production services sectors of Agriculture. Mr. Heiniger’s first company, RHS, was twice named to Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500 while it served the emerging custom application industry. As growth continued, RHS led the development and introduction of precision guidance and automatic steering for farm implements. Mr. Heiniger founded Outback Guidance, and subsequently, Hemisphere GPS through the merger of Outback Guidance and Satloc. Mr. Heiniger holds a BS in Agricultural Technologies Management from Kansas State University.