RISE members convene in Amelia Island for joint annual meeting

RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) welcomed new governing board members and recognized dedicated volunteers during its 28th annual meeting at Amelia Island, Fla., with a focus on engagement and community building.

Nearly 600 manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders attended the meeting Sept. 23-26, 2018, held in conjunction with CropLife America that honored its long-time President/CEO Jay Vroom who retired after nearly 30 years and greeted its new leader Chris Novak.

“Our industry is in a time of transition and opportunity,” said Darren Horst, RISE Governing Board chair and vice president and general manager of Central Garden & Pet. “We welcome Chris Novak to CropLife America and the potential for our partnership as we go boldly forward in this new operating environment,” he added.

The RISE Governing Board met on Sept. 23, and elected new members Katherine Bishop, Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, holding a formulator seat; Scott Reasons, Syngenta, holding a manufacturer seat; and Michael Maravich, Sipcam Agro USA, Inc., filling a formulator seat.

Outgoing board members completing their terms are Stephanie Jensen, BASF Corporation, and Dan Stahl, OHP, Inc., who served as board chair from 2014-2016.

Others continuing their terms on the governing board include:

  • Darren Horst, chair, Central Garden & Pet
  • John Gertz, vice chair, SiteOne Landscape Supply
  • Zack Zaki, treasurer, FMC Corporation
  • Jeff Alvis, AMVAC Chemical Corporation
  • Sean Casey, Nufarm Americas, Inc.
  • Bill Culpepper, SePRO Corporation
  • Todd Ferguson, Primera, Inc.
  • Gilles Galliou, Bayer
  • James Guard, Bayer
  • Tom Linnen, Corteva Agriscience
  • Doug Obermann, PBI/Gordon Corporation
  • John Smith, WinField United

The meeting’s theme was boldly4ward and reflects the idea that in times of change – including consolidation, trade concerns and a shifting political landscape – the specialty pesticide and fertilizer industry must continue to work together and learn from one another.


“RISE goes boldly forward with its activity in the social space to talk about pesticide use, benefits and their necessity for daily living,” said Aaron Hobbs, RISE president.

Attendees were encouraged to share photos and posts to social media using the boldly4ward hashtag and RISE emphasized its #MyTurf campaign, which focuses on the value of turf and aims to increase positive conversations about the importance of natural grass.

RISE member volunteers are the backbone of the association and several were recognized for their commitment and engagement with the national trade group. During Monday’s General Session, the Advocacy Strategic Driver Award was presented to the Label Workshop Planning Workgroup, which includes:

  • Jon Ostrowski, Clarke
  • Doug Soper, PBI/Gordon Corporation
  • Jenn Hughes, Corteva Agriscience
  • Kerry Sosa, BASF Corporation
  • Jill Holihan, FMC Corporation
  • Patty Flis, FMC Corporation
  • Kristen Shears, Corteva Agriscience
  • Tann Schafer, Bayer
  • Julie Schlekau, Valent U.S.A. LLC
  • Carrie Tackema, Nufarm Americas, Inc.
  • Brad Glenn, Bayer
  • Katie Swift, Liphatech, Inc.
  • Kylli Paavola, Liphatech, Inc.
  • Norma Pangilinan, SBM Life Science Corp.

RISE Volunteer Service Recognitions were awarded to three outgoing RISE Committee chairs—Frank Wong, Bayer, Legislative Affairs Committee chair; Jim Jensen, NuFarm Americas, Inc., Communications Committee chair and Jill Holihan, FMC Corporation, Regulatory Affairs Committee chair.

Michael Lee, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, was honored during Tuesday’s General Session with the RISE 2018 Grassroots Excellence Award for engaging and mobilizing superintendents to support grassroots efforts.

Horst and Hobbs presented the association’s highest honor, the E. Allen James Award, to Jose Milan, Bayer, during its gala celebration on Tuesday evening. For nearly 30 years, Milan has chaired and participated on committees and has been an industry leader. Past E. Allen James Award honorees Allen James; Bill Culpepper, SePRO Corporation, and Josh Weeks, Joshua H. Weeks Consulting, joined Milan to celebrate.

“Engagement with our members, communities, social channels and the industry was our focus for 2018 and we are thankful for active members who dedicate their time to the work of our association and bring their voices to the conversation,” said Hobbs.