By DOUG GRAVES
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — After an extensive national search, Mitch Frazier has been named the new president and CEO of AgriNovus. Frazier will begin his new role on June 29 for the agbiosciences initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP). Frazier was CEO of regional John Deere retailer Reynolds Farm Equipment.
Frazier succeeds Beth Bechdol, who was appointed in December as deputy director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the United Nations in Rome, Italy.
Aaron Schacht, executive vice president of Innovation, Regulatory & Business Development at Elanco, who served as interim president and CEO during the search, will continue to serve as chair of the AgriNovus Board of Directors.
AgriNovus is a non-profit organization headquartered in Indianapolis which promotes and accelerates the growth of the agbioscience community through education, research and talent development.
Prior to Reynolds, Frazier served as VP of marketing at TinderBox and as VP of marketing and investor relations at ExactTarget. He led media relations for Gov. Mitch Daniels’s team at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. He served as a civilian public affairs officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and served on active duty in the U.S. Army.
Frazier grew up in the rural Tipton County, Ind., amidst huge fields of corn and soybeans. And though he was not raised on a farm, he has the farmers’ interests at heart and believes Indiana is at the epicenter of innovation in ag and technology.
“The opportunity is ours to make sure we do everything we can to fuel innovation, accelerate the economy and most importantly, feed the world,” Frazier said.
“When I look across Indiana’s economy there are a number of mid-sized and young companies that have technology and innovation but haven’t been brought to the marketplace for a number of reasons. These technologies coupled with our incredible academic institutions presents an opportunity to really connect these pieces and parts together to either fuel new companies, new products or new concepts. This is an area that can be strong.”
Frazier says there are lot of opportunities across Indiana’s ag economy waiting to be tapped.
“There’s always opportunity for investments,” he said. “We have a unique position in Indiana to look at our strengths in technology, whether it be a great software company in central Indiana, some great technology from our universities or we look at the ag economy where we have the most promising and innovative ag companies in the nation, such as great seed companies or chemical companies.”
All this, Frazier says, points to the farmers in the state.
“To me the opportunity is knowing what the producer needs,” Frazier said. “We need to understand the challenges that they face and reverse engineer that innovation. We need to see what’s dragging the net farm income. We need to lock arms across the ag economy and innovation economy to bring our collective intellectual and entrepreneurial horse powers together to ultimately benefit producers in this state.”
Frazier holds a B.S. degree in Marketing and a Master of Business Administration from Upper Iowa University. He is active in his community, where he serves on the Central Indiana Regional Development Authority, the City of Westfield Redevelopment Authority, and on the Westfield Washington Schools Superintendent’s Council.
“Mitch’s experience in both agricultural and technology organizations is a perfect combination for this role,” said David Johnson, president and CEO of CICP. “His passion for the industry will enable him to cultivate new alliances, connect with people and modernize the perception of the agbioscience.”