Chief Executive Officer
Board Member
Wendy is the CEO of New West Genetics. Wendy built New West from inception, securing investment to create and protect a market-leading IP portfolio, land key commercial partners, and launch groundbreaking operations. As a thought leader in the industry, she is frequently requested to speak by regulators and legislators to lend her expertise on hemp regulation. Wendy articulates and continues to refine New West’s strategy and vision, raises capital, and manages investor relationships and strategic partnerships. She holds an MA in Education, which she uses to wrangle her partners into a cohesive, prioritized force. Prior the hemp industry, Wendy worked in education, and in program development for aerospace and technology companies.
Hemp Feed Coalition, Board Vice President
Colorado Department of Agriculture, Hemp Advisory Committee Member
American Seed Trade Association, Hemp Committee Chair
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Chief Technology Officer
Board Member

Rich is the Director of Breeding and a co-founder of New West Genetics. His interest is in utilizing technology to develop and bring to market cultivars with traits that benefit both the producer and consumer. Rich was a part of Cargill’s hybrid canola breeding program for more than 18 years, most recently leading the North American breeding and genetics program. He also worked as an agronomist where he gained a practical working knowledge of field crop production. During his Ph.D. work at Colorado State University, Rich utilized genetics and genomics approaches to identify genes underlying drought adaptation in Brassica napus. Rich is a native Coloradoan, and regularly enjoys the beauty of his state through skiing and hiking.

CSGA Recognized Plant Breeder
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Cris Handel NWG COO and Adviser
Chief Operating Officer

Cris Handel has a broad agriculture and business career, across large corporations as well as technology focused startups. Cris has a degree in agronomy engineering and PhD in plant genetics and marketing. She has worked for McKinsey in Brazil and later as SVP for CoverCress, a successful startup focused on developing a new oilseed cover crop for the Midwest. Cris has worked across multiple business areas; her main focus is in strategy, operations and sustainability.

Chief Financial Officer
Board Member

Daphne Preuss is an entrepreneur focused on bringing genetic and biotechnology innovations to agriculture. She previously founded and built Chromatin Inc. into the leading innovator in sorghum, aggregating genetic technology and global sales channels, and recruiting the industry’s leading team of sorghum experts. She frequently advises start up companies and their investors, and is passionate about transitioning innovation to the commercial sector. Prior to joining Chromatin, Preuss was a Howard Hughes Investigator at the University of Chicago. She previously chaired the NCBI – the NIH’s DNA database division, and has served on BIO’s Food & Agriculture Section.

Chief Scientific Officer  
Board Member

John McKay is a Professor of Plant Evolutionary Genomics at Colorado State University. In his faculty position, McKay leads a research group on the genetics of adaptation in crops and model systems, with a focus on drought and sustainability. His research examines evolution and gene function at both the phenotypic and molecular levels. His genetic discoveries are in the commercial breeding pipeline for multiple crops. McKay’s publications have been cited over 6,000 times, and he serves on scientific review panel in the US and internationally. Dr. McKay has multiple research projects on investing the genetics of adaptation to climate through competitive grant awards totaling over $20MM grants from the National Science Foundation, USDA, ARPA-E, and the DOE.

AAAS Member

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Director of Agronomy and Operations

Daniel has a passion for plants and agriculture that started from an early age working on his uncle’s farm. He earned an MSc in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska and was previously employed by a seed company improving the drought tolerance of corn. In his free time, Daniel enjoys being outside in the vegetable garden with his wife and daughter.
Daniel provides personalized agronomic support for NWG customers. If you are growing NWG seed and have agronomic questions feel free to reach out.
Agronomic Support
Jack Mangles NWG Agronomist

Jack’s passion for agriculture was cultivated during his childhood when summers were spent working on his grandfather’s farm in Missouri. Jack graduated from Colorado State University with a BS in Fisheries Biology.  During his time at CSU, he enjoyed working at the Insectary supporting pest management research on a variety of agricultural crops. He began his career in seed production with Limagrain Cereal Seeds where he managed the breeder seed program. His nearly 10 years working with Limagrain provided extensive experience in commercial seed production and purification. He enjoys spending time outdoors (in particular fishing), working on house and yard projects and hanging out with his wife and cats.
Agronomic Support
Emma Malin Business & Operations Specialist
Business & Operations Specialist

Emma is a lifelong plant nerd and is excited to bring a new rotation crop to farmers across the country. After studying Biological Sciences & Spanish Language and Culture at Iowa State University, the mountains called her home to Colorado. She comes to New West Genetics with experience in hemp research, digital marketing, customer success, documentation, technical writing, technical systems management, and product development. Above all, Emma is excited to share her marketing philosophy and tell NWG’s story. Emma enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, tending to her indoor jungle, and spending time with her beautiful partner and three dogs.

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Sarah Heidt NWG Accountant

Sarah helps her clients reach their full potential by streamlining accounting processes so they can focus on other aspects of the business. With a degree in Accounting and 25+ years of accounting/operations experience, she owns a successful accounting firm. Sarah especially enjoys working with companies that are passionate about their product, bringing her to New West Genetics. She brings experience in launching and distributing new products worldwide and marketing biotechnology. When she is not crunching numbers or wrangling up one of her six kids (or husband), she enjoys spending time in nature, traveling, photography, and finding the beauty surrounding us.


Thad Simons NWG Board Member
Founder/Managing Director The Yield Lab
Board Member

Thad is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Novus International, Inc., an animal feed technology company. His awards and recognitions include International Businessperson of the Year, World Trade Center of St. Louis, 2001; International Visionary Award, Boeing Institute of International Business, 2007; Heroes of the Planet Award, St. Louis Business Journal, 2009; Entrepreneur of the Year, Central Midwest-Bioscience, Ernst & Young, 2010; Entrepreneur of the Year, National Distribution and Manufacturing, Ernst & Young, 2010; and Agribusiness Leader of the Year, National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), 2013.

Agricultural Consultant
NWG Advisory Board Member

Beginning in the plant industry as a barley breeder, Frank’s 38 years’ experience in the seed industry has expanded to field research, technical management, product development, seed production, sales and marketing, intellectual property management, executive management, and more. He lives in Fort Collins, CO and brings valuable expertise of seed production and intellectual property management. Now retired, Frank spent the majority of his career with Limagrain, the latter half of which rolling out their wheat breeding program in the US.

Founder/President JG Consulting Services
NWG Advisory Board Member

Jennifer’s leadership roles in the agricultural, foodservice, and food retail sectors have given her unique insights into decision-making at multiple points of the food and agricultural value chain.  She brings  in-depth expertise and stakeholder context to solving business problems, especially related to helping her clients be part of the solution for sustainable food systems.  Before founding JG Consulting Services, she served in global leadership roles at Monsanto Company, Kellogg Company, and McCain Foods.

Charles Miller NWG Advisory Board Member
Director of Strategy Alliances & Development at Solynta
NWG Advisory Board Member

Charles brings extensive experience in international business development.  Currently he serves as Director of Strategy Alliances & Development for Solynta an innovative hybrid potato breeding company.  In his previous roles he managed global teams on 3 continents involved in all aspects of the sorghum seed industry from breeding direction, hybrid testing, seed production and sales.  In addition to acting as the Vice President of Global Business Development for Chromatin he was a principal in the sorghum company, MMR Genetics/Richardson Seeds, and after its acquisition by NuFarm, became the Global Development Manager for the sorghum business.  Prior to that, he worked for Mars, Inc. for many years where he gained deep experience in trading, logistics, and treasuries.  In addition to his role with Chromatin, Miller also has severed on the Board of Directors of the American Seed Trade Association and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the African Seed Trade Association as well as on various committees for the American Seed Trade Assn and the International Seed Federation.  

Bill Nieber NWG Advisor
Niebur Advisors, LLC
NWG Advisory Board Member

Bill joined NWG mid 2022 to consult for a capital advisor on NWG’s genetic capabilities. His experience across geographies was a key reason the Company offered him an advisory role. With a history at Pioneer Dupont, Origin Ag Tech Limited in China, and High-Fidelity Genetics, Bill Niebur consults for global agricultural institutions as well as innovative seed companies in the areas of seed business strategy, operations and research and development.

Nishad Pai NWG Advisory Board Member
Head of Business Development & Partnerships at Heirloom Carbon Technologies
NWG Advisory Board Member

Nishad currently serves as the Head of Business Development and Partnerships at Heirloom Carbon Technologies – forging the commercial partnerships Heirloom needs to remove 1 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2035.  Nishad spent over two decades leading strategy, business development and partnerships at technology and media companies including Snap, Adobe, Youtube, Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Napster.  Prior to that he spent several years at JP Morgan in various banking roles including private asset management, debt capital markets and M&A.  He graduated from Lehigh University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.