Robert Ratliff
Resume, May 2017

             
 

919 414 7588
RobertRatliff@GlobalShrinking.com

             

P O Box 4163
Cary, NC 27519


Qualifications and Experience Summary

Strengths:

An accomplished business manager with diverse experience in strategic planning, business development, technology assessment, general management, opportunity analysis, risk assessment, acquisitions, licensing, partnerships, joint ventures, patents, scientific research, product development, product management, marketing management, sales management, distribution systems, trade associations, product marketing, advertising, database marketing, public relations, marketing research, technical service and field sales.  

Experience:

More than 40 years in business management, including the past 16 years as an entrepreneur and the previous 24 years employed with four large corporations -- with job assignments that included 16 years in sales and marketing management positions in crop protection chemicals; 2 years in sales and marketing management positions in planting seeds; and 4 years in strategic planning and business development in plant biotechnology and plant breeding.

Education:

Master of Science Degree in Agriculture, University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1977-78.
Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture, University of Tennessee at Martin in 1975.

Technologies:

Scientific and marketing expertise includes herbicides, insecticides, planting seeds, genetic engineering, plant breeding, agricultural biotechnology, insect-resistant crops, herbicide-tolerant crops, and food processing; plus a general knowledge of fertilizer, livestock production, feeds, animal health, machinery, farm computing, distribution, cooperatives, farm store retailing, agronomy, and general agriculture.

Diversity:

Company experience ranges from being an entrepreneur, to middle-management positions in  multinational chemical companies, to small, privately-held seed companies, to technology-driven biotechnology firms; each with widely differing company cultures, management philosophies, and financial resources.

Profit & Loss:

Skilled in managing my own small business and large profit centers in large corporations, having managed three agricultural chemicals business units and five regional seed marketing divisions.

Supervision:

Skilled in managing people, having served as national sales manager supervising the sales and marketing activities of five regional sales managers, which had 40 salaried district sales managers, with 1000 commissioned seed dealers.

Leadership:

Strong leadership skills, coupled with strong analytical skills, good judgment, and excellent communications skills, both oral and written, to lead the process of optimizing the group performance of a business unit.

Knowledge:

Conversant in the languages of genetic engineers, plant breeders, weed scientists, entomologists, nutritionists, marketing personnel, marketing research firms, advertising agencies, public relations firms, field salesmen, distributors, dealers, and farmers.

Teamwork:

A strong team player within the management group that also provides leadership among peers, and quickly earns sincere respect from subordinates and other employees.

Creativity:

Creative and innovative with marketing, sales, advertising and public relations to retain existing customers as well as attract new customers for the company's products and services.

Strategic Thinking:  

Particularly skilled at identifying market opportunities, analyzing strategic options, developing recommendations, obtaining consensus among management, and leading the implementation of strategic business plans and marketing programs of the business unit or profit center.

Personal:

Age 63, excellent health, widowed for the past three years after 34 years of a great marriage. Three grown children, with one still in graduate school earning a Pharm.D. from Campbell University.

 

Employment History Summary

1999 - present  

ProfitableFarming.com Corporation, privately-held web services provider

1996 - 99

BASF Agricultural Products (agri-chemicals) North American division of BASF of Germany

1991 - 96

Agrigenetics Company (biotechnology/genetics/seed) biotech subsidiary of Lubrizol Corp.

1989 - 91

BioTechnica Agriculture Inc. (biotechnology/genetics/seed) Startup biotech venture

1977 - 89

American Cyanamid Company (agri-chemicals), Jackson TN and Wayne NJ

 

Employment History Detail

ProfitableFarming.com Corporation, 1999-present, www.ProfitableFarming.com, provider of internet-based agronomy wizards, financial calculators and other interactive web services used by farmers that grow the high-value and intensely managed crops of cotton, rice and peanuts, and the widely-grown crops of corn, soybeans, sorghum and wheat.

      

Entrepreneur, at age 45, Robert Ratliff was able to achieve his mid-career goal of starting his own company, after evolving from large ag-chem corporations, to small seed companies, and then to his own enterprise.  The formation of a web services company satisfied a desire to assist agribusiness firms adopt digital technology by forming a business requiring heavy intellectual investment and low financial capital. 

 

His company utilizes his farm background, agronomy education, computer programming skills and more than 35 years of agribusiness experience managing farm chemical companies, farm seed suppliers and his web services company. His passion is developing and marketing products and services based on science and technology used in agriculture.

 

He has assisted a variety of agribusiness clients achieve more profitable agribusiness operations with customized online calculators, wizards and simulators, typically using controlled-access webpages that provide private interactions between agribusiness firms and their farmer-customers with farm-specific recommendations for crop production products and various financial services.

 

A partial list of clients can be viewed at www.GlobalShrinking.com/clients and the latest web service for farmers can be at www.CottonHeatUnits.com.

BASF Corporation, Agricultural Products, a North American business unit of BASF AG of Germany, 1996-99. Located in Research Triangle Park, NC. Primary business is crop protection chemicals with annual sales of over $600 million.

      

Senior Market Manager for herbicides and other agri-chemical products used in soybeans, corn, sorghum, rice, pasture, sugarcane, chem-fallow, rangleland and other field crops across a 30 state region including the West Coast, Southwest, Midsouth, Southeast and East Coast USA. Annual products sales of over $100 million. Major brands include: Frontier, Guardsman, Banvel, Clarity, Marksman, Celebrity, Distinct, Basagran, Blazer, Storm, Poast, Conclude, Facet, Paramount and Weedmaster herbicides. Established marketing strategies to best defend market share of older herbicide brands against low cost, competitive products that utilize genetically-engineered, herbicide tolerant crops. Directed the marketing studies and marketing communications. Functioned as product manager and brand manager for established brands as well as advised the scientific efforts on new product opportunities in major crops and planned new product introductions. Involved in technology license activities, in-license and out-license of technologies. Responsible for both long-term strategic plans within assigned crops as well as short-term, annual operating plans and budgets.

      

Market Manager for herbicides and other agri-chemical products used in Rice. Led the marketing effort for Facet herbicide and three other BASF herbicides used in rice production with consolidated sales of over M$40. Successfully resolved regulatory issues relating to accidental spray drift from misapplication of Facet herbicide. Repositioned the herbicide as a high performance product resulting in farmer usage of $38 million during 1998, more than doubling sales volumes and sales revenue in just two seasons and more than quadrupling marginal contribution. These successful marketing efforts elevated BASF to the leading marketer of rice herbicides, surpassing Zeneca and Rohm & Haas in a highly competitive market.

Agrigenetics Company, subsidiary of Lubrizol Corporation, 1991-96. Located in Eastlake, OH, and Prescott, WI. Primary business was Plant Biotechnology & Planting Seeds of Corn, Cotton, Soybeans and Sunflowers. Annual Sales of $120 million. R&D budget of $15 million

      

Director, Strategic Planning and Business Development, Corporate staff position serving the research and development efforts in plant biotechnology with responsibilities for developing the strategic business plans and leading the business development activities. Led the implementation of new product design, development, and market introduction of value-added crops and planting seed developed through genetic engineering and other plant biotechnology, as well as genetic crop improvement developed through traditional plant breeding including insect-resistant corn, insect-resistant cotton, herbicide-tolerant corn, super-nodulating soybeans, hybrid cotton, high-oleic sunflowers, extended fresh-life peanuts, specialty oilseed crops, and high nutrition corn. Ensured proper manpower and financial resource allocations were made in each area of new product development. Justified a research and development program of $15 million on product sales of $120 million. Involved in patent strategies, licensing agreements, and barter of intellectual properties. Planned the introduction of new products through a captive distribution system of eight formerly independent seed companies, as well as outside license to other seed companies. Forecast market size and technology adoption rate. Analyzed the competitive environment. Developed pricing and merchandising programs. Implemented internal communication programs, plus external advertising activities and public relations programs. Reported to the executive committee on the strategic direction of research and new product development for the merged Agrigenetics and Mycogen research programs, plus the merged seed company brands of Jacques, AgriGene, McCurdy, Sigco, Taylor-Evans, ORO, Gro-Agri, and Golden Acres with a 100 person salaried sales force and 4000 dealers. Left the Company as Lubrizol divested its biotechnology research and seed marketing operations to DowElanco.

BioTechnica Agriculture Inc. 1989-91. Located in Overland Park, Kansas. Primary business was Plant Biotechnology and Planting Seeds of Corn and Soybeans. Annual Sales were $25 million, R&D budget $10 million

      

Vice President, Seed Marketing & New Product Commercialization, Managed the seed marketing and sales activities of five newly-acquired Midwestern seed companies, namely Horizon Seed Company, Donley Seed Company, McAllister Seed Company, L. Herried Seed Company, and J.M. Schultz Seed Company. Reported to the President. Served as National Sales Manager directing the sales and marketing activities of five seed divisions, which had 40 salaried district sales managers and 1000 commission dealers and distributors. Company seed sales totaled $25 million annually. Managed multi-brand product offering, inventory allocations, product pricing, promotional activities, advertising budgets, sales commissions, trade shows, and public relations. Developed and conducted selling skills training course and implemented pro-active territory management system. Product development activities focused on advising the research and new product development group on the market-product potential of each biotechnology project, with focus on nutritional enhancements to corn and other feed grains. Prepared sales organization for the biotechnology products and the transition from undifferentiated product offerings. Left as the Company exhausted its venture capital and IPO funding and divested its biotechnology program to DeKalb Genetics Corporation and its seed operations to Lima Grain USA.

American Cyanamid Company — Crop Protection Chemicals, 1977-89. Located in Wayne, NJ, and Jackson, TN. Primary business is crop protection insecticides and herbicides with $800 million in USA sales, $100 million in global ag research. Held several positions, starting as a field sales representative and advancing to head major business unit.

      

Director New Business Development, Crop Protection Chemicals, 1988-90, at the corporate headquarters based in Wayne New Jersey. Designed the core marketing strategies to introduce imidazolinone chemistry into non-tolerant crops with a $100 million sales potential. Managed the herbicide tolerance project between Cyanamid and Pioneer Hi-Bred International requiring close coordination of herbicide development and plant breeding activities. Investigated several new business ventures with European and Japanese firms and successfully contracted with Mitsubishi Kasei for the development and marketing of a new insecticide-miticide. Investigated marketing rights to several older products and brands. Closely monitored developments within biotechnology firms for potential marketing and distribution rights. Provided marketing support to the continued introduction of new soybean herbicides with sales of over $400 million and market share over 40% of the USA soybeans. Trained and developed those people newly assigned to manage the soybean product line. Extended soybean herbicide product line to nine brands. Advised corn rootworm insecticide group on insect resistance in corn hybrids. Evaluated several research projects for their commercial merit. Provided the economic justification of the major projects from research. Tracked progress of research projects for timeliness of commercial introduction. Evaluated the major product line acquisitions of Shell, Stauffer and PPG agricultural chemicals. Recruited from agricultural chemicals into a promising career in biotechnology for agricultural crops.

      

Marketing Manager, New Product Introductions, Package Mixes of Scepter & Pursuit Herbicides, 1986-88. Designed and implemented marketing plans to pre-mix Scepter herbicide with available grass herbicides. Developed and introduced Squadron Herbicide in 1987 with annual sales over $40 million by the second season. Developed plans to introduce Tri-Scept Herbicide in 1988 and Ala-Scept Herbicide in partnership with Monsanto in 1989. Package mix herbicides totaled M$250 by the fifth marketing year.

      

Product Manager, Prowl Herbicide, 1985-86. Developed primary strategy for optimum utilization the Prowl herbicide manufacturing facility. Designed marketing programs to pre-mix pendimethalin with other herbicides. Developed Pro-Zine Herbicide as a "funneling brand" to Prowl herbicide use in corn.

      

Marketing Systems Analyst, Management Information Services, 1984-85. Designed and conducted pilot computer utilization with a test group of sales representatives and first-line field managers. Developed computing tools to increase sales efficiency. Evaluated and installed several hardware and software systems for use by field sales group.

      

Field Sales Representative & Field Technical Service Representative, 1977-84. Field positions serving the Midsouth based in Jackson, Tennessee. Developed sales territory into one of the top performing in the Midsouth. Provided marketing staff with direction on future product-market fits. Designed and utilized several computer applications to better service the customer base. As a technical service representative, initiated a technology transfer of product knowledge from the research group to the sales group. Focused technical training and on-farm demonstrations on the introduction of the new pyrethroid insecticide "Pay-Off Insecticide" into the cotton insecticide market. Managed the EUPs for the insecticide's development. Conducted EUPs for Prowl herbicide into rice, peanuts, and tobacco.

Other Professional Employment

      

University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, 1975-77. Graduate Research Assistant, responsible for weed control research conducted at state experiment stations under grants from several agricultural chemical companies, financing graduate education and interacting with several researchers from agricultural chemical companies.

      

Ciba-Geigy Corporation, now Syngenta, Agricultural Research Division, Greenville, Mississippi, 1974. Field Research Entomologist, responsible for conducting bollworm/budworm control programs in cotton with ovicides and insecticides leading to the development of Galecron ovicide/insecticide.

      

DeKalb Plant Genetics, Union City, Tennessee, Spring 1972-73. Field Research Technician, Corn Breeding. Assisted in establishment of the corn-breeding nursery. Coordinated field plot layout and planting of crossing blocks and isolation production of inbred lines and experimental corn hybrids.

Education & Professional Development

      

Master of Science in Agriculture, University of Tennessee, 1977, Major: Plant & Soil Science, Focus: Insect, Disease, and Weed Control, Thesis: Control of the weed Sicklepod (Cassia obtusifolia) in Soybeans, Honors: Summa Cum Laude, GPA 3.8/4.0, Phi Kappa Phi

      

Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, University of Tennessee, 1975, Major: Plant & Soil Science, Focus: Plant Breeding and later Pest Management, Honors: Cum Laude, GPA 3.5/4.0, Alpha Zeta, Fraternity: Alpha Gamma Rho, active member four years, officer one year

      

Management Development and Professional Training,
• Purdue University's American Seed Trade Management Training Academy.
• Columbia University's Strategic Marketing Course
• American Management Association's Creative Marketing in Turbulent Times
• National Agri-Marketing Association's Professional Development Seminars
• Media Training & Press Conference Skills by Rowan-Beluitt Public Relations
• American Cyanamid Management Development Programs

Professional Associations

      

4-H, FFA, AGR, NAMA -- Ratliff has a life-long relationship in agricultural organizations, starting with his youth in 4–H and FFA, and in college, Alpha Gamma Rho. Throughout his professional career he has been active in the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) where has served as Vice President and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. He has previously served as Chairman of the Membership Committee, Regional Director, and President of the Carolinas Virginia Chapter. For many years he has been active in coaching college students with their marketing plans and judging their marketing presentations in national competition. NAMA has honored him with its Meritorious Achievement Award.

   

Social Media

  

LinkedIn

http://www.linkedin.com/in/RobertRatliff (over 500 connections)

Twitter

http://twitter.com/RobertRatliff

Facebook  

http://www.facebook.com/RobertBrownloeRatliff