Daniel is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about people, planet and purpose. He has a strong track record in creating and building purposeful high impact companies. In 1991, he created his first company Robin Jeffrey Associates after serving as Director of Recruitment at Century Associates Professional Recruitment. It was shortly acquired by Century Associates Professional Recruitment in his 30s. In 1995, Daniel went on to become Founder/CEO of Yulex LLC and then Co-Founder of Yulex Inc. where he served as Chief Operating Officer until 2005. Driven by his desire to bring bigger impacts to the workplace and bio-material world, Daniel created Kultevat Inc. in 2013 to address the world’s natural rubber and bio-material needs and the passionate Kultevat team built it to become what it is today. His vision has always been to create a sustainable and scalable global supply chain that provides climate positive biomaterials around the world while also building a life giving culture and community. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Minor in Marketing from University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. He is an avid runner and enjoys the outdoors and running with his dogs outside of work.
Kim Martin, CFO
I am driven to create a brighter future for humanity through means of green, sustainable biomaterials and natural rubber.
Kim is a CPA with Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA). At work, Kim is driven by Kultevat’s goals to create a brighter future for humanity through means of green, sustainable biomaterials and natural rubber. Kim finds working with a company like Kultevat that is making a positive impact in our world, truly inspirational. Kim is a passionate community builder. Over the years, Martin has volunteered at Ronald McDonald House Charities and St. Louis Crisis Nursery. She was also a director for the Employment Connection, a non-profit that provides resources to help others attain self-sufficiency through stable employment. She previously served on the finance committee for SouthSide Early Childhood Center, a non-profit agency supporting disadvantaged working families.
Roger Beachy is a distinguished scientist. He serves as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis and former Executive Director of the World Food Center at the University of California, Davis. A plant biologist, his research has focused on plant viruses, gene expression, and applications in agricultural biotechnology, leading to more than 260 journal publications. Beachy is committed to strong multi- and trans-disciplinary research collaborations to increase the impacts of scientific research. He has long been engaged in student training and technology advancement to bring benefits to agriculture in developing economies as well as in the United States.
Beachy is an integral part of what Kultevat stands for and its purpose is to provide a clean, climate-positive natural rubber supply for our planet and build a future that is sustainable.
As Chief Science Officer, Beachy directed the development of Kultevar™ Dandelion. Kultevat’s proprietary Kultevar™ Dandelion produces large amounts of high-quality natural rubber that can meet the demands of manufacturers that are concerned about environmental impacts of their processes and rubber-containing products. Kultevar™ Dandelion also produces co-products that can displace petrochemicals in consumer products. Kultevat’s green goals are part of the reason that he is pleased to be CSO of Kultevat.
Jillian Silva, Ph.D., Principal Scientist
The most common reaction I get from people when I describe my job is: Wow, I had no idea.
Dr. Silva joined team Kultevat in 2014, bringing a spirit of innovation and leadership to Kultevat Labs, evident through the birth of our proprietary Kultevar™ Dandelion in 2020. Dr. Silva holds a B.S. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno. In the laboratory of David Shintani, the main focus of her research was to understand and dissect the natural rubber biosynthetic pathway. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Nebraska, where she studied plant lipid biochemistry on a biofuels-focused project. She has published work related to both her graduate and postdoctoral projects. As a mother of two young children, Dr. Silva is passionate about Kultevat’s mission to make our world a better place for the next generation. She currently lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband and two children. Outside of work, when she’s not being an active present parent, she loves to sit down and read a good book.
Lee Palles, COO
Kultevat has ignited my excitement in the agricultural community of growers, processors and customers of Kultevat technology.
Lee is a CPA and has been a C-Level executive with some of the fastest growing high impact firms in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. His leadership is evident through his shepherding of Benson Hill as CFO from formation until 2019. Lee is passionate about our mission at Kultevat and is excited about bending the arc towards climate positivity with the Kultevat team!
Lee has been a community leader, donating time to his passions to foster entrepreneurship, and supporting positive self-image and development opportunities for youth. His efforts include serving as a NC State Entrepreneurial Initiative advisor, director of athletics for the World Special Olympics Games, Parent-Teacher Association president, executive director of a nationally-ranked youth volleyball club, and guest lecturer at universities, including Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Rice University, and NC State.
Lee has a BSBA in accounting from Mississippi State University, Besides being a trailblazer in business and the boardroom, Lee is also a star in the track and field. Lee made a name for himelf as a former US Olympian. After winning an SEC individual championship in the event in 1978, Palles later qualified for the 1980 Olympic Games. In addition to Palles’ proficiency in the decathlon, he also was chosen as an Outdoor All-American in 1978 for his performance in the 400m hurdles!
Laura M. Gomez Arias, Ph.D., Lead Scientist
Bringing together exceptional people from diverse backgrounds …is what makes Kultevat the pioneer in developing dandelion plants.
Prior to joining Kultevat Inc. in 2021, Dr. Gomez spent several years developing and implementing major research on plant-pathogen interactions and genetics at Auburn University. Laura’s passion for collaborating with exceptional individuals making a positive impact through life-changing work has made her an essential member of Kultevat’s team. Her contributions have been crucial in positioning Kultevat as a pioneer in developing unique breeds that enhance the quality and quantity of natural rubber, a critical commodity in today’s economy. Dr. Gomez holds a PhD in Plant Pathology from Auburn University, and a Masters in Genetics, Plant Breeding and Biotechnology from The Agronomic Institute in Campinas – Brazil. Outside of work, Laura can typically be found exploring local breweries, trying new food, and attending festivals.
Anthony Nocera Jr., VP of Manufacturing
I wanted to work for a company that inspires me and a product that I feel passionate about.
Anthony is a chemical engineering professional with over 40 years of successful commercial scale process development, engineering and manufacturing experience out of which 18 years were of natural rubber experience. He finds work at Kultevat inspiring, challenging and stretches him in his leadership. At Kultevat, he also gets to work on creating something he is truly passionate about, Kultra® Natural Rubber. Prior to Kultevat, Anthony has served via managerial and vice-president roles in operations and engineering with other biomaterial and nutraceutical companies such as Innovative Design Engineering Associates (IDEA), Yulex Corporation, and Kaneka Nutrients L.P. Anthony holds a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Newark College of Engineering. He had worked with plastic manufacturers right out of school but long gone were the days! He is thoroughly excited to join forces with high integrity companies which are conscious about the impact they are making in our world. He encourages like-minded scientists and engineers to join forces and play a key role with Kultevat’s team of outstanding professionals to birth more life-giving biomaterials to the world!
Amy Stanley, Research Technician
I find Kultevat’s strong emphasis on sustainability something I really care about.
Amy joined Kultevat in 2022 as a research technician. She graduated from her Bachelors degree in plant science, magna cum laude at the University of Idaho. She majored in Biotechnology and Plant Genomics. While earning her degree, she worked at a research lab where she primarily tested potato plants for genetic markers using PCR-based methods. At Kultevat, Amy works on various biotechnology projects, maintains plants in tissue culture, and assists in the maintenance of greenhouse plants. She finds Kultevat’s strong emphasis on sustainability something she really cares about and she finds a lot of fulfillment bringing products such as Kultra® Natural Rubber into our bio-material world. She is happy to be part of the supportive and innovative team at Kultevat and is excited about bringing more clean biomaterial to our world. When she’s not in the lab, you can find Amy on the trails either hiking or mountain biking.