Vice President of Research & Production

Johnny's is currently seeking dynamic candidates for Vice President of Research and Production. This position plans and directs all aspects of the organization's research and development policies, objectives, and initiatives, and is responsible for bringing to market new and innovative seed varieties for our flower, herb, and vegetable product lines.

The Company
Johnny's Selected Seeds was established in 1973 by Founder and Chairman Rob Johnston. Johnny's mission is helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information, and service.

Our company is a growing, employee-owned seed company located in Central Maine. The organization operates from a certified-organic research farm in Albion, Maine, as well as from our warehouse and offices in nearby Winslow and Fairfield. Johnny's Selected Seeds is one of the leading seed companies dedicated to supplying the highest level of customer service, products, and product knowledge to a customer base of commercial mixed-market growers and avid home gardener customers. Johnny's Selected Seeds has an inspiring story, strong brand awareness, and a unique market position that is highly attractive to customers for the superior-quality niche products it provides. These customers are served directly through a catalog and web-based go-to-market strategy.

Johnny's Selected Seeds is known for supplying superior seeds, tools, information, and service to mixed-market growers and avid home gardeners. Our research is focused on finding or breeding outstanding varieties of vegetables, cut flowers, and herbs, and on thoughtfully designed tools and equipment.

The Position
The Vice President of Research and Production plans and directs all aspects of the organization's research and seed production policies, objectives, and initiatives, and is responsible for bringing to market new and innovative seed varieties for Johnny's Selected Seeds' flower, herb, and vegetable product lines. This position reports to the CEO along with VP Finance, VP Sales & Marketing, and VP Operations.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Budget, direct, support, and manage the activities of the company's product line managers, vegetable breeding program/staff, trialing program/staff, seed production program/staff, and farm operations/staff.
  • Breed, select, build, and maintain a portfolio of superior products that results in the success of Johnny's Selected Seeds' customers and the achievement of its annual business plan goals.
  • Build collaboration with the Sales & Marketing teams, enrolling both customers and Johnny's employees, to inform product selection and product strategy in order to maximize service of healthy emerging agriculture and food trends.
  • Build and strengthen the company's network of seed breeding and seed production cooperators around the world to source innovative, easier-to-grow, superior-quality products.
  • Set product sales goals and new variety introduction goals, and track the business results of each product group; manage the product cycle from precommercialization to commercialization to end of life.
  • As a member of Johnny's five-person Senior Management team, lead/participate in developing and executing the company's strategic plan and help oversee ongoing company-wide business operations.
  • Recruit, train, and develop professional staff across each reporting department.
  • Negotiate with cooperators to develop dealer agreements, exclusive product agreements, cooperative breeding agreements and seed production contracts.
  • Lead and ensure Johnny's representation at industry trade events, grower conferences, university education/ research, and trial locations.
  • Communicate product strategies to all internal stakeholders.

Other important parameters of this position:
  • The role reports to the CEO.
  • The position is supported by a team of 10 direct reports and total staff of about 25.
  • The post is located in Albion, Maine.
  • Occasional domestic and international travel is required.

Candidate Profile
We seek a dynamic leader who will manage all aspects of the organization's research and production strategy, objectives, initiatives, and policies, and one who is able to bring to market new, differentiating, and innovative seed varieties for Johnny's Selected Seeds' flower, herb, and vegetable product lines.

The successful candidate will have most or all of the following skills, knowledge, experience, and personal characteristics:

Experience
  • Success innovating new varieties and taking them to market within the vegetable seed industry.
  • Vegetable seed industry/product line management experience.
  • Management of vegetable trialing and breeding.
  • Coaching a team of creative product managers, breeders, technicians, and farm and production staff.
  • Understanding, appreciation, and enthusiasm for the challenges and opportunities involved in decentralized production by direct-market farmers and avid home gardeners.

Skills
  • Good communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Maintain highly effective interpersonal skills.
  • Provide feedback and coaching as necessary while maintaining a positive and encouraging work environment.
  • Build collaborative and productive relationships with various functional groups, both internally and externally.

Personal Characteristics
  • Ability to work effectively on one's own and as part of a team
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Lead through change, build consensus, motivate and encourage others.

Education
  • Advanced degree in a relevant plant breeding or horticultural science

For consideration as a candidate or to suggest a prospective candidate, please contact in confidence:
Roger Peeters
Kincannon & Reed
Tel: +31 630 677332
[email protected]
www.KRsearch.com

Position will remain open until filled.

09/02/2016
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ABOUT JOHNNY'S VIDEO
OUR MISSION
Our mission is helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information, and service.