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Meet the Team

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J. Michael Drozd, President

BSE in Electrical Engineering and Economics, Duke University; M.S. in Optical Engineering, Cambridge University; M.S. in Engineering-Economic Systems, Stanford University; PhD in Electrical Engineering, Duke University. Michael’s diverse career includes serving as the President and CEO of Aseptia/Wright Foods, Executive Vice-President of CoalTek, President and CEO of Industrial Microwave Systems, and Associate at Decision Focus Inc.

Craig Nelson, Vice President

Certified Crop Advisor, CCA. B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, M.S. in Agronomy from University of Kentucky. Craig’s career includes management positions within QA and various agronomy positions at Agrigenetics and Mycogen Seeds. He joined BioDiagnostics in 2002, currently he is responsible for EBDI's marketing and client services efforts.

Denise Thiede, Vice President

PhD, Registered Seed Technologist RS. B.S. in Biology and French, St. Olaf College; M.S. in Botany, University of Illinois; PhD in Evolutionary Biology, Michigan State University. Since 2002 Denise leveraged her understanding of genetics and seed physiology to ensure that the testing services offered at EBDI are of the highest quality and that the data that we generate makes sense to our customers. 


John R. Mizicko, Business Development Manager

B.S. in Botany and M.S. in Plant Pathology - Colorado State University. John spent five years as a faculty member in the Dept of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, ten years as a research Plant Pathologist for Niagara Seeds and Sun Seeds, sixteen years with Harris Moran Seeds in various positions including Quality Assurance Manager and VP of Production, and twelve years with STA Laboratories as President and Manager/Seed Quality Services.

Dennis Fisher, National Sales Manager

B.S. in Biology, DePauw University. Dennis's varied eight year career began at the lab bench with companies such as Nestlé & Lonza. Utilizing that experience, he successfully drove sales as a Territory Account Manager at LGC Genomics

Farhad Ghavami, Chief Science Officer

BSc. in Agronomy and Plant Breeding, University of Tehran; MSc in Plant Breeding, Isfahan University of Technology; Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Genetics; University of Tehran. Farhad has over ten years of post Ph.D. experience working on plant molecular biology, plant genomics, transcriptomics, quantitative genetics and also molecular breeding. He was an  assistant professor at North Dakota State University, and a senior research associate at University of Minnesota and managed the molecular breeding and genomics technology department at EBDI prior to his current position.  

Melissa Johnson, Administrative Manager

Studied Finance and Accounting at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Over twenty years of experience in customer service and support.

Raquel Salati, Plant Health Manager

B.S. in Agronomy UNESP, Brazil; M.S. in Plant Pathology, Virus of Grapevines, UCDavis; Ph.D in Plant Pathology, Molecular Virology for Vegetables, UCDavis. Manager of Plant Health Team in Monsanto Vegetable Seeds in San Juan Bautista, CA for sixteen years. Raquel is responsible for Disease Resistance Test Screenings and Basic and Molecular Diagnosis for  Virus, Fungi, and Bacteria.

Asgar Shir, Director of Operations

Bachelor of Science in Agronomy, Tehran University; M.S. in Plant Breeding, Tehran University; M.S. in Genetics, UC Davis. Asgar's career of twenty years has been in agriculture and plant breeding with emphasis on molecular breeding. He previously worked for a vegetable seed company as a molecular breeder before joining Eurofins in 2008. 

Richard Agnew, Seed Analysis Lab Manager

Registered Seed Technologist, RST. Seed Analysis Program Larimer County Votec. Thirty years experience in Seed testing.

 Carol Betzel, Manager, Electrophoresis Technologies

Registered Genetic Technologist RGT. Majored in Chemistry and Mathematics, University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Carol joined EBDI in 1996; her career includes experience as Electrophoresis Lab Supervisor at Jacques/Mycogen Seeds.

 DaNell Jamieson, Manager, Standard Seed Testing

Registered Seed Technologist, RST; Registered Genetic Technologist, RGT. B.S. Degree in Agronomy, University of Minnesota, St. Paul; A.A.S. University of Minnesota, Crookston; MBA in Agriculture Business, Aurora University, Illinois. DaNell managed the Quality Lab at Cargill Hybrid Seed for 13 years and has over 25 years of experience in the seed industry working at Pan American and Ball Helix Seed Companies. 

 Brenda Johnson, Manager, ELISA/Herbicide Bioassay

Registered Genetic Technologist RGT. B.S. in Biology Education/Broadfield Science, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Brenda's career includes trait confirmation testing in seeds by ELISA and herbicide bioassay including routine analysis, method development & optimization,  and consultation to assist in determining cause of trait impurity.

Joseph Nicholl, Plant Pathologist/Lead, Fruit Blotch Program/LEAN Manager

BSc in Microbiology, Immunology, Pathology, and Spanish, Colorado State University; MSc in Plant Pathology, Colorado State University. Joseph's extensive background in plant pathology has allowed him to collaborate with top industry and academic pathologist on a wide range of plant viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes and viroids around the world. 

Darcey Rodewald, Manager, Administration/Sample Receiving

B.S. in History, University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Darcey joined BioDiagnostics in 2001. Her career includes over twenty years of customer service experience.

 Joe Zalusky, Manager, Analytical Chemistry

AOCS Approved Chemist. B.S. in Biology, Minor in Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Joe's career includes over 15 years of experience in the analysis of seed treatment chemicals using analytical chemistry techniques and method development using GC and HPLC systems. 

 Elizabeth Blotevogel, DNA Lab Supervisor

B.S in Rangeland Ecology, Colorado State University M.S in Plant Breeding and Genetics, Colorado State University. Elizabeth's diverse career has included work with international, environmental, and agricultural companies. For the past seven years she has worked for the Eurofins STA DNA Lab, in 2016 she was promoted to DNA Lab Supervisor.

Lisa Burns, Supervisor, Analytical Chemistry & Seed Treatment Application

Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator, Category 4.0 Seed Treatment.  Licensed in WI. B.S. in Chemical Engineering, University of Maine; MBA Thomas College Waterville, Maine. Lisa joined BioDiagnostics in 2009 performing analysis of seed treatments using GC and HPLC technologies, as well as custom seed treatment application.  She also has previous experience in specialty papermaking operations and IP technical writing support. 

Chondra Carlson, Molecular Breeding and Genomic Technology Supervisor

Registered Genetic Technologist RGT. B.A. in Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison; B.S. in Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. After being in ShopKo management for several years, Chondra returned to school to get her genetics degree. She was hired shortly thereafter by BDI within the MBGT lab.

Lorena Dean, Mycology Supervisor

Agricultural Engineer specialized in Crop Science, Horticulture. Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile; MBA, University of Dallas. Lorena's professional experience includes seven years as a senior consultant with Biotecnologia Agropecuaria in Chile. Lorena also worked as an environmental consultant for the oil and gas industry in the air quality department.

Anna Doornink, Supervisor I, DNA QA Laboratory

Registered Genetic Technologist RGT. B.S. in Biotechnology from University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Anna minored in Biology, Chemistry and Animal Science, she joined BioDiagnostics in 2005.

Jordan Hendrickson, Bacteriology Supervisor

B.A. in Biochemistry and Biology from Marlboro College. Jordan began working for ESTA in 2008 and has spent the last five years supervising the bacteriology department.

Jean Meyer, Supervisor-Electrophoresis Technologies

Registered Genetic Technician, RGT. Studied Food Science at the University of Wisconsin Stout. Jean's experience includes working within the  QA department at UW Stout food facilities, and then at Figi's Cheese, Inc. She began her career in the seed industry where she worked at Mycogen Seeds in the Electrophoresis department. She joined BioDiagnostics in 1998. 

Nicolette L. Rusch, Supervisor I

Registered Seed Technologist RST. B.S. Degree in Dairy Science with a Minor in Agronomy from UW - River Falls. Nicolette joined BioDiagnostics, Inc. in 2003 where she became an RST and is now a Supervisor in the Standard Seed Testing Lab (SST).

Anna Uhles, Virus Program Supervisor

B.S. in Microbiology, Colorado State University. Anna has a diverse background in testing for bacteria, virus and fungi in a number of industries.

Diandra Viner, Supervisor II

Registered Seed Technologist RST, Certified Genetic Technologist CGT. B.S. in Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Diandra has been with BDI for 14 years, performing technical tasks in standard seed testing and supervising analysts. She has also worked in seed research and customer service positions.  

Wendy Zillgitt, Supervisor, Molecular Breeding & Genomics Technology

Registered Genetic Technologist, RGT. B.S. in Food Science, University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Wendy joined BioDiagnostics in 2001, she has worked in multiple area's including isozyme electrophoresis, isoelectric focusing and molecular breeding & genomics.