Today we’re pleased to announce the addition of Charles Michell to the Indigo team. Charles joins Indigo as Vice President of Commercial Operations, bringing with him more than 30 years of experience in agriculture information technology, operations and supply chain, working with suppliers, retail, distribution and data analytics.
We’re excited to add Charles to our growing team and look forward to all the great work we’ll do together. For more about Charles we turn to the man himself...
Tell us a little more about your background.
I studied psychology my first three years at Delta State University, until one summer I interned at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi working on insecticides rates and the importance of timing to create the best return on investment for the grower. Before that I had never appreciated the care and commitment that went into farming. It was that experience that sparked my passion for data analytics, leading me to change majors and graduate with a degree in Information Technology. I began my career as a software development consultant until I landed my first role as IT manager at Delta and Pine Land Company, which grew to be the world’s largest cotton seed supplier. I was VP of Operations by the time it was purchased by Monsanto.
I stayed on at Monsanto as US Sales and Support Services Lead until I left to co-found Cresco Ag where I served as President. Cresco Ag was built on the vision to help growers improve data collection and support better farm decisions for yield and profitability. Cresco Ag was sold as a part of Jimmy Sanders, Inc. to Pinnacle Ag Distribution. I served as President of Sanders until I joined Indigo last month.
I still enjoy reading and studying psychology, and it has become a staple in helping me manage and interact with people. My passion is to understand the motivations that drive people, which in turn helps me understand how to help our customers, myself, and my peers achieve success.
What is your role at Indigo?
I will be serving as Vice President of Commercial Operations. It will be my responsibility to commercialize our “Go-To-Market” strategy from an operational perspective. I will partner with internal parties such as R&D, product management, IT, sales and marketing to create the supply and value chain from the introduction of our products to our grower’s success in the field.
Why did you join Indigo?
I have been in the agricultural sector for 30 years and my core philosophy has always been to put the grower first. In my experience, the best rewards are achieved when you create a win-win situation, aligning products and services to the grower’s satisfaction and profitability. I joined Indigo because I see the same promise to do right by our customers while striving to protect our environment, and it’s something I’ve seen put into action every day since I started.
What inspired you to work in agriculture?
Growing up in the Mississippi Delta, agriculture was a staple. I grew to appreciate the hard work and dedication of the American grower to feed the world. While I did not grow up on a farm myself, college is where I began to appreciate the complexities around producing a crop. My summer at the Stoneville Experiment Center inspired me to focus my career on the benefits of creating data systems to help the grower achieve yield goals by analyzing the information available on the farm.
Where do you hope to see Indigo in the next 5 years?
Over the next 5 years I see Indigo making a substantial impact on agriculture supply and demand by fortifying the food chain and allowing crops to use their own natural resources to yield better results. This in turn will help sustainably feed the world’s population. Additionally, the products Indigo has set out to establish should encourage others in the industry to invest in the space. Competition will make everyone work smarter to help our farmers achieve better results.
What one vegetable or fruit do you always have available at home?
We always have broccoli, asparagus and green beans around the house. As for fruit, I’m a self proclaimed banana fanatic. My wife and boys love strawberries, grapes and apples - especially with caramel dipping sauce.
How do you help preserve the environment?
I am a member and supporter of The Delta Council, a group focused on the promotion of agriculture, specifically research and legislation, flood control and the promotion of transportation facilities and services. Within the Delta Council, I’ve been active on the soil and water resource committee, where we encourage our membership to adopt the latest technologies and conservation practices aimed at reducing water use while not compromising yield potential.
At home, our focus has been on the small things like consistent thermostat temperatures year round, only using heat in the winter when necessary, and limiting the temperature setting on the water heaters and time in the shower. We also eliminated bottled water in favor of refillable options. In the yard we mulch our lawn instead of catching and discarding the trimmings and only water when absolutely necessary. While these may seem like small changes, as more people participate, the impact on the environment can be huge.