William F. Kirk

Chairman of the Board and CEO

Mr. Kirk has 37 years of experience at DuPont, where as Group Vice President he led its $4.5 billion Agriculture Business and served as a member of the CEO's Strategy/Operating Committee. Mr. Kirk created a vision to expand agricultural participation from crop protection to include the acquisition of Pioneer Hi-Bred, biotechnology research and development, and food ingredients (Protein Technology Acquisition). In addition to being named Agrimarketer of the Year in 1998 by Agrimarketer Magazine, Mr. Kirk was recognized for his biotechnology leadership by University of Illinois, and he received an award for his service to agriculture by the Farm Managers Association.

Dr. Mark E. Thompson Vice President of R&D

Dr. Mark E. Thompson

Vice President of Research and Development

Prior to joining ABN, Mark provided independent consulting services for several clients in the areas of agrochemicals and R&D management, and he consulted for about one year with FMC Agricultural Solutions. From 1981 until 2016, Mark worked at DuPont where he held a variety of roles, including 24 years in the Crop Protection business in R&D and Operations, several years in DuPont’s LYCRA spandex business leading New Products R&D, and six years as Research Director in DuPont’s Central Research Division working with all DuPont businesses in overseeing diverse, high-risk innovation projects in materials science, renewably-sourced polymers, industrial bioprocessing, and novel delivery systems for production agriculture. He also led DuPont’s corporate Toxicology and Environmental Sciences organization for two years. Mark received a PhD in organic chemistry from Yale University and a BS degree in chemistry from Duke University. He has authored numerous scientific publications, given dozens of invited lectures and keynote talks, and holds 19 US patents.

Business Development

Dr. Thomas Fort

Dr. Thomas Fort

Director of Business Development

Dr. Tom Fort joins ABN with 38 years of experience in multiple global technology and business leadership roles from DuPont. Dr. Fort led a world-wide team of over 150 professionals who successfully developed and commercialized an industry leading pipeline of crop protection products, focusing on the seed treatment market. His experience includes business leadership in Europe and globally, project leadership for a successfully commercialized crop protection product and working extensively at the interface of business and research/development. Dr. Fort was awarded a B.S. degree from North Georgia College (now the University of North Georgia), an M.S. from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Louisiana State University. He is a Vietnam-era veteran of the United States Army and spent a 13-month assignment in the Republic of Korea.

Research and Development

Brian Carpenter

Project Manager

Brian has had several roles in the organization, including production manager, QC Analytical Research Leader, and Project Manager. He came to ABN from Domino Sugar, where he worked in QC/Manufacturing. Mr. Carpenter has assisted on several patents, including stable drying process and microencapsulated vaccines for oral delivery. He acquired his BS in Nutritional Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. Moti Harel

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Moti Harel, has been actively involved in marine aquaculture R&D for more than 15 years. Prior to joining ABN, Dr. Harel worked at the Center of Marine Biotechnology (COMB) at the University of Maryland, where he led an international research group in developing the first AquaGrow products and new larval feeds. While at COMB, Dr. Harel developed the first re-circulating hatchery system that successfully closed the life cycle of blue crabs, and he led a project which produced more than one million striped bass juveniles outside the natural spawning season. Earlier in his career, he managed the general operation of the larval rearing department at the National Center for Mariculture, one of the largest R&D centers in the Mediterranean. While there, Dr. Harel introduced a complete diet for valuable marine fish broodstock. Dr. Harel has published his work in British Journal of Nutrition, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Aquaculture, Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, and Lipids. He has presented his work in many international professional conferences, and has been invited to present his work as a key speaker at numerous international conferences and workshops. Dr. Harel received his Ph.D. in biochemistry and food technology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1995.

Majid Keshtmand


Majid joined ABN in 2013 and has over 24 years of experience in manufacturing, R & D food and pharmaceutical industries. Mr. Keshtmand received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of District of Columbia in Food Science and a Bachelor of Science degree from Shiraz University in Food Science & Human Nutrition. He has a vast knowledge of new product formulations and optimized formulations, as well as product scale up from his career at Ashland, ISP Pharma and Unilever.

Trisha Rice

Laboratory Manager / Research Associate

Trisha joined the ABN Team in the spring of 2010. Trisha earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Ms. Rice has experience in various laboratory applications and assists ABN’s Food Technologists and Research Scientists in product development and delivery technologies with probiotics.

Peter Schmalz

Director of Process Development

Peter is responsible for directing the process development and engineering of new ABN processes, including scale-up, process optimization, and technology transfer for commercial manufacture. Prior to joining ABN, Mr. Schmalz was employed by the DuPont Company for 38 years. He served in a variety of managerial roles in R&D, engineering consulting, and facility design and construction, within DuPont Engineering and in engineering technology and operations management within the DuPont Crop Protection business. Mr. Schmalz holds a BSME degree from Valparaiso University and a MSChE degree from the University of Minnesota, and is a registered Professional Engineer. Mr. Schmalz also serves on the National Advisory Board for Christ College-The Honors College of Valparaiso University.

Human Resources

April Pugh

Director of Human Resources

April has been with ABN since 2001, serving as Financial Controller before being promoted to her current position, where she is responsible for managing recruiting, compensation, benefits and facilities. She brings to ABN 30 years of experience in accounting and business management, most of which has been in the biotechnology industry. Prior to ABN, Ms. Pugh put her accounting and business management expertise to work for Martek Biosciences Corporation.


Lissy Menachery


Lissy is in charge of accounting operations, including the production of financial reports, maintenance of accounting records, and design and oversight of controls that mitigate risk and enhance the accuracy of reported results. Prior to joining ABN in 2005, she served as Accounting Manager at COLA, a nonprofit organization. Ms. Menachery is a Certified Public Accountant.