AppHarvest is a sustainable food company in Appalachia developing and operating some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms, designed to grow produce using sunshine, rainwater and up to 90% less water than open-field growing while producing yields up to 30 times that of traditional agriculture on the same amount of land without agricultural runoff. The company boosts nature with world-class technology including artificial intelligence and robotics to improve access for all to nutritious food—farming more sustainably, building a resilient domestic food supply and providing good jobs in Appalachia. AppHarvest is a public benefit corporation and a Certified B Corp.
Fresher food. Resilient growth. Rewarding jobs. B-Corp certified. This is #FarmingNow.
That’s right – 70% of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive, which means our produce can be picked riper and delivered to stores near you within a day. We don’t wait at borders. We prioritize direct shipping and reduce transportation fuel by up to 80% compared to produce from Mexico or the U.S. Southwest.
Founder & CEO
After years of study and gathering support from inside and outside the region, Jonathan is turning his dream of a high-tech farming hub in Appalachia into reality. Before founding AppHarvest, Jonathan worked with the U.S. Department of Defense on a massive solar project to help achieve a White House goal of ensuring the military’s hundreds of installations receive 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. In February 2017, encouraged by investors, advisers, and politicians of both parties, Jonathan left Washington and came home to Eastern Kentucky to start a new kind of farm and to turn Appalachia into the AgTech capital of America. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Kentucky.
David joined AppHarvest in 2020 to develop strategy and engage in operations management, leading the sales, marketing and finance functions. Prior to joining AppHarvest, he served as chief financial officer of Impossible Foods. He is credited with significant growth accomplishments, including securing more than $1.3 billion in funding to accelerate manufacturing, product development and distribution into key national grocery, restaurant, and hospitality venues; and to expand in international markets. Lee also served as Impossible Foods' chief operating officer from 2015 to 2019, during a period of significant transformation. Prior to his work there, he served in leadership roles at Del Monte Foods, Zynga and Best Buy. David earned a bachelor’s in government at Harvard College and an MBA at the University of Chicago.
Chief Operating Officer
Julie Nelson joined AppHarvest in 2021 from McKinsey & Company, following a long tenure with PepsiCo, where she led supply chain teams in the North American beverage business and the global operations team. Her focus areas included network optimization, scaling new digital technologies and end-to-end value chain productivity. At AppHarvest, she is leveraging those skills to improve sustainability by reducing food waste, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as she oversees the largest controlled environment agriculture buildout in the U.S. and ramps up production at each facility. Julie holds a bachelor of science in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is an advisory council member for the West Virginia University Global Supply Chain Management Program.
Chief Financial Officer
Loren joined AppHarvest in 2019, bringing more than 13 years of experience in finance and accounting. He most recently served as Vice President of Finance at Famous Brands International, the parent company of Mrs. Fields and TCBY, and held prior roles at Ernst & Young, Summit Rock Advisors, and FTI Consulting. Loren holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Kentucky and a master’s in accounting from the University of Notre Dame.
Chief Technology Officer
Josh joined AppHarvest in 2021 upon the company’s acquisition of robotics and artificial intelligence farming startup Root AI, the leading agricultural robotics firm he co-founded in 2018. Josh launched Root AI, which developed a universal harvesting robot, to help farms gather more data about their crops, precisely predict yields and optimize overall operations to allow people to focus on more complex tasks. Josh started the company after nearly five years as director of research and development at Soft Robotics. He holds a Ph.D. in biophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Brown University. He also served as a postdoctoral fellow in materials science and robotics at Harvard University.
Chief Strategy Officer
Dave has more than 15 years of experience at every stage of entrepreneurship, having co-founded several technology, agriculture, and energy startups. He began his career in socially responsible investing in 2005, working on carbon credit projects in developing countries under the Kyoto Protocol. Dave then transitioned from carbon trading to clean-tech finance, leading the development of clean-tech projects ranging from energy to agriculture. Dave holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Delaware and an MBA with distinction from Columbia University.
Chief Communications Officer
Travis joined AppHarvest in 2020 after serving in global communications roles in Paris, Tokyo, and Nashville with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance — most recently as Vice President for Nissan Americas and President of the Nissan Foundation. Prior to his work with Nissan, Travis held public relations leadership roles at General Motors, Ally Financial, Pulte Homes and Lockheed Martin. An Appalachian native, he holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Tennessee and a master’s in communications management from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Chief Sustainability Officer
Prior to joining AppHarvest, Jackie served as Chief Sustainability Officer at The Carlyle Group and as Senior Director for the Environmental Defense Fund, where she created a partnerships program that helped reduce environmental impact at global icons including McDonald’s, Starbucks and FedEx. In recognition of her efforts, she received the White House Presidential Environment and Conservation Challenge Award. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Yale University and master’s degrees from both the Yale School of Management and Yale School of the Environment. Jackie is a board member at Alcoa, PurposeBuilt Brands, and The Conservation Innovation Fund. She has served on the boards of numerous nonprofits including the Appalachian Mountain Club, Arizona State University’s
Global Institute of Sustainability, and Conservation International’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business.
Chief Commercial Officer
Prior to joining AppHarvest, Headley was an Executive Vice President of Bentall Kennedy, a North American real estate adviser where he led marketing and product development for a U.S. core real estate fund strategy with a strong commitment to sustainable investment practices and over $7.5 billion in net assets and 300+ institutional investors. .Headley was also responsible for the development, structuring and marketing of MEPT Edgemoor, a private REIT launched in 2010, and he drove the international expansion of the Bentall Kennedy/MEPT investor base, raising over $1 billion of investor capital from Europe, Canada and Australia.
Headley joined Bentall Kennedy through its 2015 acquisition of Landon Butler & Company (LBC), an investor relations and marketing firm..where he was President and CEO.
Headley received a master’s in international relations and economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor’s from Duke University. In 2020, he joined the AppHarvest team as Head of Corporate Development.
Chief Development and Construction Officer
Chris joined AppHarvest in 2020 to oversee construction and commissioning of new facilities. An Appalachian native, he has worked around the world overseeing the development and construction of buildings, including state-of-the-art fulfillment centers incorporating complex automation and technology solutions.
His decades of experience include leading facility programs and business development for companies such as CBRE, as well as information technology distribution companies Ingram Micro and BrightPoint. Chris served in a variety of leadership roles over two decades for Ingram Micro and BrightPoint, which was acquired by Ingram Micro in 2012.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Ball State University’s Miller College of Business.
VP, Investor Relations
Kaveh joined AppHarvest in 2021, bringing extensive experience gained in the finance departments of publicly traded companies, particularly in the areas of investor relations and financial planning & analysis. Kaveh started his career as financial trader and since then has served in finance leadership roles for United Airlines, Essendant, Inc. and Fortune Brands Home & Security. Kaveh holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
VP, People Operations
Becky is a Kentucky native who joined AppHarvest in 2021 after nearly 20 years of experience at Toyota North America. Her background includes leadership roles across human resources, shared services and accounting at both headquarters and multiple manufacturing facilities. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. Her previous volunteer experience includes serving on the board of United Way. Becky holds a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Kentucky.
VP, Community Outreach
A Kentucky native, Amy’s focus includes community partnerships and educational programs. Prior to joining AppHarvest, Amy provided operations management for a regional land trust in Kentucky and she spent several years with The Nature Conservancy. In support of university extension, Amy has also provided community planning outreach and research coordination. Amy holds a bachelor's degree from Clemson University and a master's degree from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Chief of Staff for the CEO and President
Kristi joined AppHarvest in 2021 following a career in public policy and education. Beginning her career as a teacher, she transitioned to leading education and child welfare policy and legislative initiatives at the state level. Her public service includes time as deputy secretary of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. That role saw her lead cross-cabinet reforms in health policy, human services delivery system design, workforce strategies, and child welfare improvements. It also included leading daily operations of an organization with more than 8,000 employees and a budget exceeding $14 billion. Prior to joining AppHarvest, she co-founded Connecting the Dots Policy Solutions, which provided policy guidance for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Kentucky House of Representatives, the state of Arkansas, and several major health plans. Kristi holds a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Southern New Hampshire University and a bachelor’s degree in English and social work from Florida State University. She currently serves on several Kentucky business, government, and non-profit boards and commissions.
Powered by Faith + Grit, the AppHarvest team is doing things right and making a difference. We work together to grow fruits and veggies a better way.
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