The Open Prairie Team
Fund Management and Advisory
Jim is the Founder of Open Prairie. Now Chairman, he was the Managing Director of Open Prairie Ventures I and II. A fifth-generation agribusiness and banking entrepreneur, he leverages experiences gained while operating his family’s various international agribusinesses and syndicating the investment of 13,000 acres of Midwest farmland between 1980 and 1997. He earned a BA in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University, a JD from DePaul University, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is also a graduate of the Venture Capital Institute.
Jason is the Vice President of Open Prairie and responsible for the oversight and reporting of all private equity funds and advisory services. He has extensive experience in private equity investments, real estate development, strategic consulting, and financial analysis and reporting. Prior to joining Open Prairie, he was a pharmaceutical sales representative for Eli Lilly and headed several privately held real estate and media ventures. He received a dual BS in Finance and Marketing from Eastern Illinois University and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
Lee is a Principal with Open Prairie. As a third-generation farmer with production experience in grains, vegetables and livestock, Lee has a lifelong passion for agriculture and growth in rural America. Lee has held numerous leadership positions in both the public and private sectors. He served as CEO of FARM Illinois, an initiative to establish Illinois as the global epicenter for leadership and innovation within food and agriculture. In 2006, Lee was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate to the board of the Farm Credit Administration. President Bush designated him Chairman and CEO of FCA and in 2008 and Lee was instrumental in guiding the agency through the “great recession” and the ensuing economic crisis. Prior to his appointment with the Farm Credit Administration, Lee was a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Advisory Council on Agriculture, Labor and Small Business, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Country Mutual Funds Trust and was active as Director for several banks within the Farm Credit System.
A Principal with Open Prairie, Matt is a banking industry veteran with 18+ years of experience in lending to companies in a high-growth sector. He was Head of Structured Finance and Managing Director with Square 1 Bank, a former Market Manager at Silicon Valley Bank, and a Strategic Consultant to early and growth-stage companies; held operating positions including CFO.
Pat is the President of Open Prairie and Managing Director of the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund. His expertise is in complex regulated industries, with special strength in turnaround management, investor relations and accountability standards and performance. Prior to joining Open Prairie, he was a three-time chief executive officer in the biologics industry; Vice President of Commercial Operations for Genesis Therapeutics; Executive Vice President of Sequitor Medical Technologies; and Executive in Residence of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse. Pat holds a BA from Athenaeum of Ohio.
Tom is a Principal with Open Prairie and will utilize experience from his 30 year career in agribusiness with Tate & Lyle to identify and assess investment opportunities and assist portfolio companies in development of strategic objectives resulting in operational efficiencies and value creation for stakeholders. He is the Founder and President of Tadvise, an independent consulting firm that works with corporate and private equity clients, ranging in size from small businesses to Fortune 100, to improve performance and accelerate profitability. At Tate & Lyle, a leading multi-billion global agribusiness providing high quality, specialty ingredients solutions to the food, beverage, health and wellness industries, Tom held a variety of leadership positions. As Senior Vice President of Food and Industrial Ingredients for the Americas, he was responsible for all commercial aspects of the $2 billion division covering North and South America and specialty businesses in Asia, Australia and South Africa, achieving record sales. Tom was also Senior Vice President of Food Ingredients for the Americas, an $800 million business unit with operations on five different continents. He received his Executive MBA from the University of Illinois and has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Denver.
Matt is a Principal with Open Prairie. He is a seasoned professional with 35+ years of expertise in developing companies and generating positive shareholder returns
Matt was an Advisor to US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack focusing on public/private partnerships to generate economic growth throughout rural America; named a Presidential Executive Fellow
He served as Vice President of Finance at PepsiCo, Inc. and held other leadership positions in finance during his 15 year career. Matt was also Executive in Residence, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business; Adjunct Lecturer, Fordham University and an Independent Member of Board of Directors for Foot Locker, Inc.; Chairman of Finance and Strategic Planning Committees
Matt served as President and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, a leading nonprofit focused on community beautification.
Matt was also a former Partner at New York City-based law firm Winthrop, Stimson, Putman and Roberts.
Dennis is the Chief Financial Officer of Open Prairie. He has vast experience in venture investments, operations, strategic planning, financial reporting and board management. He has provided financial and accounting services to companies ranging in size from seed-stage start-ups to Fortune 100 companies in retail, healthcare services, manufacturing and financial and communications services industries. He is a CPA and earned his BS in Accounting at Millikin University and his MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
Hayli is an Administrative Assistant with Open Prairie and is responsible for administrative and office support. She earned an AS in Accounting from Olney Central College.