Company

The CleanGrow Technology™ Company

About Us

Zea BioSciences, founded in 2015, is a leader in accelerated plant cell replication, focusing on botanical ingredients essential to our customers' products. 

We design and develop products that improve nutrition and health & wellness for people and our planet.  Zea’s CleanGrow Technology™ platform provides more effective and sustainable innovative solutions to address customer challenges.

Zea's plant products are grown, harvested and packed in a clean room, using only the elements the plant needs. In short, we grow clean, fast and cost-effectively. We can accelerate plant cell replication because we control and optimize every facet of growing. Zea grows in a clean room using our proprietary multi-dimensional technology platform (15 patents pending). Our non-GMO plants, greens and herbs are ready to harvest in as little as 33% of the time needed for conventional crops.

Our clean rooms are designed to be replicated, so we can scale quickly and be located close to customers. Sophisticated control systems using artificial intelligence monitor and optimize each plant’s growth from seedling to harvest, delivering consistent, high-quality crops to our botanical ingredient customers. 

Competitive Advantage

With our proprietary and complementary technologies, Zea optimizes and accelerates plant growth, with a goal of delivering plants with consistent quality, availability and pricing. Zea grows in a closed-system clean room and has intellectual property protection to ensure ongoing competitiveness. We have the team to scale our operations quickly. With Zea’s focus on accelerating plant cell replication within our CleanGrow Technology™ platform, we grow cleaner, faster and closer to customers than conventional growers. Our multiple markets are broad-based and growing.

Management

Zea’s leadership team brings over 150 years of expertise to our venture – from startups to Fortune 500 companies, from B2B sales to patent protection, from data science to multi-location expansion, from organic farming to high quality refrigerated fruit production.  Zea’s customers can therefore be confident that Zea’s unique focus and skills will deliver a successful custom solution every time.

Our Team

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JAMES WILSON, FOUNDER &
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Jim has over 20 years of experience with entrepreneurial and start-up ventures focusing on technology, real estate and industrial operations. He has built his reputation by scaling technology processes and driving down costs.

From 2003-2010, Jim was the founder and Managing Partner of Pine Street Investment Company, a real estate investment company. Prior to founding ZEA, Jim founded AquaHarvest Technologies (now Fresh Box Farms/Crop One Holdings) and led the company through the commercialization phase.

Jim received a bachelor’s degree in economics and industrial management from Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Wilson also served as a US Naval pilot for four years. He authored 11 pending patents related to varying plant, system and process areas along with three different national grants for USDA, DOE and National Science Foundation.

His volunteer work includes mentoring at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and various charitable organizations in the Boston area.

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ARLENE POWERS,
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Arlene has worked for over 25 years as an IP attorney, with a majority of the time in a Boston law firm. Arlene also worked as a sole practitioner for several years. She has experience in a wide range of intellectual property matters, including prosecution of foreign and domestic patents, trademarks and copyrights. Her practice concentrated in the areas of chemical, biological, mechanical and design patent matters.

Arlene received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Tufts University and attended Suffolk University Law School, where she received her law degree. Arlene is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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XANDER SHAPIRO,
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

Xander is a long-term General Manager and marketing and business development leader, with over 20 years in consumer packaged goods (CPG). He is also a food entrepreneur, starting his own fruit preserves business and commercializing a vegan seafood line while serving as a startup CMO. His first business venture was operating an ice cream truck at 17

While at Del Monte Foods and Clorox, Xander served in several line and staff positions, running business ranging from $80MM-$400MM, with a focus on new high-growth ventures. Many new products he launched are still in leading positions on the market today, demonstrating his skills at launching lasting ventures: Tilex Fresh Shower® Daily Shower Cleaner (launched in 1998); Liquid-Plumr® Foaming Pipe Snake (launched in 1999); and Del Monte Superfruit® fruit cups (launched in 2008), among others.

Xander holds an MBA from UC Berkeley and a BA from Yale. While at Berkeley and Yale, he won several awards in public speaking and case competitions. He is also a graduate of Leadership San Francisco.

MIKE ACETI

MICHAEL ACETI,
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Mike has over 25 years of financial and operational experience in a wide range of industries including biotechnology, life sciences, medical device, high tech, software, consulting, consumer products, financial services, and non-profit. He has worked with companies of all sizes including start-ups, small, mid-size, and large multi-national corporations. 

Mike has served as the CFO/Head of Finance at several companies including Alzheon, Beacon Endoscopic, Blend Therapeutics, The Boston Society, Fog Pharmaceuticals, GreenLight Biosciences, Helio Vision, Innosight, LifeMine, and Lumicell. He also worked in financial and commercial roles at GenRad, Genzyme, and Procter & Gamble. 

Mike received a BA in Economics at Saint Lawrence University and an MBA in finance and strategy at The University of Chicago.

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JEFF BRODY,
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

Jeff has over 30 years of experience running real-time and data distribution businesses in the financial services industry. He was formerly with Eaton Vance Management and Interactive Data. At the latter, he helped grow the company from a $40M to $800M company that was sold to private equity for $3.2B in 2010. Jeff was involved in all M&A activities of the company and represented IT in the sale of the company. Jeff has great depth in operations, reliability and application development in a growing company, as well as in data acquisition and information security. Jeff is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). 

Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his master’s degree in computer science from Boston University.

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MICHAEL ROSE,
VP OF FACILITIES

Mike started his career with two startup businesses before entering his family’s construction business. He has been a Massachusetts licensed contractor for the last 34 years and has managed large-scale residential and commercial projects. His focus is to oversee and direct construction projects from conception to completion, oversee all on-site and off-site construction to monitor compliance with building and safety regulations, and analyze, manage and mitigate risks.

His construction and project management clients have included universities, churches and other large commercial real estate firms. More recently, he has managed the construction of clean room facilities and their corresponding HVAC engineering requirements.

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GERALD ANTOINE,
VP OF ENGINEERING

Jerry specializes in developing custom machinery for the medical, factory automation and printed-circuit fabrication markets. His unique combination of diverse skills and vast network of partners and subcontractors allowed him to produce successful results in a wide field of applications. These range from building new control systems for old equipment to designing and building specialized machines. His expertise includes high-voltage testing (up to 25kV), mechanical systems, pneumatic and hydraulic systems, stepper and servo-driven systems, PLC control, PC software, custom electronics including microprocessor-based systems, pick & place, material handling, and conveyor systems.

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ROB ADAMS,
SYSTEMS ENGINEER

Rob Adams is a nationally recognized expert in innovative cold storage construction and is a co-author of some of Zea's pending patents.

Rob received a BS in Chemistry from University of Houston in 1973, and for fifteen years has served on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Natural Science and Mathematics at UH. He has served as Board Member or Advisor several startups. Outside of work he flies his single engine Mooney aircraft for both business and pleasure, and plays competitive tennis and baseball on local club teams. He lives in North Easton, MA with his wife and two children, and somehow finds time to enjoy his family life.                                                                        

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EVAN SUPINSKI,
PRODUCTION MANAGER

Evan’s role at Zea is as a Production Manager. He works to ensure Zea’s high standards and procedures are upheld while being able to assist in horticulture and technology. Evan is an Afghanistan war veteran and holds an Agricultural Science degree from Oregon State University. He has worked at many organic farms throughout Oregon and California and enjoys his work at Zea, being capable of working with plants year round in the Northeast.                                         

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MIKE KELLEHER,
PROJECT MANAGER

Mike is a Massachusetts native and a U.S. Army Veteran. As Project Manager, his focus is on scaling up and improving upon Zea’s operations. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Le Moyne College and a Master of Science in Project Management from Northeastern University. Before working at Zea he worked in investment banking and real estate development. Mike is also a lifelong musician and an avid outdoorsman.

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MIKE MEDING,
LEAD SOFTWARE DEVELOPER

Mike is the Lead Software Developer at Zea. He is responsible for building the software tools which are used by the Growroom Technicians as well as collecting and analyzing the sensor data from the grow rooms. This data allows the Growroom Technicians to make informed decisions to maximize yield. With a background in eco-friendly smart energy solutions Mike is committed to building the best smart indoor hydroponic facilities. He also enjoys cycling and is an avid ultra endurance cyclist.

 

Sarah Geromini

SARAH GEROMINI,
PROTOCOL ANALYST

Sarah is a Massachusetts native, who comes to Zea with a passion for the environment from her studies at the University of New Hampshire and past work experience. She has worked with plants both out in the field and in the laboratory with the US Forest Service. At Zea, Sarah works to ensure every herb and plant is perfect and delicious; and is working to push the indoor hydroponics industry forward into the future.

 

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LIAM DAVIDSON,
RESEARCH SUPERVISOR

Liam is a lifelong desert dweller now living in the Ocean State. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in Environmental Science, he looked for an avenue to achieve the greatest impact on sustainable land management and finally arrived at Zea as a Growroom Technician. Before his current position, Liam worked as a teacher in China and held roles in the U.S. Forest Service and Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. He hopes to continue to aid in the development of highly efficient and sustainable plant growth in order to better serve expanding global communities. In his free time Liam enjoys reading, camping, and travelling to new destinations to search for delicious meals

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JAKE SALVATORE,
FINANCE/OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE

Jake is a Merrimack College graduate with a finance and psychology degree. He has past experience in the finance industry working at Loomis Sayles on their fixed income operations team. Previously, Jake worked for the USGA on the sales and client services team.

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RHETT REED,
OPERATIONS INTERN 

Rhett served 5 years in the US Marine Corps and will soon be graduating with Associates Degree in Business Administration. He grew up in Massachusetts and spent 2 years working as a residential counselor at a group home in Fall River, and also spent a Summer installing floors. Rhett likes the family atmosphere at Zea and working hard together to reach the same goals.

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TERESA BAUMGARDNER,
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER 

Teresa comes to Zea as the social media manager after more than 15+ years in the San Francisco Bay Area tech industry. She brings her experience working with large tech companies, as well as startups, to Zea to elevate our marketing messages through the art and science of social media. Teresa has a passion for great design, social media marketing, and social media advertising. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family in their N. California wine country home, cooking (& eating!) great food, exploring and traveling to new and exciting destinations. She is a UCLA graduate.

ERIC TOUSSAINT

ERIC TOUSSAINT,
COMPLIANCE CONSULTANT

Eric comes to Zea as a Compliance Consultant at GlobalCert Food Safety, LLC. With over 10 years of compliance and food safety experience in-house and as a consultant, Eric’s guidance provides consistency, quality, and the highest level of food safety for Zea’s finished goods.

The Zea Difference

Unique clean platform: Targeting several multi-billion dollar markets:
$8B addressable in total

Protected technology: 15 patents pending

Scalable solution: Scalable solution: ~ 6 months turnkey clean room buildout

Experienced team: Business expertise plus passion to succeed