Operations & Research

Robin Petersen

Vice President of Operations

Robin holds a bachelor's degree from St. Ambrose University and spent 17 years as a CPA in public accounting before joining the Ag Spectrum team in 2003. Through her own practice and positions with KPMG, Gary Foster CPA, and DeWitt Bank Tax & Accounting, Robin brought her experience in accounting, compliance, payroll, as well as corporate and individual tax returns.  She has worked extensively with farmers on taxes and planning. At Ag Spectrum, Robin's duties include execution and oversight of all financial functions, compliance, human resources, and meeting coordination. She supervises day-to-day operations including distribution, inventory management, marketing, technology, and GIS functions and has helped integrate new technology solutions company-wide.  Robin leads a staff of dedicated employees who provide professional service and support to associates and farmers to meet their crop planning, product, Maximum Farming Reports, and soil sampling needs.   

Brian Macomber

Information Systems Manager

Brian earned a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Iowa State University in 2002. Since joining Ag Spectrum in 2003, Brian has helped associates and staff members use time-saving technology tools to meet the needs of progressive farmers and best utilize ag computers and precision farming data. Brian manages our corporate Information Technology Systems, develops unique software solutions, and provides technology support to dealers, employees, and managers. During his tenure at Ag Spectrum, Brian has created Professional Support Tools, a recommendation engine, our ST/MZ and PIMS mapping programs, and MEDS (a nutrient planning program). He also developed Dealer Tools, and continually updates the software app for use on mobile devices.

Connie King

Marketing Manager

Connie has more than 30 years of experience in graphic design, having worked for St. Louis Life Magazine, Bawden and Associates Ad Agency, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, and Bethany Lowe Designs. She performed a variety of tasks for design and layout, photography, marketing and social media marketing.  This included ad design, editorial content development, and managing the freelance writers and sales staff. Connie King joined the Ag Spectrum team in 2017.  Since then, she has created valuable designs for agronomic articles, Company newsletters, brochures, invitations, and event communications.  She manages our marketing and social media presence.

Dr. Brian McSpadden Gardener

Assistant Technical Director

Dr. Gardener is an internationally recognized expert in soil biology and plant microbial ecology with over 20 years of experience leading research and development projects focusing on biologically-based inputs for sustainable agriculture. After receiving his Ph.D. in Botany at Michigan State University, he joined the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to work on biocontrol of root diseases. He joined the Ohio State University as a Molecular Microbial Ecologist where he rose to the rank of Full Professor and Director of the Organic Food, Farming, Education and Research program.  Before joining Ag Spectrum in 2019, Brian served as Director of Research and Development for Sustane Natural Fertilizer, Inc., a leading manufacturer of organic and natural fertilizers.  Using his knowledge of fundamental scientific principles and diverse farming practices, he has successfully developed new products and approaches that increase plant yields and improve soil quality.

Dr. Darrell Norton

Technical Consultant

He received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from Purdue University and his PhD from Ohio State University.  Before joining Ag Spectrum, Dr. Norton worked as the former director and a research soil scientist for the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory (NSERL) at Purdue University.  He is a former adjunct professor for Purdue University's Department of Agronomy and presently an adjunct professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.  Dr. Norton has conducted research for NSERL on various aspects of soil erosion related to reactions between soil and rainwater and clay wter interactions. Much of his research has focused on relatively clean high Ca and S containing materials from air purification systems of coal-fired power plants for erosion control and other benefits. Dr. Norton and co-authors, including many of his M.Sc. and PhD students and Post-docs, have published more than 290 articles and technical reports. He is invited to present results on his research at Scientific Congresses all over the world.  He has had Sabbaticals with the University Federal of Lavras Brazil, EMBRPA Brazil, CSIRO Australia and Agricultural University of Vienna. Dr. Norton is also listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering.

Dr. Jim Smart

Research and Teaching Agronomist

Raised on a farm in Southeast Kansas, Dr. Jim Smart graduated in Agronomy and Ag Business from Kansas State University. After working a short time for DuPont, he returned to school and earned a Master’s degree and a Doctorate in Agronomy and Weed Science, researching wheat and corn herbicides and their side effects. Dr. Smart worked 10 years as a research scientist with the USDA-ARS in Weslaco, Texas, where he helped cotton farmers adopt conservation practices and supervised pesticide projects for minor use crops. In 2001, Dr. Smart became a researcher for Ag Spectrum Company, where he speaks to hundreds of farmers each year, in the field and from the stage. His favorite part of the job is working with a farmer to help his crop recover from stress and seeing the end result.