Career Profiles – Research and Agronomy

 
 
Francis Kirigwi
Research Scientist/Wheat Breeder
Syngenta Seeds Canada
Role: The development and release of wheat cultivars that are high yielding and of high bread making quality, are agronomically superior, have lodging resistance, disease and other pest resistance, and have appropriate maturity profiles to ensure suitability for Western Canada.
Education: Ph. D.                                                                                                                                 Insights from Francis:

I decided to choose a career in the seed industry because…
“I decided to choose a career in the seed industry because I grew up in a farming community and from early on, I knew seeds and the practice of agriculture were crucial to the well being of my family and my village. Later on, I realized that seeds were crucial for the right kind and amount of food and feed at affordable prices, and had direct impact on trade, living standards, and the sustainability of the entire agricultural system of the world.”

My advice to students considering a career in the seed industry would be…
“The seed industry has a wide range of careers that are very rewarding. I urge you to arm yourself with the nature of science principles that guide the scientific side of the seed industry. Tomorrow, you will be called upon to make decisions, as leaders, that have a direct bearing on the issues that society confronts today e.g. the use of new technology, and new seeds, etc.”

Ellen Sparry
Genetics Manager
C&M Seeds
Role: Oversee all R&D aspects including small plot research trials, variety registrations, plant breeders’ rights, early generation seed production and coordination with plant breeders for variety development.
Education: B. Agr. Sc. (Crop Science), University of Guelph                                                                       Insights from Ellen:

What excites me the most about my role is…
“Bringing a variety through the process of development to a farmer’s field – there is great satisfaction in a farmer telling you how happy he is with the performance of a variety. I am also fortunate to have the opportunity to impact everyday life by working to develop varieties that could improve the quality of food we eat.”

My advice to students considering a career in the seed industry would be…
“The seed industry is quite diverse and covers a wide range of career choices. Look for the opportunities to work for the industry innovators. Approach every job as a learning experience, no matter the task as there is great benefit from knowing a process from the ground up.”

Holly Gelech
Manager Business Development
BioVision Seed Labs
Role: To support and enhance BioVision Seed Lab’s brand and revenue stream. Responsibilities include managing corporate testing portfolios, developing marketing strategies, seeking new technologies for commercialization, and creating active client interaction on BioVision’s website.
Education: B. Sc., University of Alberta                                                                                                  Insights from Holly:

I decided to choose a career in the seed industry because…
“I decided to choose a career in the seed industry due to the tremendous innovation in seed genetics and the opportunities for advancement down various career paths. My 16 years in the seed sector has proven to be rewarding on various levels, and has most importantly fostered growth to meet my career and personal objectives. Along the way I have had the opportunity to work with many intelligent and creative business professionals.”

My advice to students considering a career in the seed industry would be…
“My advice to students considering a career in the seed industry is to understand that this industry needs a continual pool of talented and energetic individuals to breed, produce and market seed and trait advancements. Each one of these segments harness cutting edge technologies and offer a work environment that is challenging, flexible and progressive. Career advancement and fair compensation are attainable within the Canadian seed sector.”