VOL. 132 | NO. 157 | Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Vandiver Growing Customer Relationships at Agritech Firm The Seam
By Kate Simone
The Seam, a technology firm founded by agribusiness companies that specializes in commodity trading and management systems, has added Rex Vandiver in a customer development role. Vandiver helps with customer support and project management, and he’s also taking a greater role in involvement with the peanut industry to help The Seam better serve its customers’ needs.
As part of that, he recently graduated from the National Peanut Buying Points Association’s annual leadership program, which teaches young members of the industry about leadership skills as well as the history of buying points and the American peanut industry.
Hometown: Alamo, Tennessee
Experience: I studied operations management and received a degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin. I have nine years’ experience in technology sales and customer support. Prior to joining The Seam, I worked for a company that manufactures conveying equipment for several agricultural commodities. At this company, I was involved in sales, marketing, procurement and operations.
Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? My grandfather has had the greatest influence on me. He’s a hard worker and has always been able to wrap his mind around whatever he faces. That taught me to never give up when I feel challenged, and to keep learning when I’m faced with something I don’t understand or know.
What attracted you to The Seam? The Seam impressed me in so many ways, but I would have to say the two most important things were the atmosphere and how the company invests in its employees. The company is doing some amazing, transformational things with agribusiness technology, and I am excited to be part of that.
What are your goals in your new role? My biggest goal right now is to immerse myself in and completely understand the daily process our customers go through in their businesses. By fully understanding our customers, we can provide the appropriate software that addresses all their pain points, as well as their wants and needs.
You recently graduated from the National Peanut Buying Points Association’s leadership program. Tell us a little about the NPBPA and how the program impacts your day-to-day work. The NPBPA represent 400-plus peanut buying locations that contract, receive, weigh, clean, dry, inspect, grade and prepare peanuts for storage and shelling. All U.S.-produced peanuts must be inspected for quality by the Federal-State Inspection Service at a registered peanut buying point.
The leadership program provided me with a greater insight into the history of the peanut industry and how the peanut industry operates. I walked through facilities and saw the various processes and stages that are required to get peanuts from seed to shelf. It has helped me to better understand my customers’ needs and provided me with a deeper appreciation for the industry and what they do.
What kind of struggles is the peanut industry facing, and how can The Seam help address those issues? The peanut industry has made amazing strides in developing new seed varieties that grow larger crops and new equipment for processing these larger crops. However, the industry continues to struggle with technology on the business side. They are relying heavily on paper documents and manual processes that are labor-intensive and time-consuming. The Seam’s approach is to digitally capture all of the data and make the industry become more efficient, while providing a greater understanding of their business through actionable reporting.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment is, hands down, my children. I have two amazingly smart girls, who I am very proud of.
What do you most enjoy about your work? I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet so many people in the ag industry, and hear how what we are doing at The Seam is improving how they do business daily.
If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Learn to be your own worst critic and keep pushing yourself for better results.
In addition to Rex Vandiver, The Seam has added Tammy Sullivan as executive assistant and Mike Vandenbergh as director of emerging technologies. Sullivan previously worked for Continental Airlines and United Airlines for more than 30 years as an international flight attendant, service manager and training specialist. Vandenbergh has more than 20 years of IT experience and most recently served as vice president of information technology at MicroPact Global.
Pamela Dotson has been named chief nursing officer of West Cancer Center. Dotson has nearly 30 years of experience in health care. Prior to joining West, she served as senior vice president in charge of patient care services and chief nursing officer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Lauren Hannaford has been promoted to director of client services at Obsidian Public Relations. Hannaford joined Obsidian as an intern in October 2008 after graduating from Mississippi College with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She was hired as a full-time employee in April 2009.
The Arc Mid-South has added three new members to its board of directors: Bennie Cobb, a retired captain with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department; Claudia Espinoza de Posada, a parent advocate whose son is autistic; and Sharon Webb, senior pastor of the Life Changing Word Ministries and upcoming president of the American Association of University Women’s Memphis branch.
Inferno has appointed Lauren Berry as public relations account coordinator and Von Ralls as web developer. Berry recently received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Memphis. Ralls has a background in web development and IT management, using these skills at Memphis companies like Barbell Shrugged for three years and Crew Training International for nine years.
Bailey Lowery and Cooper Smith have joined Shoemaker Financial as financial advisers in the firm’s Germantown offices.
Jerry King has joined Crye-Leike Real Estate Services’ Midtown branch office. King specializes in residential and commercial real estate and will serve buyers and sellers in and around Shelby, Tipton and Fayette counties. Prior to joining Crye-Leike, he worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years as a restaurant owner.
Jeffrey Allen Clark of SERVPRO of Midtown Memphis was recognized among high-performing franchisees at SERVPRO’s recent Awards Extravaganza, where SERVPRO of Midtown Memphis received the President’s Silver award for outstanding revenue performance.