Our Team

Steve Mantle

CEO & Founder of Innov8.ag

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An Australian by birth, Steve has his MBA from the University of Washington. Steve is the founder of Innov8 Ag Solutions, a Walla Walla Washington-based startup and Microsoft-partnered company. Prior to embarking on the startup, Steve spent 12 years at Microsoft where he most recently focused on Microsoft’s fastest growing product line, Azure Cloud. His leadership skills contributed to growing Azure from a $100M to a $10B+/year business over 6 years. After his time spent at the Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Steve decided to relocate his family of four to Walla Walla, Washington, in the summer of 2018. He envisions this location as the perfect base for ag startups given the convergence of progressive farmers and three colleges with strengths in agriculture, engineering, science, established ag manufacturers, strong connectivity providers, and a highly collaborative business climate.

Natalie Martinkus

Data Scientist Lead

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Natalie has close to twenty years of experience using GIS mapping in various applications, from flood plain modeling to supply chain studies to drone and satellite imagery analysis.  She is passionate about helping growers to better understand their resources (labor, fertilizer, etc.) and plant growth/yield at the sub-field level. By compiling data sets from the various sources that growers use throughout the season, we can help them see the whole picture and better understand how the data sets work together.  In past careers, Natalie was a civil engineer for 8 years, a PhD student (and graduate) for 5 years, a university professor for 2 years, and an entrepreneur for the last 2 years. She is originally from West Texas where cotton is king, and she comes from a long line of cotton farmers.

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Harmony Liu

Data Scientist

Harmony comes from a family with multiple atmospheric scientists. As a result, she developed an early interest in science.  As a doctor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, she is very interested in working on weather/climate related applications to solve real-world problems.  She has over six years experience in advanced quantitative analysis of large datasets, predictive modeling and algorithm development and testing. Harmony’s love for working with data led her to her current job at Innov8 Ag where she applies her knowledge and skills to derive data-driven solutions for modern farming. By assimilating and leveraging a variety of farm-level observations as well as non-local forecasts and data sources, we develop a more coherent picture of current and future conditions, allowing for more-informed decision making.

Katelyn McCarty

Data Engineer

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This is Katelyn, our data engineer. She has recently wrapped up her Azure Data Engineering Certificate to complement her deep project management, DBA, and data visualization expertise.  Her current roles include Integration Project Manager and Data Analyst, but as a consultant with Microsoft her interests span quite wide. She is passionate about all things data and excited to marry her passion for data with her innate abilities to optimize access, awareness, and approachability. When Katelyn isn't working or diving into data engineering, she loves to knit, read, brush up and learn languages and travel (even if it is just a few hours away). As someone who has family and roots in the apple and fruit tree business here in Washington, she is really excited to see where Innov8 Ag is headed.

Bailey Bromiley

Administrative & Marketing Assistant 

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This is Bailey, a senior at Walla Walla Community College. After attaining her Associate's degree in Enology and Viticulture, she's in the last stretch to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Systems. She is passionate about vineyard management and agroecosystem sciences. Some of her interests include being outdoors, whether she is on the farm, camping, or on the slopes of the nearest ski resort. Her role at Innov8 Ag is administrator/marketing support.

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Ioan Lascoe

Marketing Intern

This is Ioan Lascoe. He was born and raised in Northern California. Ioan will be working closely with our marketing partner Red Canoe Creative. Due to his upbringing within the foothills of California, he thoroughly enjoys the outdoors where he spends a majority of his free time in nature either snowboarding, mountain biking, or fishing. Ioan is currently majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing at Walla Walla University where he had the opportunity to meet Steve Mantle and the other team members of Innov8 Ag. He's thrilled to have the opportunity to join a team focused on making an impact in the world of agriculture.

Our Advisory Board

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Bob Rupar
Retired VP  •  Nelson Irrigation

Bob brings to the table expertise in water and irrigation management from his career with one of the world's foremost irrigation manufacturers.

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Dave Brown
PhD, Director • Washington State
University AgWeatherNet

Dave is an Associate Professor of Soil Science and director of WSU's AgWeatherNet, a source of data and support tools for Washington State growers and policy-makers.

Erin Anders
PhD • Soil Science • Michigan State • Walla Walla Community College

Erin is lead instructor for the Agricultural Systems Bachelor's program at Walla Walla Community College.

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Natalie Martinkus
PhD, GIS (WSU) • Dry Creek Engineering & GeoSpatial

Natalie has extensive combined experience in GIS mapping, data set compiling, civil engineering, teaching and entrepreneurship.

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Andrew Nelson
Farmer & Consultant • Nelson Wheat

Andrew has rich expertise in computer science and hands-on, long-term experience farming 9000 acres of dryland wheat.

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