Meet The Team
The Smart Farm team is comprised of experts in automation, installation and Ag, and is keenly focused on the efficiency and productivity of every farmer the company serves. Through our test sites and collaborative nature, we stay closely in touch with the ever-evolving needs of farmers – today and for the future.
Bob Farinelli – President and Chief Technology Officer
Bob is an entrepreneur and inventor who holds 22 patents in the field of automation, signal distribution and control systems. Bob was co-founder of Elan Home Systems, and worked there for over 20 years to create a world leader in home automation technology solutions. With a successful exit from that business, Bob pivoted that experience to start Smart Farm Systems Inc. Previously Bob worked on the first video game consoles and first satellite receiver systems sold to consumers. Bob holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY and Master of Science in High Technology Management from National University, San Diego CA.
Ryan Heringer – Vice President of Sales and Installation
Ryan has 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur and business owner. Ryan created Sound Concepts, a custom installation business that has grown to 30 employees generating over $8 million in annual revenue. Sound Concepts provides residential and commercial automation systems solutions. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Business Management from the University of Arkansas.
Brandon Finch – Co-Founder
Brandon has 15 years of experience in farm operations management, agricultural product sales, and consulting. Brandon has assisted farmers and landowners in preparing applications for payments through the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Ag Council and is a Member of the Arkansas Water Plan Advisory Group. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Finance and Management from the University of Arkansas.
Steve Christensen – Vice President of Engineering
Steve has 30 years of experience as a design engineer developing user interface and embedded control systems. Steve is the system architect of the Smart Farm wireless network and led the design of the pump controllers and monitoring stations. Previously Steve worked at ELAN Home Systems and designed a full line of touch screen controllers, at Bose Corporation and designed the firmware and hardware for the Bose Acoustic Wave radio, at Zenith Corporation and designed the first programmable I.R. remote control, among numerous other projects. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois.
Tony Atti, PhD – Board Member
Tony is the Founder and CEO at Phononic, and has led the development and growth of leading company of solid state cooling and heating management solutions through accretive venture capital and institutional investor support. As a former Director at MHI Energy Partners, Tony managed deal flow networks, structured venture financing transactions, and provided portfolio company leadership. Tony earned his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Southern California. Tony also holds an MBA from New York University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Ithaca College.
J.T. Vaughn - Board Member
J.T. Vaughn is a Founding Vice President at Industrial Heat, an institutionally funded company focused on developing and commercializing novel clean energy technologies. He also serves as a Venture Investment Manager at Cherokee, where he has successfully managed both real estate and venture investments. Mr. Vaughn serves on an advisory committee for Sovereign’s Capital, a US and SE Asia-based venture capital firm focused on IT, healthcare and products and services that will benefit from the expanding middle class in emerging markets. Mr. Vaughn received a BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
David Goodnight – Board Member
David Goodnight is a Fund Manager and Member of the Bluegrass Angels, in Lexington Kentucky. He is current on Faculty at the University of Kentucky’s MBA program. He serves on the Board of two of the Bluegrass Angel Investments, SuperFanU and Smart Farm Systems.
He was an Investor, Board Member, COO and CFO at Jacobs Automation. David previously was with Lexmark for 14 years as Vice-President of Asia Pacific and Latin America, Corporate Controller, and CFO of Network Printer Division. He also had roles at Lockheed-Martin and Unisys. He has an MBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin.