About the Team:

In the fall of 2010, a team of John Brown University students recognized the need for increased efficiency within the food industry and began searching for relevant solutions. The team quickly noticed an important link between tenderness and meat quality: consumers desire a more accurate way to evaluate the overall palatability of their beef. Lawson Hembree, Jose David Andrade, Kirk Dennison, and Lauren Kessler decided to create a business centered on a common passion: transforming food quality measurement. With their acquired knowledge of and experience in marketing, sales, accounting, management, and international business, the team members formed Agricultural Food Systems.

Chief Executive Officer- Lawson Hembree, V

Lawson Hembree graduated with honors from John Brown University in May 2011 with a B.S. in Marketing and a minor in Outdoor Leadership Ministry. During his internship at the Arkansas World Trade Center, Lawson played a key role in organizing events for foreign dignitaries and managing the company’s resources. He served as the Vice President of the JBU Ultimate Frisbee Club team and was responsible for logistics, including housing, transportation, and food, for each tournament that the team attends. In addition to his work experience, Lawson and his family have been involved in breeding and raising registered Angus cattle for the past decade. His background in the beef industry will help AFS as it seeks to bridge communication gaps between producers, processors, and consumers. He will also use his industry knowledge to aid AFS’ new product development. Lawson has exceptional organizational skills and a drive to see tasks through to completion with excellence.

Connect with Lawson on LinkedInTwitter, or his blog.

Chief Operating Officer- Kirk Dennison

Kirk graduated Cum Laude from John Brown University in December 2010 with a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.S. in Marketing. He spent two summers learning the fundamentals of investment banking as an Intern and Analyst at a middle-market Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory Firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. While at JBU, he led a SIFE project that allowed 150 middle school entrepreneurs to set up business in the Northwest Arkansas Mall for a day. Kirk also served as a key member of the JBU Funding Board for two years, allocating over $80,000 to student functions. He has extensive sales experience, generating over $500,000 of revenue over three summers. Kirk also started two successful businesses. His broad range of experiences and knowledge, analytical nature, ability to communicate effectively, and problem solving skills position him to serve successfully as the COO of AFS. 

Connect with Kirk on LinkedIn

Chief Marketing Officer- Jose David (“JD”) Andrade

Jose David Andrade graduated from John Brown University in May 2011 with a B.S. in International Business and a B.S. in Marketing. He has extensive marketing experience from creating various marketing plans for businesses such as Books on Broadway, and a self-created company, Indian Bedding Company. Additionally, Jose David has worked in the fields of sales, banking, and marketing for Telefonica, S.A., a global technology company based in Nicaragua, for whom he led three national marketing campaigns. Due to his international background, he will play an invaluable role in future expansion into foreign markets. Jose David also worked at JBU as an Assistant Resident Director, putting his outstanding communication skills and interpersonal relations to use. His experiences and his outgoing and visionary personality enable him to add value to AFS.

Connect with JD on Facebook

Chief Financial Officer- Lauren Kessler-Morriss

Lauren Kessler-Morriss graduated from John Brown University in December 2010 with a B.S. in International Business and a minor in Accounting. During her internship at Worldwide Innovations and Technologies, Lauren managed accounts and databases to help make the company more efficient and streamline its data for further analysis. She has also worked at Liberty Bank of Arkansas assisting customers with monetary transactions. Lauren has worked in management positions, developing strong communication skills. Her resourcefulness and multi-tasking abilities allow her to adapt to any challenge and her problem-solving nature allows her to identify problems, analyze them, and develop solutions that drive success. Lauren’s experience in handling cash flows, her knowledge of accounting, and her attention to detail enable her to help Agricultural Food Systems experience operational efficiencies as CFO.

Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn.


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Contact the AFS Management Team

Interested in business opportunities (purchasing, investing, partnering, etc.) with Agricultural Food Systems?
Email the management team of Agricultural Food Systems at:
Agricultural Food Systems
PO Box 6122
Springdale, AR 72766

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