Management Team

Jack Grushcow

Jack Grushcow is the Founder, President and CEO of Smart Earth Seeds and its parent, Linnaeus Plant Sciences. Prior to founding Smart Earth and Linnaeus, Mr. Grushcow was the Founder and CEO of Consumers Software Inc., one of Canada’s largest software companies. The company was acquired by Microsoft in 1991, in what was then the largest transaction of its kind. The technology developed by Consumers Software provides the underpinnings of the Microsoft Mail family of products including MS Outlook.

Mr. Grushcow served on the Science Council of British Columbia from 1991-1993. He was selected as one of British Columbia’s top business people under the age of 40 by B.C. Business Magazine and has been awarded Canada’s top export development award. He has authored three books on the subject of applying computer systems to business applications with Prentice-Hall and two books in the area of analyzing commodity futures with John Wiley & Sons.

David Csumrik
Chief Financial Officer
David Csumrik is the Chief Financial Officer of Smart Earth Seeds and its parent, Linnaeus. Prior to joining Smart Earth (Linnaeus) in 1997, Mr. Csumrik carried on the practice of law since 1988 - primarily in the areas of corporate finance and technology. From 1984 to 1997 Mr. Csumrik was Chief Financial Officer of CSI Development Corp. CSI Development Corp. (then called Consumers Software Inc.) was a software development and marketing company whose principal product was The Network Courier, electronic mail and communications. Mr. Csumrik holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (economics and accounting) from the University of Toronto (1973) and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of British Columbia (1982).
Debbie Puttick
Research Team Leader
Debbie Puttick is the Oilseeds Research Team Leader and Biotechnology Specialist at Smart Earth Seeds. She has over 22 years of industry experience in molecular biology and lipid protein expression. At Smart Earth Ms. Puttick performs a variety of functions: managing the crop research program, preparing funding proposals, implementing the confined release programs and managing external collaborations with DuPont-Pioneer, POS BioSciences and the University of Saskatchewan amongst others. Prior to her work at Smart Earth, Ms. Puttick managed a fee-for-service analytical chemistry lab for Phenomenome Discoveries Inc. and was the Research Lab Supervisor for the Molecular Lab for Aventis Plant Sciences Inc. Ms. Puttick graduated with the highest honours from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry.
David Roberts
Communications & Media Relations
David Roberts manages Communications and Media Relations for Smart Earth Seeds. He is news media liaison and maintains Smart Earth's digital and social media presence. Mr. Roberts also conducts strategic industry and market research for the company. He holds an MA in Journalism and spent more than 20 years as a news reporter, mostly with The Globe and Mail. He is a 3-time National Newspaper Award nominee. He also served in the Communications and Consultation Secretariat of the federal Privy Council Office as a non-partisan strategic advisor. He is a recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists Journalism Award.
Kevin Falk
Kevin Falk retired from Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in 2017 and launched a consultancy business with a focus on plant breeding and genetics of field crops shortly thereafter. Dr. Falk worked as Research Scientist and Project Leader at AAFC – Saskatoon Research Centre from 1992 to 2017. His specialties were canola, industrial oilseed/mustard and camelina breeding. Previous to that he was a canola breeder for Mildola Oy of Helsinki, Finland and Advanta Seeds Inc. Canada (formerly ICI Seeds), Winnipeg, Manitoba (1987 - 1992). Dr. Falk holds a BSc. (Agr.) (1981) and MSc. (Agr.) (1983) from the University of Guelph, and a Ph.D. from the University of Saskatchewan with a major in Plant Breeding (1991). Over the course of his career Dr. Falk has developed, commercialized and/or licensed seven canola, three Ethiopian mustard, and one camelina varietie(s).
Advisory Board
Ernie Unger
Mr. Unger is an experienced senior executive with a diverse range of experience in management, technical and market service, supply chain management, quality control, and sales and risk management. Mr. Unger spent 40 years in the Oilseed and Edible Oils industry, retiring from Cargill, Inc., Idaho Falls, Idaho on January 1, 2010. While at Cargill, Mr. Unger was primary lead in a startup business using biotechnology and conventional plant breeding to develop a new class of high-stability zero-trans-fat edible oils that provided improved food taste and odours. He was instrumental in building a specialty oils business from primary concept to a very successful commercial business with annual sales of several hundred million dollars. He held positions as Director of Operations, General Manager/Business Unit Leader.
Larry McNamara
Mr. McNamara has been in the Fats and Oils business since 1969, focusing on soybean and corn products in the United States and canola oilseed products in Canada. Mr. McNamara was President and CEO of Canbra Foods, where oil and meal sales supported a 1,200 MT per day crushing plant. After leaving Canbra in 1998, Mr. McNamara worked with Dow AgroSciences to introduce the specialty canola oilseed, Nexara. He then worked with Ellis Don Corporation to build an expeller pressed oilseed business which was later sold to Viterra Inc.