MEET OUR STAFF

“Over the years, BIO-CAT has had the good fortune to hire excellent people to run our operation.”

Ed F. Schuler (1931-2020)
CEO and Co-Founder

Chris Schuler

CEO and President

Enzymes have been a part of Chris’ life since he was a kid. He began helping his father with his business when he was a senior in high school. With years of historical knowledge and a broad understanding of the enzyme industry, Chris controls all aspects of the company’s operations. After graduating from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology, Chris worked in the production department at Amano International Enzyme Company. When BIO-CAT was formed, Chris was in charge of customer sales and production. A decade later, he was promoted to president. As the leader of the executive leadership team, Chris plays a pivotal role in the overall strategic direction of the company.

Bill Stokes

CFO

Bill holds a degree in Accounting from North Carolina State University. He has spent over 25 years in the commercial finance industry, working as the Senior Vice President for StellarOne before joining BIO-CAT as the CFO in 2009. As a member of the executive team, he is responsible for developing company goals, objectives and strategic planning. He is proficient in understanding our current strengths and planning for the future.

Bill currently serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Ridge Bankshares, Inc.

Mark Walin

SVP of Business Development & Marketing

Mark has over 30 years’ experience with Abbott- the leading nutrition science & medical device/diagnostics company, and Perrigo- the largest global over-the-counter and topical prescription drug company. His experiences and responsibilities include strategic alliances, licensing, M&A, and product development. Mark leverages his unique and valued perspective to drive BIO-CAT's strategic initiatives and marketing efforts.

Katie Lecker

VP of Sales

Katie hails from Virginia Tech, and holds degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics with a field of study in Veterinary Business Management. She also has a minor in Animal and Poultry Sciences. She followed that up at UVA with a program in Strategic Sales Management. She joined BIO-CAT in 2007 as a biochemist in our lab, and is now the VP of Sales. Her ability to develop and maintain relationships with customers is key, providing product & industry knowledge, innovative tech information and exceptional customer service.

When Katie isn’t wow-ing our customers, she likes to travel. She’s visited over 25 different countries!

Patrick Woodson

VP Operations

Patrick manages the day-to-day operations of the company including inventory, purchasing and scheduling in both customer service and production arenas. Patrick is knowledgeable about the enzyme industry, having been exposed to it since the early 1980's while working at Amano International Enzyme Company. He later worked in the printing industry for several years and returned to the enzyme industry when BIO-CAT began to expand in the mid-1990's. He was promoted to Production/Purchasing Manager in 2002 and to General Manager in 2009.

Stephen Schuler

Assistant VP of Operations

Stephen has worked in various departments at BIO-CAT including Production, Quality, R&D, and Sales. He graduated from Towson University in 2014 with a dual Bachelors of Health Science Degree and a Psychology Minor. Before joining BIO-CAT he worked in the financial services industry for several years in Colorado.

Robert Boyd

Director of Compliance

Robert started with BIO-CAT in March of 2022. He has a degree in Chemistry from the University of Richmond. As a former executive at a health sciences company, Robert brings with him expertise in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device regulations. With a demonstrated history of success championing innovative new technologies in the healthcare industry, Robert’s expansive knowledge makes him an invaluable compliance team leader. He also has experience in FDA regulatory compliance, ISO 13485, as well as cGMP manufacturing for medical devices and pharmaceutical products.

Robert’s love of baseball has been passed down through 3 generations of Boyds. He now coaches his granddaughter’s team on the same local league that he and his son played on!

Sean Garvey PhD

Director of R&D

Sean’s extensive background and experience have significantly added to BIO-CAT’s R&D team since his joining the team in 2020. His PhD in Genetics and Genomics at Duke and years of post-doctoral work at the University of Virginia, coupled with his 20+ years of molecular biology experience and 9 years of industry R&D experience, allow our R&D department to make continued strides toward excellent enzyme production!

Kelly Tinker

R&D Lab Manager

Kelly joined BIO-CAT in 2008. After graduating from Elmira College with a degree in Biochemistry, she worked as an Analytical Chemist in a variety of different scientific fields including natural products, pharmaceuticals and polymers. At BIO-CAT she is responsible for managing all research and development applications and customer projects, providing innovative enzymatic solutions to customers and exploring groundbreaking ideas for novel uses of enzymes across the board. She also partners with BIO-CAT Microbials to develop unique combinations of enzymes and probiotics.

In her spare time Kelly enjoys getting her hands dirty working mechanically on cars.

Justin Guice, PhD

Senior Scientist

Justin has been with BIO-CAT since early 2019. His background includes exploring how dietary components: whole grains, fermentable fibers (namely resistant starches), and concentration of fat; interact separately and together to modulate the microbiome and to further understand subsequent changes to gene expression in the host. Academically, his background focused loosely on the concept of nutrigenetics (how the genetic background of an individual impacts the diet), and heavily on the concept of nutrigenomics (how food and food components affect an individual's gene expression).

Justin’s distinct experiences are invaluable to BIO-CAT, helping reach new heights and driving scientific change.

Jim Farmar, PhD

Principal Scientist

Jim joined the BIO-CAT R&D group in February of 2022. His background is in organic chemistry- starting with a B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Scranton then acquiring his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry. During Postdoctoral studies on Medicinal Biochemistry at The Rockefeller University, he was able to explore other applications for his training in chemistry and began his lifelong adventures in analytical chemistry with a focus on biomolecules. Over the decades, he's built and worked in core laboratories at biotech and biopharmaceutical companies, where he's supported research and drug development. Furthermore, Jim has supported a research institute and universities with valuable fundamental research.

Jim comes from a family of 7 kids, with three brothers and three sisters!

Sharon Francis

QA/QC Lab Manager

Sharon has been with BIO-CAT since 2012. She started as Biochemist in the Quality Control Lab and was then promoted to Quality Control Lab Manager. Her experience is founded in a B.S in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry. Chemistry has always been her passion; she knew from an early age that she wanted to work in a lab.

Sharon was born in Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) which is an island in the Caribbean. She enjoys travelling, playing sports and going to Caribbean inspired Carnival events. She is a powerlifter and has competed in 2 competitions where she has received gold medals (squats and deadlifts)!

Marc Jensen

Senior Business Development Manager

As a microbiologist, Marc started his career in the laboratory at UCLA and The University of Virginia before joining Bayer Health Care as a field representative. Marc held various positions at Bayer, which allowed him and his family to remain in the Charlottesville area for over 30 years. He joined BIO-CAT in 2013 and has been a valuable team member ever since.

Marc is an avid golfer, health coach to the stars and he LOVES hot yoga (don’t get him started!)

Kris Norman

Senior Business Development Manager

Kris joined Bio-Cat in June 2021. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Post University, earning her degree while working full time, and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Kris brings with her 30 years of experience in Sales & Marketing. She has spent her entire career in progressive roles with PepsiCo, Sara Lee, Boehringer Ingelheim and most recently from Perrigo where she managed the contract relationship with major Pharmaceutical Companies.

When Kris isn’t at work, she enjoys entertaining, cooking and baking. She enjoys “living off the land” and finding new recipes from the fruits of her husband’s garden. She also enjoys traveling to new places to try new wines and learn about their heritage. Italy has grown to be one of her favorite countries to visit because of the food, the wine and the culture. When she’s not preparing for the next event, you’ll find her relaxing with her husband and their fur babies!

Michael Hammond

Senior Account Manager

Michael brings over 20 years of business, purchasing and sales experience. He worked as the purchasing manager at PBM Products, the leading global supplier of store brand infant formula and baby/toddler foods. He was director of sales for firstSTREET, a consumer goods marketing company and also spent two tenures with Gold Violin, a multi-channel retailer selling products for independent living, as the inventory manager and director of wholesale. Michael holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Management from Radford University.

Michael is an avid sports fan- you can always find him cheering on UVA sports, the Steelers and the LA Angels!

Dan Little

Business Development Manager

Dan is a well-rounded member of the BIO-CAT team, with a degree in Biochemistry focusing on the crystal structure of nitric oxide synthase; he soon after achieved his MBA. He brings to the table 5 years of experience in product development of the enzyme and probiotic space.

When Dan isn’t at work, you can always find him cooking – with a belief that good food is essential to life. He also loves spending time in nature, and you can almost always find him out on the trails in the Shenandoah Valley.

Jenn Daughtrey

Account Manager

Jenn studied Sports Medicine at the University of Georgia. Prior to joining BIO-CAT in 2010, she worked for Yves Delorme in Charlottesville, VA, in Production, followed by Customer Service and the IT department. At BIO-CAT, her role started in Customer Service before being promoted to Account Manager in 2016, where she continues to provide quality service to current customers and actively seek new business.

Jenn enjoys going to the beach, watching sports, reading a good book and spending time with her family.

Akeisha Christmas

Account Manager

Akeisha started at BIO-CAT in 2017, in the customer service department. Before that, she worked for 12 years in the tour and travel industry, after getting a degree in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. She was just recently promoted to Account Manager!

Outside of work, Akeisha loves reading, spending time with her daughter and their dachshund.

Carolyn Anderson

Marketing Designer

Carolyn joined BIO-CAT in May of 2021. With a BA in graphic design, she adds to the marketing team after spending the previous 6 years working behind the scenes for customers at an apparel & promo products company.

In a former life Carolyn spent a short time as a competition ballroom dancer, but now enjoys a quieter life spending time with her husband, getting better at video/computer games, and watching the Harry Potter franchise movies.

Trish Vandagriff

Marketing Designer

Trish adds to the marketing team with a degree in Interior Design from the University of Cincinnati. Trish started with BIO-CAT in May of 2021. Previously she held a position as a graphic designer for a Design/Build company local to Charlottesville, VA, and has experience in marketing while working for major domestic flooring manufacturers.

Trish enjoys the outdoors. After college, she spent 3 months backpacking around Southeast Asia, and visited 7 countries during that time!

Tammy Perkins

Human Resources Manager

Tammy joined BIO-CAT in 2003 and is elemental. She has been in the lumber and banking industries prior to her time at BIO-CAT. She holds SHRM-CP and HRCI certifications, and earned her Certificate Degree in Human Resources from UVA in 2016 - proving that you're never too old to learn!

In her spare time, Tammy loves gardening, baking and spending time with her grandkids!

Mike Nash

VP of Operations, BIO-CAT Microbials

Mike joined BIO-CAT Microbials in 2008 as a production manager, and quickly transitioned to the VP of sales in 2009. Today he oversees the day-to-day operations and management of all employees in our Shakopee, MN location. Prior to BCM Mike worked in regional operations and personnel, where he increased sales, hired and built high-powered teams.

Chris Drahota

QA Coordinator

Chris’s background is in quality, and it shows in his work at BIO-CAT Microbials, joining the BIO-CAT team in 2019. He has spent over 20 years in the food and beverage industry focusing on quality in analytical and microbiology labs, supervisory roles, and ultimately management of quality department programs and staff for industry-leading manufacturers.

Jessica Spears, PhD

Director of R&D

Jessica has been with BIO-CAT Microbials as one of our Ph.D.’s since 2013. She has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and her doctorate in Microbiology from The Ohio State University. Before BIO-CAT, she studied RNA modifications, specifically focusing on tRNA deaminases, and spent a year at the RNA Institute at SUNY Albany looking at the role of tRNA modifications in potential HIV interventions. She now plays a pivotal role in the research and development of Microbials in our Shakopee, MN location.

Jessica has been building and collecting LEGO sets for 30 years. She has over 200,000 pieces in her collection!

Sebhat Gebrechristos

Research Scientist

Sebhat has been with BIO-CAT Microbials since 2009. He holds a Master of Biological Sciences, with emphasis on Microbiology. This plays into his role at BCM, where he researches microbial physiology, fermentation optimization and product development/application studies. Sebhat has really enjoyed being able to focus on areas of interest over the past 12 years!

In his spare time, you can find Sebhat cooking fusion cuisine or celebrating ALL things Minnesota Vikings!

Laura Brutscher, PhD

Research Scientist

Laura grew up on a dairy farm near Brainerd, MN and went to Concordia College in Moorhead, MN (2008-2012). There, she developed a strong interest in molecular biology and genetics and decided to pursue her PhD in microbiology at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT (2012-2017). Her graduate research involved using RNAseq to characterize the immune response of honey bees to virus infection, a major factor associated with bee colony loss. Laura then became a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis where she researched honey bee reproduction and learned how to artificially inseminate queen bees. In March of 2021, Laura joined BIO-CAT Microbials (BCM) as an R&D scientist where she contributes to probiotic development and genetic characterization of BCM bacillus strains using in-house sequencing and bioinformatics

On the weekends, Laura splits her time between spending time outdoors and transforming into a sloth. Laura loves to spend time outdoors with her husband and husky mix, jogging or cycling in the summer and skiing (downhill or cross-country) in the winter. Every fall, they take a backpacking trip in the Rockies. When feeling slothful, Laura enjoys playing video games and experimenting with GarageBand at home.

Lisa Burnette, PhD

QA/QC Lead Microbiologist

Lisa started with BIO-CAT Microbials in March 2019. After a brief position developing science curriculum for University of Minnesota Extension, she was brought on in a new position there as QA/QC Lead Microbiologist. After completing her BS in Forensic Science and Chemistry, she worked in the QC department of a sandwich manufacturer and enjoyed the way the Quality Control world looked at problems. There, she found a particular passion for implementing and improving microbiological testing. This led to getting her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Dakota, where she studied the bacterial responses to stress, in particular, the ways that E. coli and related organisms like Salmonella use their ribosomes to rapidly react to environmental threats.

Lisa has a HAM radio license, obtained while on the University of North Dakota Solar & Fuel Cell Car Team. It must have been fate for Lisa to work for BIO-CAT Microbials, as she toured what would become the BCM facility in a high school Microbiology class.

Tom Rydeen

Fermentation and Recovery Specialist

Tom joined BIO-CAT in 2019 after 19 years in manufacturing and process development of active pharmaceutical ingredients with a large biomedical company. He holds a BS in Biology, Comprehensive Science and Secondary Education and is a key player at our Shakopee, MN location with BIO-CAT Microbials.

In his spare time, Tom enjoys fishing and all things fermented, specifically with regard to brewing.

Lynne Lucht

Operations Support

Lynne graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication. She started as a temp in march of 2008, and has seen much change and growth with BIO-CAT Microbials since. She is involved with all aspects of customers’ needs, including receiving and processing orders, planning and writing up blends for production, maintaining customer information and formulations, just to name a few! She also handles Safety Data Sheets, spec sheets, vendor purchase orders and inventory balance. She loves spreadsheets, creating invaluable resources for many aspects of the organization.

Lynne has planned all of BIO-CAT Microbials’ Holiday parties since she started, all of which are themed based on something from the previous year. She also loves planning games and activities for everyone to participate in!

Join Our Team!

Join Our Team!

Join Our Team!

Our Teams

Compliance Team

Executive Team

R&D Team

QC/QA Team

Production Team

Customer Service Team

Production Team

BIO-CAT Microbials

IT/Finance Team

Laboratory Team

BIO-CAT Microbials

Let’s develop something together

We're as passionate as you are about scientific innovation that matters.

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