To support its continuing expansion in the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) space, national design-build and construction company Clayco has hired Ron Mitchell as director of controlled environment agriculture. Mitchell will be applying his vast horticultural expertise to all Clayco’s CEA projects. As part of Clayco’s Food and Beverage team, he will advise project teams and cultivate relationships with growers.
“I’m excited to support Clayco in its mission to organize the engineering and procurement process to adapt to each grower’s unique objectives,” says Mitchell. “I will be the liaison between biology and engineering. My experience lends increased understanding of agriculture, plant health and the growing process.”
Mitchell started his indoor farming career working at the UC Berkeley field office greenhouse with Paul Droll, the father of modern hydroponics. Throughout his career, Mitchell has founded numerous vertical farms in places as diverse as Hawaii and West Africa. He has worked as a respected consultant in the CEA industry. Most recently, he was the master grower and director of grow operations at OnePointOne, Inc, a vertical farm startup.
“We are thrilled to have Ron join our team,” says Anthony Johnson, president & shareholder and Industrial Business Unit leader. “Safety and speed are our specialties, and growers need to move quickly to solve the world’s food supply chain issues. Clayco’s integrated approach and ability to provide services across design, engineering, and construction is a game changer for this industry.”
“Ron’s expertise in the industry will help ensure that our projects are in line with CEA specific standards, best practices and technology, especially in an industry that is rapidly growing,” adds Ron Jones, senior principal at Clayco. “Ron embraces innovation and alternative project delivery methods, and his extensive industry knowledge enables him to provide valuable insights during all stages of a CAPEX project.”
Clayco is involved in CEA projects with a capex value over $2 billion and has been involved with nearly 150 acres of CEA space over the past two years alone, including multiple national multi-site programs in the vertical grow and greenhouse space.