The Aslan Team
Jes Tarp - CEO, Co-Founder, Director
Dr. Tarp’s formal work in the developing world began in 1999, first in education and later in economic development (in Ukraine). Over the past 10 years he has gained broad experience with start-up companies in developing countries. With a background in ministry, education and business Jes provides strong visionary leadership to the company. He started 5 different farms in Ukraine in addition to laying the groundwork for Rei do Agro in Mozambique and Aslan’s new project in Tanzania. He holds a Ph.D. in Theology from Trinity Theological Seminary and an MBA in Global Management from University of Phoenix.
Paul Larsen - CDO (Chief Development Officer), Co-Founder, Director
Mr. Larsen has 30 years experience as a business consultant, real estate professional and investment advisor. He focuses on investor development and relations, communication and branding, US operations, as well as all aspects of the company’s social and spiritual impact strategy. He is passionate about resource stewardship and development in the third world and speaks on ethics and stewardship issues. He holds a BA in Business and Theology from Bethel University.
Chishamiso Mawoyo - COO
‘Chish’ is the Chief Operating Officer of Aslan Group Africa and is in charge of operations in both Mozambique and Tanzania. Prior to this position he was in a senior management position at Matanuska, a $50 million start-up banana plantation in Mozambique under production contract with Chiquita Banana (Costa Rica). A CPA by training, Chish brings strong financial experience (primarily agri-business), and has held key management positions. As Chish played key roles in every facet of the start-up process aspect of Having worked in all aspect of the start-up process of Matanuska, he has intimate understanding of all the nuances of developing ‘greenfield’ agricultural projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. His knowledge of the professional workforce in agriculture in Mozambique has already proven an invaluable asset in identifying personnel for key production positions. His knowledge of the language and the culture is also a strong asset that he brings. He is originally from Zimbabwe, with English as his first language.
James Holder/Waypoint Private Capital - CFO/Capital Development Manager and Director
James E. Holder - Jim is a Managing Director of Waypoint Private Capital, Inc. bringing 30 years of business and financial management experience, dealing with middle market companies both as an executive and as an advisor. Waypoint provides investment banking services to mid-market companies in the Midwest region of the U.S. Previously, Jim served as a partner with InvestLinc Private Capital; a Chicago based private equity and merchant banking group providing services throughout the Midwest . From 1992 to 2004 Jim worked in industry serving in executive leadership roles in the software development, manufacturing, manufactured housing, and retail franchise industries. During that time led an industry roll-up strategy that resulted in a successful IPO and acquisition by a major competitor. As a member of the Financial Services Group at Coopers & Lybrand in the 80’s and early 90’s, Jim provided capital advisory services for public and private placements of capital, mergers and acquisitions, strategy formulation, business process engineering, and turnaround consulting. During this time he serviced over 100 clients in a variety of industries. Jim earned an MBA in finance from the University of Arkansas and a BA from Westminster College in Fulton, MO. He is a CPA in the states of Oklahoma and Colorado.
Kyle Newkirk - Director
Kyle Newkirk is the Director of Global Risk Management for S&D Coffee located in Concord, North Carolina where he oversees commodity risk management and global procurement operations.
Before joining S&D, Mr Newkirk held global procurement and risk management positions at General Mills and The Hershey Company, where he was also responsible for Hershey's "triple bottom line" programming, serving as a Executive Steering Committee member for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Cocoa Livelihoods Program, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Sustainable Tree Crops Program and on the agriculture sustainability committee for AIM-Progress, an international consortium of food and beverage manufacturers committed to environmental and social sustainability.
Additionally, Mr. Newkirk served as a USAID Foreign Service Officer overseeing international development and crisis relief operations with postings in Washington DC, Kabul, Afghanistan; and Bangkok, Thailand.
Originally from southern Kansas, Mr. Newkirk earned his Master of Science in Animal Science (Food Science) and his Bachelor of Science in Education from Oklahoma State University. He attended the University of Minnesota and serves on the board of Shelter for Life (SFL) - a faith-based international NGO as well as the Managing Director of Outside the Borders Group, and international development consultancy.
Wallie Hardie - Director
Wallie Hardie farms significant acreage with his son Josh near Fairmount North Dakota. He has a Bachelors and Masters Degree from North Dakota State University in Ag Business. Wallie has been involved in a number of value added enterprises in his career. He was a founder of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association in 1987. In 1991 he helped establish the North Dakota Corn Council (Checkoff Board) and was its first chairman. He was elected President of the National Corn Growers Association in 1996 and led a major restructuring that greatly enhanced the effectiveness of the 35,000 member organization. In recent years he has lead the research team of the corn growers and has been involved moving a number of cutting edge technologies toward commercialization.