Chris Rhodes will join the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) as director of industry partnerships and project-based learning in July.
Rhodes will facilitate CAES’s participation in the university’s Innovation District initiative. The Innovation District is envisioned as “a dynamic ecosystem of places, programs and people working together to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and experiential learning” at UGA.
The Innovation District will be a vehicle for bringing together initiatives from many areas — including the CAES FABricate program. It will foster UGA technology transfer and faculty startup formation and create opportunities for companies and startups to engage with students through project-based learning.
At CAES, Rhodes will act as a liaison with the agriculture industry, facilitating interactions between industry partners, students and faculty. “Chris will initially focus on developing industry partnerships to identify opportunities for interactions and collaboration,” said Allen Moore, associate dean for research at CAES.
“We are delighted to be one of the first colleges to devote resources to developing our participation in the Innovation District. We are excited by the potential to break down college and discipline boundaries, and to offer our students and faculty the opportunity to contribute their expertise to challenges that are transdisciplinary,” Moore said, adding that Rhodes’s hire was facilitated with partial support from the UGA Office of the President. “We are grateful for this help. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has exceptionally clever researchers and students, and we are excited by this new potential to apply our expertise in a wider context.”
Rhodes joins CAES after nearly six years with AGCO Corp., where he served in a variety of global leadership roles in business development, innovation, partnerships and strategy. Prior to AGCO, he spent more than eight years in strategic planning and project management with John Deere.
While earning his MBA at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Rhodes co-founded Precision BioSciences, a biotechnology company that specializes in gene editing for plant science and human therapeutics. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Dartmouth College.
“CAES is one of the top programs of its kind in the world, and the breadth of agricultural activities in Georgia provides UGA a unique opportunity to build a leading environment of entrepreneurship and public-private partnership,” said Rhodes. “I can’t wait to get started working with this amazing team to help ensure CAES is a top-of-mind partner for the global agriculture industry.”