Award honors co-founder’s entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen

ST. LOUIS, MO – March 15, 2024 – Benson Hill, Inc., an ag tech company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, recently awarded its second annual Mockler Innovator Award to Bob Koester, Director of Breeding and Trait Introgression at Benson Hill. Created in January 2023 to honor the company’s late co-founder Todd Mockler, PhD, the prestigious award honors a technology leader who has made substantial contributions to the company through creative problem-solving, scientific excellence, and an entrepreneurial mindset.

“Todd’s legacy is marked by an unwavering curiosity for the natural world and a commitment to leveraging plant science and data science to tackle significant challenges, and Bob’s recent contributions mirror those values,” said Jason Bull, Chief Technology Officer at Benson Hill. “Bob’s passion, creativity, and drive to optimize our breeding programs using cutting-edge data science has been game-changing and has directly led to exciting new feed and food products entering the market in record time.”

Throughout his 7 years at Benson Hill, Koester has consistently shown a commitment to deepening his scientific knowledge and technology in agriculture. Koester started as a crop physiologist in the corn program at Benson Hill. He rapidly expanded his impact and responsibilities and today oversees the company’s Breeding and Trait Introgression teams, which are at the heart of Benson Hill’s mission to leverage genomics to create better feed and better food. His recent redesign and optimization of the company’s soybean breeding and trait integration program using predictive analytics resulted in accelerated product development, improved risk profiles, and greater efficiencies.

“It is an incredible honor to receive this award, which is steeped in the identity of Benson Hill,” said Koester. “I always admired how Todd was able to translate his innovations in plant science into real-world business applications. It’s that application of science to solve problems that motivates me to do what I do.”

Koester graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology. His research, both during his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri and as a graduate research assistant, contributed to understanding crop responses to climate change and the efficiencies of light interception and energy conversion in soybeans.

About Benson Hill
Benson Hill moves food forward with the CropOS® platform, a cutting-edge food innovation engine that combines data science and machine learning with biology and genetics. Benson Hill empowers innovators to unlock nature’s genetic diversity from plant to plate, with the purpose of creating better feed and better food. More information can be found at or on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @bensonhillinc.


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