Our Team

How We Work With You

Ceres is led by professionals with a depth of experience across commodity, energy and logistics industries and an understanding of what is important to our customers – Collaboration, Precision, Value. From our storage and port facilities to our trading desks and everything in between, we build long-term partnerships across all product segments: agriculture, energy & industrial products, and logistics. We actively partner with our customers and strategic partners to focus on adding value add and delivering the right solutions.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Henry Ford

Our Leaders

Photo of Carlos Paz

Carlos Paz

President and CEO, Board Member

Carlos Paz joined Ceres in January of 2020 as Vice President and Commercial Director and was promoted to President and CEO in August of 2022.  He has over 25 years of experience in a wide variety of leadership, trading, and merchandising roles across North America, Latin America, and Europe, working for companies such as Continental Grain, Cargill, and most recently Freepoint Commodities.  Mr. Paz holds bachelor’s degrees in General Business Management and Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University.

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Blake Amundson

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Blake Amundson joined Ceres in 2015 as a Manager of Financial Reporting and was promoted to Financial Controller in 2016 before becoming the Vice President and CFO in June of 2022.  Prior to that, he worked for both Xcel Energy in financial planning and analysis, and KPMG in the assurance group where his focus was financial reporting and controls for public companies.  Mr. Amundson is a CPA and holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

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Holly Dammer

Vice President of Human Resources

Holly Dammer joined Ceres in April of 2022 as Vice President of Human Resources.  Prior to joining Ceres, she worked for Surescripts as an HR Director from 2018-2022, CHS from 2015-2018 and Cargill, Inc. from 2009-2015.  While at Cargill, she had an international HR assignment in the United Kingdom.  Ms. Dammer has a Master of Arts and a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota.

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Pat Gathman

Vice President, Operations

Pat Gathman joined Ceres on May 29, 2019 as Agriculture Operations Director and was promoted to Vice President of Operations on July 1, 2021. Prior to Ceres, Mr. Gathman was with Bunge and Cargill across the US and Brazil in facility operational roles. He brings a depth of industry experience across key business areas with over 25 years of operational leadership experience across the oilseed processing and grain agribusiness. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Dakota State University.

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Paul Backowski

Commercial Director

Paul Backowski joined Ceres in August 2015 as a Merchandiser. While at Ceres, Mr. Backowski was promoted to Product Line Manager for durum before becoming the Commodities Leader for Ceres core product lines.  As of October 2022, he will serve as the Commercial Director.  Prior to joining Ceres, Backowski worked at DeBruce Grain as a Merchandiser and The Scoular Company as a Merchandiser. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and is currently pursuing his MBA with the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

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Dale Heide

Managing Director

Dale Heide joined Ceres in 2019 as part of the Delmar acquisition and has been serving as the Managing Director of Delmar.  As co-owner of Delmar, Mr. Heide spent over 20 years building the business from one grain elevator into a diversified business consisting of grain handling, seed, crush, and specialty crop packaging.  Prior to Delmar, he worked at Richardson International as Regional Merchandiser and at ADM as a Canola Merchant.  Mr. Heide has an agribusiness diploma from Assiniboine Community College in Manitoba.

Jeff Wildeman

Managing Director

Jeff Wildeman joined Ceres in November 2018 as the Canadian Commercial Director and has been promoted to Managing Director as of October 2022.  Prior to joining Ceres, he spent 17 years at Cargill in sales and commercial leadership roles in the grain, crush, and crop input retail business.    Mr. Wildeman currently sits on the Board of Directors for CANTERRA SEEDS.  He previously served on the board of the Canadian Association of Agricultural Retailers, Field to Market Canada and Southwest Terminals.  Mr. Wildeman has a master’s degree in Plant Sciences from the University of Saskatchewan.

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Glen Goldman

Vice-President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary

Glen Goldman joined Ceres on May 22, 2018 as Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary.  Prior to joining Ceres, Glen spent 20 years practicing law at Cargill, Incorporated, one of the world’s largest global businesses. While at Cargill, Glen served as senior counsel to a variety of core Cargill businesses, providing strategic legal counseling on a broad array of complex commercial legal matters. Glen began his legal career as an associate in a large Minneapolis law firm, focusing primarily on litigation matters.  He holds a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and a BA from Macalester College.

Our Board of Directors

Photo of Carlos Paz

Carlos Paz

President and CEO, Board Member

Carlos Paz joined Ceres in January of 2020 as Vice President and Commercial Director and was promoted to President and CEO in August of 2022.  He has over 25 years of experience in a wide variety of leadership, trading, and merchandising roles across North America, Latin America, and Europe, working for companies such as Continental Grain, Cargill, and most recently Freepoint Commodities.  Mr. Paz holds bachelor’s degrees in General Business Management and Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University.

Photo of James Vanasek

James Vanasek

Chairman of the Board

Mr. James Vanasek is a Principal at VN Capital Management, LLC. Prior to forming VN Capital, Mr. Vanasek spent the previous three and a half years working at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Initially, Mr. Vanasek provided restructuring advice during the Asian economic crisis and his work with the Indonesian car company, PT Astra International, helped JPMorgan win Finance Asia’s Restructuring Deal of the Year Award. Upon returning to New York in 1999, he focused on providing leveraged finance to U.S. and Latin American companies in JPMorgan’s Financial Sponsor Coverage and Global Syndicated Finance groups. He is a Director of American Locker Group Inc.and a member of the New York State Bar Association. Mr. Vanasek earned a B.A. degree from Yale University, a J.D. degree from Columbia Law School, and an M.B.A. degree from Columbia Business School.

Photo of Tom Coyle

Tom Coyle

BOARD MEMBER

Mr. Coyle has over 40 years of both domestic and international experience in the industry.  He began his grain industry career with Continental Grain Co., where he eventually became Vice President of Origination responsible for 51 grain facilities for its North American Grain Division in Chicago. During his career with Continental Grain, he also worked as a Facility Manager, Regional Merchandiser, Soybean Trading Manager, Regional Manager, Assistant General Manager, and as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. Following Continental Grain’s sale to Cargill, he established Nidera’s grain handling business in the US; a business focused on the convergence of cash & futures, which he managed for 18 years until its acquisition by Cofco.  He retired in 2019 as Managing Director North America at Cofco International.

Mr. Coyle is a former Chairman of the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), Chairman of the NGFA Risk Committee and was a member of the NGFA Executive Committee for 16 years. He has been a member of each of the regulated futures markets serving US agriculture; Chicago Board of Trade, Minneapolis Grain Exchange, Kansas City Board of Trade, and a member of the CFTC Agriculture Advisory Committee and the CFTC Market Risk Advisory Committee.

Mr. Coyle is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago and received his MBA from The University of Dayton (Ohio).

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Harvey Joel

Board Member

Mr. Joel has over 30 years of experience in a range of corporate leadership roles and is currently the Principal of an Infrastructure and Supply Chain Advisory that offers a variety of services to assist clients to build, implement and optimize supply chain, logistics and transportation solutions. From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Joel was Vice President, Logistics for Canadian National Railway. In that role, he led and was accountable for a diverse group of transportation and supply chain services designed to interface with rail and deliver complete supply chain solutions. This group of businesses included warehousing, transloads, bulk commodity distribution terminals, auto handling distribution and accessorization facilities, marine terminals, ships, custom brokerage, freight forwarding and truck brokerage. Prior to joining CN, Mr. Joel held a number of Senior Management positions at Norbord Industries including strategic planning, business development, operations improvement, sales, marketing and logistics. Mr. Joel has a MBA and a HBA in Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

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David Rotenberg

Board Member

David Rotenberg is a Principal at Bixby Bridge Capital, LLC (“Bixby”), a private investor and lender founded in 1992 and headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, and certain affiliates of Bixby are investors with Ceres’s largest shareholder, VN Capital Fund C, LP. Mr. Rotenberg’s investment portfolio includes commercial real estate, operating businesses, private equity, and secured financings. He also serves as Bixby’s in-house legal counsel and is licensed to practice law in Illinois. Prior to joining Bixby in 2007, Mr. Rotenberg practiced law in Chicago. He received a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 2004 and graduated with honors from Vassar College in 1999.

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Harold Wolkin

BOARD MEMBER

Mr. Wolkin is an accomplished investment banker and financial analyst with over 40 years of experience. He retired in 2011 from the position of Executive Vice President and Head of Investment Banking with Dundee Capital Markets. Mr. Wolkin also served with BMO Capital Markets for 25 years, holding the position of Managing Director, Diversified Industries. Since 2011, Mr. Wolkin has continued to serve as an independent director on a number of public and private company boards, and non-for-profit organizations. He was a past President of the CFA Society of Toronto, a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute since 1980 and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Mr. Wolkin received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from York University and a Masters of Arts in Economics and Finance from the University of Toronto. Mr. Wolkin is also a graduate and member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.