The SmartAction framework is adaptable to any farm. Both online and offline data collection are features that add tremendous flexibility in poor connectivity situations. We have had 100% connectivity in Midwest customer locations.
In 2019, Ed Bahler, Scott Whitlock and Jon Hoek came together with a shared vision. They brought a combined 70+ years of pig production and tech industry wisdom with them. Their vision was rooted in their lifelong connection to the agriculture community and the belief that pig farmers deserve smarter ways to care for animals and feed communities: smarter processes, smarter tech, and smarter frameworks. We’re on a mission to help the next generation of family-owned farms.
Ed's roots in row crop and livestock agriculture date back to the late 1800s when the Bahler family settled in Northwest Indiana. In 1958, Ed's father started a post-frame construction company to meet local farmers' equipment storage and livestock facility needs, seizing the opportunity from the mechanization and specialization of agriculture that exploded in the 1950s-60s. He called it Farm Builder Inc. which was renamed FBi Buildings in 1986.
With an Agriculture Engineering from Purdue University, he helped build the family business with three siblings. In 2011, he then shifted to leading FBi Buildings and has grown it into five companies that design and build facilities primarily for large-scale agriculture production. In 2018, Ed launched Summit SmartFarms.
Jon Hoek was raised in the south suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, where his grandfather inspired him to pursue a career in agriculture. He earned a degree in Agricultural Production with a concentration in Swine Management.
For ten years, Jon and his family owned and operated a farrow-to-finish swine enterprise. Jon worked at Belstra Milling Company for 20 years in various roles, concluding as Vice President of Pig Production. In 2019, he co-founded Summit SmartFarms with Ed Bahler to service the protein industry as a people-centric innovation broker, developing and assembling technologies for result optimization.
Valerie grew up on a farrow to finish pig farm near Santa Claus, Indiana, and attended Purdue University. Upon graduation, she returned to the family farm, where she was part of the operation for 15 years.
She spent three years with Swine Management Services as a Production Analyst before joining the Summit SmartFarms team in 2019. Valerie has traveled throughout the country and Asia working on farms with producers in many capacities, from production training, employee management, and data analysis.
Valerie and her husband, Ben, still reside near Santa Claus, where they farm and are raising their two sons, Blake and Jace.
Darby grew up on the Gulf Coast, mainly in Texas and Louisiana. She's a proud graduate of Mississippi State University (B.S. in Animal Science) and North Carolina State University (M.S. in Animal Sciences). Her master's level work was under the direction of Dr. Billy Flowers, focusing on applied swine reproductive physiology.
Before, during, and after her studies, Darby has spent time in barns working with multipliers and commercial operations.
Darby is passionate about the swine industry, developing relationships with the people who feed the world and working together to improve.
Gage grew up in Noblesville, Indiana. At a young age, he gained a passion for technology and, with his father's mentoring, learned how to write code and develop software applications.
Later, Gage attended Purdue University and earned a B.S. in Computer and Information Technology.
Before Summit SmartFarms, Gage worked in the discrete manufacturing industry, building large-scale software applications to support and enhance production processes for various industries and customers.
Gage, his wife - Katie, and two sons - Finn and River, reside in Westfield, Indiana. He enjoys spending time with his family, doing anything outdoors, and working on a few nerdy projects here and there.
Scott Whitlock grew up on a 70-acre pig farm in rural southeast Indiana. The oldest of four farm boys, he learned a hard work ethic at a young age. Scott chose to attend Purdue University and use those early years as a springboard toward an engineering career.
In 1996, Scott founded Flexware Innovation, the go-to engineering firm for forward-thinking manufacturers that need to integrate their business and production systems to minimize their resources. Flexware is a prominent partner for Summit SmartFarms because of its orientation toward production, operations, technology, and continuous improvement.