Aamer A. Sarfraz is founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Draper Oakwood Companies, which he established together with Tim Draper, one of the world's most successful venture capitalists.  This includes Draper Oakwood Capital Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.  Draper Oakwood is part of the Draper Venture Network (www.drapernetwork.com), the leading global collective of venture capital firms.

Aamer is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He is founder of several businesses, including Better Grain (www.bettergrain.co.uk) , which builds sustainable agricultural supply chains worldwide, working with thousands of small-hold farmers to use technology to grow better crops and increase livelihoods.  He is also founder of Indus Basin Holding (www.indusbasin.com), which invests in Pakistan.

From 2006 - 2014, Aamer served as Managing Director of The Electrum Group (UK) LLP, which was part of The Electrum Group, a global private equity business investing in natural resources, headquartered in New York. At The Electrum Group, Mr. Sarfraz was involved in building international strategic partnerships, sourcing and evaluating new opportunities, fundraising, international business development for portfolio companies, managing government relations, and overseeing the management of various mineral exploration projects. 

Previously, Aamer served as Business Development Director in the London office of Ithmar Capital Partners, a Dubai based private equity fund, where he was responsible for the development of an international network of co-investors. He started his career as an Analyst in the venture capital team at 3i Group plc in London, where he worked on evaluating new technology investment opportunities, due diligence, and value addition strategies. 

Aamer serves as a Member of the International Advisory Board of Texas A&M University (www.tamu.edu), Trustee of the Cogito Scholarship Foundation in London (www.cogitoscholar.org), Member of the Wolfson College Strategy Group in Oxford (www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk), Member of the President’s Circle at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston (www.bcm.edu), Trustee of his family foundation - the Fazaldad Institute (www.fazaldad.org), Trustee of the Cheetah Conservation Fund UK (www.cheetah.org.uk), and Member of the Board of Governors of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan(www.wwfpak.org).  He is Honorary Consul of Estonia in Pakistan.

Aamer founded the Govtech Alliance (www.govtechalliance.org), a UK not-for-profit which promotes technology and innovation for delivering better public services.

He holds an MSc (with Distinction) in Information Systems from the London School of Economics & Political Science, and graduated from Boston University’s School of Management. While still a graduate student, he conceived of and launched the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship.

Dr Lewis Norman
President, Guar

Dr. Lewis Norman is a veteran oil & gas industry technical expert, with 40 years of experience.

Dr. Norman served in a number of roles at Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) from 1976 – 2013. Most recently, he was appointed Halliburton Fellow, the company’s highest and most prestigious technical position.  Over his career at Halliburton, he directed and executed scientific research, and applied theories and principles to develop and improve products, processes and methodologies. He holds 81 US patents, has published 45 academic papers, and is considered an industry expert the use of guar gum in oil & gas. He has been a keynote speaker at over a dozen industry events.

Dr. Norman has served as Executive Board Member on the Chevron Texaco JIP on Gas Hydrates, Chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board NSF Center for Surfactants at Columbia University, Board Member on the Industrial Advisory Board at the University of Houston, Member of the Crisman Institute Centre from Unconventional Resources at Texas A&M University.

He holds a PhD in Chemistry from Texas Tech University and completed his post doctoral fellowship at Rice University.

Joe Rickman
Sustainability SPECIALIST

Joe is an agronomist and an agricultural engineer with more than 40 years of experience working in Australia, Asia, Canada and Africa. Joe is recognized internationally as an authority on crop production, farm mechanization and post-harvest in cereal cropping systems. He has authored or co-authored many scientific and extension papers, training manuals as well as co-authored one book on Tillage Equipment-Selection and Use. His areas of expertise are crop production management, postharvest management, farm mechanization, extension and training, operation management.

Joe was Regional Coordinator for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) (2006-2013), Head of the IRRI Agriculture Engineering and Research Station (2000-2006), IRRI Agricultural Engineer in Cambodia (1995-2000), Senior Extension Agronomist with the Queensland Department Primary Industry (1981-1994), Tutor in Farm Management and Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland (1977-1980).

Lynn Norman DVM, MPH, COL (ret)
US Operations Director

Lynn Norman is Operations Director for the United States. He has over 30 years of management and executive leadership experience.

He held various command and staff positions during a 23 year U.S. Army military career. He concluded military service as a regional commander covering 17 states with 300 personnel. His military training includes Command and Staff College, Total Quality Management, and the Army War College. He retired as a Colonel.

After military retirement, he continued in public service and served in several leadership roles. He was the Mayor of the City of Clinton, Oklahoma for five years. He started a new Junior ROTC leadership program at the local high school. He was the Executive Director for the state veterinary medical association. He just finished the establishment of a completely new veterinary technician training program for a private college.

His Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine is from Oklahoma State University, and his Masters in Public Health is from the University of Hawaii.

Ali Tariq
Chief Operating Officer, South Asia

Muhammad Ali Tariq has more than 15 years diversified experience in the development sector, as well as in the private sector. He has extensive experience in delivering educational and capacity building projects in collaboration with national and international development organisations. 

He has organised and delivered dozens of training seminars on different subjects related to human rights and the rights of children. He has setup and monitored many free medical camps in rural areas of Pakistan. He has held senior roles with the Fazaldad Human Rights Institute, Action Aid Pakistan and Centre for Civic Education. His previous experience in the development sector has helped him build and launch pioneering contract farming programs.

His passion is social work and he is a volunteer board member of Centre for Peace and Human Rights and The Angels Foundation for Special Children.  He holds an MBA and several international certifications in human rights.

Polly Milne
Logistics Manager

Polly Milne is based in London and manages European logistics at Better Grain.

Polly started her career in SEO and journalism before spending 7 years working at The Electrum Group in London (previously Tigris Financial Group), one of the most successful private investors in natural resources worldwide, particularly in gold and precious metals mining.

She holds a BA Hons degree in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and a Diploma in Hispanic Studies from the Colegio de Estudios Hispánicos, Salamanca.