“The women we have hired at Precision AI are selected because they are the best candidate for the role. They are the best at what they do in their field.”
When we discussed the idea of this showcase of our team internally, this was the comment that resonated most. Precision AI is proud to have a 30% (and climbing) female workforce, while the national average of women in tech is 20%. Not only are we proud of the highly qualified team we have amassed, but we are grateful that these passionate people choose to represent Precision AI. Take the time to read through these short features and you can see that is absolutely the case.
The Voice You Want When Talking AgriTech
Heather Clair, Product Manager
Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing
There is no better person for the job when advocating for the needs of farmers. With over 17 years marketing experience with farm customers at AgPro, Cargill, and FCL, as well as a lifetime on the farm, Heather knows agriculture better than most. “What is my career? That’s honestly a hard question! I received my business degree, majoring in marketing, and then I kind of fell into agriculture. I fell in love with the business side of ag and it has turned out great,” remarks Heather.
She found herself always gravitating toward using the newest tools to advance the industry, incorporating higher levels of technology to increase efficiencies, reduce carbon footprint, and to make the farm even more environmentally sustainable.
“There were these new marketing tools that you could use to sell your grain. I researched the crap out of them, figured out how to make my farmer’s money with special daily and fixed price contracts. I used that to differentiate myself,” she explained. “So, When I saw the opportunity to work with Precision AI I jumped on it. The posting had been up for maybe 3 hours when I applied. I thought, ‘they are creating a product they want to sell, but it has the farmer’s best interest in mind. I can help advance this.’ It was an absolute pairing for me.”
Her advice for women looking to get into agriculture is: “The number of women in agriculture has gone from me being the only person in the room to there being more than 50% of the agronomists coming out of the U of S being women. Agriculture is an incredibly empowering and satisfying career. You need to live it with passion or this field will tear your heart out.”
Building A Better World Through Automation and Computer Science
Jannatul Mourey, AI Engineer
Master of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science & Engineering
Janna’s goal, no matter the industry, always centers around helping improve lives. A look at her LinkedIn profile will show you a glimpse of her outstanding research. She received her Master of Science at the University of Alberta and Bachelor of Science from BRAC University, and has impressive citations in projects that include a way to alert authorities of a detected human fall and a virtual reality game to practice crisis situations like a house fire. Her favorite project before Precision AI was with Servus Credit Union. They created technology that can detect if someone is happy or stressed about their finances.
“I initially chose communication engineering as my main subject. Then I took computer science as my course out of the department,” says Janna. “When I started, I was coding in Java, and I felt like I was building something that someone is going to use, and it will make their life easier. When I’m building a system that will help people minimize their workload and maximize automation, that’s the main reason I chose this path.”
Her advice to women looking to enter her field: “Being a feminist I will say, if you have passion for it and love math, then go for it and try yourself in the field. Together, let’s change the world.”
Marketing was the Final Puzzle Piece She Wasn’t Looking for
Jessica Day, Marketing Manager
Bachelor of Applied Arts, Visual Communications
Jessica’s advice for those looking to get her field is – ‘Have a plan, but don’t be afraid to go with the flow. The best things that come out of life and your career are things that you did not plan for.’
Originally from Regina, Jessica loves the open prairies and small town feel in Saskatchewan, taking on projects with a purpose and, her dog Gibs. She went to school with the intention of completing a master’s in industrial design. She soon realized that would mean always living in a large cities, losing that prairie connection. Once graduated, she instead settled into graphic design and freelancing, never feeling a true relationship to the retail style businesses she worked with.
In 2017, She was approached to apply for the Marketing & Communications Coordinator role at Medalta in the Historic Clay District, a not-for-profit museum, community hub, and contemporary ceramic arts facility in Medicine Hat, AB. The position was not something she expected herself in, but the challenging and rewarding work there changed her career path and opened her eyes to the possibilities of making a difference for her fellow humans. “It was like you’re about to finish a puzzle, and that feeling of that last puzzle piece just popping into place. That was what marketing for organizations with a true purpose felt like for me.”
When she began her job search, she only sought out organizations that had mission statements that truly resonated with her. That led her to Precision AI. “As soon as I saw Precision AI, it was really apparent that these people were very passionate about the project and sustainability in Agriculture.” Today, Jessica is the Marketing Manager for Precision AI and the voice behind their digital content.
Making a Difference Everywhere Behind the Scenes
Jillie Storle, Head of Operations
Certificate in Operations Management
Jillie has an impressive background with start-ups and tech companies of varying industries. What is the commonality between them? “All of the companies I have worked with are focused around helping people,” she says. Some of the life changing companies she has worked for include a pay-what-you-can counselling program to get those struggling with mental health the help they need quickly, a horsemanship program that focusses on equine assisted social skill development for youth, a camp software company that streamlines the administrative burden of camps across many industries, and now a start-up focused on global food security.
“It became very clear to me that this role at Precision AI and Agtech specifically, would have such a cool way of impacting the world on such a large scale. I remember Dan had spoken about the impact that our product could have on developing countries, and it moved me. It really hit my heart because from a young age, I had always been taught to care about other people and the global greater good. I thought ‘wow, what we are doing here is bigger than all of us.’”
As Head of Operations, Jillie is the one behind the curtain, ensuring everything is running smoothly. “I like the flow of creating strategy and executing on it. It’s very satisfying to see everything come together. I love being a part of a start-up because you are building something from the ground up where nothing previously existed. It gives you the ability to really get creative and pivot quickly.”
Her advice: “Always say yes. Always say yes to new opportunities, new challenges and go for it fearlessly.”
A Love for Mechanical Engineering, Agriculture, and Aerospace Led Her Here
Kaitlin McNabb, Engineer-In-Training, Drone Engineer
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering
Kaitlin was born and raised in small-town Saskatchewan and came from a family of engineers-turned-farmers. Working with a company that combines complex engineering tasks with agriculture applications seemed like an obvious fit for her. “I liked the idea of going back to agriculture. I’m a farm kid, that is always part of me. Doing something to help farmers is super cool,” says Kaitlin.
But that isn’t the only draw for her. While studying at the University of Saskatchewan, she found a passion for aerospace engineering. She joined and eventually became President of the U of S Aero Design team, placing 7 out of 43 at the 2019 SAE Aero Design competition in the US. The goal was to build a radio-controlled aircraft that could lift as much payload as possible.
“I was well into third year before I realized I liked airplanes. That’s when I said ‘I could do this for a living!’ while others in my class were focusing on mining, or oil and gas.” While completing her bachelor’s, she did an internship at Magellan Aerospace Limited before eventually returning to her home province with Precision AI after graduation.
Kaitlin’s advice for women looking to enter her field is, “We were the minority in my mechanical classes, about 10% women. If you want to get into engineering or a STEM field, it’s not expected or normal, just do it. There’s a million paths you could take, then if you go into mechanical engineering, there are so many ways you could go. So if you don’t know what to do or you don’t think you’re good enough, that’s okay. There’s always something for you in the STEM field. You just have to start, and you will figure it out.”
Building a Solid Team, for the Planet
Naiomi Borger, Head of People and Culture
Postgraduate Degree Business GIS, Bachelor of Science (Geography)
Meet the woman behind the team at Precision AI. Naiomi has a huge heart and infectious enthusiasm in all that she does. She speaks passionately about her career in Geographic Information Systems, her love of nature, and about the team she is helping to build at Precision AI.
“I feel blessed and grateful to be part of growing this company,” explains Naiomi. “My favourite part of working here is building the teams. Getting to meet all of these talented, smart women and men, and seeing the success of the project as we bring in this talent.”
Naiomi has led several impressive projects in her 20-year career, including designing a Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) course for GIS and then instructing it for three years – she continues teaching youth about STEM careers today. She then headed an analytics team in projects such as predicting wildfires to limit the damages that happen to utility lines in California. “I was always interested in the environmental and sustainability side of things. I don’t have an agriculture background, but what drew me to Precision AI was Dan’s vision. Reducing the chemical output and changing the way spraying in agriculture has been done for 100 years – is super cool.”
Her advice for women when entering an interview – “Don’t underestimate yourself! I’ve done a lot of interviewing over the last eight years and often I find women won’t advertise themselves to their fullest. It is necessary to have humility, but make sure you speak to all the amazing things you have accomplished. Confidence is huge and you are just as good as anyone else, if you believe it.”
A Lifelong Curiosity Transformed into a Fitting Career
Reshma Rajan, Electrical Engineer
Masters in Signal Processing, Bachelors in Technology, Electronics and Communication
From a childhood love of pulling things apart and learning how they work, to completing her masters in Signal Processing. Reshma has always been a critical thinker drawn to the inner workings of day-to-day objects.
“On my side, I was curious about what’s going on inside of electronics and how they work, but on my families’ side I was a messy child!” says Reshma on her habits of oftentimes pulling apart the family TV or telephone. One of her favourite projects before coming to Precision AI was a biometric based authentication system. A project where her team used a combination of fingerprint and finger vein features for authentication in banking systems.
Once she discovered the work that Precision AI did, combining her love of ‘figuring out the inner workings’, a curiosity to learn more about drones, and her personal hobby of gardening, she applied for an Electrical Engineer position. She didn’t originally expect to end up in AgTech. When Reshma arrived to Canada in 2018, she realized what an important hold agriculture had in the Saskatchewan prairies. “A lot of companies were just concentrating on agriculture. When I saw the Precision AI website, I noticed a few things that piqued my interest. Specifically using drones, and the innovative way the company worked.”
Her advice to women looking to get into her field is: “If you love to create new things, and are open to new possibilities, this is the career for you. It’s rewarding to build something from scratch and see other people use what you’ve created. Engineering is a profession where you can enjoy the satisfaction of learning and growing in proportion to the effort you put in.”
A Supermom Stepping into the AgTech World for the First Time
Samantha Campbell, Administrative Assistant
Diploma in Administration
Samantha received her Diploma in Administration in 2020, stepping into her first role as an Administrative Assistant at Precision AI. Fresh out of school and fresh into both agriculture and technology, she has quickly become an invaluable team member for our operations. Often dealing with international shipping dilemmas, travel scheduling for over 30 employees scattered across the globe and organizing the needs of our engineers.
“I’ve always wanted to do stuff that can make a difference or affects people in a positive way. I could clearly see with Precision AI’s goals where they wanted to go and how that wasn’t going to benefit just the company,” says Samantha. “I’m learning so much about agtech. It surprises me daily, and I like going to work every day, I get excited for it.”
Beyond her work here, she is a single mother to her daughter, Ayla. “Women are sometimes made to feel like you can either have a career or be a mother. Having both as a single parent is frowned upon. But I’m kicking ass at it,” says Samantha. “Many of the powerful and intelligent women at this company are also mothers and they’re doing it all. I love that. It’s what I want to teach my daughter. I hope when Ayla is older, she looks back at what we are doing at Precision AI and thinks, ‘that’s cool mom, you were a part of that’.”
Her advice for women: “Take the risk. Given two options between a job that scared you and one that’s more comfortable, take the one that scares you. It’s going to push you farther and open more doors.”