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Take Five with Angel Turner

By TKXS Author on September 16, 2020

Angel joined TKXS in August 2020 to lead our agronomic-focused data science initiatives, and plainly, agriculture is her passion. Earlier in her career, Angel invested 10+ years at Monsanto as a data scientist/biostatistician, eventually founding her own data science and strategy company. When she’s not actively working to advance TKXS’ agriculture, ag-tech, and agronomy efforts, she runs a North Carolina-based ag networking group.

1.    What is your role at TKXS?

I help clients use field and agronomic data to glean insights -- because what farmers and agronomists and advisors need is knowledge, not data. A lot of opportunities are bubbling up to the surface right now, not just with trial data, but with data from satellites and equipment. We can better tell when plants are stressed, we can identify pest and disease, we can see when different physiological states are going to occur (e.g., when corn will tassle), and that’s just the beginning. It’s an exciting time to be in the business.

2.    What drew you to this business?

As an undergrad, I was very concerned about the environment. I read a paper by renowned researcher and professor of agriculture, Fred Gould, and realized that if I really wanted to make an ecological impact, ag was the way to go. Fuel, fiber, feed, food – they all depend on agriculture. If you can improve the ag outputs, you can make a real difference. So I got my undergraduate degree in biology and went on to pursue a masters’ in agriculture with a focus on plant health.

3.    What advice do you wish you’d been given early in your career?

Don’t be worried about getting shoved into a box. Let me explain. When you’re younger, you might worry that focusing intensely on a particular subject might limit your opportunities. But that’s not the case. In truth, the more you focus on something, the more doors will open, not shut. When you eventually move on, you can do more, not less. After initially working in a plant physiology research capacity, I naturally began focusing more on the data. A couple of great statistician mentors (Dr. Marie Coffin, Vice President Science and Modeling at CiBO Technologies and Chris Potocky, Senior Scientist at Novozymes) combined with some knowledge from graduate and undergraduate courses led me to focus on data science, which now positions me to work across the agricultural industry to bring value to others.

4.    What do you want people to know about TKXS?

The thing I’d want people to know is something that I think is just written all over this place. We are a very people-forward organization. People come first. And by people, I mean employees and clients. TKXS builds employees. Employees build clients. And together, we build great things.

5.  If we had a billboard outside our offices, what would it say?

People First. It’s how we work with each other, and it’s how we work to impact the whole food chain.

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