• Our team

    Who we are and why we love what we do here

  • Blue River is based in Sunnyvale, CA and has over 80 team members with diverse experience including: computer vision, machine learning, systems software, autonomous vehicles, and precision agriculture.

     

    Our work environment is fast paced and highly collaborative, and

    our employees are excited to use their talents to improve farm production and protect the environment..

    See our Careers page for opportunities to join our team.

  • Leadership

    Jorge Heraud

    Co-founder & CEO

    Jorge is Blue River's CEO and co-founder. Jorge has a passion for the intersection of agriculture and high tech that started during high-school summers when he split his time between working at his grandparents' farm and his father's high-tech start-up. Prior to Blue River, Jorge worked at Trimble Navigation for 14 years, heading the Precision Agriculture group and working in automatic guidance, GPS receivers, as well as agricultural technology company acquisitions. His roles at Trimble included Director of Engineering, Director of Business Development and Head of Precision Agriculture. He's been dreaming of moving the resolution of action on the farm to a single row or a single plant since at least 2009. Jorge holds Masters degrees in both Business and Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He lives in Sunnyvale with his wife and two kids.

     

    Favorite quote:

     

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has” - Margaret Mead

     

    Lee Redden

    co-founder & cto

    Lee is Blue River's CTO and co-founder. Lee has a background in robotics, computer vision, and machine learning, having worked in research labs at NASA's Johnson Space Center, John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, and Stanford. He grew up in Nebraska, where his grandfather and uncle have large farms and he worked summers detassling corn. Lee earned a BS degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with honors and an MS degree from Stanford University, where he put his PhD. on hold to start Blue River.


    Favorite quote:

     

    “Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination. What are now working conceptions, employed as a matter of course because they have withstood the tests of experiment and have emerged triumphant, were once speculative hypotheses.” - John Dewey

     

    Jim Ostrowski

    VP Engineering

    Jim joined Blue River in 2013 to lead the Engineering team. He guides the technology and product development paths in building first-of-their-kind robotic agricultural systems based on advanced computer vision techniques. Jim holds a MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech and a Sc.B. in Electrical Engineering from Brown University. He has an extensive background in robotics and computer vision, having been an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the GRASP (robotics) Lab studying robotic locomotion, and a Senior Research Scientist at Evolution Robotics developing advanced technologies for consumer robotic systems. He became the VP of Product Development for Evolution Robotics Retail and led their Pasadena office after an acquisition by Datalogic.
     
    Favorite quote:

    “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do” - Pelé

    Ben Chostner

    General manager, See & Spray

    Ben joined Blue River in 2012 and has helped bring the See & Spray machines to life by linking grower needs to R&D in the lab. He has led strategy, commercialization, and pursues partnership opportunities and now manages the commercialization of Blue River's first product, See & Spray. Previously, Ben worked as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. Ben earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Harvard.
     
    Favorite quote:

    "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,... who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt

    Mac Keely

    VP Market development

    Mac joined Blue River in 2015 to help start our lettuce thinning business. He now leads market development Blue River's See & Spray product. Mac earned a BS from Cal Poly-SLO and an MBA from Texas A&M. He has worked for almost 20 years in various leadership roles in the agriculture space. Mac is passionate about helping our customers and loves working with amazing people solving great problems in agriculture. He lives in Tulsa, OK with his beautiful and supportive wife and two amazing children.

     

    Favorite quote:

     

    “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” - Philippians 4:13

     

    Scott Kimmel

    VP Finance & Administration

    Scott joined Blue River in 2016 and leads the Finance and Administrative functions for the company. Prior to joining Blue River, Scott spent 10 years with NetApp in various financial leadership roles, primarily in Financial Planning and Analysis and Strategic Finance. He has over 25 years of finance experience in the high tech industry, including Sun Microsystems, Aspect Communications and Covad Communications. Scott received his BS in Finance from San Jose State University and earned his MBA from Santa Clara University.


    Favorite quote:

     

    "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Things we love about Blue River:

    The People

    Working with smart, fun coworkers makes our jobs better and easier

    "friendly environment", "welcome to talk to anyone and everyone", "lots of inspiration from co-workers", "we don't want to let each other down", "excitement is contagious", "let's blow the lid off this"

    The Commitment

    No one is afraid to jump in, even if that means getting your boots a little dirty

    "a group of people who aren't going to let the problem beat them", "freedom to experiment", "willing to embrace the cutting edge", "independence to solve problems with individual approach", "the problems we're working on are important and interesting"

    The Work-Environment

    Blue River employees bring a wide range of backgrounds and expertise. Almost all of our problems require interdisciplinary solutions - and we love stretching ourselves to think in new ways.

    "people respect teammates", "open minded people", "management values employee input", "we get together and get excited about new approaches to problems", "you never hear 'we don't want to do that, it's too hard' you hear 'we want to do that, it's never been done before'", "there's a lot of heart in the engineers here"

  • Meet our team:

    These are some of the people bringing Blue River technology to life

    Rajesh

    Rajesh is passionate about robots. He likes hard problems and thrives on pushing research concepts into products that can make a big impact. At Blue River, Rajesh does research and development in computer vision and machine learning to enable our robotic systems to reliably recognize weeds and crops. Rajesh came to Blue River from a company where he was building mathematical models to sequence RNA samples. At the University of Texas, where he earned his MS in EE/CS, he was part of a research team that worked on American Sign Language Recognition. As part of his final research thesis, he built a human-computer interaction system which allowed the user to interact with applications without using a keyboard or mouse.
    He likes working on a multi-disciplinary team with smart, pro-active people who have a mission to make an impact on agriculture and the food we eat. In his spare time, he is an avid badminton player and is happy to live in the Bay Area where he is close to winter snowboarding.

    Willy

    Willy manages the engineering side of our cotton weeding project. He earned his degree in Computer Science from University of Colorado, Boulder. After college he worked at Boeing on software for defense / intelligence satellites. From there he moved on to the early Street View systems at a startup called 510 Systems. They eventually got bought by Google and he came to Blue River to make camera systems that make sense of fields. Willy loves working on systems where cameras and software make sense of the world. He also loves the people - what he calls our “smart, scrappy and collaborative team”. He also likes that Blue Rivers’ engineering is cross disciplinary – mechanical engineers often have insights on the vision system and software engineers often contribute to mechanical architecture. When not at Blue River, Willy is outside. He surfs before work, spends most winter weekends skiing in Tahoe and can be found in the summer kayaking and climbing in the Sierra.

    JJ

    JJ is a research scientist on the computer vision and deep learning team for See & Spray. In this role she makes our model continually better at detecting weeds, particularly in new field conditions or with additional performance requirements. Originally from Taiwan, JJ got her PhD in Chemical Engineering at UC Santa Barbara where she focused on multi-scale modeling for fluid dynamics before working at a biotech startup. She finds her work at Blue River exciting to revolutionize agriculture and help everyone have a more sustainable way for food production. She also loves the energy and sense of humor present throughout the company and sums it up by saying “the things we do here are just so cool!”. When not at work she enjoys staying up to date with the latest happenings in the machine learning and deep learning community and completes the mandatory (just kidding) Blue River outdoor activity of hiking and visiting national parks.

    William

    William is our Senior Agronomist and Blue Rivers’ go-to weed specialist. He is passionate about eradicating weeds! He earned his PhD in Weed Science from the University of Illinois, with an undergraduate degree in Agronomy from the University of Minnesota. He comes to Blue River after 7 years of experience working for DuPont on herbicide discovery research and several years of herbicide research with BASF. He picked Blue River for the opportunity to be at the leading edge of agricultural technology. In his free time he gardens, cooks, and spends lots of time outdoors.

    Jackie

    At Blue River, Jackie designs, builds and tests our mechanical subsystems for our next generation weeding machine. She has a broad background starting with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cooper Union in NYC. She has fun at Blue River building complex systems from the ground up on a quick schedule. She enjoys getting to see new ideas through from the lab to the field in a matter of months (or even weeks!). When she isn’t building stuff for Blue River, she gets crafty, making jewelry and all kinds of other crafts.

    Dan

    Dan is a Senior Systems Software Engineer here at Blue River. He writes and improves the code that makes our robots work. That means a lot of coding, but also a lot of debugging, field testing, and tractor driving. He likes to get out from behind his computer screen and Blue River is a great fit for him - our robots interact with the dirty, physical world, and to build them you have to get dirty. Before joining Blue River, Dan worked on robotic fish, learning robots, and smart cars. Before that he earned a degree in poetry (and another in Electrical and Computer Engineering), and he still writes songs and plays music. And because he is not a mechanical engineer, when he needs to build something physical, he uses gaffer tape.

    Vino

    Vino received her masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Missouri. Despite having a core electrical engineering background, Vino has taken on system software operations and network security at Blue River as a Cloud DevSecOps Engineer. She works primarily on cloud services and infrastructure server configuration and automation and finds this 360 shift from her academic background a fun new challenge. Before joining Blue River, Vino had experience at several startups as well as at larger companies including Cisco Systems. Perhaps this explains one of her favorite things about Blue River – “how we embrace current technologies like a startup at the same time maintaining the flexibility that only established companies can offer”. Vino is also a self-identifying introvert but loves sky diving and will happily shell out all her savings to help stray abandoned animals.

    Matt

    Matt leads Blue River’s efforts in developing and operating a drone-based imaging system for measuring plant traits. Matt has a background in aerospace engineering, plant physiology, and software development. He earned his PhD at Stanford University in Environmental Science, with his research focusing on new image processing algorithms for estimating tree biomass in African savannas using airborne LiDAR. He then applied machine learning algorithms to detect tree species in airborne hyperspectral imagery of Costa Rican tropical forests as a postdoc at Carnegie Institute for Science. Matt enjoys the challenge of adapting computer vision algorithms to plants and has led the Blue River phenotyping project since 2014.

    Tyler

    Tyler is passionate about flying his 1966 Mooney M20E, which he recently restored. He is also passionate about agriculture. He earned his degree in Bio Resource and Agricultural Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After school, he went to work for Orchard Machinery Corporation where he designed a self-driving tree shaker and patented it (and won top 10 Agricultural products at the World Agriculture Expo). At Blue River, he is working on the design of the mechanical components for our next generation weeding machine. Basically, he designs the big metal stuff. His goal in college was to get into agricultural robotics, so he finds Blue River a natural fit. He likes working on something he is passionate about that benefits Ag and, as a bonus, gets to work with an amazing team that is great to hang out with. He loves to surf and can frequently be found at Ocean Beach in the mornings before work.

  • See our Careers page for opportunities to join our team.