A consortium of people and organizations bring proven skills, relevant experience and respected reputations to our Company. We believe that flexibility, resiliency and local ownership are the keys to success.
Donald O.T. Smart
Chief Executive Officer
As our Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Mr. Smart provides oversight and direction for Mountain Lion’s entire operations. He holds Master’s degrees both in Agriculture and Peacebuilding, and serves as a Director of the Sierra Leone Chamber of Agricultural Development (SLECAD). He has over a decade of experience instructing youth in agri-business and has also developed an innovative local organization dedicated to national agricultural development.
Born in Sierra Leone and a survivor of its conflict, he is passionate about the prosperity of his country and his people. Mr. Smart’s extensive, local agribusiness experience has proven to be one of Mountain Lion’s most valuable assets.
Chief Operations Officer
Augustine Sam, a Sierra Leonean, holds a Degree with Honors in Agricultural Engineering. He has over three years’ experience instructing youth in agri-business while working with Quifel Agri-business, one of Sierra Leonean’s largest companies of its kind, as country director. Mr. Sam works as Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Mountain Lion Agriculture, overseeing operations of its Mill and construction projects. He is also Mountain Lion Agriculture’s dedicated Irrigation Specialist and works directly with partners such as Valley Irrigation®. In addition to his considerable skill set, Augustine also brings his passion for helping young men and women find employment and professional development through Mountain Lion Agriculture’s Human Resources division.
Chief Financial Officer
As our Chief Financial Officer Mr. Dudek provides oversight and direction for Mountain Lion’s entire operations as well as the company’s finances. Jason has an MSc from the London School of Economics where he studied Agricultural Development in Sierra Leone. He has spent the last 12 years travelling to and working in Sierra Leone, where he has also helped found a new and innovative organization dedicated to community-based, sustainable and locally sensitive development.
Jason also has business experience in Canada, the UK and Iraq, co-founding the firm employed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to conduct Iraq’s Official Investment Map. He brings an extensive background in finance, organizational administration and business development in post-conflict countries to our Company.
Fatmata Mennah Kamara
Accountant, A-team member
Fatmata Mennah Kamara, Mountain Lion Agriculture’s Accountant, is a Sierra Leonean holding a higher national diploma in business administration / management. Mennah previously worked for Hotel Conteh U in Makeni and has a passion for accounting. As MLAg’s accountant she prepares monthly reconciliations and records details of every transaction from all activities and MLAg accounts. She also helps lead the Company’s Accounting or “A-team” and helps oversee inventory and logbook controls. In her own words, Mennah “would really like to see the growth and development of Sierra Leone’s younger generations – and to see MLAg one day at the top of the world’s rice market.”
Rukiatu Joice Sam
Lead Administrator, A-Team Member
Rukiatu Joice Sam, a Sierra Leonean, hold a Teacher’s certificate from Njala University. Before her employment with MLAg, Joice was an outstanding teacher instructing pupils at the experimental primary school in Bo during her teaching practice. Joice works as lead administrator for Mountain Lion Agriculture and is also a proud member of the Company’s Accounting or “A Team.” As part of her A-Team responsibilities, Joice co-approves all requisition forms and also cross-check or verifies all logbooks including the paddy rice store log, parboiling logbook, and store inventory log. Joice utilizes her considerable teaching experience in her administration/accounting work and has taken a lead role in teaching new MLAg staff about the procedures and processes that keep our company financially accountable. In her own words, she has “a passion for the growth and development of local farmers and intends to see MLAg become the biggest Agricultural Company in Africa.”
Director, Executive VP
Veb Luthra is the founder and President of a management consulting firm (Saccade Consulting Inc.) in Toronto, Canada – dedicated to helping small and medium sized-manufacturers across Canada innovate and compete globally. His solutions have helped his clients thrive during a manufacturing downturn in the country, yielding over $50MM (CDN) in increased revenues (generally across all clients and directly attributable to his firm’s work).
He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in business development, operations management, human resources, marketing/branding as well as the management of product and production innovation to Mountain Lion and serves to ensure that the business fundamentals of the company remain sound as it grows.
Dr. Alex Zieba
Director, VP of Research and Development
Dr. Zieba is an organic farmer in Ontario and the Coordinator of Philosophy and Humanities at CEGEP Heritage College in Gatineau, Quebec. Prior to his position at the college, he was a professor of Philosophy at Queen’s University, Canada, and ran a Community Shared Agriculture Project for over 10 years. This project served as a study in economically connecting producers and consumers, while fostering community and environmentally sustainable farming practices. During these years Alex also built a passive solar house, which remains completely off-grid with a hybrid wind/solar electrical system.
He provides Mountain Lion with a wealth of experience in agriculture, social/political philosophy and a broad understanding of the challenges facing small scale farming operations. Alex assists Mountain Lion Agriculture in maintaining its social focus, provides oversight for its research farm and is exploring the implementation of SRI (System of Rice Intensification) principles in Sierra Leone. He is committed to ensuring that our suppliers and communities see real benefits from our business.
“I started in digital electronics when the computer industry was in its infancy,” says new Mountain Lion Agriculture board member Donovan Nickel of his long career with Hewlett-Packard, where he ended up as a vice-president leading two global divisions. When he retired in his early 50s he wasn’t ready to “sit on the porch and sip lemonade.”
Today, he keeps busy with business and investment management, consulting, a house construction project, a farm operation of wheat, milo and beans in Kansas, and involvement with non-profits. Donovan brings Mountain Lion Agriculture a wealth of experience and wisdom from his years as a leader in the global private-sector.