Chris Moorman doesn’t look the part of a stereotypical business executive.
Wearing a Purdue T-shirt and a backwards baseball cap, he looks like he would be more comfortable leading a fraternity than a company.
But looks can be deceiving.
Moorman, who studied economics at Purdue University and was a former Wall Street commodities trader, is the founder and CEO of Rubicon Agriculture in Greenfield.
The company, created in July 2015, is providing technology-based solutions to help the world feed itself with sustainable agriculture using automated hydroponic growing methods.
But instead of greenhouses, Rubicon has created a way to grow an acre’s worth of fresh produce inside a recycled 40-foot shipping container or what the company calls AgroBoxes.
With advanced manufacturing automation applied, Rubicon has successfully grown organic crops in less time, for less money and fewer problems than traditional farming.
Moorman will be the guest speaker at this year’s Purdue Club of Jackson County annual dinner and auction Feb. 23 at Celebrations, 357 Tanger Boulevard, Suite 101, in Seymour.
He will talk about how he found his passion for sustainable agriculture on a life-changing trip around the world, visiting impoverished countries and how that experience, coupled with his education at Purdue, fueled his desire to change the world by making it easier for communities to produce their own local food year-round.
Club President Chuck Gordon said he first heard of Moorman and Rubicon Agriculture on the radio.
“Someone on the radio made a comment about it, and I looked them up,” Gordon said. “I thought he would be perfect to come speak to us, so I made contact with him, and he was willing to do it.”
Gordon said Moorman is “innovative” and local, having grown up in nearby Bedford.
With the week of Feb. 20 to 24 being National FFA Week, Moorman said he also is trying to get it worked out for Moorman to talk to agriculture students at Seymour High School that day.
The dinner and auction will begin at 6 p.m. with a social hour and dinner at 6:30 p.m. The program will be at 7:15 p.m.
There also will be raffles, a silent auction and a live auction to raise money for scholarships for Jackson County students planning to attend Purdue in the fall.
Auction items are being accepted, and any business or individual may donate by calling Gordon at 812-525-9346.
Last year, the club was able to raise between $6,000 and $7,000 for scholarships, but Gordon said he would like to see that grow by starting an endowment fund.
“Any alumni or other Purdue supporters are welcome to join us,” Gordon said.
Besides the dinner, the club organizes a student send-off in June and participates in the annual Seymour Oktoberfest parade.
“We have a strong presence in Jackson County, and I would like to see it where we are doing a monthly activity,” Gordon said.
What: Purdue Alumni Club of Jackson County annual dinner and auction
When: Feb. 23; social hour begins at 6 p.m., dinner is at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7:15
Where: Celebrations, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 101, Seymour
Guest speaker: Chris Moorman, Purdue graduate and founder and CEO of Rubicon Agriculture
Cost: $20, or $135 for a table of eight. Students are $12. Tickets must be purchased by Feb. 16. They are available from any club board member or online at eventbrite.com. Reservations also may be mailed to Purdue Club of Jackson County, c/o treasurer Pat Cummings, 210 Hackberry Drive, Seymour, IN 47274.
Information: Call club President Chuck Gordon at 812-525-9346, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the club on Facebook