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From Google's office in Taipei to Gallagher's Global Headquarters

Monday, 18 November, 2019

Introducing our first-ever Software Product Manager, Johnathan Rivera.

You don’t need to look too far around a farm to see the growing role that automation and data management are playing. Gallagher customers already rely on products from internet-connected fence energizers to weigh scales that record a history of every animal. Innovations like these are impossible without high-quality software.

With more connected devices around the farm (and in farmers’ pockets) we have recently elevated software into its own product category. With that comes the appointment of Johnathan Rivera as our Animal Management division’s first-ever Software Product Manager.

Animal Management Marketing Manager, Mark Harris, says, “we’ve always been innovators, so this is a natural step up. A lot of our products double as digital sensors and our customers like seeing and managing their farm data directly. We want to make that as easy as possible. Johnathan’s digital and technological experience and insight will pair nicely with our decades of leadership in animal management.”

Johnathan’s experience has come from a constant hunt for new ideas to work with. Most recently he completed his Master of Digital Business at the University of Waikato.

“My academic programme was literally one-of-a-kind, in that it included marketing, strategic management, and digital business. My research included quite a bit of information about channel management, digital marketing and customer relationship management,” Johnathan says. His studies included placements with tourism operators in Queen Charlotte Sound and Milford Sound, and with a biotechnology company at the Waikato Innovation Park.

Moving between internships in three distant parts of the country was nothing new to Johnathan. Before arriving in New Zealand from his native USA, his had already worked and studied in Taipei, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tanzania, Texas and Missouri.

“In China I was a product manager at Lenovo. I was responsible for virtual reality and augmented reality accessories and for IoT (internet of things) products, mainly hardware. After two-and-a-half years they asked if I’d like to go to one of their incubator start-ups in Hong Kong. It was an IoT collaboration with Amazon creating smart homes. The jewel was a little AI robot called Hugo, who would communicate with everything in the house. I helped with portfolio planning and launch strategies.”

Even as New Zealand beckoned, there was time for one more Asian adventure. “I was in Taipei for a few months in a start-up focused on cryptocurrency. The CTO was from Google, whose offices were next door in Taipei 101, which was beyond awesome.”

Now Johnathan is getting to know a new industry. Stock weighing and electronic ID, electric fencing, and water management may be new to him, but not the data-crunching behind it all. Our mobile dashboards for fences and livestock show the direction we are going in.

“The functionality is really quite good,” he says of his new portfolio. But the IoT era will see software becoming less of an add-on to products and more of a central farm management tool. Johnathan Rivera is very well-placed to bring that innovative future to life on farms around the world.