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The Orion Team

Employer of Choice

J.R. Gerst

President, The Orion Companies

J.R. Gerst is the President of The Orion Companies, a dedicated, focused company who invests in ways to better serve the needs of the Vegetation Management and Range & Pasture markets.  The Orion Companies operates in strategic segments including industrial vegetation management, range and pasture, aquatics, forest management and agriculture.  Additionally, The Orion Companies offer enhanced services including custom blending, packaging, warehousing, and digital implementation through VM OptiX.

Upon graduation with a BS in Forest Resource Management from The University of Missouri at Columbia, J.R. worked for CWC as a sales representative, National Business Manager, and ultimately an owner.  J.R. started Orion Solutions in 2007 with the mission of creating a more efficient and direct pathway for the agricultural industry and non-crop market to deliver input products to the field.  Orion Solutions, in direct partnership with major service businesses in the Integrated Vegetation Management industry, consolidated in 2023 to form The Orion Companies.

In addition to the businesses J.R. owns and operates, he is also a member of the Sons of The American Legion, whose mission is to support veterans and their families. J.R. is an avid hunter and enjoys working on his farm in Missouri.  J.R. resides in Rocky Mount, VA with his wife Missie.

Jeff Welsh

Partner, The Orion Companies

Jeff Welsh is currently a partner in The Orion Companies, a vision focused company with operations in strategic segments including industrial vegetation management, range and pasture, aquatics, forestry management and agriculture. Additionally, The Orion Companies offers enhanced services including custom blending, packaging, warehousing, and digital implementation through VM OptiX.

Prior to his partnership in The Orion Companies, Jeff has been integral in the creation and development of several businesses including Alligare, LLC, now America’s largest post-patent herbicide company, and Ferrosafe Holdings where he served as the Charman of Ferrovia Services, providing vegetation and land management services for the rail industry.  Jeff is also the current Chairman of Cretio, a family investment partnership that includes holdings in agriculture, agricultural chemicals, real estate, and homebuilding.

Jeff received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business and Economics from Auburn University and is a passionate supporter of the Auburn community and Auburn University.  Jeff has also been an avid supporter of charities and veterans and is the current President of the Veteran Coalition International whose mission is to promote access to the best resources for veterans everywhere.  Jeff and his wife Hayley are eagerly devoted to the First United Methodist Church of Opelika where they live with their three children, Garland Grace, Jackson, and Adelaide.

The Orion Companies Leadership Team

Kevin Adam

Chief Operating Officer

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Kevin Adam is the Chief Operating Officer at The Orion Companies, a vision focused company with operations in strategic segments including industrial vegetation management, range and pasture, aquatics, forestry management and agriculture. Additionally, The Orion Companies offers enhanced services including custom blending, packaging, warehousing, and digital implementation through VM OptiX.

In his role as COO at The Orion Companies, Kevin provides operational direction in order to drive growth and strengthen the future of the company.  Kevin also provides strategic leadership and facilitation of both sales and day-to-day operations.  Prior to joining The Orion Companies, Kevin spent 23 years with Bayer in various Sales, Marketing, and Technical Service and R&D roles.  Those roles spanned row crops, horticulture, seed treatments and the vegetation management market.

Kevin graduated from Iowa State University with a Master’s of Science in Crop Physiology & Production and a Bachelor’s of Science in Agronomy.  Kevin lives in Cary, NC with his wife and son.

Hopson Nance

Chief Financial Officer

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Hopson Nance is the Chief Financial Officer for The Orion Companies.  The Orion Companies is a vision focused company with operations in strategic segments including industrial vegetation management, range and pasture, aquatics, forestry management and agriculture. Additionally, The Orion Companies offers enhanced services including custom blending, packaging, warehousing, and digital implementation through VM OptiX.

Hopson joined The Orion Companies in 2022 and has been deeply involved with the growth of The Orion Companies since.  With over 30 years of financial and business experience, Hopson is driven by solving complex business issues, managing acquisitions, and coordinating financing arrangements.  Prior to joining The Orion Companies, Hopson was a Certified Public Accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers for over 7 years and spent 6 years as the Controller and CFO of a publicly traded insurance company.

Hopson and his wife Ashley enjoy spending time with their 4 children and grandchild and being on Lake Martin. Hopson and his family are active, devoted members of the Church of the Highlands in Auburn.

Carl Della Torre

Director of Utility & Aquatics

Matt Nespeca

Director of Business Development

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Matt Nespeca is the Director of Business Development for The Orion Companies. In his role at The Orion Companies, Matt identifies solutions for the market and leads business acquisitions and partnership development to drive the company’s industry leading service, sales, and customer support model.  Matt is passionate about developing new solutions to address the challenges of customers and facilitating the progression of the industry.

Prior to joining The Orion Companies, Matt spent the last 25 years in several leadership positions in the vegetation management and specialty non-crop spaces.  Most recently, Matt spent 12 years with Bayer Environmental Science and Envu as a business manager, global marketing manager, sustainability officer and new business model lead.  Prior to his time at Bayer, Matt worked in marketing, technical service, project management and sales roles with Nufarm, The Nature Conservancy, BASF, and American Cyanamid.

Matt has a BS in Forest Resource Management from Auburn University and an MS in Forest Biology from Virginia Tech.  Matt lives with his wife and family in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Jason Myers

Director of Digital Services and Key Accounts

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Jason Myers is the Director of Digital Services and Key Accounts for The Orion Companies.  Jason has over 25 years of experience in the Industrial Markets supporting large electric utilities and Coops as well as Departments of Transportation (DOT’s).  As the Director of Digital Services, Jason leads a team that supports customers’ use of digital technology through the VMOptiX platform to accurately record work activities with geospatial reference and data collection.

Prior to The Orion Companies, Jason worked for Nutrien Solutions as a Sales Manager that supported a team of individuals specializing in aquatics, industrial, forestry and pasture and range markets.  Jason also worked as a National Accounts Manager for CWC Chemical, Inc. where he managed a portfolio of national accounts for utility vegetation management.  Jason has been instrumental in the collaboration and startup of several level 1 and coop herbicide spray programs.  Before working for CWC Chemical, Jason was a Vegetation Specialist with BASF Corporation covering the western states of Montana, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota with sales and marketing responsibilities around Arsenal, Plateau, Stalker and Sahara herbicides.

Jason graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia with a BS degree in Forestry and an MBA. Jason is an active member of the Society of American Foresters (SAF), International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), Mountain Lake Vegetation Management Council, and is a Certified Wildlife Biologist through the Wildlife Society.

Keven Ireland

Director of NE & MW IVM Sales

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Forthcoming.

Travis Rogers

Director of Market Development

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Forthcoming.

The Orion Companies Business Leads

Kevin Hughes

President
Ag Vision, LLC

James Martin

CEO
Novita Solutions, LLC

Andrew Skibo

President & CEO
Clear Channel VM, LLC

The Orion Companies Site Managers

Skip Welsh

Texoma Site Manager
Cattle-Lac Liquid Feeds

Sammy Keziah

VMOptix Oakboro Site Manager

The Orion Companies Marketing

Dorie Berry

Sales & Marketing Activation Manager

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The Orion Companies is driven to build capabilities that foster innovative solutions for our industry partners and customers.

1035 Franklin St., Suite 207
Rocky Mount, VA 24151
540.483.1512

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