Russ was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, educated as a Mechanical Engineer at Iowa State University, then logged a 30 career in the oil and gas industry at Shell. In the first half of that career, he was a Petroleum Engineer specializing in measurement and analysis of the physical properties of the deep earth as part of the exploration and production of oil and gas around the world. Russ later became a founding leader of Shell Technology Ventures, and then led Shell’s “GameChanger” innovation program where he had the privilege of investing in pioneering entrepreneurs with ideas that could change the game of energy. Russ was a frequently invited speaker, panelist and writer at a wide array of fora regarding the future of energy and corporate innovation.
Russ moved on from Shell to focus on the broader world of entrepreneurship at the intersection of food, water and energy. Along the way, he stumbled into the realization that these topics converge precisely in agriculture – the world’s oldest solar energy business that not only produces food, but also drives water cycles. Ironically, having spent 30 years taking carbon out of the ground, he came to see that the magic was in putting carbon back to work in soil – especially (but not only) in grasslands. Russ now believes that regenerative agriculture is the next big solar energy business. He has now co-founded a new business, Standard Soil, to put these ideas into real-world practice at scale.
Russ and his wife Nancy now live in Fulshear, TX.See All Speakers