Our Team

Our Visionary Leadership

Backyard Fresh Farms benefits from our wide spectrum of experience, including horticultural science, mechanical engineering, logistics, food retail and rapid scale. All of us are united by the same passion: creating the highest quality leafy greens costing even less than traditional farming.

Card Back Jake Front

Jake Counne

Founder & CEO
About Jake

Jake moved to Chicago in 2011, where he founded a real estate company focusing on the renovation and reuse of blighted buildings in underserved neighborhoods. He built and led a first-of-its-kind multi-disciplinary management company that specializes in managing similar assets.

Always bothered by the lack of reuse in older industrial buildings, Jake set out to find a compelling use for these out of date structures and stumbled upon vertical farming. To Jake, the ability to feed people by repurposing outdated infrastructure is the ultimate excitement.

Jon Weekley Serious Jon Weekley Silly

Jon Weekley, PhD, MSc

Lead R&D Scientist
About Jon

Jon is a mechanical engineer and agronomist with over ten years of research and development experience in the areas of unmanned ground vehicles, autonomous greenhouses, and high tech “smart field” systems.

Since childhood, Jon has always had two passions: machines and plants. Fascinated by the inner workings of everyday objects, and captivated by the magic of plants in his parents’ backyard garden, Jon began to see how these two very different areas could benefit one another. As Jon progressed through school, he decided to become proficient in both areas; mechanical engineering & horticultural science. He has never looked back.

Brian Stock Professional Headshot Brian Stock Silly Headshot

Brian Stock

About Brian

» 20+ years in automation food packaging
» 250MM+ of installed automation at Fortune 50 Food Companies

Bob Kleug Professional Headshot Bob Kleug Silly Headshot

Bob Kleug

About Bob

» 25+ years of food-specific automation

Our Board of Advisors

Bob Mariano Professional Headshot Bob Mariano Silly Headshot

Bob Mariano

Former CEO, Roundy’s and Founder of Mariano’s
Steve Dennenberg Professional Headshot Steve Dennenberg Silly Headshot

Steve Dennenberg

Co-founder and COO of FarmedHere
Steve Jarzombek Professional Headshot Steve Jarzombek Silly Headshot

Steve Jarzombek

Former VP of Fresh Produce, Roundy’s, including Mariano’s
Nathan Baldwin Professional Headshot Nathan Baldwin Silly Headshot

Nathan Baldwin

CEO of Ruggable and Former COO of HomeChef
Bitnami