Chairman of the Board
Barry Batcheller came to North Dakota from New York to study aerospace engineering and electrical engineering at North Dakota State University. He has more than 35 years of business experience and has been involved in the startup of six successful companies: IDA Corporation, Integrated Technical Systems Corporation, Phoenix International Corporation, Intelligent Agricultural Solutions LLC, AFS LLC, and Appareo Systems LLC. He has also served as director of technology growth at Deere & Co.
Barry holds more than 20 United States and foreign patents on control systems, instrumentation systems, and embedded mobile electronic devices, and has authored numerous technical papers on the use of electronics in agriculture. He has served on the boards of Xata Corporation, MeritCare (now Sanford Health), and the Fargo-Cass County Economic Development Corporation. He is a past president of the NDSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and is currently serving on the boards of the NDSU Research and Technology Park, Amity Technology LLC, and the ND Economic Development Foundation.
Chamber Choice Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2012
Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from NDSU in 2010
North Dakota Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006
North Dakota Marketplace Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006
Fargo Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year in 1995
North Dakota Business Innovator of the Year in 1994
President and CEO
Since joining Appareo in 2005, David Batcheller has served as program manager, director of quality, process, and program management, and COO. Now as president and CEO, David is responsible for the remote operations (Tempe, Arizona and Paris, France), engineering, manufacturing, finance and administrative components of Appareo's business. David holds a degree from the University of Minnesota. He has been invited to testify for the NTSB and serves as guest speaker at numerous conferences, including TEDx in 2013 and 2014. David was named in ExecRank's 2012 list of top COOs in the country, and he was twice named to Prairie Business’s “40 under 40.”
Ahron Walter is responsible for corporate finance, investment and tax strategy, business planning, human resources and purchasing. He came to Appareo in 2005 with a business administration degree from Hawaii Pacific University (Summa Cum Laude). Prior to his career in finance, Ahron served in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence analyst, worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) and served as a technical liaison to the Pentagon and United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
VP Business Development
Jeff Johnson has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of software engineering, telecommunications and network management, data center management, product management and business development. Prior to joining Appareo, Jeff served as the director of product management at Echelon Corporation, San Jose, Calif., where he led the design and marketing of Echelon’s global metering systems. He also co-founded the home automation company BeAtHome.com and served as vice president of product management. Jeff studied math and computer science at St. Olaf College in Minnesota and has been granted two patents related to home and industrial automation.
Robert Weinmann came to Appareo in 2005 after working for Rockwell Collins in the area of signal processing for satellite communication systems, where he was responsible for algorithm development and simulation for the satellite time acquisition. As vice president of engineering, Robert oversees electronics, mechanical, and software design; systems engineering; test engineering; and project management. He holds an electrical engineering degree from North Dakota State University and holds seven patents.
Andres Nunez came to Appareo with more than 15 years of experience working in the electronics industry, with roles in operations management, new product development, product life cycle management, production management, manufacturing engineering, capacity planning, and quality management. He has coached teams through implementation of lean manufacturing programs and believes in a balanced implementation with emphasis in people development and mutual respect as cornerstones to create World Class Manufacturing platforms.
As vice president of manufacturing, Andres is responsible for the factory operations and results for safety, quality, delivery, cost and innovation. He oversees materials, planning, logistics, production, manufacturing engineering and manufacturing test operations. Andres received his electronics engineering degree from Instituto Tecnologico de la Laguna, Mexico, before earning his MBA with focus in senior leadership at Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico.
Steve Churchill joined Appareo with more than 30 years of experience in international operations and product development, working for AGCO Corp, CNH Industrial, Navistar, FIAT, Ford, and GEC (General Electric Company, UK).
Steve has a passion for changing businesses through the application of technology and has managed new product development programs for GPS guided machines, machine automation, steer by wire, drive by wire, machine connectivity, and electric vehicles -- taking the full machine systems from concept to successful product launches.
Steve has lived and worked in both the UK and USA. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of East London and a Masters in electronics and computer controlled systems from Wayne State University.
Dr.-Ing. Karl-Heinz Mertins
Director, Research & Development
Dr.-Ing. Karl-Heinz “K-H” Mertins leads the discovery, demystification, and verification of advanced technology solutions for use in the New Product Realization Process. Prior to joining Appareo, K-H acquired more than 30 years of diverse engineering and business experience in Europe and the United States, with focus on successful product innovation and new business incubation. He established electronics engineering capabilities and directed product planning at a leading German tractor manufacturer. K-H joined Phoenix International Corporation in its start-up phase, directing applied research on electronic sensors and control systems. As a member of the Corporate Engineering Division of Deere & Company, he worked on intelligent mobile equipment and pilot projects in the wind energy sector using skunkworks and business incubator approaches. In 2005, K-H assumed responsibility for all technical aspects of John Deere’s renewable energy projects and continued in this role at Exelon Corporation. Most recently, he was the CTO of a strategic design and development firm.
K-H holds a Master’s degree and a doctorate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University Berlin, Germany. His name is found on 14 United States and foreign patents.
Johan Wiig, Ph. D.
Managing Director - European Operations
Prior to joining Appareo in 2008, Johan was an assistant program manager for Eurocopter France (now Airbus Helicopters). He managed Appareo’s Vision 1000 (fight data monitoring) program. Johan also served as director of quality, process, and program management before his current role of managing director - European operations. He is responsible for the administration of our Paris office, including managing the European engineering team.
He received his doctorate in automation from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers, Aix en Provence, France. His thesis was titled “Optimization of Fault Diagnosis in Helicopter Health and Usage Monitoring Systems.” Johan has several publications relating to trend analysis of signals from airborne health and usage monitoring systems, including conference proceedings papers from AHS and ERF. He has been granted one patent and has another pending. He is a foreign national of Norwegian origin and is fluent in English, French and Norwegian.