About Mercaris

Our market data and auctions are helping to grow organic and non-GMO agriculture in the U.S.

The development of sustainable agriculture is at a critical point. While some resources are in place to educate consumers, address public policy, and support scientific research on sustainable agricultural crops, far less emphasis has been placed on the market infrastructure upon which participants, from producers to retailers, depend.
Mercaris was formed to address this gap through two types of services. First, we provide up-to-date, accurate information on market conditions for organic and non-GMO commodities. Second, our trading platform allows buyers and sellers to meet on-line and trade physical commodities.
Mer•car •is
People ask us all the time about our name. Mercaris comes from two Latin words: Mercatus, meaning a gathering for the purposes of commerce or markets, and Mercari meaning ‘to trade.’

Who We Are

Meet the team behind Mercaris

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Kellee James

Founder and CEO
Prior to Mercaris, Kellee spent five years at the start-up company Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the first electronic trading platform and registry for spot, futures and options on carbon, sulfur, clean energy and other environmental derivatives. In 2009 she was appointed by President Barack Obama as a White House Fellow and was Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine ’40 under 40’ rising leader.
Previously, Kellee worked with commodity banks in Latin America on risk management and income diversification strategies. Kellee is an Aspen Institute Catto Environmental Fellow and has also served on the board of Net Impact, a membership organization of more than 12,000 MBA professionals committed to sustainability through corporate responsibility. Kellee received her MBA and MA in International Development from American University in Washington, D.C., and completed a BA in Spanish from the University of Kentucky.
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Chris Duesing

Co-Founder and CTO
Chris Duesing has 15 years of experience in software development with a specialization in high throughput, distributed applications in the financial and retail industries. Most recently Chris served as the Director of Application Development for the Chicago Climate Exchange, where he led the development of trading platforms, market data feeds, settlement calculation, clearing integration and marketing websites. Prior to this Chris worked at Sears corporate on projects including terabyte scale data reporting and distributed, streaming order processing..
Chris has spent the last 6 years focusing on entrepreneurship and developing new businesses. His company Exchangery took part in Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago) 2011 class, before being acquired by Mercaris. Chris is active in the Chicago tech and entrepreneurship communities where he is an organizer of the Chicago Erlang Users group as well as a mentor for ScaleWell.
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Mike Kunz

Director of Engineering
Former Founder and CTO of an online supplement company, Campus Protein, and a life-long coder; Mike has spent his entire career in the tech start-up world. He graduated from Indiana University with a B.A in Economics. At Indiana University he was also the winner of the 2012 Indiana University 'Best' competition for aspiring start-ups.
Since starting his own company, Mike has worked for startups in various industries including Small Business Insurance and Real Estate. Mike was on the forefront of analytics on the housing market; even guest speaking at the University of Chicago for classes on Predictive Analytics.
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Lizzie Ekeberg

Director of Trading
Lizzie has nearly 10 years of experience as a commodity trader. She got her start in the industry working for Cargill as a soybean buyer, which included dealing with NGMO and other specialty grains, as well as working directly with farmers and grain elevators. Most recently she spent 5 years working for Miller Milling Company selling wheat flour to tortilla companies and bakeries, and also dealt with organic wheat and flour. In her spare time Lizzie is an active fitness buff and enjoys running, cycling, lifting weights, and yoga. Lizzie graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota in 2006 with dual degrees in International Studies/Economics and French.
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Ryan Koory

Director of Economics
With more than six years' experience providing custom market analytics and strategic pricing forecasts to stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain, Ryan brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the Mercaris team.
Previously with IHS Markit, Ryan developed econometric models forecasting US and global agricultural markets for top global agriculture businesses. While studying Agricultural Economics, Ryan joined IHS Markit as a graduate research assistant, before being promoted to Senior Economist, focusing on delivering livestock, dairy, and biofuels market analytics.
Ryan has also produced research focusing on the impacts of weather, technology, policy, trade, population demographics, and culture on global agricultural markets. Ryan studied economics at Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia.
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Tomas Garcia

Director of Partnerships
Tomas comes to Mercaris with 5 years of experience in grain trading and procurement. Growing up in a farming and ranching operation in southern Brazil, Tomas moved to Montana where he went to college at Montana State University, earning a B.S. in Agricultural Economics with a minor in Economics.
Throughout his various roles in the grain industry, Tomas always focused on long-lasting partnerships, allowing him to supply spring wheat to domestic and international mills, corn to feedlots and export programs, non-gmo and organic soybeans, and pulses to pet food manufacturers, packagers and protein processing plants all over the world. He was also involved in setting up production contracts for identity preserved pulses, working directly with farmers and insurance companies.
When not at the office, he can be found playing soccer, rugby or exploring the outdoors with his wife and 2 dogs.
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James Mckellar

Manager of Data Partnerships
James Mckellar comes to Mercaris with a diverse background in tech sales and over 5 years of experience in cash grain trading. Upon graduating from North Carolina, A&T with a B.S. in Agriculture business, he handled cash grains sales & merchandising for multiple Bunge grain elevators and soybean crush plants in Tennessee and Indiana. He most recently comes from Indigo Ag an Ag-Tech Startup where he held a variety of roles working to partner with producers, grain buyers and grain marketing advisors to help facilitate cash grain transactions on a digital marketplace. James’ passion for agriculture was sparked by his great uncle who farmed peanuts and cotton and his grandfather who raised hogs in eastern North Carolina.
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Megan Thomas

Economist | Account Manager
Megan Thomas comes to Mercaris as a former USDA 1890 National Scholar with a background in small-scale farming and agricultural economics. She has worked with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service as an economic assistant for the Office of Capacity Building and Development, Office of Trade Programs, and the Office of Global Analysis where she assisted senior economists with data analytics of commodity markets. Megan has also completed the Summer Research Opportunities Program at The Ohio State University focusing on biofuel consumption with demand elasticities.
Megan received an M.S. in Agricultural Business and Economics from Auburn University and a B.S. in Agricultural Science with a concentration of Economics from Southern University and A&M College.

Locate Us

8737 Colesville Rd Suite 220
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Contact Us

[email protected]
(312) 423-1875