About Us | Professional Staff

  • Raymond C. Ward

    Chairman of the Board , CPSS, CPAG, CCA

    Dr. Ward (Ray) founded Ward Laboratories in 1983. Ray received B.S. and M.S.  Soil Science degrees from University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 1959 and 1961 and a Plant Science Ph.D degree from South Dakota State University in 1972.

  • Nick Ward


    Dr. Nick Ward received his B.S. and M.S. in Agronomy from Kansas State University in 2007 and 2010 and Agronomy Ph.D degree from University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2015.

  • Patrick Freeze

    Soil/Soil Health Customer Support and Technical Specialist

    Dr. Patrick Freeze received his Ph.D in Soil Science from Washington State University in 2023 with an emphasis in soil chemistry. There, he focused on soil health and environmental quality as a USDA NIFA Needs Fellow, and then abroad in Thailand as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. His B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Nevada – Reno centered on forest soil biogeochemistry and heavy metal(loid) remediation in soil and water.

  • Rebecca Kern-Lunbery

    Feed Testing Product Manager and Strategist, MS, MBA, PAS

    Rebecca joined Ward Laboratories in 2016. Rebecca graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2012 with a B.S. in Animal and Veterinary Sciences and again in 2014 with a M.S. in Animal Nutrition.

  • Ryan Dennhardt

    Human Resources/Business Manager

    Ryan joined Ward Laboratories, Inc. in the fall of 2019. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney and has an MBA with HR emphasis.

  • Terry Buettner

    Account Development & Agronomy Support Manager

    Terry joined Ward Laboratories in fall of 2017. He graduated from University of Nebraska-Kearney in 1983 with a B.S. in Business Administration. He has been involved in production agriculture and seed sales in the Kearney area for 34 years.

  • Makayla Fox

    Makayla (MiK) Fox

    Account Development & Agronomy Support Manager

    MiK joined Ward Laboratories in the fall of 2021. She received an A.A.S. in Agriculture in 2016 from Ivy Tech Community College – Fort Wayne. She graduated from Kansas State University in 2019 where she received a B.S. of Agriculture majoring in Communications and Journalism.

  • Nikki Kuhr

    Laboratory Manager

    Nikki joined Ward Laboratories in 2006. She graduated from Southeast Community College-Beatrice with an Associates of Science-Biology Degree.

  • Stephanie Wootton

    Soil Health Supervisor & Microbiology Lead

    Stephanie joined Ward Laboratories in 2020. She attended South Dakota State University where she received her B.S. in Biology in 2016 and then her M.S. with specialization in Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology in 2019.

  • Melissa Schwarz

    Senior Customer Service Representative

    Melissa joined Ward Laboratories in 2017 and has worked as our Receptionist and Customer Service Representative. She will be attending CCC in Kearney to pursue an AAS Degree in Business Administration.

  • Sadie Shannon

    Log-In Supervisor

    Sadie joined Ward Laboratories in the summer of 2017. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2017 with a BS in Animal Science.

  • Carrie Putnam

    Feed Supervisor

    Carrie joined Ward Laboratories in 2013. She graduated from College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, MO with a B.S. in Animal Science.

  • Jordan Westengaard

    Quality Assurance/Quality Control Manager

    Jordan joined Ward Laboratories, Inc. in January 2020. He received his BS in Chemistry from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2010.

  • Willie Pretorius, MS

    Soil Health Consultant

    Willie Pretorius received B.S. and M.S. from the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch in 1966 and 1970 respectively majoring in Fruit Science, Horticulture and Plant Physiology. He also obtained a Hons. B from the Stellenbosch Business School in 1984. His background is agricultural research, managing food companies, and soil health.