Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Drew Wagner, '12 ISE

drew
Drew Wagner, '12 industrial and systems engineering, kicks back on his 1978 Mooney M20J plane.

Drew Wagner is a natural born leader. A 2012 industrial and systems engineering graduate, he is the chief technical officer of Sod Solutions, a company that develops and markets superior turf varieties for the horticulture industry. His responsibilities include managing the development and licensing of intellectual properly and software development, while also overseeing digital marketing and the company website. While his job keeps him on his toes, as everyday is a new challenge with continuous change, Drew likes to decompress in the sky as an instrument-rated pilot. Read more about Drew and how he's shaking things up thanks to his Auburn Engineering degree.

Job Title — Chief Operating Officer

Industry — Horticulture

Give us an overview of your job and why you enjoy it:

Sod Solutions' business is development, licensing, and marketing of improved turf grass varieties, fertilizer products and agricultural software. In my role, I manage the development and licensing of intellectual property, software development and oversee our digital marketing and websites. I love my job because every day I get to shape our company direction and strategy. I have an opportunity to travel often and meet many interesting people. Visiting farms and finding ways to leverage technology to improve efficiency and profitability for our customers is the most rewarding part of my job.

How has your Auburn Engineering degree prepared you for your career?

Engineering at Auburn helped me develop into a good problem solver. Someone in our class made a shirt that said "Another Day I Still Didn't Use Calculus" that I got a pretty good laugh out of, but pushing through those tough classes and spending nights in the library with my industrial engineering study group taught me about hard work and how to manage large and complex problems. It also taught me the power of surrounding yourself with talented people and how it has an exponential effect on success. I do not work in a traditional engineering field, but I have been surprised at how often I am able to apply the statistics, forecasting, supply chain and efficiency principals I learned in industrial engineering. I will forever be a life long learner and my education didn't end at graduation.

Can you tell us about any special projects you've worked on recently?

I have three special projects I am working on right now. One is our software as a service product called Turf Logistics that I started shortly after graduating. It helps farms manage their operations and logistics and has really taken off since we released it in 2014. This spring we launched a new retail fertilizer product called Lawnifi that I helped take from concept to launch. I also have been working on a major software project that will be released late this summer. All three of these projects have been incredible learning experiences.

What are your future plans?

I am really happy with where I am right now and with the direction of our business. I look forward to overseeing the growth of our current product lines while continuing to explore ways to develop and acquire new technologies and products for our portfolio.

Tell us some fun facts about you:

I am an instrument rated pilot and get to fly regularly for work visiting customers (and the occasional Auburn game). I fly a 1978 Mooney M20J. The engineer in me is still amazed that 2,750 pounds of people, metal and gear can get off the ground and fly 155 knots on just 200 horsepower. I also stay young by playing in a men's wood bat baseball league. I am happily married with two fun and rambunctious kids.

Last Updated: 5/17/17 10:51 AM