From left to right: Harold Ford, Jr., Rick Lazio, Kit Bond, Joe Crowley, Mike Johanns and Bob Riley

alliantgroup’s Leadership, Technology & Policy Summit took place on November 7th and 8th at our Houston headquarters. During the event, renowned experts from the fields of technology, agriculture, cybersecurity and tax policy discussed important topics that directly apply to agriculture businesses across the United States.

Real Cyber Risks

Emerging Industry Threat

One of the main topics of discussion focused on an emerging threat to small and mid-sized businesses across industries: cybersecurity. “Over 50% of the cyberattacks that occur in this country, are targeted toward small to mid-sized companies,” stated alliantgroup’s Senior Vice President of Information & Technology Rizwan Virani during the panel discussion regarding cybersecurity.

With the infusion of technology into every day agricultural practices, businesses operating within this space need to be aware of the potential areas of vulnerability. From soil sensors, to GPS monitoring of crop growth, to drone usage to increase crop production – the more reliant farmers, ranchers and agriculture operators become on digital data, the more vulnerable they are to cyberattacks.

Former Secretary Mike Johanns

Opportunities for Agriburinesses

During the event, alliantgroup Chairman of Agriculture, former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns also discussed the important work he is doing to educate the agriculture industry on powerful government-sponsored incentives. “We have seen case after case where the Research and Development Tax Credit wasn’t even on the radar screen for agriculture operations. People weren’t focusing on what they were doing every day that would qualify for this tax credit,” said Secretary Johanns. “Precision agriculture, for example, that’s a buzzword out there right now and I believe a lot of that work would qualify for the Research and Development Tax Credit.”

Leadership and Management Trends

The Critical Need for Employee Engagement

The event began with an interactive lecture from Thomas DeLong, a Senior Fellow, former Philip J. Stomberg Professor at the Harvard Business School and author of “Flying Without a Net”—a book recognized by the editors of Amazon publishing as one of the top ten books written on leadership this century.

According to DeLong, getting the company’s professionals to completely buy into the organization (to form what he referred to as a “covenantal relationship”) is the key to creating a high-performance culture and building a sustainable organization—and such a relationship can only be achieved when leadership invests in and builds those lasting interpersonal relationships with their developing professionals. Creating a culture of professional development often requires pushing people out of their comfort zones, but in DeLong’s eyes, allowing employees to stumble to learn new roles is a necessary step in ensuring organizational and professional growth.

To learn more about the event, or to see if your company can qualify for valuable tax credits and incentives – please complete the contact form below.