Charles Holliday Wins George Washington Carver Award

Joanna Schroeder

“Think boldly. Act Responsibly. And don’t give up too easily.” Wise words from Charles (Chad) O. Holliday, Jr., DuPont Chairman of the Board, as he received the George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology given today by the Biotechnology Industry Organization during the 2009 World Congress. The award was given at a plenary lunch of the sixth annual 2009 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Chad Holliday with the GWCarver award and Mark Wright of Iowa State, the recipient of the Carver scholarship.

Chad Holliday with the GWCarver award and Mark Wright of Iowa State, the recipient of the Carver scholarship.

George Washington Carver is considered one of the founding fathers of modern industrial biotechnology and the award is given to companies who focus on continuing to develop products through sustainable agriculture. Carver’s work inspired leaders of the chemurgy movement, whose proponents looked for ways to replace petrochemicals with farm-derived products. Leaders of the chemurgy movement such as Charles Kettering and William Jay Hale proposed that anything made from a hydrocarbon could be made from a carbohydrate. Today, companies are using industrial biotechnology to manufacture plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and even food ingredients from renewable agricultural resources.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said of Holliday’s accomplishments, “During Holliday’s tenure as CEO, DuPont invested in biology-based businesses and infused them with its chemistry know-how. For instance, DuPont partnered with sugar processor Tate & Lyle to manufacture 1,3 propanediol, a polyester ingredient made by fermenting sugar. That venture led the company to think about applying its fermentation expertise to making renewable fuels and chemicals in a biorefinery. Under the aegis of the Department of Energy, the firm has worked with several research partners to further the concept and make it commercially viable.”

“Market-driven science discovery and new product innovation are at the very core of DuPont’s business, and industrial biotechnology is a key component of that, ” said Holliday. “Innovation is essential to business growth that provides safer and more secure lives for people everywhere while addressing global energy and environmental challenges. On behalf of all DuPont employees around the world, I am deeply honored to receive an award that recognizes and promotes work toward this goal, especially as it is given by a group of peers who share this vision.”

Accompanying the award is a George Washington Carver scholarship given in the name of Charles O. Holliday, Jr., to Iowa State University graduate student Mark Wright, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Biorenewable Resources and Technology. The award is sponsored by DSM, the Iowa Biotechnology Association and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

Agribusiness, BIO, Biotech