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PYSK: John D. Bucksath

Name: John D. Bucksath

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Title and company/organization: President and CEO

Age: 47

Job description: Lead executive

Years lived in Columbia/mid-Missouri: I moved to Columbia in 1989 to pursue a career in life sciences.

Original hometown: Slater, Mo.

Education: B.A. in biology/chemistry from Central Methodist University (1989), EMBA from Washington University’s Olin Business School (2007)

Community involvement: Member of Columbia Sunrise Southwest Rotary

Professional background: I started with ABC Laboratories as a scientist at the research and development level. Starting in 1996, I was responsible for growing and managing the initial development of ABC’s offering for human pharmaceutical R&D support. The success of this group set the stage for ABC’s successful entry into the pharmaceutical development space. I joined the senior management team as head of operations in 2003 and became CEO in 2012.

A favorite recent project: The turnaround of an operating site in Sacramento, Calif., has been the most rewarding recent project our team has addressed. We were faced with a challenging turnaround situation while simultaneously addressing culture, geography and technical challenges.

A Columbia businessperson I admire and why: Although there are so many successful businesspeople in Columbia, my admiration is for the entrepreneurs in the community. Columbia as a community has enjoyed a wonderful quality of life for several decades. I believe the success of developing and attracting new innovative companies and supporting the local business leaders of tomorrow are catalysts to our continued success as a community.

Why I’m passionate about my job: We serve two major markets: pharmaceutical and agriculture chemistry product development. When we look at the big picture, we are supporting industry to help produce products that heal and feed the world. I can’t think of anything more motivating than that.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would: Be a teacher or coach in some capacity. It is very rewarding to support people in developing their talents.

What people should know about this profession: The role of supporting the industries’ R&D efforts as a business that provides expertise for hire is a challenge beyond what most can comprehend. The ability to understand the science, the regulatory requirements, global and national markets, the risks involved and converting that into a successful business is not for the faint of heart.

What I do for fun: I have recently taken up trying to play the guitar. It is enjoyable, but I am convinced that I’ll never make the big time.

Family: My beautiful wife, Melissa, and daughters, Emily and Ashley

Favorite place in Columbia: It depends on the day, but I really enjoy date night with my wife at CC’s.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: Other than family, I would have to say that I am most proud of what our organization is doing as we speak. I work with an amazing bunch of professionals, and it is always rewarding to see what we accomplish when we are working together.

Most people don’t know that I: Was recruited to be a music major for my undergraduate studies. During my high school years, I became very capable with a variety of brass instruments.

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