2014 ACS Fellow Award – Racke

Ken Racke and Marinda Wu

Ken Racke and Marinda Wu

Dr. Kenneth D. Racke is a global research leader with Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis, Indiana. He received a MS in Entomology from The University of Wisconsin (1984), and a PhD in Entomology from Iowa State University (1987).

Ken joined Dow in 1988, and has served in a variety of roles related to insecticide research, development, and regulation. Ken’s career began with an emphasis on the soil fate of insecticides, and his field and laboratory research has supported registration of new active ingredients, reevaluation of existing products, and product stewardship efforts. In addition to agricultural pesticides, Ken’s research interests also extend to urban pesticides, including turfgrass insecticides and termiticides.

As a regulatory team leader, Ken has directed global R&D efforts supporting reduced risk pesticides, and his efforts were recognized with two Presidential Green Chemistry Awards. One of these awards (2000) followed the first registration approval under US EPA’s “reduced risk pesticide” initiative for the termite bait hexaflumuron. The second award (2008) recognized the fermentation-based spinosyn class of insecticides, for which Ken led science teams in obtaining international registrations and organic farming  certifications. Ken’s interests include management of pesticide residues in food, and he established Dow’s “Global MRL Initiative” and has promoted globally harmonized residue standards through Codex.

Ken has been an active AGRO member since his graduate school days in Joel Coat’s lab at Iowa State University. Positive early experiences included receiving an AGRO “Young Scientist Award” in 1987 and co-organizing a symposium at the 1989 ACS meeting in Miami. Ken has organized nine AGRO symposia on such diverse topics as urban pesticide fate, residues in food and international trade, and regulation and endangered species protection. Four of Ken’s  symposia have resulted in ACS Symposia Series Books.

Ken has served the AGRO Division through committee activities and officer roles, including membership on the Program, Long-Range Planning, and Nominating Committees, and chairing of the Young Scientist Recognition and International Activities Committees. Ken served as AGRO Program Chair during 2010 for the San Francisco meeting and was AGRO Division Chair in 2011. Highlights of his tenure included an impactful strategic planning workshop, decisions by AGRO to increase international programming collaborations, and revamping of the AGRO Committee structure.

Ken has been involved for many years in promoting internationally harmonized approaches to assessment and regulation of pesticides through IUPAC. Ken Chaired IUPAC’s Advisory Committee on Crop Protection Chemistry for fifteen years, and he directed a number of IUPAC projects to produce global pesticide assessment guidelines.

To advance adoption of global approaches and promote local capacity building, Ken has organized a series of international crop protection chemistry workshops throughout Asia and Latin America. In serving as co-chair for the 13th IUPAC International Congress of Pesticide Chemistry on behalf of AGRO, Ken is bringing together his long-standing interests in crop protection science and international collaboration with his commitments to both ACS and IUPAC. Ken looks forward to additional years of service with the ACS AGRO “family” and to finding creative ways to leverage activities for international impact.