Editor’s Note: Dr. Jacqueline Applegate was named president of Bayer Environmental Science North America in September of 2010. Since that time she has played a key role in strategic and operational leadership of the company’s professional and consumer business. In January, Applegate will become chairman and senior Bayer representative of Australia, New Zealand, Oceania (ANZ), in addition to CEO of Bayer CropScience Australia, New Zealand. October PCT included an interview with Applegate, which can be downloaded here. Included as an Online Extra are additional questions and answers with Applegate as well as comments about Applegate from a variety of colleagues.
Q. Can you describe those early years at Bayer?
A. I worked in a number of process development labs before moving onto to various jobs on the plant floor. I was a chemist in charge of some of our major products, which was a really fascinating job. I quickly realized, however, that if I was going to advance, I really needed to understand the business side of Bayer. I remember having a conversation with one of the executives at the company who was working with me on a project and he said, “We have idle capacity in a facility in Germany and the existing process will fit really well in that facility, so that’s where it’s going to go. That was an “Aha moment!” for me. That’s when I decided to get my MBA. I needed to understand the economic principles of what drives a business and Bayer has always supported me in that effort. My Executive MBA at Rockhurst College was fully sponsored by the company. I was the only scientist in a room of business executives, but it was a very enriching experience.
Q. What was the subject of your thesis?
A. It was on organizational behavior. I always had an interest in the role a company’s culture plays when it comes to making business decisions and how those cultural differences may or may not influence the decision-making process.
Q. Is there a specific example of how a Bayer innovation has addressed these customer needs?
A. Temprid is a good example. It’s a product that was designed to address a number of issues of importance to PMPs. First, it has a very broad label, so it can be used to address a variety of pest problems. It also is effective against pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs, so it provides enhanced efficacy and reduced callbacks for this pest. It also is very effective against spiders and fall invaders, so it fits nicely into perimeter pest control programs. When you’re a pest management professional, you need a message to go out into the marketplace with, and Temprid allows you to do that on a variety of fronts. We’re trying to identify those gaps that still exist in the marketplace for a particular pest or treatment site and fill those gaps with new product innovations.
Q. How does the current regulatory environment impact your product development goals?
A. We’re always assessing and monitoring macro-trends, including the regulatory climate, when considering any new product development opportunities. We ask ourselves, “How are regulations changing that could impact the customers’ product needs?”
Q. How did your customers respond during this period?
A. We’ve always had a very strong and loyal relationship with our customers. They’re family-oriented, multi-generational businesses, and they have a passion for the industry, a passion which we share, so we’ve always felt our values have been aligned.
Observations About Jacqueline Applegate
“I have been most impressed at how quickly she grasps issues and is willing to understand different perspectives. She is a good communicator and you know her position very clearly. She has a broad and deep understanding of industry issues and does not hesitate to offer her perspective with very strong rationale for her position. She is highly dynamic and energized with an infectious enthusiasm that has a definite impact on who she is working with.” – John Bolanos, Univar Environmental Sciences
“With a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, she started with Bayer in basic manufacturing. She worked her way up in a male dominated environment to be given increasingly important supervisory, management, and strategic planning positions. Jackie chaired the Consumer Working Group for RISE and is a leading candidate for RISE Board membership this year. Jackie has a can do attitude, contagious enthusiasm and great people skills.” – Lon Records, Targety Specialty Products
“We first met Jackie when she assumed the helm of Bayer Environmental Science North America in 2010. Not long after she took the reins she wanted to immerse herself in learning more about certain aspects of the industry, including the roles of the various trade groups that support the industries with which Bayer’s involved. We appreciate Bayer’s longstanding support of NPMA and PPMA and have lauded their continued involvement. Not only do they provide generous funding that allows our work for the industry to happen, they also provide a talented team of people to support our committees, Boards, and divisions.” – Bob Rosenberg, National Pest Management Association