Born in the village of Budworth, Great Britain on February 14, 1940, John Valentine Cross has become a model for Saskatchewan entrepreneurs. He obtained his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree in 1963 from the University of Bradford in England. He immigrated to Canada in 1963 and furthered his education at the University of Western Ontario with a Master’s of Engineering Science in 1965. Cross worked in the Food Research Division of John Labatt from 1965-75 in Saskatoon. In 1975, he became the founding director of the POS Pilot Plant Corporation. Partnering with George Khachatourians and John Schaw in 1980, John Cross began building the foundations of Philom Bios, which today is the leading inoculant company in western Canada. In the early 1980s he was also involved in the dog food business, developing novel grain-handling systems, and consulting in the food and agricultural sectors. He has served on numerous national bodies over the past 25 years, including the National Biotechnology Advisory Committee, the National Research Council of Canada, and the Pest Management Advisory Committee. In Saskatoon he has served as director and chairman of Saskatchewan Research Council, and as a member of several Boards: AgWest Biotech Inc., the Saskatoon and Region Economic Development Authority (SREDA), the International Centre for the Advancement of Science and Technology (ICAST), and the Advanced Technology Training Centre at the Kelsey campus of SIAST. Cross was recognized as Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year for the Prairie Region for Science and Technology; in 1998 he was awarded the first Agri-business Leadership Award by the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce; and in 2003 he received the AgWest Biotech BioScience Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Vision. The Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists recognized John Cross with an Honorary Life Membership in 2002.
Tara L. Procyshyn