H. Vincent Morton
Dr. H. Vincent Morton is the first recipient of the Excellence in Industry Award. Dr. Morton was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was awarded a B.S. degree from the University of Natal in 1959. After working for ICI in Britain, he immigrated to the United States, where he became an assistant for Dr. Mortimer Cohen’s citrus blight research program at the Fort Pierce Experiment Station in Florida. In 1964, Dr. Morton moved to Gainesville, where he completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, the latter in nematology.
In 1967, Dr. Morton joined Geigy Corporation and spent 7 years managing the epidemiology and fungicide development research station in Boynton Beach. His work in this position led to development of the phenylamide (metalaxyl) class of fungicides. Following the merger of Ciba and Geigy, Dr. Morton moved to Greensboro, NC, to manage and provide leadership for fungicide research and development. During his 21 years in this role, he became known as the “United States father of metalaxyl (Ridomil).” Under Dr. Morton’s leadership, a crop-by-crop resistance management plan was developed and implemented, allowing metalaxyl to remain as a viable oomycete fungicide in the United States for more than 17 years after resistance was first recorded in Europe. At least seven other products in the metalaxyl, propiconazole, difenconazole, and fludioxonil classes of chemistry became valuable fungicides for United States agriculture during his tenure as leader of the Ciba-Geigy Research and Development Group. During his career, Dr. Morton made significant contributions to the improvement of fungicide screening and, more recently, was instrumental in the development of deliverable technology to induce systemic-activated resistance. The first product of this type is expected to be introduced in the United States in 1999 or 2000. Dr. Morton has been an advocate of biological control, and his research has led to several patents. Although he officially retired in 1997, he continues to consult for Novartis and has formed his own consulting firm, VIVA Inc.
Dr. Morton has been a very active member of APS, serving on the Biocontrol, Root and Soilborne Disease, IPM, Chemical Control, and Industry committees. He has represented both industry and the discipline of phytopathology in an exceptionally strong manner as both an invited speaker and author. Dr. Morton worked closely with the APS Council to create the Ciba-Geigy Award, now the Novartis Award, designed to recognize outstanding scientists early in their careers. In addition, he was instrumental in having Ciba become one of the first corporate sponsors of the APS Foundation.
Dr. Morton’s truly outstanding human resource skills have impacted a highly significant number of APS members. He has served as mentor and role model for phytopathologists and members of other disciplines within industry, government, and academia. In this role, Dr. Morton has never hesitated to challenge or compliment his colleagues in ways designed to promote the best interests of science, industry, and agriculture.