Eric C. Tedford has had a highly successful career in the crop protection industry over the past 23 years. He received a PhD in Plant Pathology at UC Davis in 1994, and after a postdoctoral research position with WA State University, he joined Zeneca Ag Products as a Research Plant Pathologist, where he worked on the development of azoxystrobin-based products. Following the Novartis- Zeneca merger, azoxystrobin has grown to be Syngenta’s biggest-selling active ingredient. Eric soon became a Plant Pathology Team Leader, where he had broad responsibilities for fungicide research and development both regionally and globally.
Eric emerged from the merger as Global Fungicide Technical Manager with Syngenta, and has continued with the company since its inception. In various positions at Syngenta, Eric has played a pivotal role in some of the company’s most important successes in fungicide product development. During a 4-year stint at the company headquarters in Basel, Eric was Global Technical Manager for numerous fungicide active ingredients including some of the company’s major products such as chlorothalonil, fludioxonil, cyprodinil, and thiabendazole. In that position he was responsible for technical support for global fungicide growth and development and life cycle management. It was also during this time that he was heavily involved in the development of a postharvest fungicide business for Syngenta. This was a market that the company had not focused on previously. As a result of the efforts of the team that Eric was a leading member of, Syngenta developed a robust line of postharvest fungicides including Scholar, Graduate, Graduate A+, Diploma, and Mentor.
Eric then returned to the U.S. and took up a critical role in the development of the new postharvest business, as Postharvest Technical Manager, stationed in California near the heart of the fruit industry. Syngenta is now the biggest postharvest fungicide company in the world. Following his success in Syngenta’s postharvest business, Eric moved to the company’s U.S. headquarters and for the past 11 years has served as Fungicide Technical Product Lead. In this role he is responsible for technical development of Syngenta's fungicides for North America, including strategic direction and leadership for R&D programs with new and existing fungicides. One of his major contributions in this role has been the development of strobilurin fungicides brands for plant performance benefits on corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice. This was a new way of looking at the benefits of fungicides above and beyond disease control and now is acknowledged as a valuable attribute of these products.
Educating Syngenta personnel also has been a strong component of Eric’s responsibilities. He has created numerous technical training brochures, sales brochures, web sites and presentations to help promote the technical attributes of Syngenta's fungicides. He has produced and presented many fungicide technical presentations to train colleagues, salesmen, growers, and University researchers about Syngenta’s fungicides. In his current role he continues to provide training for Agronomists, Field Biologists, and Sales teams.
Eric has been an avid supporter of APS, including several leadership roles and mentoring activities, which recently culminated in a three-year term as Councilor-at-Large. He has been a long-term Sustaining Associate, on behalf of both Zeneca and Syngenta, and chaired the Sustaining Associate Committee from 2005-2009. He served as Senior Editor for the APS Education Center and was a member of the Office of Education. He continues to support and mentor young plant pathologists through his involvement with the APS Leadership Institute. Eric has served on numerous APS offices and committees, especially the Postharvest Disease Control Committee, where he served as Vice-Chair and Chair from 2005-2009. He also has been a long-term member of the Industry committee, and chaired that committee. Other involvement includes the Office of Industry Relations, the Office of Electronic Communications, and the Chemical Control committee. Eric is a regular attendee at the APS Annual Meeting; being seen at nearly every meeting over the past 20 years!
Eric exemplifies the private sector plant pathologists that are vital to the health of global agriculture and to APS. And throughout this dynamic and successful career, Eric has enthusiastically participated in Society activities in many ways. Eric is a highly deserving recipient of the APS Excellence in Industry Award.