The 2001 Distinguished Alumnus Award was presented to Byron Beeler, Class of 1956
A native of Kings County, Nova Scotia, Byron Beeler graduated from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in 1956 before going on to complete his studies at Macdonald College in 1958 with a major in Horticulture. He then went on to the University of Toronto where he earned an MSc. degree in Soils and Crops.
Byron joined the Ontario Government and worked in the Agriculture Division from 1958 to 1971. In 1971 Byron went to Stewart Seed Company where he became General Manager.
In 1991 Byron became the Head of Ciba-Geigy's Animal Health Division for Canada. With the merger of Ciba and Sandoz, two Swiss Companies, the new name of Novartis Animal Health Canada Inc., was given to the company. At Novartis, Byron became involved with Crop Protection, Chemicals and Public Affairs. He became President of the Animal Health Care Division of Novartis on January 1 1997 until August of this year when he retired.
Mr. Beeler has been involved with the organization and administration of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and served as President in 1992-93 and 1993-94. He is a past president of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists and a Past Chairman of the Animal Health Institute as well as several community organizations. It is little wonder that Byron was honored by the Ontario Institute of Agrologists with the award of "Distinguished Agrologist". He was also made a "Fellow" of the Agricultural Institute of Canada and given Life Membership in the Canadian Seed Growers Association. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Byron has a keen interest in how people learn which has lead him to instill a high level of life-long learning in the employees of Novartis Animal Health. He, himself, is a firm believer in life-long learning and continuous improvement and believes deeply in the power of a positive attitude. While at Novartis, Byron succeeded in increasing Animal Health Care Sales by over 750 per cent.
This past year Byron was asked to chair a special Finance Task Force for the NSAC Alumni Association and facilitated a planning session with the Board of Directors at a March 2000 retreat. As an NSAC alumnus, Byron has always been a strong motivational force not only behind the scenes in his persuasive, unobtrusive way but also in an overt way. He has worked diligently to preserve the integrity of the Class of 1956 and to channel efforts in relation to support of the College
Since his retirement as President of Novartis Animal Health Canada Inc. in August 2001, Byron has taken on the post of consultant with Novartis Animal Health US.
Byron and his wife Katherine reside in Carlisle Ontario on the outskirts of Toronto. They have three daughters: Sharon, Carolyn and Janet and four grand daughters.
Since graduation in 1956 Byron Beeler has been a strong supporter of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and the NSAC Alumni Association. This combined with his dedication and contributions to the industry make him a very deserving recipient of the NSAC Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2001.