Born in the village of Budworth in Great Britain (Wales) in 1940, John Cross is a model for Saskatchewan entrepreneurs. He immigrated to Canada in 1963 and earned a Master’s of Engineering Science at Western University, London, Ontario in 1965. In the decade following, John joined the Food Research Division of John Labatt, and in 1975 relocated to Saskatoon to become the founding director of the POS Pilot Plant Corporation.
As a chemical engineer and entrepreneur, Cross is best known for his work developing crop fertility products. In 1980, he was a founding partner and later President and CEO of Philom Bios Inc. which was purchased in 2007 by Novozymes. Under his leadership, the company developed, manufactured, and marketed high value inoculants worldwide – enhancing the yield and efficiency of crops and increasing farmer profit.
The company and products John Cross started over 35 years ago are now benefiting farmers around the globe with novel and highly productive microbial crop inoculants. These inoculants stimulate crop growth by enhancing absorption of nitrogen and phosphorus, and Novozymes has leveraged use of this technology worldwide.
In Saskatoon, Cross has served as director and chairman of Saskatchewan Research Council, and served as a member on several Boards including 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 for SIAST (now Sask Polytechnic). He has also been recognized by the Province of Saskatchewan in 2013 with the Order of Merit and in 2015 was invited to become a member of the Order of Canada.
“As an entrepreneur and community leader, John Cross has been an ambassador and progressive voice for Saskatoon and our region’s economic development,” said former Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison of Cross. “Our city is grateful for his contributions.”
The connection between Cross and POS is significant and deep. In 1975 Cross became the founding executive director of POS Pilot Plant Corporation and has been chair of the company’s board of directors for a few years. Today, he remains a director on the board.
“John Cross is among the most respected and innovative business leaders in Saskatchewan,” said Dale Kelly, President and CEO of POS. “We have so much respect for him that we named our building after him to reflect the creativity, ingenuity and solutions-oriented focus John is and brought to our company and that our company continues to bring to the table each and every day.”
Thank you, John, for your dedication, passion and leadership.