Lyell Clarke

President and CEO, Clarke

Twitter: @ClarkeMosquito

John Lyell Clarke is President and CEO of Clarke, a third generation public health company, based in St. Charles, Illinois. Established in 1946, Clarke pioneers, develops and delivers products and services globally to control nuisance and disease vectoring mosquitoes and to maintain healthy waterbodies. 

Since moving into a leadership role in the business in the mid-1990s, Lyell has guided the company on a journey toward creating more products and practices with reduced environmental impact. At the same time, he has nurtured a culture that emphasizes contribution, purpose and work/life balance, with expanded consideration of the role of business in the community. 

Resulting examples of this vision include the introduction of water-based adulticides (replacing petroleum-based products), engineered electric applicators (replacing gas engines), bicycle applications in service operations and voluntarily withdrawing registrations for products with outdated environmental profiles.

However the most exemplary outcome is Natular®, a mosquito larvicide made with a new active ingredient that is a product of a naturally occurring soil bacterium. The formulation was reviewed as a “Reduced Risk” product by the U.S. EPA and is approved for use in and around organic crops and gardens. Five formulations in all are on the OMRI Products List (Organic Materials Review Institute). Subsequently Clarke developed, registered and introduced Merus®, the first public health adulticide also OMRI Listed for use in and around organic crops as well. 

Determined to be a bold catalyst for change within its industries, Lyell has inspired his organization to embed sustainability into every aspect of the business. Clarke’s sustainability goals and achievements include reducing its carbon footprint by 25%, utilizing at least 10% of energy from on-site renewable sources, incorporating a “cradle-to-cradle” philosophy into product development and design, and volunteering more than 2,080 employee hours each year to assist the communities Clarke serves. 

In 2009, Lyell established the Clarke Cares Foundation. This non-profit was designed to provide relief from mosquito-borne disease to areas of need worldwide. By the end of 2018, Clarke raised funds and donated just over 98,000 mosquito bed nets which were placed by The Carter Center in Plateau State, Nigeria, protecting just over 475,000 lives. In 2016, the Foundation expanded its mission and established a partnership with Pure Water for the World and a focus on water-borne health issues. 

Lyell is a recipient of the Member Leadership Award for Innovation from Vistage International and the Iowa State University Distinguished Alumni Award. The Company was honored with the U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its novel Reduced Risk larvicide, Natular® and in addition is a three-time recipient of the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award.