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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Dr. J. Lyell Clarke III

Chairman, President & CEO

The Clarke Group, Inc.

Location: Kane County

Founded: 1946

Industry: Public Health Mosquito Control

Dr. John Lyell Clarke III inherited the foundations of a strong but small service and distribution business from his father and grandfather; however, over the course of his tenure at the helm of the company as CEO and Chairman, he has led The Clarke Group through a radical transformation.

The Clarke Groupe Inc. is a third-generation family-owned public health products and services company striving to elevate and transform the science of vector control through the lens of sustainability and innovation. The firm pioneers, develops and delivers environmentally-responsible mosquito control solutions to prevent disease and help make communities around the world more livable, safe and comfortable.

The story of the transformation begins in 2008 when Clarke had been at the helm for over a decade. “Unbeknownst to no one, he had been silently suffering through an existential crisis,” said his staff. “An environmentalist at heart, he would be deeply troubled by how unsustainable their business practices and work felt.”

As a result, Clarke voiced his concerns to the management team and asked them to take a leap of faith with him to envision a new Clarke together. “Lyell guided the company in those first steps and brought leadership vision to what a new Clarke might look like,” said his colleagues. “As a result, Clarke has shifted from the upside-down, dead mosquito logo company to a public health company with a purpose of making communities safer and more comfortable.”

Under Clarke’s leadership, the company has grown into key global markets for vector control, including Brazil, Mexico, India and the Middle East, developing several new products that solve for insecticide resistance challenges.

In addition, Clarke’s focus was on building a culture that prioritized coworkers and community service. “When you ask Lyell what he is most proud of over his leadership tenure, he shares stories about creating the company culture that embraces a strong sense of purpose, environmental protection and social accountability,” said his staff.

When Clarke thinks back on his appointment to president, he said he recalls feelings of self-doubt about his readiness to take over for his dad and felt an enormous amount of pressure. “What I have learned in my own leadership journey is the expectation for the head of a company to have all the answers for his team is short-sighted, foolish and limiting,” he said. “What a good leader must do is bring vision, communicate expectations and build a strong team around you that can work together to progress, solve and grow.”

With an unending commitment to the environment, his team and his family’s business, Clarke has been named a Titan 100.

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