Neil Sullivan is the director of sales for Kyowa Hakko USA, New York, NY. Kyowa Hakko is a world leader in fermentation, biotechnology and chemical synthesis, offering the highest quality line of amino acids and related ingredients. Mr. Sullivan started Kyowa’s brand marketing campaign positioning Kyowa as a high profile supplier to the U.S. nutrition market. Prior to Kyowa, he was a sales manager at two global ingredient companies—George Uhe Co. and Helm New York—handling specialty chemicals, manufacturing intermediates and ingredients for the human/animal health and nutrition, dietary supplement and pharmaceutical industries. Mr. Sullivan’s global career includes operations in food commodity futures and physicals trading. Born and raised in New York, he currently lives in the scenic Hudson Valley north of Manhattan with his wife, a math teacher, and two daughters.
Health E-Insights: Where do you think the most significant growth will occur in the company in the next few years?
Mr. Sullivan: Significant growth will come from rising global demand for Kyowa’s amino acids and other related bioactive substances. Amino acids are fundamental and necessary components of human nutrition. Plus, there’s new and novel demand in the pharmaceutical and biotech fields. For human nutrition, amino acids today are in a similar position vitamins were in the 1970s and destined for long-term growth on a tidal scale globally. There is strong growth in a wide array of uses for dietary supplements. Furthermore, foods and beverages represent a category of massive growth because amino acids provide desperately needed functional health benefits.
Health E-Insights: What is Kyowa’s competitive advantage?
Mr. Sullivan: Kyowa’s advantage is its core technology of fermentation, allowing it to be a low-cost producer while being capable of high quality multi-compendia products with full regulatory support.
Health E-Insights: Do you think technology will change the ingredient segment of the industry?
Mr. Sullivan: Yes. Technologies to expand production capacities and lower costs will be characteristics of market leaders.
Health E-Insights: In what direction do you see the supplement industry moving?
Mr. Sullivan: Toward the direction of accountability for unquestionable quality and for supplying clinical science for retail consumers who will become more aware and educated about the benefits of dietary supplements.
Health E-Insights: Have you had the opportunity to visit Japan?
Mr. Sullivan: Actually, most of my visits to Japan happened prior to my employment with Kyowa. In the past, I was a sales and business agent for a few Japanese specialty chemical and ingredient manufacturers. In the agent role, it is common to visit with principals. At Kyowa, my focus is the North American market so therefore I stay closer to home.
Health E-Insights: What would you invent if you had the chance?
Mr. Sullivan: Common sense pills. Because many of the lifestyle challenges we are suffering from every day can be cured with doses of common sense.
Health E-Insights: Is there a golden rule by which you live?
Mr. Sullivan: “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” —Aristotle
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An Interview with Neil Sullivan
Neil Sullivan is the director of sales for Kyowa Hakko USA, New York, NY. Kyowa Hakko is a world leader in fermentation, biotechnology and chemical synthesis, offering the highest quality line of amino acids and related ingredients.
By Sheldon Baker
Published June 1, 2012