Scientist with a Taste for Discovery

William Kleschick

Global Leader of Discovery Research
Dow AgroSciences

Outside Interests

Whether it’s wine collecting, travel or chemistry, Bill Kleschick has a great taste for discovery.

Bill Kleschick’s taste for discovery and adventure started early in life. “As a kid, I didn’t want to watch TV or cartoons,” Bill said. “I just always wanted to be outside, and I loved playing sports, so I was always getting pick-up games going, whether it was baseball or football.”

Bill became interested in science during high school, but he began his undergraduate studies at North Carolina State University as a computer science major. After comparing his computer science classes with chemistry, he quickly figured out that his interests were more aligned with the laboratory than a computer screen. “Once I had the opportunity to work in the lab, I was hooked.”

Bill went on to graduate school and earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. That’s also where he picked up his considerable knowledge and appreciation for wine. “During grad school, I lived only about 90 minutes from Napa Valley, so it wasn’t uncommon for a group of us to take off on a Friday and go explore the wineries there. The wine industry was just getting going at that time, so oftentimes we could talk with winemakers in tasting rooms and I learned a lot about the industry.”

Discovery Takes Time

That natural curiosity has served Bill well during his 35-year career at Dow and Dow AgroSciences. However, just like fine wines, Bill knows that some of the best discoveries take many years to develop. “One of the projects I’m most proud of is developing the new sulfonamide family of herbicides,” he said. “I was responsible for starting the project and catalyzing the molecules that led to seven novel active ingredients for controlling broadleaf weeds in various crops. From inception to commercialization, the project lasted 17 years. Throughout those years, there were definitely some very frustrating times. But I’ve been pretty good at dusting myself off and looking ahead to the future.”

Bill’s optimism and patience have been important in a career that has been a hybrid of research and management. He credits one of his early supervisors, Len Smith, for helping him learn about agriculture, the dynamics of the marketplace and the unique nature of discovery.

“Len taught me that in the discovery environment, there is a balance between ‘looseness and tightness’ to stimulate innovation. Looseness is about risk taking – you have to think creatively to find solutions that are beyond the incremental. But that must be balanced with tightness or process discipline to make solutions viable and valuable,” he said.

Today, Bill is continuing the legacy of mentorship with a new generation of scientists. “I have a quote that I always use in coaching new scientists that says, ‘The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas,’ he said. “I really enjoy helping young researchers connect their ideas and scientific discoveries with practical solutions.”

Awards

Merck Award for Outstanding Senior in Chemistry

John Derieux Award from North Carolina Academy of Science

Associations

ACS (Organic and Agrochemical Divisions)

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Reviewer for Journal of Organic Chemistry; Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry; Synthesis, and Pesticide Science

US 4,479,005: Selective Preparation of Isomers and Enantiomers of Cyclopropane Carboxylic Acids

US 4,515,956: Selective Preparation of Isomers and Enantiomers of Cyclopropane Carboxylic Acids

US 4,532,328: Process for Making Optically Active Esters of Phenoxyphenoxypropionic Acids or Pyridyloxyphenoxypropionic Acids

US 4,605,433: 1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]-1,3,5-triazine-2-sulfonamides and Compositions and Methods of Controlling Undesired Vegetation

US 4,638, 075: Herbicidal Sulfonamides

US 4,650,892: Process for the Preparation of Herbicidal Sulfonamides

US 4,685,958: Sulfonamides Derived from Substituted 2-Amino-1,2,4-triazolo[1,5a]-1,3,5-triazines and Compositions and Methods of Controlling Undesired Vegetation

US 4,731,446: Imidazo[1,2a]pyrimidine Sulfonic Acids and Acid Halides

US 4,740,223: Substituted 1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides and Compositions and Methods of Controlling Undesired Vegetation and Suppressing the Nitrification of Ammonia Nitrogen in Soil

US 4,741,764: Substituted 1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides and Compositions and Methods for Controlling Undesired Vegetation and Inhibiting Sugar Beet Bolting

US 4,755,212: Novel Substituted 1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides and Compositions and Methods for Inhibiting Pollen Formation in Corn

US 4,772,720: Process for the Preparation of Intermediates Useful for Making Herbicidal Sulfonamides Derived from 2-Amino-1,2,4-triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidines

US 4,799,952: Herbicidal Imidazolo[1,2a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonanilides

US 4,818,273: Substituted 1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides, Compositions Containing Them and Their Utility as Herbicides

US 4,822,404: Sulfonamides Derived from Substituted 2-Amino-1,2,4-triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidines and Compositions and Methods of Controlling Undesired Vegetation

US 4,874,421: Herbicidal Method with Improved Crop Tolerance

US 4,886,883: Substituted 1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonyl Chlorides

US 4,904,301: 5-Fluoromethyl-1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidines

US 4,954,163: Substituted 1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides, Compositions Containing Them, and Their Utility as Herbicides

US 4,959,473: 7-Ethoxy-5-Fluoromethyl-1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides

US 4,979,981: 5-Fluoromethyl-1,2,4-triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides

US 4,983,772: 2,6-Disubstituted Anilines

US 4,992,091: Substituted Pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides and Compositions and Methods of Controlling Undesired Vegetation

US 4,997,940: Pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonyl chloride and 2-sulfide Compounds

US 5,010,195: Herbicidal Alkoxy-1,2,4-triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides

US 5,015,286: 7-Ethoxy-5-fluoromethyl-1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides

US 5,021,591: Pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine-2-sulfide Compounds

US 5,163,995: Herbicidal Alkoxy-1,2,4-triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamides

US 5,201,938: N-Pyrazolyl-1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamide Herbicides

US 5,447,905: N-Indazolyl[1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamide Herbicides

US 5,461,161: N-Pyridinyl[1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamide Herbicides

US 5,571,775: N-Aryl[1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-a]pyridine-2-sulfonamide Herbicides

US 5,614,469: N-Pyridinyl[1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidine-2-sulfonamide Herbicides

US 5,700,940: N-Aryl[1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-a]pyridine-2-sulfonamide Herbicides

US 5,763,359: N-(1-Ethyl-4-pyrazolyl)triazoloazine Sulfonamide Herbicides

US 5,858,924: N-(1,2,4-Triazoloazinyl) Benzenesulfonamide and Pyridinesulfonamide Compounds and Their Use as Herbicides

US 5,965,490: N-(1,2,4-Triazoloazinyl) Benzenesulfonamide and Pyridinesulfonamide Compounds and Their Use as Herbicides

US 6,005,108: N-(1,2,4-Triazoloazinyl) Benzenesulfonamide and Pyridinesulfonamide Compounds and Their Use as Herbicides

Greene, R. L.; Kleschick, W. A.; Wahl, G. H., Jr., “Mass Spectrometry of 2-Substituted Adamantanes." Tetrahedron Lett 1971, 4577.

Maciel, G. E.; Dorn, H. C.; Greene, R. L.; Kleschick, W. A.; Peterson, M. R.; Wahl, G. H., Jr., “13C Chemical Shifts of Mono-Substituted Adamantanes.” Org. Magn. Resonance 1974, 6, 178.

Kleschick, W. A.; Buse, C. T.; Heathcock, C. H., “Stereoselection in the Aldol Condensation.” J. Am.Chem. Soc. 1977, 99, 247.

Kleschick, W. A., Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1977, “Stereoselection in the Aldol Condensation.” Diss. Abstr. Int. B 1978, 38(8), 3696. CAN 88:120276.

Kleschick, W. A.; Heathcock, C. H., “Synthesis and Chemistry of Ethyl 2-Diethylphosphonoacrylate.” J. Org. Chem. 1978, 43, 1256.

House, H. O.; Kleschick, W. A.; Zaiko, E. J., “Enones with Strained Double Bonds. The Bicyclo[3.3.1] System.” J. Org. Chem. 1978, 43, 3653.

Evans, D. A.; Sacks, C. E.; Kleschick, W. A.; Taber, T. R., “Polyether Antibiotics Synthesis. Total Synthesis and Absolute Configuration of the Ionophore A-23187.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1979, 101, 6789.

Heathcock, C. H.; Buse, C. T.; Kleschick, W. A.; Pirrung, M. C.; Sohn, J. E.; Lampe, J., “Acyclic Stereoselection. 7. Stereoselective Synthesis of 2-Alkyl-3-hydroxy Carbonyl Compounds by Aldol Condensation.” J. Org. Chem. 1980, 45, 1066.

Kleschick, W. A., “Stereoselective Synthesis of cis-3-(2,2-Dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethyl-cyclopropane Carboxylic Acid.” J. Org. Chem. 1986, 51, 5429.

Kleschick, W. A.; Reed, M. W.; Bordner, J. “The Synthesis of Optically Active cis-3-(2,2-Dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane Carboxylic Acid via Intramolecular Alkylation of a Chiral Enolate.” J. Org. Chem. 1987, 52, 3168.

Kleschick, W. A., “Synthesis of Synthetic Pyrethroids. Stereoselection in the Synthesis of Cyclopropane Carboxylates.” In Synthesis and Chemistry of Agrochemicals; Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 355, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 1987, p. 189.

Kleschick, W. A.; Dunbar, J. E.; Snider, S. W.; Vinogradoff, A. P. "Regiospecific Synthesis of Arylsulfonamide Derivatives of 3,5-Diaminotriazole," J. Org. Chem. 1988, 53, 3120.

Kleschick, W. A.; Gerwick, B. C., “The Chemistry and Biochemistry of Triazolopyrimidinesulfonanilide Herbicides, a New Class of Acetolactate Synthase Inhibitors.” In Prospects for Amino Acid Biosynthesis Inhibitors in Crop Protection and Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Copping, L. G.; Dodge, A. D.; Dalziel, J., Eds.; British Crop Protection Council Monograph No. 42, Lavenham Press Limited: Lavenham, Suffock, 1989, p. 139.

Monte, W. T.; Kleschick, W. A.; Meikle, R. W.; Snider, S. W.; Bordner, J., “Methods for Controlling the Regioselection in the Reaction of 3-Amino-5-benzylthio-1,2,4-triazole with Acetylacetaldehyde Dimethyl Acetal.” J. Heterocyclic Chem. 1989, 26, 1393.

Kleschick, W. A.; Bordner, J., “Regioselection in the Reaction of 3-Amino-5-benzylthio-1,2,4-triazole with Unsymmetrical 1,3-Diketones.” J. Heterocyclic Chem. 1989, 26, 1489.

Kleschick, W. A.; Costales, M. J.; Dunbar, J. E.; Meikle, R. W.; Monte, W. T.; Pearson, N. R.; Snider, S. W.; Vinogradoff, A. P., “New Herbicidal Derivatives of 1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine.” Pestic. Sci.1990, 29, 341-355.

Kleschick, W. A.; Gerwick, B. C.; Carson, C. M.; Monte, W. T.; Snider, S. W., “A New Acetolactate Synthase Inhibiting Herbicide with Multicrop Selectivity.” J. Agric. Food Chem. 1992, 40, 1083-1085.

Kleschick, W. A.; Costales, M. J.; Gerwick, B. C.; Holtwick, J. B.; Meikle, R. W.; Monte, W. T.; Pearson, N. R.; Snider, S. W.; Subramanian, M. V.; VanHeertum, J. C.; Vinogradoff, A. P., “1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonanilide Herbicides. The Influence of Alkyl, Haloalkyl and HaloHeterocyclic Substitution on the In Vitro and In Vivo Biological Activity.” In Synthesis and Chemistry of Agrochemicals III; Baker, D. R.; Fenyes, J.; Steffens, J. J., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 504, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 1992, p. 10-16.

Kleschick, W. A.; Carson, C. M.; Costales, M. J.; Doney, J. J.; Gerwick, B. C.; Holtwick, J. B.; Little, J. C.; Meikle, R. W.; Monte, W. T.; Pearson, N. R.; Snider, S. W.; Subramanian, M. V.; VanHeertum, J. C.; Vinogradoff, A. P., “1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine-2-sulfonanilide Herbicides. The Influence of Alkoxy Heterocyclic Substitution on the In Vitro and In Vivo Biological Activity and Soil Decomposition.” In Synthesis and Chemistry of Agrochemicals III; Baker, D. R.; Fenyes, J.; Steffens, J. J., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 504, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 1992, p. 17-25.

Costales, M. J.; Kleschick, W. A.; Gerwick, B. C., “Synthesis and Herbicidal Activity of N-(Substituted-2-fluorophenyl)-1,2,4-triazolo[1,5-a]-pyrimidine Sulfonamides.” In Synthesis and Chemistry of Agrochemicals III; Baker, D. R.; Fenyes, J.; Steffens, J. J., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 504, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 1992, p. 26-33.

Snel, M.; Watson, P.; Gray, N. R.; Kleschick, W. A.; Carson, C. M., “DE-511, A New Low-Rate Triazolopyrimidine Sulfonanilide Herbicide for Control of Broad Leaved Weeds in Cereals and Maize.” Med.-Fac. Landbouwkd. Toegepaste Biol. Wet. 1993, 58, 845-852.

Gerwick, B. C.; Kleschick, W. A. “Broadstrike: A New Broad-Spectrum Herbicide for Soybeans, Corn and Other Crops.” Down to Earth 1994, 49, 1-7.

Kleschick, W. A., “Triazolopyrimidine Sulfonanilide Herbicides and Related Structures.” In Herbicides Inhibiting Branched Chain Amino Acid Biosynthesis Stetter, J, Ed.; Chemistry of Plant Protection Vol. 10, Springer-Verlag: Berlin, 1994, p. 119-143.

Kleschick, W. A., “2,6-Dimethylphenyl Propionate.” In Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis, Vol. 3, Paquette, L. A., Ed.; Wiley: New York, 1995, p. 2109-2111.

Kleschick, W. A., “Methyl O-Methyllactate,” In Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis, Vol. 5, Paquette, L. A., Ed.; Wiley: New York, 1995, p. 3543-3544.

Kleschick, W. A., “2-Methyl-2-trimethylsilyloxypentan-3-one.” In Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis, Vol. 5, Paquette, L. A., Ed.; Wiley: New York, 1995, p. 3630-3632.

Gerwick, B. C.; Cseke, C. T.; DeBoer, G.; Kleschick, W. A.; Schmitzer, P. R., “Translation of In Vitro to In Vivo Activity: Lessons from the Triazolopyrimidine Sulfonamides.” Weed Science 1996, 44, 757-762.

Kleschick, W. A.; Thornburgh, S., “Diels-Alder Reactions of 1,3-Cyclohexadienes and 3-(Trimethylsilyl)propynoates. A New Synthesis of ortho-(Trimethylsilyl)benzoate Esters.” Synthetic Commun. 1997, 27, 1793-1799.

Kleschick, W. A.; Lu, L. S.; Thornburgh, S., “The Synthesis of a Conformationally Restricted Analog of Acetolactate.” Synthesis 1997, 783-786.

Monte, W. T.; Kleschick, W. A., Bordner, J., “Controlling Substitution Patterns on the 1,2,4-Triazolo[1,5a]pyrimidine Ring. Selective Removal of Chlorine at the 7-Position.” J. Heterocyclic Chem. 1999, 36, 183-188.

Kleschick, W. A.; Lubetkin, S.; Oliver, G.; Hutchins, S. H.; Peterson, R. K. D., “Publish or Perish: A Business and Professional Argument for Private Sector Scientists to Publish in Refereed Journals.” American Entomologist 2001, 47, 69-72.

Kleschick, W. A.; Davis, L. N.; Dick, M. R.; Garlich, J. R.; Martin, E. J.; Ng, S. C.; Orr, N.; Pernich, D. J.; Unger, S. H.; Watson. G. B.; Zuckermann, R. N., “The Application of Combinatorial Chemistry in Agrochemical Discovery.” In Agrochemical Discovery: Insect, Weed and Fungal Control; Baker, D. R.; Umetsu, N. K., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 774, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 2001, p. 205-213.

Kleschick, W. A., “Combinatorial Chemistry as Applied to the Discovery of Agrochemicals.” In Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals, Vol 00, Plimmer, J. R., Ed.; Wiley: New York, 2003.