Alumni Spotlight: Doug Ware

doug wareDoug Ware has exemplified how to make a change when you see that one is needed. His ideas and firm belief that there were other ways to approach animal research pushed him to start his own company in 1993 called Nutrition Physiology Corporation. Since then, his work has become the industry standard and changed the way microbiology research is done in animal nutrition for the better.  

Growing up in Huntington, Indiana, Ware found his passion for agriculture through his father. This, as well as his athletic talent, led him to attend Purdue University on a football scholarship. After becoming a Big Ten champion and winning the Rose Bowl, Ware graduated and obtained a job with Dow Chemical. Here, he had the opportunity to work with the top veterinarians and animal nutritionists in the country, which eventually spurred him to attend Iowa State to further his education. “Those veterinarians and nutritionists provided me with a lot of mentorship. I became passionate about doing what those people did.”   

Though admitted to veterinary school, financial considerations led Doug to decide to attend Iowa State University on a graduate assistantship, where he stayed for five years to earn his MS and Ph.D. in animal nutrition. “Iowa State was one of the best times in our lives,” said Ware, talking about him and his wife. “I was blessed to have some of the finest teachers that anyone could have hoped to have. It was an incredible experience.”  

Doug was involved in Gamma Sigma Delta, did lots of coursework, and applied research at the Allee Farm in Newell, Iowa. “Iowa State put me through my paces. I learned that if I was going to do what I wanted to do, it wasn’t going to be easy.”  

After his time at Iowa State, Doug rejoined Dow Chemical, and he started doing research in antibiotics and chemicals. But he soon saw a gap to be filled. “I felt there was another way to approach research projects.”  

Ware started Nutrition Physiology Corporation, where he innovated the animal nutrition space with microbiological products that were safe for animals and humans. Ware focused his research on beef and dairy cattle and reinvested back into the company research every chance he had, which certainly paid off. By the time he sold his company, 60% of beef cattle and 25% of dairy cattle were fed his product, Bovamine, and he had received 33 patents. In 2016, Doug retired, and his company was sold to CHR Hansen. “What means the most to me is knowing what I did is still the industry standard. It wasn’t easy at times, but it gives me immense pride that it has continued to develop after I left.”  

Ware attributes his preparedness to move into the industry after graduation to the people he was surrounded by, as well as his background in athletics. His time and dedication to football at Purdue taught him to work with others on a team, and that became something he carried with him throughout his career. “Because of my time in competitive athletics, I learned to work with people who were different.  I think that is why I enjoyed so many of my professors and fellow students. It was very rewarding to work with and learn from them.” 

Now retired, Doug and his wife, Virginia, enjoy giving back and doing philanthropic work.  

When asked if he had any advice for students, Ware responded, “Life is hard, but stay committed to what you want to do. If you do what you love, you will never have a job but rather a career that will make you happy.”