College of Agriculture


Phillip David

Dr. Phillip David is chief executive officer of Sygen International, “a world leader in applying quantitative genetics and biotechnology to animal breeding.” His work enables producers and farmers to improve their breeding stock and enhance meat quality. “He is a profound scientist and highly respected businessman,” said Dr. Charles Crabb, dean of the College of Agriculture. Because of his immense knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry, the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico has chosen to honor Dr. David with the 2004 Distinguished Alumni Award.

David grew up in Oroville, Calif. The great local reputation Chico State possessed and the accessibility were the deciding factors in his college decision, said David. History was his original major until he experienced a class taught by animal science professor Robert Busch. “Dr. Busch’s phenomenal teaching ability and passion for the teaching and animal science profession changed my interests to genetics,” said David. He recalls Busch as a caring and helpful person.

David studied hard and worked long hours during his Chico State career. His jobs included working in olive orchards and custom harvesting. In 1976 he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in animal science. He received his master’s degree at the University of Nevada in 1978 and finished his doctorate in genetics and mathematical statistics at the University of Nebraska in 1981.

Upon completion of his PhD he returned to the classroom as an assistant professor at the University of Arizona. After a year he was hired by PIC International, later renamed Sygen International, as a geneticist. Prior to his position as CEO of Sygen International, he was a senior geneticist in the United Kingdom, technical and development director of PIC USA, president of PIC USA, and chief executive of PIC International Group.

The travel opportunities are the highlight of David’s career. “I love to sail on the Mediterranean and Caribbean and dine at local restaurants of the places I visit,” said. David. His recent career move landed him back in Britain where one of the two Sygen laboratories is located. Throughout his travels, he has remained active with UK community organizations Save the Children and Habitat for Humanity. He also received the Queen’s Award for Technical Achievement and Export Achievement. “It’s an honor receiving a bit of crystal from the Queen,” said David.

David credits his achievements within the industry to his work philosophy. Through education he learned that it’s the students needs first and in business it’s customers first. Sygen believes their customer focus and integrity is one of their main missions. “Meeting the needs of our consumers and creating a feeling of value for our customers is important,” said David.

Outside of the work atmosphere, David enjoys being with his wife, Jean, and two children.