Hank Harris

Founder of Harrisvaccines
hank harris

DL Hank Harris is Emeritus Professor of Iowa State University where he was employed for over 34 years. He received the DVM (1967) and PhD (1970) degrees from ISU. He served as Chairman of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Preventive Medicine from 1992-1997. During his tenure at ISU, Harris founded 2 companies – NOBL Laboratories (later sold to Boeringer Ingleheim) and Harrisvaccines (later sold to Merck Animal Health in 2015). He has consulted for businesses in over 30 countries and was employed in industry either as a consultant or full time for over 21 years.

Harris has received numerous Industry, University and Entrepreneurial awards including the Distinguished Alumni Award (the highest recognition at Iowa State University), Stange Award for Meritorious Service (the highest recognition in the College of Veterinary Medicine at ISU), Howard Dunne Award for service to the Swine Industry, Henry Wallace Award for Contributions to International Agriculture, for Achievement of Economic Development in Iowa, and the Upper Midwest EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

While serving as CEO of Harrisvaccines, the company was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the top 5000 fastest growing private US companies in 2015 (number 867) with approximately $10 million in gross annual sales and a three-year growth rate of 490%.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

Entrepreneurship means creating a company for the purpose of solving a problem.   To be an entrepreneur a person must have the ‘fire in the belly’ to define the problem and seek a solution even if it means abandoning initial approaches and theories.

Why should students engage in AgEI activities?

There are many career paths available in companies however a start up company is very unique compared to more established Ag businesses.  Participation in AgEI allows the student to experience the thrill of start up company activities to help in choosing a career path.

DMV, Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, 1967
PhD, Veterinary Microbiology, Iowa State University, 1970