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Past Leader Spotlight: Fred Carleton, President 1977-1979, Executive Director 1988-1991

In 2006, the PDA Letter ran a series of articles highlighting past leaders as part of PDA’s 60th Anniversary celebrations. Over the next few months, we will republish those articles as part of this year's 75th Anniversary. Look for video Past Leader Spotlights of more recent leaders to post soon, as well.
This month, the “Past Leader Spotlight” features Fred  Carleton, PDA Executive Director from 1988-1991.

For 30 years, one PDA member played a central role in every major meeting, training event and recruiting effort at PDA: Fred Carleton.

Fred joined PDA in 1960 while working for Pfizer Inc. His career with Pfizer would extend for 29 years, ending in 1988, as the Manager, Scientific Affairs for the company’s domestic facilities (seven in total). Fred joined Pfizer as a radiological biochemist, with degrees from City College, Purdue University and the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies. He was one of the first experts in the industry trained to work with radioactive compounds. Fred also was an adjunct professor at the Fairleigh Dickinson University (1960-1970) where he taught biochemistry and radiochemistry.

Fred’s first experience with PDA was at the National Meeting (now called the Annual Meeting). After attending for the first few years, the educator in Fred came out. He approached the PDA Board of Directors in the mid-1960’s and proposed a number of changes to enhance the conference. Impressed with his ideas, PDA named Fred to the planning committee for the national meeting. In 1971, Fred became a member of PDA’s Program Committee, on which he served until 1991. In those two decades, he participated in planning every event PDA sponsored!

Fred by no means wants to take all the credit for PDA’s phenomenal success in that period of time. He acknowledges the hard work and dedication of those who served with him. “I was a member of a team,” he says. “I’m a team player.”

In the late 1970’s, Fred and other PDA leaders of the time, started looking to develop better educational offerings. Fred helped recruit experts to teach courses for PDA at no fee. Dr. Irving Pflug was one of the early educators brought on board to lead PDA courses.

Fred personally invited two members of the Pfizer staff to teach courses on computer programming, PDA’s first foray into the world of IT!

Two important events happened to bolster PDA’s education mission during Fred’s tenure as President. First, the Association received accreditation from the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education, the strongest possible endorsement of PDA’s educational qualifications at the time. Second, the Association created the PDA Foundation for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Inc., to support research and education in parenteral sciences and technology. Fred joined with other PDA volunteers, including Nina Demuth, Jack Cole, Nathan Kirsch and Leon Lachman to launch the venture.

Perhaps none of Fred’s contributions can outweigh his role as top cheerleader and recruiter. His honest dedication to PDA helped him recruit many of its foremost leaders during his 30 years of active involvement.

Upon Fred’s retirement as PDA Executive Director in 1991, PDA President Michael Korczynski provided perhaps the best summary of Fred’s role ever written (PDA Letter vol. 27, no. 7):

Fred’s contributions and activities during his 30-year association with PDA are almost too numerous to count. He has either chaired or been a principal member of every major committee or activity within the Association. Fred has been instrumental in identifying and encouraging talented individuals in the pharmaceutical industry to participate in PDA…. Fred exemplifies PDA.

Former PDA Chair James Akers describes Fred’s devotion to PDA as infectious:

“He had an enormous love of PDA which manifested in an untiring effort to recruit talented volunteers. Fred was directly responsible for recruiting half of the people who served on the Board of Directors in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Without Fred’s persistence, I probably would not have gotten as involved with PDA, for which I am very grateful to have done!”

The Frederick J. Carleton Award was created in recognition of his hard work and dedication. It is awarded to past or present Board members whose services on the Board are determined by his/her peers as worthy of recognition.

When asked why he gave so much to PDA, Fred replies simply, “The thing I loved was PDA. I mean it. It has been a love affair for me.”

PDA is fortunate to have had a leader like Fred involved for so many years!

This Past Leader Spotlight originally appeared in the following issue:

Cover of the September 2006 PDA Letter 
September 2006 PDA Letter

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