Former Kemin Health president dies

by Jeff Gelski
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DES MOINES, IOWA — Rod Ausich, former president of Kemin Health and inventor of FloraGlo lutein, died June 25 at age 56 after a battle with cancer. He was president of Kemin Health until his health began to deteriorate in late 2009.

Dr. Ausich joined Kemin in 1994 as director of research and development for Kemin Industries. He is credited with realizing lutein’s benefits for eye health in combating age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and pioneering a new methodology for the development of purified lutein still used at Kemin today. Kemin Health was formed as a separate business unit to focus on the commercialization of FloraGlo lutein.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Rod Ausich,” said Chris Nelson, president and chief executive officer of Kemin Industries. “Rod was a true pioneer in the fight against blindness caused by AMD. A founding father of Kemin Health, his leadership and guidance led Kemin Health to become a preeminent supplier of lutein worldwide.

“Millions of people have benefited from his work, and his legacy will be remembered by many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children in this difficult time.”

Dr. Ausich received his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Wyoming and a graduate degree and Ph.D. in plant sciences from Indiana University.

He worked as a research scientist at Amoco Corp. for nearly 14 years. While at Amoco, he received a master of business administration from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Dr. Ausich authored seven published and five pending patents. In Des Moines, he served on the board of directors of Mercy College and was chairman of the board for four years.

Dr. Ausich is survived by his wife, Becki, and two children, Brandyn and Evan. A visitation and remembrance service was held June 28 at Dunn’s Chapel in Des Moines.
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