Current President and CEO of Alken-Murray Corporation and Fenton Farm Inc., Valerie Anne Edwards was always labeled either a visionary or an eccentric, depending on the viewpoint of the observer. Miss Edwards grew up on a Thoroughbred racehorse farm and saw all aspects of life as part of a continuous process with astonishing interconnections. At age 13, she began a small business, breeding American Shorthair cats. By age 17, she was elected a vice-president of the National Breed Club, (they never questioned her age). She won honorable mention in a science fair for her project on the genetics of the silver color in cats, disputing the textbook theories about the origin and mode of inheritance of this color. Today textbooks on cat genetics agree with her theory about the responsible gene and its dominant behavior. Many of her articles on cat history and genetics have been published, republished and cited in other works. Her database of over 10,560 cat pedigrees, dating from the last quarter of the nineteenth century, has been shared around the world. Since 1992, Miss Edwards has been listed in The International Year Book and Statesmen's Who's Who, which is the original and most prestigious of the Who's Who reference works. Miss Edwards is a member of The American Society for Microbiology, Water Environment Federation, The Society for Industrial Microbiology, and The National American Shorthair Club.
Upon joining Alken-Murray, Miss Edwards passionately devoted herself to studying the genetics and application of bacteria to pollution control. She was determined to see the Clear-Flo® & Enz-Odor® product lines advance, expand and improve while seeking new markets for the Even-Flo® formulas. Colleagues have described her penchant for intense research as tenacious, determined, obsessive or even relentless.
Miss Edwards biodegradation pathway for Propachlor has been entered in the award-winning, internationally famous UM-BBD Database. Her most recent accomplishment was the discovery of a new species of gram-positive, spore-forming, heterotrophic Bacillus that oxidizes sulfide, with one strain of the new species matching the simultaneous oxidation of sulfide and denitrification performance of Thiobacillus denitrificans. Dr. Frederick M. Cohan of Wesleyan University, renouned expert in species of Bacillus, did the specialized DNA probe work to prove that this is indeed a new species. Dr. Cohan and Miss Edwards will jointly author a scientific paper to detail the unique traits of this new species and to officially name it. Alken-Murray has added three strains of the new species to a variety of products in February 2003.