Frank Wicks, Ph.D.
2018 Hall of Fame
B.S. Microbiology '75, Ph.D. Biochemistry '78
Frank Wicks graduated from Ponca City (Oklahoma) High School in 1971. He then earned two degrees at OSU – a bachelor’s in microbiology in 1975, and a biochemistry Ph.D. in 1978. While at OSU he was very involved in leadership of a campus religious group called the Navigators.
Upon graduation, he and his wife moved with their daughter to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to teach part-time at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and to work for the Navigators at the United States Air Force Academy. The following year they moved to Boulder, Colorado, to work full time for the Navigators at the University of Colorado in campus ministry.
In 1982 Sigma-Aldrich Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri, hired Wicks as an R&D chemist, where he moved quickly through the ranks to become President of the Sigma Chemical division in 1994. Sigma-Aldrich was a publicly traded life science company with 10,000 employees in over 40 countries. Sigma-Aldrich was the premier provider of research chemicals with over 200,000 different chemicals used by universities, pharmaceutical and industrial companies.
Wicks assumed a brief role in 1998 as Vice President of worldwide operations. The following year he went through the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at Harvard Business School. After his return, he and the company’s COO developed a strategy that was the basis for revenue tripling to almost $3 billion by 2015.
Throughout his career, Wicks filled the following roles at Sigma-Aldrich:
- President of Sigma Chemical
- Vice President Worldwide Operations
- President Scientific Research
- President Fine Chemicals
- President Research
- Executive Vice President and President of Applied Markets
He was particularly known as the company’s culture leader, with a focus on the value of the individual and a core value of respect and dignity, led multiple acquisitions and integrations over his career, launched major marketing and rebranding campaigns, hired and developed seven of the 15 key leadership team members, and developed and implemented database marketing and pricing systems.
During his 30-plus years with Sigma-Aldrich, Wicks held a high degree of autonomy in strategic decision-making and earned a reputation for making significant impact to the worldwide company that was sold to Merck Kga in 2015 for $17 billion.
In addition to his career at Sigma-Aldrich, Wicks served as a member of the Advisory Board of Chemical & Engineering News, was an Advisory Board member of the International School of Business at St. Louis University, and is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Covenant Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America and serves on the Board of Directors of CASS Information Systems (NASDAQ:CASS).
Wicks’ wife of 45 years, Elvesta, is also a native of Oklahoma. They reside in Chesterfield, Missouri. They have three daughters and 11 grandchildren.