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Bringing you the best since 1972
Dr. Liu on Stone Moutain Dr. Kimbrough at the office

HISTORY

Pyrazine Specialties, Incorporated began almost 40 years ago in a modest little building near the Georgia Tech campus. Today, Pyrazine Specialties is looking to expand its facilities as well as significantly increase our product line.

In 1948, Dr. Fred W.J. Liu came to the United Sates to complete his education at St. John’s University and later Temple and Lehigh Universities. Immediately upon graduation, Dr. Liu began work as a chemist and was affiliated with several different labs throughout the early years. The one that became the stronghold, however, was Continental Trading Company, and the process of buying and selling hard-to-find chemicals all over the world became Continental Trading Company’s purpose.

In 1971, Dr. Liu called upon fellow chemist Dr. Raymond D. Kimbrough at his Third Street lab to enlist his help in the manufacture of pyrazines, the first such manufacturing company in the United States, and over lunch, Pyrazine Specialties became a reality.

Dr. Liu later reported, “Pyrazine Specialties started very modestly seven years ago with Dr. Kimbrough, Dr. Liu, and a part-time student, on borrowed facilities.” Prior to this time, Dr. Kimbrough, along with two other colleagues, had formed Diaprep, Incorporated for the manufacture of deuterated solvents. Although Diaprep was later sold, Pyrazine Specialties was here to stay! The same brilliant chemist who produced the first pyrazine products, Dr. Bijan Das, remains with Pyrazine Specialties today. Under Dr. Kimbrough and Dr. Das’ guidance, Pyrazine Specialties has distilled some of the purest pyrazine products in the industry.

From a 1978 press release: “Pyrazine Specialties has been manufacturing over 30 pyrazine compounds for sale to the flavor and perfume industry.” Today, Pyrazine Specialties offers for sale more than 150 different pyrazines and pyrazine derivatives. The year 1978 saw profound growth with the expansion of both facilities—personnel at the Windsor Street facility would take on production while those at Third Street would focus on research and development, specialized synthesis, and serve as a back-up in production. In the Personnel Manual issued that same year, Dr. Liu wrote:

A group of good people can go a long way toward making up deficiencies in the tangible and intangible assets, but nothing can take the place of good people. You are the most valuable assets of the company. Each and every one of you should realize and assume the responsibility delegated and assigned to you. Each function, no matter how small or trivial it may seem to you, is a vital part of the effort and team work needed to get the job done in the best way for all concerned.

While Dr. Kimbrough supervised production, Dr. Liu oversaw the sales and marketing aspect of the business and soon recognized the need to provide the flavor and fragrance industry with other rare aroma chemicals. Thus Pyrazine Specialties’ sister company, CTC Organics, was formed. Today, CTC Organics offers for sale approximately 850 rare aroma chemicals. (Please look for the launch of CTC Organics web site www.ctcorganics.com later this year.)



OUR FOUNDERS

 

Portrait of Dr. Liu

Dr. Fred W.J. Liu

 

Something About the Man -

“The world is run by middle men.”  The number of times I have heard Dr. Liu utter those words are innumerable. He loved reciting and recording famous quotes and had many of his own. Among his many talents, Dr. Liu had a unique genius in the area of chemistry. He had an uncanny understanding of the pulse of the chemical industry and was a superb salesman.

Listed in the “13 GEORGIA SECTION A.C.S. Biographical Sketches of Candidates,” in which Dr. Liu was listed as Treasurer:

Fred W.J. Liu – Obtained B.S. in Chemistry from St. John’s University,
Shanghai, China; he came to the United States in 1948 to pursue chemistry
graduate work at Temple University (M.A., 1950) and Lehigh University
(Ph.D., 1952). Dr. Liu was chief chemist at Lester Laboratories, East Point,
Ga. 1953-1964, and has been Director of Continental Consultants, Inc.
since 1964. He became a United States citizen in 1961. Memberships include
Sigma Xi, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, and AATCC.

Quite often the taskmaster, at the same time Dr. Liu could be the most generous of people. He loved education, and he also loved to educate and was never too busy to take a moment to offer some bit of information or enlightenment to a younger person. Although they had no children of their own, Dr. Liu and Kathleen were good and generous to nieces and nephews and gave generously to children’s homes and charities. Dr. Liu’s brother, Andrew, wrote:

Dr. Liu was a devoted Christian. He always remembered the blessings that he received. . .  All-in-all, he had a good and blessed life. His nice personality, willingness to help others, and his generosity to charities will always be remembered.

Dr. Liu was indeed an exceptional person and truly embodied the “American Dream.” He came to this country to continue his education and seek a better life. He worked hard and pursued his dream of a successful chemical manufacturing and distributing company. He took note of those around him and shared his knowledge and wealth. Just a few months prior to his passing, I was working on a personal project. (In my “other life,” I am a writer and playwright, and one of my plays was being produced at a local theater in my hometown.) When I telephoned Dr. Liu to invite him to the production, his response was. “I cannot let you fail,” and he did not. Dr. Liu did not let any of us fail. Yes, Dr. Liu, the world is indeed run by middle men, and you, my friend, were one of the best!

 

DrKip

Dr. Raymond D. Kimbrough

 

Something About the Man -

Born in Virginia on September 4, 1930, Raymond (“Kip”) Devan Kimbrough attended the College of William and Mary and Northwestern University where he attained a doctorate in organic chemistry. He also studied at Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, in Gottingen, Germany and performed post doctoral research at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Kimbrough taught chemistry at Georgia Tech, Emory University, Mercer University, and at various high schools in the Atlanta area. He also taught a preparation course for pre-health science students.  He was a true pioneer in the area asynchronous distance learning as evidenced by the tapes in the MCAT review course he taught for years.  As Dr. Das commented, “Kip was truly a teacher at heart.”

In addition to serving as editor of the Filter Press, a publication of the Georgia Chapter of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Kimbrough also served as Treasurer and eventually Chairman of the Georgia Chapter of the A.C.S. His love for writing extended beyond the Filter Press, as he wrote numerous columns for a local newspaper, as well as several works of fiction.

When I first went to work for Diaprep in 1969, I was immediately struck by Dr. Kimbrough’s kindness and generosity. In the late afternoon especially in the summertime, a group of young boys would often wander by the Third Street lab. Dr. Kimbrough would give each of them a soda and chat with them briefly. On many occasions when the days were shorter and darkness settled earlier, Dr. Kimbrough would give the young boys a ride home. They did not refer to him as Dr. Kimbrough or Dr. “K” or even Kip; they referred to him as “Friend” because that was what he was to them. And that’s what he was to those of us who worked with him. At his passing in 2009, almost every employee who had ever worked for Dr. Kimbrough attended his funeral, which says a tremendous amount about the man. 

Also a unique individual, Dr. Kimbrough seemed to embrace that same characteristic in those around him—and totally without judgment. Always the gentleman, as his daughter, Doris stated:

In spite of the sarcasm, wit, and suspicious cynicism, he was always a kind and polite person.  He only got frustrated with people when they revealed incompetence.  He was a patient and wonderful teacher, and never took himself or his life too seriously. . . He absolutely loved dogs and cats, children of all ages, the state of Virginia, water, a good joke—especially at his own expense—and chemistry.  His love of chemistry was almost reverential, in that he could wax eloquent on thin layer chromatography, purification through re-crystallization, and fractional distillation—no mean feat, that. . . He was the most optimistic pessimist I have ever known.  He could be brilliantly dense, cluelessly insightful, and cheerfully hopeless.  He was both a fan and a spinner of tall tales; nothing that ever happened to him or his family couldn’t be improved upon in the re-telling.

For those of us who worked with Dr. Kimbrough and many of us whose friendship with him spanned all these many years of Pyrazine Specialties, he was a teacher, a counselor, a confidante, a believer, a cheerleader, an always ally. He was truly the embodiment of “Friend.” 

CONCLUSION

Both Dr. Liu and Dr. Kimbrough taught us well, both in word and deed, and we at Pyrazine Specialties are committed to the continuation of their good work. We are and will remain: “First in Pyrazines, First in Quality, First in Service.”

Thank you for your kind interest. Please visit the site regularly as we strive to enhance and expand our product line. We look forward to assisting you with all your flavor,  fragrance, and pharmaceutical needs.


Sande Cropsey
Chief Operating Officer
Pyrazine Specialties & CTC Organics

 
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