Dr. Heschel J. Raskas
President Emeritus, Raskas Foods, Inc.
Heschel Raskas was born in St. Louis, received his bachelor’s degree in life sciences from M.I.T. in 1962, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1967. From 1967-1973, he was a research fellow and then a faculty member at St. Louis University Medical School. In 1973, he joined the faculty of Washington University’s School of Medicine, where he became Professor of Pathology and Microbiology and Director of the Center for Basic Cancer Research. In a fifteen-year academic career he authored more than 70 scientific publications, trained graduate students and research fellows for careers as scientists, and served on national scientific panels.
He was CEO of Raskas Foods, a privately held St. Louis family business, from 1980 until its sale in 2002. As CEO, Raskas implemented an organizational development plan that brought a strong professional management team to the company, grew sales ten-fold and added company facilities elsewhere in the country. Raskas Foods became one of the leading innovative store brand companies in the United States.
Raskas currently serves on the advisory boards of several privately-held St. Louis companies. He has been active in entrepreneurship initiatives in St. Louis, serving as a founding board member of Innovate St. Louis, and as Chair of its Innovate St. Louis Venture Mentoring Service from 2007-2013. In addition, he has held leadership positions in local, national, and international Jewish philanthropic organizations. He presently serves on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel and also Chairs Negev Now, an initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America to improve the quality of life in southern Israel, the Negev.