Charles Cleland received his B.A. from Wabash College in 1961, and a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Stanford University in 1966. He spent two years at Michigan State University (1966-68) as a postdoctoral research fellow studying the hormonal control of flowering. He continued his research on the physiology and biochemistry of flowering as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Harvard University (1968-74), Visiting Assistant Professor of Botany at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1974-75), and Plant Physiologist at the Smithsonian Institution Environmental Research Center (1975-87). During this period, he authored over 30 scientific publications. Dr. Cleland joined the USDA as Director of the SBIR program in May of 1987. In 1998 he received a National Tibbetts Award in recognition of his contributions to the SBIR program. Today he continues to work with the USDA SBIR program as one of nine National Program Leaders with responsibility for different parts of the SBIR Program.