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When Maypro was founded in 1977 by the Japanese entrepreneur Steve Yamada, it was a small company with a big vision — to improve human health and happiness by importing the best-quality nutraceutical ingredients and fine chemicals to the US market from Asia.
At the time, the United States had the population to support massive growth of its fledgling dietary supplement industry, but suffered from a dearth of innovative ingredients. Japan, on the other hand, was developing groundbreaking nutraceuticals at breakneck speed, but its small population limited the ingredients’ growth potential. Maypro became the bridge between the two countries.
Many of today’s specialty blockbuster ingredients — such as CoQ10, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and alpha lipoic acid — were first introduced from Japan to the US market by Maypro. As the United States started to develop proprietary, patented nutraceutical ingredients in the 1990s, the bridge became two-way, with Maypro pioneering the introduction of Citrimax®, Pycnogenol®, Tonalin®, Neopuntia® and Liposan Ultra® and many other products to the Japanese market.
Today, Maypro has grown into one of the largest global suppliers of nutraceutical ingredients and fine chemicals, with six strategically located companies in the US, Japan and China and a global staff of over 100. We continue to build global bridges, expanding into Europe and Latin America, and now service hundreds of countries worldwide.
After moving to the U.S. from Japan in 1971, Steve founded Maypro 40 years ago to bring the best-quality nutraceutical ingredients from overseas to the U.S. to fulfill his mission of helping improve human health and happiness. Under Steve’s entrepreneurial leadership, Maypro established itself as the pioneer of novel specialty ingredients, being the first to introduce such mainstream products as CoQ10, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, alpha-lipoic acid, chitosan and other ingredients to the United States.
Having built a successful raw material ingredients business in North America, Steve expanded his operation in early 2000s, opening subsidiaries in Tokyo and Shanghai and launching a finished products business: Quality of Life. In 2007, Steve was recognized as the Finalist at the 15th Annual Convention of Seiwa Jukku – a global entrepreneurship organization consisting of 8,200 members in Japan, the United States, China, Brazil and Taiwan. That same year, Steve was honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nutrition Business Journal. And in 2013, Steve was presented with the highly prestigious Inamori Management Award by Kazuo Inamori, Japan’s legendary business leader who founded the electronics giant Kyocera and the leading telecom provider KDDI. Steve holds a BA from Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, a BS from Osaka City University and an MBA from Baruch Business School at the City University of New York.
May Yamada-Lifton brings 20 years of leadership experience from the pharmaceutical, data science, and finance industries to Maypro. May holds undergraduate degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and the University of Tokyo. She completed her MBA with Honors from Columbia Business School. Before joining Maypro, her career experience included roles at Pfizer, SAS, CSL Behring, Celgene, Credit Suisse, and Health Business Partners. Most recently, she was an award-winning Global Account Manager for SAS where she supported the COVID-19 statistical footprint for Pfizer. May’s extensive experience utilizing data analysis, forecasting, and system automation to optimize organizational purchasing, sales, and performance is critical to her work at Maypro.
Taka-Aki (Tac) Kurihara is a Maypro veteran who has been with the company for almost 30 years. Tac opened Maypro’s office in Tokyo before relocating back to the United States as the company Vice President. He also launched our CoQ10 business which became and remains one of Maypro’s flagship products. In 2010, Tac was appointed the President of Maypro Japan. Under his leadership, the Tokyo operation achieved dramatic growth in both its ingredients and OEM business. Tac also continues to play an active role in Maypro’s relationships with its core group of suppliers in Japan and is a core member of Maypro Group’s Management team.
Ms. Elias-Castro has been with Maypro for over 15 years and is responsible for managing Maypro’s international business worldwide. She has lead the company’s expansion into Europe, Latin America, Australia and Asia focusing on commodities, proprietary branded ingredients and finished products. In addition, Isabel manages Maypro’s Human Resources Department and oversees risk management within the organization. She is attracted to challenging analytical projects and developing long-term sales opportunities with key partners.
Isabel has managed numerous successful product launches including Tonalin® - one of Maypro’s first proprietary branded ingredient in Japan as well as Pycnogenol®, NeOpuntia® and Liposan Ultra® to name a few. Under Isabel’s leadership, Maypro’s global reach now extends to over 150 markets worldwide. Isabel received her Bachelor’s degree suma cum laude in International Management and a Master’s degree in Leadership and Strategic Management from Manhattanville College. She is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.
Dan has been with Maypro for over 9 years and is responsible for developing and managing Maypro’s portfolio of proprietary branded ingredients. Under his leadership, Maypro has formed strategic distribution partnerships with a number of Japan’s leading food and beverage companies, significantly expanded its portfolio of products and developed new branded ingredient business with over 100 customers. Dan was also responsible for Maypro’s strategic partnership with Bioactives, a developer of patented highly bioavailable bionutraceutical compounds. Over the last 5 years, he oversaw launches of two Nutracon award winning ingredients - Oligonol and BioPQQ as well a number of other leading products. Dan’s prior experience includes investment banking at Deutsche Bank in London, trade finance at Citigroup in New York and venture capital at Draper Fisher Jurvetson Gotham Ventures. He holds an MBA with honors from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor’s degree cum laude from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Dan also completed a year-long degree program at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and is a Certified Holistic Coach. He is fluent in French, Spanish and Russian.