La Jolla Institute Board of Directors elects two visionary business leaders

La Jolla Institute Board of Directors elects two visionary business leaders-Larry Spitcaufsky and Hunt Pettit join Institute Board

LA JOLLA, CA—The La Jolla Institute for Immunology is pleased to announce that Larry Spitcaufsky and Hunt Pettit have been elected to its Board of Directors.

“We are delighted to welcome these accomplished new members to our board,” said Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., La Jolla Institute president and chief scientific officer. “Larry and Hunt both bring strong leadership skills and entrepreneurial success to La Jolla Institute, and their guidance will no doubt contribute to the Institute’s future success as a leader in the field of immunology.”

Larry Spitcaufsky

Larry Spitcaufsky is the owner and director of Petroleum Technologies Inc. (PTI) in Kansas City, Missouri and the founder and chairman of Hootwinc, LLC. Previously, Spitcaufsky served as executive vice president of Arrow Truck Sales in Kansas City, North America’s leading source of pre-owned heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks. Co-founded in 1950 by his father, Melvin Spitcaufsky, Arrow Truck Sales started as a small used truck business and became the largest dealership of its kind before it was sold to the Volvo Truck Corporation in 1998.

Spitcaufsky has expanded into wide-ranging investments, selling his chain of convenience stores to Circle K, investing in real estate, starting PTI to drill for oil and gas, and becoming majority owner of a chain of 16 Southern California restaurants. Yet it is the donation of his time and philanthropic resources as a new member of the La Jolla Institute Board of Directors that Spitcaufsky believes will be the most important investment of his life.

“I’ve had a great career and I’m proud to have had an impact in a number of areas, including several non-profit organizations, but my involvement with the La Jolla Institute gives me a special opportunity to support one of the most remarkable scientific organizations in the world,” Spitcaufsky says. “The research the Institute is conducting on the immune system is truly groundbreaking.”

Hunt Pettit is the founder of Energy & Exploration Partners, and serves as the chairman of the board of directors, president and chief executive officer. Pettit started the Fort Worth-based company, which focuses on the acquisition, exploration and development of conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources, in 2008 with his own funds and grew the company from a small start-up into a highly successful operation. Prior to founding Energy & Exploration Partners, he served as contract land manager for the Barnett Shale Project for David H. Arrington Oil & Gas, Inc., a privately held oil and gas company located in Midland, Texas.

Hunt Pettit

Pettit’s interest in medical research, particularly immunology, reaches back to his years as an undergraduate student at Texas Tech University, where he earned a bachelor of general studies degree in biology, chemistry and philosophy.

After both Hunt and his wife Laura lost parents to pancreatic cancer, they became major supporters of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Laura also chairs the fundraising committee for Jewel Charity that benefits Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. Pettit is eager to serve a similar function for the Institute, especially since he says the need for greater philanthropic support of the organization has never been more critical, given the steep decline in recent years of government funding for biomedical research.

“When I toured the Institute’s labs and heard the scientists describe their work, I could feel their tremendous passion, and I could see how they’ve channeled that dedication into some of the most innovative and potentially life-altering research in the world,” Pettit says. “It was really exciting to learn that these remarkable researchers not only are discovering exactly how the immune system works, they’re taking that knowledge and creating new ways to treat disease that will someday soon lead to vaccines and other groundbreaking treatments for cancer, diabetes, and a host of infectious diseases.”


La Jolla Institute for Immunology is dedicated to understanding the intricacies and power of the immune system so that we may apply that knowledge to promote human health and prevent a wide range of diseases. Since its founding in 1988 as an independent, nonprofit research organization, the Institute has made numerous advances leading towards its goal: life without disease®.
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