CORVALLIS, Ore. – Robert J. McGorrin, the head of Oregon State University's Department of Food Science and Technology, has been named interim superintendent of the Food Innovation Center Experiment Station, a research and development facility in Portland that OSU operates in partnership with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
McGorrin replaces John Henry Wells, who has guided the Food Innovation Center Experiment Station since it opened more than six years ago.
Wells plans to take a nine-month sabbatical leave, then return to his academic department at OSU, Food Science and Technology, with an assignment at the food center as a packaging engineer.
“After six-plus years at the helm, John Henry was ready for a new challenge,” said Bill Boggess, the associate dean in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences responsible for administrative oversight of the Food Innovation Center.
“We appreciate his many contributions, first and foremost guiding the building of the center's infrastructure literally from the ground up,” said Boggess.
McGorrin’s 28-year career in food science includes 18 years doing research and development for Kraft Foods.
“Because of his research and development experience with national firms such as Kraft Foods and Quaker Oats, and his knowledge of existing Food Science and Technology faculty and programs, Bob is a good choice to replace John Henry,” said Boggess. “He'll be able to hit the ground running in addressing the needs of, and opportunities for partnering with, the food industry.”
OSU plans to initiate a search for a permanent superintendent director in the near future, said Boggess.
The Food Innovation Center's mission is to boost Oregon's economy by helping farmers, processors, entrepreneurs and others in the multi-billion-dollar food systems industry create and market high-value products that utilize Oregon commodities.
ODA, OSU's Agricultural Experiment Station and the OSU Extension Service have personnel stationed at the center, which is on Naito Parkway near Union Station, facing Portland's old waterfront.
ODA’s marketing and analytical services are based at the center. The center serves as one of 14 branch research facilities the OSU Agricultural Experiment Station operates at strategic locations around Oregon.