FAPC advisory board invested in future of the center

Food industry leaders met at Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center for an Industry Advisory Committee meeting. Members present included (L-R) Roy Escoubas, FAPC; Rodger Kerr, Southwest Technology Center; David Howard, Unitherm Food Systems; special guest Cary Hill, Oklahoma Quality Foundation; John Patrick Lopez, Lopez Foods; Scott Dvorak, Dvorak Farms; Ed Clements, Clements Foods; Gary Crane, Ralph’s Packing Co.; Virgil Jurgensmeyer, J-M Farms; and Tommy Kramer, Durant Industrial Authority.

Stillwater, Okla. – Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center has the advantage of an oversight committee to offer counsel and ensure the center accomplishes its mission and objectives.

“FAPC is fortunate to have an advisory board that is invested in the future of the center,” said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director. “The committee members understand the importance of FAPC and are continuously looking for ways the center can grow and better serve the food and agricultural industries.”

More than 600 companies make up Oklahoma’s food-processing industry, which accounts for almost 2 percent of the state’s employment base, according to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Small companies make up the majority of Oklahoma’s diversified food industry.

FAPC’s Industry Advisory Committee members, representing food and agricultural leaders around the state, met June 4 at the food-processing center to hear project updates, meet with faculty and staff, and elect new officers.

John Patrick Lopez of Lopez Foods in Oklahoma City, Ed Clements of Clements Foods in Oklahoma City and Tommy Kramer of the Durant Industry Authority in Durant, will serve as the committee chair, vice chair and secretary, respectively, for 2015-2016.

“FAPC is extremely important to me and to Lopez Foods,” Lopez said. “I’m looking forward to serving as chair of the committee and working with a diverse group of food business leaders. My goal is to help the team by being open, honest and direct.”

During the meeting, FAPC Industry Advisory Committee members met with Cary Hill from the Oklahoma Quality Foundation, heard updates about the newly approved food safety option available through the Department of Animal Sciences’ food science degree, and discussed current research about food business legitimacy, converting algae to bioproducts and developing Peanut Butter Bites.

“FAPC is very important to what we do,” Lopez said. “It’s important to understand how FAPC truly helps Oklahoma businesses.”

In the last 5-year economic impact study on 75 Oklahoma food businesses, FAPC was credited with generating more than $18 million in annual sales revenue. These companies were located in communities across Oklahoma from Guymon to Tahlequah to Ponca City to Ardmore, generating more than 350 jobs in these communities.

Members of the committee are appointed by the highest positions of the Oklahoma state government and the vice president, dean and director of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, of which FAPC is a part.

In addition to Lopez, Clements and Kramer, other members of the committee include Luis Bogran, Curwood, a Bemis Co. of Pauls Valley; Gary Crane, Ralph’s Packing Co. of Perkins; Scott Dvorak, Dvorak Farms of Perry; John Griffin, Griffin Foods of Muskogee; David Howard, Unitherm Food Systems of Bristow; Virgil Jurgensmeyer, J-M Farms of Miami; Rodger Kerr, Southwest Technology Center of Altus; David McLaughlin, AdvancePierre Foods of Oklahoma City; Allen Mills, Reasor’s Inc. of Tahlequah; Paul Schatte, Head Country Food Inc. of Ponca City; John Williams, Chef’s Requested Foods of Oklahoma City; and ex-officio Tom Coon, OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

The committee meets twice a year, usually in June and November. The June meeting is held at FAPC, while the November meeting is held off-site at the discretion of the committee.

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