Utah State University is pleased to announce Dr. Eric Bastian as the new director of the Western Dairy Center. As vice president of industry relations for Dairy West, Dr. Bastian worked with former WDC director Donald McMahon in 2012 to develop the BUILD Dairy program (Building University and Industry Linkages through learning and Discovery).
Dr. Bastian, who led the research and development team at Glanbia Nutritionals for 18 years and hired many WDC graduates, became acutely aware of the decline in dairy scientists as he was trying to fill roles that were often open for a year due to lack of candidates. He also found that recruiting students from the Midwest or eastern part of the U.S. didn’t fully compensate for the need, especially when many of those people returned “home” after a few years of working.
After helping to secure $2.3 million in funding by 2018, Dr. Bastian helped increase the number of USU student-researchers and research projects through the BUILD Dairy program.
Dairy West CEO Karianne Fallow said Dr. Bastian’s work with local processors and universities in bringing funding, projects and students to the Western Dairy Center is invaluable.
“We are thrilled that Eric has been named the center’s incoming director and look forward to the increased benefit this center and the BUILD Dairy program can offer to the dairy industry, regionally, nationally and globally,” Fallow said.
Charles Carpenter, professor and head of the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences at USU, said he is excited to continue working with an innovative leader such as Bastian in the dairy industry.
Dr. Bastian said he is excited to continue working with high-quality students in dairy research and developing future innovators and leaders in the dairy industry.
“I believe that the dairy industry will flourish as it embraces innovation in products, processes and packaging,” Dr. Bastian said. “Those innovations will depend on future leaders that we are developing in the BUILD Dairy Program which operates within the Western Dairy Center.”
Dr. Bastian was born in central Utah and raised on a dairy farm. He earned his education at Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science, and M.S. and Ph.D. (1989) degrees in nutrition and food sciences. He did post-doctoral work in Denmark at the Danish Government Dairy Research Institute and Utah State University (1989-1992).
Dr. Bastian is married, has five children, and lives in Twin Falls, Idaho.