Dr. Marshall Stewart, special assistant to the dean and associate director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been named director of the Food Systems Leadership Institute, succeeding Dr. Ken Swartzel, who has directed the institute since it was founded and is retiring.
The Food Systems Leadership Institute is a leadership development program designed to prepare upper-level leaders in higher education, government and industry to meet future food system challenges and opportunities.
The institute was created by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in 2004 with a five-year seed grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. North Carolina State University is the primary host site for the program, while The Ohio State University and California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo are secondary hosts.
The two-year FSLI curriculum includes three one-week residential sessions, which are held at N.C. State, Ohio State and California Polytechnic University. The residential sessions are supplemented by an extensive two-year coaching and mentoring program.
Over its nine-year history, 168 Fellows (118 men and 50 women) have completed the program. More than 30 percent of FSLI Fellows have taken on higher-level responsibilities and influence.
Stewart, who is an FSLI Fellow, served as head of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences until 2012, when CALS Dean Richard Linton named him special assistant to the dean. As special assistant to the dean, Stewart helped lead a college strategic planning effort that concluded in May 2013.
Swartzel, who has entered phased retirement, is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and also a former College of Agriculture and Life Sciences department head. He served as head of what is now the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences in the 1990s.
Swartzel’s research, focused on chemical and biological kinetics in continuous flow food processing systems, resulted in 22 U.S. and 30 foreign patents. In 1987, he was instrumental in founding what is now the Center for Advanced Processing and Packaging Studies, a National Science Foundation industry/university cooperative research center, serving as managing director.
During the 2002-2003 academic year, Swartzel was on special assignment with the University of North Carolina System Office of the President directing activities of the North Carolina Technology Development Initiative Program.
Swartzel has been recognized with nine international research awards and named Fellow of both the Institute of Food Technologists and ASAE-The Society for Engineering in Agricultural, Food and Biological Systems.
In 2006 he received the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, N.C. State’s highest award for faculty career achievement and service to the university. Swartzel was named N.C. State University’s Innovator of the Year in 2011, while in 2012, he was honored with the state’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for exemplary service to the state.
Swartzel is known around the world for blending basic engineering and kinetics to yield new products and processes that enhance quality of life. His work, which has been recognized with three Institute of Food Technologists Industrial Achievement Awards, led to the creation of seven early stage companies in North Carolina.
— Dave Caldwell