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Food Industry Leadership Center
Food Industry Leadership Center

The Food Industry Leadership Center partners with companies to provide leadership and research for Oregon's food industry.

For more information, visit the Food Industry Leadership Center website.

The following article appeared in the 2008 SBA Fall Newsletter. To view more, see the newsletter online.

Food Industry Leadership Center Kicks Off Careers

The food industry remains a bright spot in the economy, at least for PSU graduates.

Recipients of PSU's Food Industry Leadership Center's (FILC) Food Management Certificate have 100% rate of placement in their field upon graduation.

Started in 1994 by a group of food industry leaders who provided seed money to endow the center, PSU's Food Industry Leadership Center (FILC) is a unique resource for cultivating the next generation of food industry leaders. In addition to providing executive education programs for managers currently working in the industry, the FILC offers a Food Management Certificate that complements a PSU undergraduate or masters degree in Business Administration and provides specialized education, connections and experience to students aspiring to work in the food industry. Eighty students are currently enrolled in the Food Management Certificate program, and the FILC supports them with approximately $60,000 annually in scholarships.

"I was always a top student in classes, but the key advantage the FILC gave me was allowing me to go to conferences and network with people in the industry," explained SBA and FILC graduate Bradley Kimbell '08. "That's where job offers come from. You can study all day, but you have to get in front of people – not only people in the industry, but people who make hiring decisions in their companies." After receiving several job offers, Bradley took an opportunity with Nestle in Dallas, Texas, where he works now in a management training program for one of the world's largest food companies.

The Food Management Certificate owes its success to the meaningful connections it forges between students and industry companies and colleagues. The certificate requires an internship, and the FILC connects students to opportunities with industry giants such as Albertsons, Kroger/Fred Meyer, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, and suppliers Nestle, Pepsi/Frito Lay, Daymon Worldwide and Hershey's. The FILC encourages students to participate in regional and national industry events and provides financial support for these endeavors. Thanks to industry support, students can apply for fully-funded participation in trade shows throughout the U.S. with the Food Marketing Institute, National Grocers Association, Expo West, and local events with Inspirators and NW Grocers Association.

"Don't let school get in way of your education," FILC Executive Director and SBA Juan Young Professor of Marketing and Food Management Tom Gillpatrick tells students. "Classroom learning is important, but it's critical for students to get out into the industry and meet executives. The FILC works with our industry partners to send students to regional and national trade events to help them understand the industry and to network."

One of the ways the FILC maintains its exceptional connection to industry is through its annual conference that brings firms from across the industry's value chain together for education, networking, and an awards dinner. This fall, the FILC will assemble industry leaders, academics and students for its 14th annual 2008 Executive Forum on October 21 and 22, which will focus on leadership and sustainability in the food industry. Last year's Executive Forum brought together 450 attendees and raised approximately $100,000 for FILC operating expenses and student support. The 2008 Executive Forum's keynote speaker will be Michael Sansolo, nationally renowned industry consultant. The event kicks off with the Women's Leadership Forum, a joint partnership of the FILC and the Network of Executive Women.