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Ag Report

Grain Science Recognition

On April 21, the Department of Grain Science and Industry recognized these individuals. 

Outstanding service awards

As a student, Bob Kice (B.S. ’70 business administration) worked in the campus feed mill. After graduation, he returned to his hometown of Wichita, where he worked at Kice Industries in industrial air systems design and equipment sales. 

He continued at Kice until retirement in 2013. At that time, he was concentrating on international sales and relationships. 

Kice worked with K-State to supply equipment for the Hall Ross Flour Mill and the mill within the O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center used for training students. He also served on the Feed Science Advisory Board. 

For 20 years, Kevin Peterson has been with Salina Vortex Corporation as a marketing director, sales manager, and director of business development.

His department involvement began through his friendship with Fred Fairchild. They arranged for the Vortex Mobile Display Unit to visit campus annually. Peterson conducted the presentations for many years.

Peterson championed a sizable valving contribution on behalf of Salina Vortex for the Hal Ross Flour Mill. Vortex also contributed valves for the O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center.

Vortex hosts student tours at their Salina manufacturing facility and funds student travel to technical conferences.

As president of the American White Wheat Producers Association Kent Symns (B.S. ’69 animal sciences and industry) oversaw the successful conversion of the company from an open cooperative to a defined-member cooperative. Later, its name was officially changed to Farmer Direct Foods, based in Atchison. 

His responsibilities included identifying, analyzing, and pursuing value-added opportunities for cooperative members as well as promoting and marketing their value-added products. He retired from Farmer Direct Foods in August 2015 but continues to promote Kansas-grown hard white wheat. 

Farmer Direct Foods has provided flour milled from its New Cambria milling operation for the bakery program and summer internships for students. 


Outstanding alumni awards

Fred Fairchild (B.S. ’63 architectural engineering; M.S. ’64 milling technology) spent 30 years in the design, construction, operation and management of grain manufacturing facilities before joining the department. 

At K-State he taught classes, served as department teaching coordinator, and was recognized as a Teacher Fellow by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

He managed the development, design, and construction of the new Grain Science Complex and was instrumental in securing major equipment and donations for the new mills and the Buhler Instructor position in the department.

Additionally, he prepared five online courses for the Grain Elevator and Processing Society. He retired in 2013 but continues to write for the industry press and facilitate GEAPS courses. 

Brian Fatula (B.S. ’96 bakery science and management) serves as senior vice president of research and development for Hostess Brands. 

After graduation, he joined Interstate Brands Corporation as a research and development technician. He later was national account manager for DSM Food Specialties; innovation team manager for bakery/fats and oils for Danisco; and vice president, bakery and snack enzyme business, DSM Food Specialties USA, Inc.

Fatula serves as president of the American Society of Bakers K-State/Florida State alumni group, which holds an annual breakfast for current students and alumni. 

Keith Pike (B.S.  ’77 chemical science/feed science and management, M.S. ’78 grain science) attended several 4-H events on campus during high school that sold him on K-State. 

His interest in agriculture led him to the department and a degree in feed science. 

Pike started with the Ralston Purina Company in 1978 and worked in various roles with the Purina team in process research and engineering over the past 37 years. He now is with the Land O’ Lakes supply chain team as director of feed engineering.