Eric Bastian has been tapped as the new director of the Western Dairy Center at Utah State University.

As vice president of industry relations for Dairy West, Bastian worked with former WDC Director Donald McMahon in 2012 to develop the BUILD Dairy program.

BUILD is the acronym for Building University and Industry Linkages through Learning and Discovery.

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 and the difficulty in meeting industry needs in the West.

After helping to secure $2.3 million in funding by 2018, Bastian helped increase the number of USU student-researchers and research projects through BUILD.

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. Those innovations will depend on future leaders that we are developing in the BUILD Dairy program, which operates within the Western Dairy Center,” he said in a statement.

Bastian’s work with local processors and universities in bringing funding, projects and students to the Western Dairy Center is invaluable,” said Karianne Fallow, Dairy West CEO.

“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,” she said.

Charles Carpenter, head of USU’s Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences, said he is excited to continue working with an innovative leader such as Bastian in the dairy industry.

“Dr. Bastian was instrumental in conceptualizing and bringing to reality the center’s BUILD Dairy program with a goal to build university and industry linkages through learning and discovery,” he said.

Bastian was born in central Utah and raised on a dairy farm. He was educated 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).

Bastian is married with five children and lives in Twin Falls, Idaho.

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