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AMSA Announces 2015 RMC Award Winners

Jun 25, 2015

R. C. Pollock Award

The R. C. Pollock Award is presented annually in honor of the first general manager of the National Live Stock and Meat Board. This award is sponsored by the AMSA Educational Foundation R. C. Pollock and Robert Bray Mentor Recognition Funds. The R.C. Pollock award represents lasting and exceptional contributions to meat science and AMSA.  Dr. Riemann's career as a teacher, researcher and industry leader will have long-lasting effects on animal protein production all over the world. He is a scientist and educator who applied his skills to address real-world issues and opportunities in the meat industry,” stated Dr. Thomas Powell, AMSA Executive Director. Best known as Jim to most of us, Dr. Riemann has a long career in academics, industry, and government in the meat industry.  Academically, Jim was a professor at the University of Tennessee for 15 years.  During this time, Jim actively taught and mentored students while conducting research primarily on the effects of animal production systems on the eating quality or sensory aspects of meat.  Jim coached the meat judging team several years, did a lot of statewide extension work, and helped train agents and teachers to establish a statewide 4-H and FFA meat judging program.

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Signal Service Awards - Sponsored by Cargill, Elanco Animal Health and Johnsonville Sausage Company

Dr. Mark Miller’s experience in the meat industry has made him a leader in the areas of food safety and meat quality research. He is actively involved in research with collaborators at USDA, Cargill, Tyson, Merck, Nebraska Beef, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Dr. Miller has been instrumental in helping develop consumer thresholds for beef tenderness - generating more than 75,000 consumer observations for beef tenderness and overall palatability that are part of the database being used to establish USDA standards for beef tenderness claims. He has explored the effects of growth implants and feed additives on beef quality and cutability, as well as the impact of beta-agonist on meat characteristics to ensure beef served to consumers is of the highest quality. He has two patents for processes that improve beef tenderness and muscle color with electrical stimulation. Miller was one of the first to investigate many food safety interventions to reduce the levels of pathogens in meat products. Some include organic acids, pre-harvest dust control, the use of systems interventions in the harvest process and training programs for both US and international meat companies.

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Craig joined Tyson Foods in 1990 as a Food Technologist and has risen to the current position of Senior Vice-President of Research and Development.  In this role, Craig leads the development of all products for Tyson Foods located in the Discovery Center™ in Springdale, Arkansas and the North Discovery Center in Downers Grove, IL.  Tyson is the 2nd largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and produces 1 out of every 4 pounds of meat consumed in the U.S. He is an inspirational leader to the over 300 team members that he leads. Craig has served AMSA well.  He won the Achievement Award in 1999, and was on the Board of Directors from 1999 - 2000 culminating as President in 2000. Craig was an invited RMC speaker in 2001, 2009, 2011 and 2014, RMC Chair in 2000 and RMC Co-Chair in 2009. He also has served on various committees within AMSA. Craig champions AMSA to the bigger Tyson organization and to the other industries that he touches.

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Dennis Seman was hired as a process development scientist by Bob Vimini at the Oscar Mayer Division of Kraft in 1990.  Dennis has always been grateful for being hired by a company with the great heritage for innovation and scientific development that Oscar Mayer has developed over the years.  At Oscar Mayer, Dennis has learned many invaluable lessons about the production of meat and other food products to feed our hungry world.  He was first struck by the tremendous variation that exists in raw materials.  One of the most notable accomplishments was working with a team of R&D people to develop statistical model for knowing how to inhibit Listeria monocytogenes with the use of lactate/diacetate based upon other formulation parameters.  This helped not only the company, but the whole meat industry to improve food safety.

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Distinguished Research Award –Sponsored by ConAgra Foods

Dr. Rhonda Miller’s current research focuses on the antemortem and postmortem factors affecting the composition, palatability and quality of red meat; development of automated grading technology to determine quality in beef and pork; and the use of nonmeat  ingredients to improve the shelf life  and/or safety of red meat with emphasis on development of value added red meat products. Most recently she has concentrated on determining the consumer attitudes of beef flavor and the flavor drivers of consumer acceptance. This research has been widely recognized due to its relevance to beef demand and takes into account heavy and light beef eaters and also attitudes of millennial consumers. This has led her to the utilization of complex multivariate statistical analyses that develops clusters of meat quality drivers around consumers’ attitudes. Dr. Miller’s research includes 118 refereed journal articles, three dozen invited papers, 60 Texas Agricultural Extension Service publications, 144 abstracts, 7 books or book chapters, numerous invited talks and nearly $9 million in research grant dollars. She has also mentored more than 55 graduate students during her career. 

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Meat Processing Award – Sponsored by Smithfield Foods, Inc.

Mrs. Brenda Dismore is a highly skilled and knowledgeable Meat Scientist with 20 years of experience working for some of the most recognized meat companies in the United States. Brenda began her career in supply chain, first as a production supervisor for Golden State Foods, followed by a Quality Assurance Technologist for Shurfine International. She then moved to ConAgra Foods where she continued her career in Quality Assurance and eventually transferred into Research and Development. Currently, she resides with Tyson Foods, formerly Hillshire Brands, where she has held responsibilities in quality assurance, plant management, and product/process development during her tenure with the company. In her current role as Senior Manager in Research and Development, her focus is on new innovation for the snacking category. Brenda’s success is in part due to her down to earth style that makes her an effective communicator at all levels and functions from line employee up to the CEO.

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Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award – Sponsored by Food Safety Net Services

Jason Strong is the managing director and CEO of Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He was raised on a property near Gunnedah, New South Wales, where beef cattle production was the main enterprise. He attended Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School graduating in 1987.  In 1990, Jason spent the fall semester at the University of Illinois. He audited several production and meat science courses and participated on the U of I Livestock Judging Team. He also traveled to one intercollegiate meat judging contest. That trip peaked his interest in meat science and meat evaluation. He returned to the University of Illinois in the fall semester of 1993 and participated in most of the intercollegiate meat judging contests. Jason returned to Australia with a great desire to further develop the intercollegiate meat judging program that was in its infancy in Australia.

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Distinguished Teaching Award - Sponsored by Oscar Mayer division of Kraft Foods

Dr. Jim Claus teaches courses at the University of Wisconsin, including Introduction to Meat Science and Technology and Commercial Meat Processing. He is also very active in undergraduate and graduate student advising. Dr. Claus also had the unique honor to serve as an external examiner for doctoral theses in Sweden and Finland.  His research emphasis has focused on aspects of value-added muscle foods including improvement in meat tenderness, muscle pigment chemistry as related to meat color, technology for the development of low-fat processed meats, and textural defects in sectioned and formed poultry products. He has been an active AMSA professional member since 1978 and served as Director of the association from 1997-1999. He has extensive involvement as a member of numerous AMSA committees. In addition, he also served as the Chair of the RMC that was held at Oklahoma State University in 1999, and served as a Host Chair for the 2014 RMC in Madison.

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Distinguished Extension-Industry Service Award – Sponsored by the North American Meat Institute Foundation

As the only meat extension specialist in the state of Wisconsin, Dr. Jeff Sindelar has a lot of ground to cover in supporting about 375 state inspected processors and locker shops as well as larger federally inspected companies.  Since joining the faculty at UW in early 2007 Jeff has done this with exceptional energy, skill and enthusiasm. His signature accomplishment in this short time has been the conception and development of the Wisconsin Master Meat Crafter Program, a meat processing certification program held at the University of Wisconsin Meat Science Laboratory. The program is the first of its kind, where after a two-year training period of six multiple-day workshops on specific topics and an in-plant special project, students can be accredited as a “Master Meat Crafter.” Jeff worked closely with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection to establish this program that has been instrumental in providing needed information and training for the Wisconsin meat processing industry.

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Achievement Awards - Sponsored by Burke Corporation

Tim Knight first became interested in the science behind food as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University where he earned his B.S. in food science & technology. After graduation, he worked as a product developer for Uncle Ben’s Rice. He decided to return to Texas A&M for graduate studies where he earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees concentrating on meat microbiology and food chemistry. Tim’s Ph.D. research focused on combination strategies for listeria intervention applied to processed meat systems. During this time he also worked as a lecturer teaching food chemistry, instrumental analysis, and general food science, as well as conducting food quality research on meat and other commodities.

Dr. Dale R. Woerner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Dale earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Science from Texas Tech University (TTU) in 2003 and 2005, respectively, and completed a Ph.D. in Animal Science/Meat Science in 2009 at Colorado State University (CSU).  Immediately following graduation in 2009, Dale joined the Center for Meat Safety & Quality, a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence at Colorado State University, as a new faculty member with a research and teaching appointment.  Most recently, Dr. Woerner was granted tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor effective July 2015.

Dr. Edward Yancey has made noteworthy and significant contributions to the meat industry and scientific literature in his short career. Dr. Yancey completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Kansas State. Both his M.S. and Ph.D. research projects at Kansas State were excellent, unique and ‘cutting edge’. His Ph.D. dissertation research on “Determination of Factors Affecting Livery Flavor Development in Beef Tenderloin, Top Sirloin, and Infraspinatus Muscles” involved some very basic analytical biochemistry techniques as well as addressing an industry problem. Dr. Yancey and two other graduate students initiated, designed, and conducted a very extensive research project that was above and beyond their thesis or dissertation research. And, it was published in a very timely fashion.

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International Lectureship Award – Sponsored by DuPont Nutrition and Health

Andrzej Sosnicki received his MS degree in Animal Physiology and Ph.D. in Muscle Biology & Meat Science from the University of Life Sciences in Poznan, Poland, in 1978 and 1984, respectively; where he also held positions of assistant and associated professor. Andrzej moved to the Muscle Biology & Meat Science laboratory, University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1985 where he studied muscle histochemistry, histopathology, and meat quality of poultry and red-meat animals. Subsequently he studied skeletal muscle physiology at the Department of Zoology, University of Tennessee in 1988, and in 1989 he joined the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, where he further focused on physiological principles of skeletal muscle function during locomotion.  Dr. Sosnicki's primary interests include progression in genetic selection and production practices, skeletal muscle physiology and carcass and meat quality, and their implications for the food supply chain. He is author/co-author of over forty publications, four book chapters and several popular-science articles. In his spare time he enjoys skiing and motorcycling around the world. 

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