Local board visits Griffin Campus

By Jennifer Reynolds
Communication Professional for the Center for Food Safety

The University of Georgia Griffin Campus Board of Visitors, a task force established to promote and improve UGA Griffin, recently visited the campus to learn about research that is being done on the premises. The Board of Visitors serves to help increase relationships between the campus and the community by acting as an advisory board to the Assistant Provost and Griffin Campus Director. They often help foster corporate relationships and work for the advancement of the good of the campus within the local community.

The board visits the campus regularly throughout the year. The focus of their most recent visit was to learn about the work of Food Science & Technology. Food Science is a broad field that encompasses everything from food manufacturing, to the nutritional quality of food, to food safety to developing new products for the marketplace.

Because of the wide range of study and research done in Food Science, its facilities and instruction take place across both the Athens and Griffin campuses. In addition to hosting general Food Science research, the Griffin campus is home to two important Food Science Centers: the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center (FoodPIC). Researchers at CFS work closely with industry professionals to help ensure food safety throughout the supply chain. FoodPIC works with start-ups and existing food companies to help bring new products to the marketplace.

Relationships with the larger community have played important roles in both centers. CFS Director Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez cited the center’s proximity to Atlanta -- home of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention -- as helping to establish relationships with government and industry food safety members.

When plans to launch FoodPIC and construct a facility were announced in 2013, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority donated funds for its construction. According to Chuck Copeland, chairman of the development authority, FoodPIC has helped to bring new industry to Spalding County.

Copeland, who is also president of First National Bank, said, “Many of the food production-related businesses we engage with an express interest in the work of FoodPIC, and also say its location on the UGA Griffin Campus factors into their final site selection.”

The Board of Visitors was established in 2014 to help improve outreach between the campus and the community. Members are selected from local government, business and community leaders and serve a two-year term during which they pay four visits to campus each year. During those visits, they learn about the many ways the campus impacts the region and the state of Georgia.

Center for Food Safety Director Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez (right) gives board members a tour of the CFS laboratories. Board members pictured from left to right are Cheryl Matlock, Rita Johnson, Janet Wilkerson, Chuck Copeland, David Lamb, William Wilson, Frank Harris and David Johnson.