Dr. Marcia Walker Named New Director of the Food Innovation Center in Portland

Following an exhaustive national search, Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences has named Dr. Marcia Walker as the director of the Food Innovation Center (FIC).

A 2003 PhD graduate from the College’s Food Science and Technology department, Walker joins the FIC from Greenleaf Foods, where she served as Director since 2021. Spearheading processing, manufacturing, and commercialization she oversaw a team of innovative food scientists introducing more than 11 new products to market. Prior to her time at Greenleaf, she also held leadership positions at Tofurky, PepsiCo, Starbucks, and Avomex.

“We are excited to have Marcia join the team and step into this important role at our urban agricultural experiment station location,” said Staci Simonich, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. “Her expertise in food science combined with her entrepreneurial background will be a tremendous asset in serving the needs of emerging and established food and beverage businesses here in Oregon and beyond.”

The FIC was the first urban agricultural experiment station in the nation and is a unique resource for a wide array of food and beverage companies. It supports business needs in product and process development, sensory and consumer testing, marketing, food safety, regulatory guidance, and more. As a joint collaboration between Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the FIC serves the land grant mission of teaching, research, and engagement in its state-of-the-art facility housed in a 33,000 sq. ft. building located in Portland’s Pearl District.

“I’m thrilled to return to Food Science at OSU,” Walker said. “Having been here when the FIC was just getting built, I am eager to bring back the food industry experience I’ve gained, innovating new food products, to serve Oregon, the nation, and the world. The FIC is a unique asset and there is such tremendous potential to leverage its capabilities to serve as a hub for economic development and innovation.”

Walker is filling the position previously held by Dave Stone who now serves as the Associate Dean of International Programs for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

“We are tremendously grateful for the work Dave did to elevate FIC’s presence not only in Portland, but around the state, nation and world,” Simonich added. “We look forward to the many contributions Marcia will add to the strong foundation Dave built over his seven years leading the FIC.”

Walker will begin her new role as director of the FIC on September 25.