A familiar face will be taking over as the new chief of the Postharvest Technology Center at the University of California, Davis. Trevor Suslow, who has been a member at the center for 20 years, is succeeding Elizabeth Mitcham.
“Trevor has been a longtime member of the Postharvest Technology Center and will lead the team with new energy and vision,” said Mitcham, a longtime columnist for American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines, in the center newsletter. “I will continue to be an active contributor to the programs of the center and assist Trevor in this transition.”
Suslow, who was reached by telephone before leaving Sunday to attend the opening of a similar postharvest center in Australia, said he was excited by the opportunity.
“I have two main goals,” he said. “One is to boost the response capacity of the center to meet the needs of industry. Second, young faculty are being hired rapidly, and we need to build a succession plan to us gray-haired dinosaurs.”
Suslow, who came to UC-Davis from the private sector, said he wants to emphasize the center’s practical application. He wants to help build a corps of young scientists who are not only willing, but excited to research those more applied type projects.
“I really want to help, with a balanced approach, to provide objective science-based evaluations of new technology, both products and services,” he said.
Suslow was trained as a plant pathologist, but since then has delved with gusto into agronomy and horticulture. He spent 15 years with a start-up agricultural biotech company, heading up their food safety efforts, before joining the UC-Davis faculty.
Since coming to UC-Davis he has continued to focus on such microbial produce safety problems as listeria, E. coli and salmonella.
Suslow said he can’t emphasize enough his desire to help provide a meaningful interface between basic research and industry.
“I really want to try to bring more basic research faculty into the center to provide the industry with information to act upon,” he said. “To be that bridge, to play that role that Extension has always played.”
Suslow will also be writing a column for American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines.