June 16/Atchison, Kan./Prepared Foods-- Tim Newkirk, president and chief executive officer of MGP Ingredients Inc., announced the reorganization of certain top-level management positions at the company. The changes take effect immediately and “are being implemented to better align key functions and skill sets with our recently formed ingredient and distillery platform structures,” he said.  

The reorganization includes the appointment of Don Coffey, Ph.D., to the newly created position of vice president of the company’s ingredient solutions business segment. He had served as vice president of innovation since joining MGPI in July 2007. Randy Schrick, vice president of manufacturing and engineering since May 2002, has transitioned to the new role of corporate director of manufacturing for the distillery products business segment, while also continuing to serve as vice president of engineering. Scott Phillips, general manager of extrusion technology for the past year, has moved to the position of corporate director of manufacturing for the ingredient solutions business segment. Asif Malik, who had been general manager of the company’s Pekin, Ill., plant since April 2006, now serves as manager of MGPI’s distillery co-products technology platform, which principally consists of distillers feed.

“MGP Ingredients is a leading provider of ingredient solutions derived principally from wheat and alcohol products made principally from corn,” Newkirk said. “This fundamentally is what our business is about. However, with this in mind, we also recognize the need to continue our journey of transforming the company from a plant- or functionally driven enterprise to a customer-focused business driven by product technology platforms. These most recent changes in our management personnel structure support this concept and represent a big step forward in our transformation process.”

Prior to coming to MGPI, Coffey spent most of his professional career with the Dow Chemical Co., in Midland, Mich., and Piscataway, N.J. For 12 years beginning in 1985, he worked in the commercial and research operations of the METHOCEL business, a global business unit within Dow’s Specialty Chemical Group. METHOCEL manufactures cellulose derivatives for a wide variety of applications in the food, pharmaceutical and construction industries.

For three years after joining Dow’s METHOCEL business, Coffey served as project leader of technical service and development. He was made research leader of technical service and development in 1988 and promoted to business manager of Dow Food Stabilizers for North America in 1994. This was a newly created position which consolidated sales, marketing and research functions dedicated to the food industry within the METHOCEL business. In this role, Coffey built and led a business focusing on the food industry and emphasizing technical sales and service in responding to customer needs. His accomplishments in this capacity led to his promotion to general manager of Dow Food Stabilizers with responsibilities for global sales, marketing and research in 1998.

“Don Coffey’s background and expertise are very well-suited to facilitate our increased focus on commercializing the exciting products and technologies in our food ingredient solutions portfolio,” said Newkirk. “His new role will be critical to our strategy of developing strong, innovation-based partnerships with our customers, a process through which MGPI will be best positioned to bring to bear our unique lines of proteins and starches.  These ingredients currently are being sold across four primary platforms, which focus on fiber, specialty proteins, textured proteins, and heritage proteins and starches, for a wide range of bakery and processed food applications.”

Coffey received his bachelor of science degree in food science from the University of Massachusetts in 1976 and his master’s degree in food science from that same university in 1979. He was awarded his Ph.D. degree in food science from Michigan State University in 1985. Prior to that, he spent two years as a food ingredient scientist with Miles Laboratories, Inc.

A longtime member of the Institute of Food Technologists, Coffey formerly served as chairman of the organization’s Marketing and Management Division.

“When it comes to distillery operations, one would be hard-pressed to find another individual as well-versed in the science and art of alcohol production as Randy Schrick,” Newkirk stated. “For many years, Randy has been at the forefront of the progress MGP Ingredients has made in developing and implementing state-of-the-art processes for producing what we believe is among the highest quality, highest purity grain neutral spirits in the world. With his manufacturing and engineering know-how and his unwavering dedication to this company, he has led the charge in building MGPI’s reputation as a world-class suppler of alcohol products. His new position here will enable him to devote even more attention to further strengthening our alcohol supply and service capabilities for our customers.”

Schrick began with MGPI in 1973, serving in various management positions at the company’s Atchison plant until 1982. He was then made plant manager of the Pekin facility and, two years later, was promoted to vice president and general manager of the Pekin plant.

In 1992, Schrick returned to Atchison as vice president of operations for the entire corporation. He maintained that position until being named vice president of manufacturing and engineering 10 years later. Schrick has been a member of MGPI’s board of directors since 1987.  His current term on the board expires this October.   

Schrick is a native and longtime resident of the Atchison area. He earned a bachelor of science degree in physics at Washburn University, Topeka, in 1972 and a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering at Kansas State University, Manhattan, in 1973.

Before joining MGPI last July, Phillips spent 17 years in plant supervisory and management positions with General Mills Inc. During his last four years at General Mills, he was employed as plant manager of the company’s operations in Kansas City, Mo. He served as plant manager in Methuen, Mass., from 2002 to 2003 and as director of supply chain integration in Minneapolis from 2001 to 2002. Positions prior to that included operations manager in Cincinnati, plant manager in Tulare, Calif., and production manager in Reed City, Mich. From 1988 to 1990, Phillips was employed as a production supervisor for the Quaker Oats Company.

“During his past year with MGP Ingredients, Scott has proven his capabilities to lead the manufacturing team for our proteins and starches,” Newkirk said. “His past experiences with a leading, integrated global food company are additional qualifications which have made him an outstanding choice for overseeing production in this exciting area of our business. We look forward to leveraging Scott’s expertise in achieving improved operational efficiencies and helping us strengthen our business model execution.”

Phillips is a member of the Kansas City Young Leaders Society and the Harvesters (Food Bank) Board of Directors, Kansas City. He also has been an active volunteer in United Way and Junior Achievement. He received a bachelor’s degree in milling science and management from Kansas State University in 1988 and a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University, St. Louis, in 2006.

“Asif’s extensive background in the distillery industry combined with his management experience are among the many qualities that he brings to his new position as manager of our distillery co-products platform,” Newkirk said. “This is an area of our distillery business on which we intend to place greater focus and efforts toward developing. Asif has the ability, drive and knowledge to propel current and future initiatives to higher levels of success.”     

Just prior to his employment with MGPI, Malik served for three years as plant manager of Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation’s facility in York, Neb. He began with Abengoa in 2000 as manager of that company’s plant in Colwich, Kan., and a year later was named project director for Abengoa’s Research and Development Group in Chesterfield, Mo.

Prior to his employment with Abengoa, Malik spent approximately 12 years as production manager for Williams Bio-Energy in Pekin., Ill. He also worked for a year as a test engineer for Caterpillar, Inc., Peoria, Ill., and for two years as a process engineer for Danish Turnkey Dairies in Aarhus, Denmark.

A native of Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan, Malik received a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Punjab, Pakistan, in 1985. He earned a master’s degree in industrial operations at Bradley University, Peoria, in 1988.

From the July 21, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash