MANHATTAN, KANSAS, US — Maureen Olewnik, PhD, a longtime leader at AIB International and most recently coordinator of Kansas State University’s global food systems initiative, has retired.

While at KSU for the past six years, Olewnik planned and implemented activities related to the university’s global food systems initiative, including such public activities as workshops, seminars and conferences. She also helped create multidisciplinary opportunities to conduct research or pursue projects in the food industry.

Earlier, she spent 35 years at AIB in such positions as principal for innovation and industry affairs, senior vice president for food safety services and vice president of food safety and technical services. During her time at AIB, she led teams that developed new products, served as a liaison to the industry, negotiated relationships with universities and international trade organizations and led food safety service training.

In 2012, Olewnik was presented with the AACCI William F. Geddes Award, recognizing her contributions to that organization. She also served as president of AACCI (American Association of Cereal Chemists International) in 2019 and board chair for scientific studies in 2020.

Olewnik received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Kansas State University, the latter in cereal chemistry in 2003. She has been a member of the AACCI and the International Association of Food Protection, and active with the American Bakers Association Food Technical Regulatory Affairs Committee, the Institute of Food Technologists, Women in Baking, the American Society of Bakers, the Global Cold Chain Alliance/World Food Logistics Organization and the Council on Food Protection.

“So, after 41 years the time to retire from full-time employment has come — May 3 being my last day at Kansas State University,” Olewnik noted in a May 8 LinkedIn posting. “The complex food system is certainly in my blood, and I have had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people around the world through my 35 years at the American Institute of Baking — AIB International, and final 6 years at K-State.

“I'd be happy to talk about that system with anyone that wants to engage — all of the fascinating, a bit scary, and gratifying work there is yet to be done. In the future, I’ll be increasing my knowledge of small/sustainable farming, being a grandma, sanding boards (in my husband’s custom furniture shop) and doing what I can to maintain the quality of life in our beautiful little valley. All the best to my (LinkedIn) friends and colleagues, and please stay in touch.”