The Michigan State University Product Center has named Brenda Reau as its new associate director. A 32-year veteran of MSU Extension, Reau has been a Product Center innovations counselor since 2011. Before that she was the Monroe County MSU Extension director. She replaces Tom Kalchik, who retired June 1 after being the Product Center associate director since its inception in 2003.
Reau said she plans to improve the resources available to entrepreneurs as the Product Center continues to evolve to meet the developing needs of its clients.
"I have admired the work of the Product Center since the beginning," she says. "It is the perfect model for the land-grant mission of extending the resources of the university to individuals and communities. The Product Center offers services that help develop and commercialize products and businesses in the food, agriculture and bioproduct sectors by disseminating the research and expertise of the university."
The MSU Product Center has worked with more than 2,000 clients since its establishment in 2003 with funds from Michigan AgBioResearch (formerly the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station) and Michigan State University Extension.
"There is tremendous demand for our services as food and agriculture businesses move to the forefront of the Michigan economy. We are in the process of completing a new strategic plan to take the Product Center to the next level in supporting entrepreneurs and businesses across the state," she said.
Reau's goals are to improve resources in food processing, packaging, and advanced business and strategic planning for large companies.
Chris Peterson, director of the center, said Reau is well-equipped to take on this challenge.
"Brenda Reau's experience, expertise and enthusiasm make her an ideal person for associate director," Peterson said. "I look forward to working closely with her."