Getting to Know P. Michael Davidson September 2015

Mike Davidson

P. Michael Davidson has been a member of IFT since 1973, when he was working on his MS at the University of Minnesota, but it wasn’t until he had embarked on earning his PhD at Washington State University that he volunteered for his first role with the organization: chair of the newly formed IFTSA Undergraduate Research Paper Competition. “I enjoyed it very much,” he reflects. “That led me to wanting to be more involved.”

Since then, Davidson has volunteered in a variety of capacities through the years. He served as chair of the Food Microbiology Division and held many positions within the division, including chair of the Ordal and Ayres Graduate Paper competitions, chair of the Teller Committee, and coeditor of the division newsletter. He has also served as chair of the Intermountain Section and chair of the Committee on Divisions. “I probably have some sort of record for serving on every division management group over a 14-year period,” he notes, having been a member of the Committee on Sections and Divisions, Committee on Divisions, Task Force on Divisions, and the Divisions Transition Task Force. He was elected to the IFT Board of Directors in 2009 and is currently a member of the Nominations & Elections Committee.

Davidson is the University of Tennessee (UT) Institute of Agriculture Distinguished Professor, and he was formerly professor and head of the Dept. of Food Science & Technology at UT. He believes that his involvement with IFT has played a large part in the success he has found as a faculty member. “The networking opportunities that IFT has provided through section, division, and annual meetings have been invaluable to helping me interact and develop collaborative relationships with other food scientists in industry, academia, and government,” he says. “My involvement in IFT also has helped me to be a better and more effective leader, [taught me] how to think strategically, and how to get things done through compromise.”

Davidson, a professional member of IFT and a Certified Food Scientist, says he has also made many friends through IFT. “Volunteering makes a large organization like IFT more personal for you,” he says. “In addition, it can be enjoyable and even fun. At the least, volunteering makes you feel like you are contributing to the greater good of the organization.”

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