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Samuel Cate Prescott

In the News

February 26, 1980 to September 10, 2006

 

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Boston Globe (MA)

February 26, 1980

 

Section: RUN OF PAPER

 

THE EFFORTS TO CREATE A HAPPY DEVIL

 

Bruce A. Mohl Globe Staff

 

Pulling up to One Red Devil Lane in Westwood a visitor sees a large box of a building. Its sharp lines and tasteful landscape suggest a museum, but the flag flapping overhead with the smiling red devil unmistakably brings to mind deviled ham. To be specific, Underwood's deviled ham.

 

That familiar devil is the oldest registered food trademark in the United States. As the 158-year-old company has prospered, the devil has shucked his grotesque and evil visage and adopted a playful smile more keeping with success. And if current plans by new president James D. Wells are carried out, the devil will be in for even more happiness.

 

The amiable Wells wants to build a fire under the company's domestic growth, and to accomplish that he is surveying some 20 companies as acquisition targets. He hints strongly that some new acquisitions may be outside the food business.

 

Prospects for significant growth are limited in the company's current product lines, Wells admits. These products include deviled ham and other meat spreads, Ac'cent flavor enhancer, B&M baked beans, Friend's Brothers baked beans, Sell's liver pate and Richardson & Robbins plum pudding.

 

Hard facts on the company's business are difficult to come by because talking to Underwood is a little like being handed a can of their deviled ham without a can opener. You see what it is but you can't get to the meat.

 

About 90 percent of Underwood is owned by the Underwood family and the rest by trustees and management officials. Detailed reports on the business are not made public and annual meetings are by invitation only.

 

"Underwood just doesn't talk numbers because they're considered the family's business," one food industry analyst said.

 

As the David of the specialty food business, Underwood takes on such Goliaths as Campbell Soup, the New Jersey giant with sales topping $2.3 billion in 1979, and Hormel & Co., a Minnesota meat-packing firm with sales of $1.5 billion last year.

 

Underwood, which claims to have originated the word can (from canister), has annual sales of $200 million worldwide. But it is holding its own.

 

It is the undisputed leader nationwide in meat spreads and probably third in baked bean sales. Competition with its Ac'cent flavor enhancer is more difficult to isolate, but analysts agree it is a leader. It has also been aggressive abroad, with plants in Venezuela, Canada, England and recent acquisitions in Australia and Mexico.

 

Even so, some problems may be ahead.

 

A check at four Boston supermarkets found Underwood's products selling at generally higher prices, an advantage of the firm's strong market position. But, as Wells concedes, inflation will force prices up further (bean prices are up 30 percent this year) and today's consumer will remain loyal only so long.

 

Underwood's five meat spreads are also viewed as convenience products by the consumer. But, as one analyst said, "when you have to take off the wrapper, open the can, spread it on bread and maybe mix it with mayonnaise, it's not so convenient anymore."

 

Indeed, an informal check at three corner "convenience" stores in Boston found only one carrying two of the spreads.

 

Wells concedes that the growth of convenience stores, with their demand for fewer, yet higher-volume products, has put pressure on the specialty food business.

 

Despite such pressures, Wells says Underwood has no intention of selling out, although the likes of Coca-Cola and R.J. Reynolds have been interested in the past.

 

The family-owned business intrigues Wells, who began with publicly owned Proctor & Gamble, went on to Underwood, then ran a private yogurt firm in Methuen called Colombo and is now back with Underwood.

 

"There is a lack of visibility in working for a private company," Wells says. "If you crave attention - if that's what you're after - you're not going to get it in a private company, unless it's in some other activity other than the business itself."

 

George C. Seybolt, Wells' predecessor and the man who spearheaded the Underwood expansion years when sales soared to 40 times what they had been, found his visibility in art. Named by several presidents to positions on several art and museum agencies, the forceful Seybolt was also a past president of the Museum of Fine Arts.

 

It is no mistake the Underwood headquarters resembles a museum. Built under Seybolt's supervision, the pillared building contains a company archives and an exhibition room - Corita Kent's works are currently on display.

 

Wells admits his style is different, less visible, than Seybolt's, but he prefers to call his takeover a "continuation of management."

 

The fourth non-Underwood to head the family business, Wells delights in showing a visitor that he still uses the rolltop desk used by the original William Underwood. He also shows off the portraits of his six predecessors which hang above the desk.

 

First is William Underwood, a baker's son who brought the English method of canning food for ship voyages to America in the early 1820s. He provisioned ships and eventually began concentrating on canning. Sales soared during the California gold rush of 1849 and again during the Civil War when the Union Navy took nearly half the company's output.

 

William was followed by his son, William James, and then in 1880 by Henry Oliver Underwood, who is credited with eliminating many of the company's unprofitable operations.

 

Henry's brother, William Lyman Underwood, is remembered primarily as an eccentric who adopted a bear, but he also made an important contribution.

 

Uninterested in profits and losses, he was puzzled more by why cans of clams would often go bad. His interest finally led to a partnership with a professor at MIT, Samuel Cate Prescott, and together they worked out time and temperature rules for sterilizing not only a can but the can's contents.

 

The pioneering spirit of the Underwoods gave way to a more pronounced business emphasis when Henry Underwood, lacking sons, handed the reins over to family friend Francis A. Harding and began a tradition of non-Underwoods in the top job.

 

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Food Technology

August 1988

Volume 42; Issue 8

 

1988 Samuel Cate Prescott award. (James J. Pestka) (Institute of Food Technologists 1988 Achievement Award winners)

 

James J. Pestka (portrait)

 

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Food Technology

August 1990

Volume 44; Issue 8

 

1990 Samuel Cate Prescott award. (Institute of Food Technologists)

 

Carl A. Batt. (portrait)

 

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Food Technology

July 1992

Volume 46; Issue 7

 

1992 Samuel Cate Prescott Award. (Shelly J. Schmidt) (1992 Achievement Award Winners)

 

University of Illinois at Urbana Division of Foods and Nutrition Chair Shelly J. Schmidt is recipient of the 1992 Samuel Cate Prescott Award for Research. This award honors an Institute of Food Technologists member 36 years of age or younger who has performed outstanding research work in food science and technology. Schmidt's research revolved around better understanding of the role of water in food's physical behavior. She proposed the theory that water behavior in the presence of biological materials is determined by the physical and chemical nature of these materials.

 

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January 1994

Volume 48; Issue 1

 

Pioneers in Food Science, vol. 1, Samuel Cate Prescott , M.I.T. Dean and Pioneer Food Technologist.

Litchfield, John H.

 

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Food Trade Review

April 1994

Volume 64; Issue 4

 

Samuel Cate Prescott , MIT Dean and Pioneer Food Technologist. (book reviews)

 

The American publishers have begun a series entitled Pioneers in Food Science and this text is Volume 1 in their new series.

 

Nowadays we all take so much for granted with our food supplies in the Western World that it is hard to realize just bow much has been achieved in this present century.

 

Sam Prescott was born in 1872 and died 90 years later. He came from a humble background but, like so many before him, gained his education in spite of that. Bacteriology was the subject of his first interest and it wasn't long before he got involved in the business of water and its cleanliness. From there it was not a big step to getting involved with what was then the young food manufacturing industry and he joined the staff of what was to become MIT.

 

However, before that at the age of just 25 he had met up with another who took a great interest in things bacteriological -- W Lyman Underwood. This gentleman was the grandson of the first canner in the USA and together these two worked out safe methods of food canning, and to the rest of us this knowledge was free because they decided not to patent their work, believing it was for the greater benefit of the community at large. Besides all this, Sam Prescott developed Standard Methods for the bacterial analysis of milk which are still in use to this day. It wasn't a big step to working on the bacteriology of water supplies, sewage purification and so into health education.

 

Originally the educational organization he joined had been called Boston Tech but such was his skill as an educator that he soon became head of the faculty and held that post for many years. Amongst his other achievements were the formation of two separate analytical laboratories and he was a co-founder of the Institute of Food Technologists and became its first President in 1939.

 

It is important we remember some of the people who were involved in the evolution of the current food manufacturing business, In this case the author has been most appropriately chosen because he was a one time student of Prescott's then joined the same department and became a long time colleague. Such a relationship means the author knows a lot about his subject's background, which brings the book very much more alive.

 

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Food Technology

September 1994

Volume 48; Issue 9

 

1994 Samuel Cate Prescott Award.

Steele, James L.

 

James L. Steele, Associate Professor of Food Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, won the 1994 Samuel Cate Prescott Award for his unique research in microbiology to assess the metabolic properties of lactic acid bacteria. He succeeded in subjecting the microorganism Lactobacillus helveticus to electroporation and gene replacement. He is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Society for Microbiology.

 

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Food Technology

September 1996

Volume 50; Issue 9

 

Samuel Cate Prescott Award.(1996 IFT Achievement Award Winners.)

 

Kathryn L. McCarthy, Associate Professor in the Dept of Food Science and Technology , University of California at Davis, has been awarded the 1996 Samuel Cate Prescott Award for Research. She is a pioneer in the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for studying food processing. She has contributed significantly to quality assurance tests and understanding of complex food flows. She is involved in the research on aseptic processing and filling. These processes comprise presterilizing a food product prior to filling a sterile package.

 

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Nutrition Today

July 1, 2000

Volume 35; Issue 4

 

IFT ANNOUNCES FOOD SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS.

 

At its annual meeting this year in Dallas, the Institute of Food Technology (IFT) recognized individuals who have pioneered new food research or commercial applications.  Susan L. Hefle, PhD, research assistant professor and codirector of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska, received the Samuel Cate Prescott Award for her research on food allergens.

 

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Nutrition Today

November 1, 2001

Volume 36; Issue 6

 

Institute of Food Technologists announces award to food scientists.(Brief Article)

 

At the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in New Orleans, La, this year, several outstanding scientists were honored.  Dr Q. Howard Zhang, from the food science and technology department at Ohio State University received the Samuel Cate Prescott Award for an outstanding member who is no older than 35 years. His achievements include new food processing methods, including nonthermal, pulsed electric field (PEF) techniques.

 

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Cereal Foods World

September 1, 2002

Volume 47; Issue 8

 

Whole grains as a source of antioxidants

 

AUTHOR_AFFILIATION

 

Eric Decker received his B.S. degree in biology from Penn State University in 1982, his M.S. degree from Washington State University in 1985, and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Massachusetts in 1988, where he was a USDA National Needs Fellow. He was an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky from 1988 to 1993, after which he joined the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as an associate professor. Decker has been actively conducting research to identify and characterize natural antioxidants. He has received several awards, including the ACS Agriculture and Food Chemistry Division's Young Scientist Award and the IFT Samuel Cate Prescott Award.

 

 

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Technology & Culture

October 1, 2004

Volume 45; Issue 4

 

Engineering the perfect cup of coffee. (Research of Coffee conducted in Massachusetts Institute of Technology )

Owens, Larry

 

Samuel Prescott, an expert in food technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) established the Coffee Research Laboratory in 1920 in the campus and worked towards the making of a perfect cup of coffee to satisfy the wish of the National Coffee Roasters Association. Through his study in 1923 he announced that coffee was a beverage that gives comfort and inspiration and augments mental and physical activity.

 

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News & Observer, The (Raleigh, NC)

May 28, 2005

Section: News

University briefs

 

Association awards Triangle alumni

 

Food institute awards faculty

 

MaryAnne Drake, faculty member of N.C. State University's department of food science, is the 2005 winner of the Samuel Cate Prescott Award given to a young scientist for outstanding research contributions from the Institute of Food Technologies.

 

 

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)

September 6, 2006

Section: B News

 

Hefle, Susan L. "Sue"

 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Hefle, Susan L. "Sue" 46, Lincoln, died Wednesday August 30, 2006.

 

Sue was born in Milwaukee, WI, to Louis & Nancy (Woods) Hefle.

Sue was an Associate Professor of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and co-director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP).

Sue was author or co-author of more than 130 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and many book chapters.

In addition, she held two patents for analytical methods for aflatoxin.

She served on numerous editorial boards, as a reviewer for a dozen scientific journals, and on grant-review boards for various government agencies and private foundations.

Sue was active in a number of professional societies for food science, analytical chemistry, allergy, and immunology.

She was named a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in 2004 and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in 2003.

In 2000, she received the IFT Samuel Cate Prescott award an award given to honor outstanding researchers.

The assistance she provided to the candy and confectionery industry was acknowledged in 1999 when she was given the Marie Kelso Speaker Award.

In light of Sue's research, the University of Nebraska awarded her the 1999 Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dinsdale Family Faculty Award.

Sue was an avid bicycle rider and racer, having competed since the early 90's in road races, criteriums, and on the velodrome.

She became a bicycle racing official in 1991, advancing through the ranks to attain the status of National Commissaire in 2006.

Besides being an excellent judge, Sue's forthright personality and strength made her an excellent referee, a specialty more often dominated by men.

Of the 1,500 cycling officials in the country, only 50 have made it to the level of National Commissaire, and only 19 of those are women.

In the mid-90's, Sue, along with many others, was dissatisfied with the direction that USA Cycling was taking.

She believed that more attention should be given to grass roots cycling and more support provided to junior and masters riders.

Together with another Midwest cycling enthusiast, Nestor Evancevich, Sue started a new cycling federation, American Bicycle Racing (ABR).

She worked with ABR as their Technical Director through August.

Family members include father, step-mother: Louis & Mary Jean Hefle, Grafton, WI; brother, sister-in-law: Scott L. & Diane Hefle, Germantown, WI; half-brother: Dan Hefle, Hartland, WI; nephews: Nathan & Jacob Hefle, Germantown, WI; grandmother: Jeanette Kinnel, Glendale, WI; uncles & aunts: Paul & Tina Kinnel, Mequon, WI; Raymond & Sharon Hefle, Taylor, S.C.

Sue was preceded in death by her mother, Nancy Hefle, and grandparents.

Friends and colleagues across the U.S. and the world will mourn Sue's passing.

A tribute to Sue's life will be held on Thursday, September 14, 2006, from 2 to 7PM at the Lincoln Firefighter's Reception Hall at 241 Victory Lane, Lincoln, NE 68528.  In lieu of flowers, her brother requests that memorials be directed to the University of Nebraska Foundation on behalf of the Susan L. Hefle Memorial Fund, c/o Dr. Seve Taylor, FARRP, 143 H.C.

Filley Hall, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0919.  Condolences or personal reflections may be sent online at www.go4milkshakes.com.

 

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Lincoln Journal Star

September 6, 2006

Section: B

 

Obituaries

 

NE; USA ##

 

Susan L. 'Sue' Hefle

 

Lincoln, Nebraska

 

Susan L. "Sue"Hefle, 46, Lincoln, died Aug. 30, 2006. Sue was born in Milwaukee to Louis & Nancy (Woods) Hefle. Sue was an associate professor of food science and technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and co-director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program.

 

Sue was author or co-author of more than 130 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and many book chapters. In addition, she held two patents for analytical methods for aflatoxin. She served on numerous editorial boards, as a reviewer for a dozen scientific journals, and on grant-review boards for various government agencies and private foundations.

 

Sue was active in a number of professional societies for food science, analytical chemistry, allergy and immunology. She was named a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists in 2004, and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in 2003. In 2000, she received the IFT Samuel Cate Prescott award - an award given to honor outstanding researchers. The assistance she provided to the candy and confectionery industry was acknowledged in 1999 when she was given the Marie Kelso Speaker Award. In light of Sue's research, the University of Nebraska awarded her the 1999 Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dinsdale Family Faculty Award.

 

Sue was an avid bicycle rider and racer, having competed since the early '90s in road races, criteriums and on the velodrome. She became a bicycle racing official in 1991, advancing through the ranks to attain the status of National Commissaire in 2006. Besides being an excellent judge, Sue's forthright personality and strength made her an excellent referee, a specialty more often dominated by men. Of the 1,500 cycling officials in the country, only 50 have made it to the level of National Commissaire, and only 19 of those are women. In the mid-90s, Sue, along with many others, was dissatisfied with the direction that USA Cycling was taking. She believed that more attention should be given to grass roots cycling and more support provided to junior and masters riders. Together with another Midwest cycling enthusiast, Nestor Evancevich, Sue started a new cycling federation, American Bicycle Racing ABR. She worked with ABR as its technical director through August.

 

Family members include father, step-mother: Louis and Mary Jean Hefle, Grafton, Wis.; brother, sister-in-law, Scott L. and Diane Hefle, Germantown, Wis.; half-brother, Dan Hefle, Hartland, Wis.; nephews, Nathan and Jacob Hefle, Germantown, Wis.; grandmother, Jeanette Kinnel, Glendale, Wis.; uncles, aunts, Paul and Tina Kinnel, Mequon, Wis., Raymond and Sharon Hefle, Taylor, S.C. Sue was preceded in death by: her mother, Nancy Hefle; and grandparents. Friends and colleagues across the U.S. and the world will mourn Sue's passing.

 

A tribute to Sue's life will be held on Sept. 14, 2006, from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Firefighters Reception Hall, 241 Victory Lane. In lieu of flowers, her brother requests that memorials be directed to: the University of Nebraska Foundation on behalf of the Susan L. Hefle Memorial Fund, c/o Dr. Steve Taylor, FARRP, 143 H.C. Filley Hall, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0919. Condolences or personal reflections may be sent online at www.go4milkshakes.com.

 

 

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WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

September 10, 2006

Section: FORUM

 

OBITUARIES

 

 

Hefle, Susan L. "Sue"

 

LINCOLN, NEB. - Susan L. "Sue" Hefle, age 46, of Lincoln, Neb., died Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2006. Sue was born in Milwaukee, to Louis and Nancy (Woods) Hefle. Sue was an Associate Professor of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and co-director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP). Sue was author or co-author of more than 130 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and many book chapters. In addition, she held two patents for analytical methods for aflatoxin. She served on numerous editorial boards, as a reviewer for a dozen scientific journals, and on grant-review boards for various government agencies and private foundations. Sue was active in a number of professional societies for food science, analytical chemistry, allergy, and immunology. She was named a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in 2004 and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in 2003. In 2000, she received the IFT Samuel Cate Prescott award, an award given to honor outstanding researchers. The assistance she provided to the candy and confectionery industry was acknowledged in 1999 when she was given the Marie Kelso Speaker Award. In light of Sue's research, the University of Nebraska awarded her the 1999 Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dinsdale Family Faculty Award. Sue was an avid bicycle rider and racer, having competed since the early 90s in road races, criteriums, and on the velodrome. She became a bicycle racing official in 1991, advancing through the ranks to attain the status of National Commissaire in 2006. Besides being an excellent judge, Sue's forthright personality and strength made her an excellent referee, a specialty more often dominated by men. Of the 1,500 cycling officials in the country, only 50 have made it to the level of National Commissaire, and only 19 of those are women. In the mid-90s, Sue, along with many others, was dissatisfied with the direction that USA Cycling was taking. She believed that more attention should be given to grass roots cycling and more support provided to junior and masters riders. Together with another Midwest cycling enthusiast, Nestor Evancevich, Sue started a new cycling federation, American Bicycle Racing (ABR). She worked with ABR as their Technical Director through August. Family members include father and step-mother, Louis and Mary Jean Hefle of Grafton, Wis.; brother and sister-in-law, Scott L. and Diane Hefle of Germantown, Wis.; half-brother, Dan Hefle of Hartland, Wis.; nephews, Nathan and Jacob Hefle of Germantown; grandmother, Jeanette Kinnel of Glendale, Wis.; and uncles and aunts, Paul and Tina Kinnel of Mequon, Wis. and Raymond and Sharon Hefle of Taylor, S.C. Sue was preceded in death by her mother, Nancy Hefle and grandparents. Friends and colleagues across the U.S. and the world will mourn Sue's passing. A tribute to Sue's life will be held on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the LINCOLN FIREFIGHTER'S RECEPTION HALL at 241 Victory Lane, Lincoln, NE 68528. In lieu of flowers, her brother requests that memorials be directed to the University of Nebraska Foundation on behalf of the Susan L. Hefle Memorial Fund, care of Dr. Steve Taylor, FARRP, 143 H.C. Filley Hall, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0919. Condolences or personal reflections may be sent online at www.go4milkshakes.com .

 

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