Saturday, March 13, 2021

Spotlight on Roger Nahas, a leader in the AOCS Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division

This spotlight is on Dr. Roger Nahas, a longtime Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division (LOQ) member, former LOQ Vice-Chair and Chair, and Senior Vice President of Global R&D for Kalsec. 

He was interviewed by the LOQ Secretary/Treasurer, Dr. David Johnson:

Would you mind giving us a little background about your company and how it aligns with AOCS? 

Kalsec started as the Kalamazoo Spice Extraction Company, and today we are a global producer and leader in natural food ingredients. Our mission aligns with AOCS because of our shared passion for the science, and the invaluable resources AOCS offers to our food and lipid chemists. AOCS also offers us a unique platform for networking, collaboration, and knowledge exchange.

How did you first get involved in AOCS and how has the organization helped your career?

 My first involvement with AOCS started at the 2008 annual meeting in Seattle, WA. Since then, AOCS helped me tremendously in my learning journey within lipid oxidation, through all the resources it offers and all the renowned experts, talented professionals and gifted students that I got to know and work with. I had the opportunity to present some of my works AOCS, in addition to collaborating with academic professors, developing mutual innovation opportunities with members from other companies, as well as hiring students that ultimately became leaders in my organization.


You were recently on the ballot for a position at the AOCS Governing Board, what motivated you to run and what would you hope to accomplish on the Board? 

I ran because of my passion for AOCS and desire to share my expertise with the community that benefited my early career. My professional values are centered around innovation, diversity, alignment and sustainability: AOCS is an excellent platform to put these values to good use, along with a team of highly talented and dedicated professionals.

Where do you see the benefits of AOCS for newer members of your team at Kalsec, and in particular Lipid Oxidation and Quality (LOQ)? 

We highly encourage all our new hires and veteran antioxidant scientists to be engaged with AOCS to the fullest. It gives them the outside perspective of the lipid oxidation needs, challenges, advances while keeping them informed on the latest scientific methods and discoveries. There is also an intangible, but highly impactful benefit with the networking opportunities offered through AOCS at many levels.

What piece of advice would you have for new members of LOQ? 

LOQ is a special division with a diverse mix of members from both academia and industry at various levels and stages of their careers. My advice for new members if to take advantage of this richness and get involved: volunteer, network, and of course: don’t miss the annual meeting!

Ok, now for some pandemic related questions:

The pandemic has forced companies to innovate how they communicate and operate, what positive aspects of this ‘new normal’ do you hope to carry over in your leadership role? 

The virtual world can be beneficial in shortening the distance and enhancing the frequency of touching base and collaborating between partners of an innovation ecosystem. I hope this will stay. How do you think LOQ (and AOCS) can leverage this shift to get members more engaged? I believe AOCS has done well on this front already and benefited from the infrastructure they already had in place, as evident by the participation and engagement we all witnessed so far. This will never substitute the need to meet in person when it is safe, which we all look forward to.

Outside of work, what have you been doing during this pandemic to stay busy or reduce stress? 

I built a gym in my basement and has been working out for 365 consecutive days now, it’s nice to start the day with an “accomplishment” in the form of a workout. More importantly, I got to spend more time and play with my kids. Although I cannot advise that kids always help with reducing stress.

Thank you Dr. Nahas for your service and your inspiration!

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