The Next Normal: Food R&D facility design post pandemic


Tuesday, June 23, 2020


11 am - 12 pm CDT 

Food for thought: evolution and innovation in R&D facilities

R&D design has come a long way from the traditional wet lab space. Shorter research and development timelines, ongoing cost pressures, and sudden shifts in research priorities have driven R&D real estate to become multi-use. This evolution has resulted in a shift to agile facility design with a focus on: flexible space, areas for collaboration, and talent recruitment and retention.

Watch the recording as our panel of industry experts from Kraft, Hostess, and T. Marzetti, dove into the behind the scenes of R&D facilities. Together, they reviewed how the necessity of workplace flexibility, collaboration, and space types, play important roles in ideation and creation of products. Discussion topics included:

  • R&D facility design pre-and post-COVID
  • Aligning space types and use with work modes
  • Social spaces, addressing new dynamics and concerns
  • Maintaining collaboration with remote working geographically dispersed teams
  • Cost analysis of real estate expense and the investment in facility design

Steve Hill, PhD. , Vice President, T. Marzetti Company

Dr. Steve Hill currently works as the Vice President R&D and Quality at the T. Marzetti Company, located in Westerville, OH. In this role, Dr. Hill leads teams that commercialize new products, packages, and manufacturing processes. He is involved with all regulatory and food safety aspects of the business, as well as the sustainability and health & wellness strategies for the company. Prior to joining Marzetti in 2017, Dr. Hill worked as a consultant in the food industry and, prior to that, Dr Hill was at Kraft Foods. His last assignment at Kraft was vice president R&D and Quality for the Cheese and Dairy business unit. Outside of Marzetti, Dr. Hill is active in AOCS (American Oil Chemists’ Society) having recently served as society president. He has served on the University of Illinois external advisory board for Food Science and Human Nutrition, the Advisory council for the Dean of College of Agriculture Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and championed the advancement of the MAP research program, a U of I agriculture program to advance underrepresented people in ag research. Dr. Hill received his PhD in Food Science from University of Illinois and his BS in Nutrition from Iowa State University.

Darryl Riley, SVP, Quality/ Food Safety and R&D, Hostess Brands LLC

Darryl Riley serves as Senior Vice President of Quality, Food Safety and R&D of the Company. Mr. Riley has served as Senior Vice President of Quality, Food Safety and R&D since December 2016 and serves in the same capacity at Hostess Brands, LLC. From March 2016 through November 2016, Mr. Riley served as President of Total Food Safety Management, overseeing Quality and Food Safety. Prior to this position he served as Vice President, R&D, Quality & Innovation at Kraft Foods Company from September 2013 to August 2015. From July 2004 through August 2013, he served as Vice President, Research, Quality & Technology at the Kellogg Company.

Chuck W. Davis, Operating Partner, Arbor Investments

Mr. Davis joined Arbor in 2019. Prior to joining Arbor he spent 35 years with Kraft Foods / Mondelez retiring as EVP R+D, Quality and Innovation. Chuck’s Kraft career included tactical and strategic assignments in R+D, Supply Chain, and Quality across North America and Europe. At Arbor he is responsible for working with Darifair on their growth and technology agenda including being on the BOD, BOD for Red Collar, supporting partners on acquisition candidates and working with portfolio companies on innovation, food safety, and quality. Chuck holds a MBA-Fairleigh Dickinson University, MS Food Science-Rutgers University and BS Chemistry-UMass-Lowell.

Cara Ambrosino-Strickling, Principal, Design, NCIDQ, IIDA

Cara’s well-rounded retail design projects can be found across the globe, including South Korea, Qatar, Dubai, Brazil, and the US. She enjoys the concept phase of the design progress and loves seeing a project come to life through a strong story line. Her retail, commercial, and residential experience is a valuable asset that brings depth to Unispace’s portfolio.

Erin Crilly, Senior Associate, Strategy

Erin is an energetic and talented strategy leader whose experience spans industries and project types. Her innovative work with 3D modeling and BIM systems allows Erin to develop integrated strategy solutions for client needs. She proactively remains at the forefront of design technology.