Cassaundra Edwards BS ’94, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, was awarded the 2014 College of Engineering BAE Distinguished Alumni Award.
Cassaundra F. Edwards is a research and development manager at ConAgra Foods in a strategic customer development role, driving product innovation for warehouse club markets such as Costco, Sam’s, and BJ’s.
For nearly 20 years she has held various roles within the food industry, starting as a junior engineer developing innovative frozen meals for Nestlé and researching novel non-thermal preservation technologies such as high pressure pasteurization and irradiation for Kraft Foods, and leading a product technical team with the integration of two food industry giants—Kraft Foods and Nabisco. Throughout her career she has touched a multitude of consumer brands such as Stouffers, A.1. Steak Sauce, Grey Poupon Mustard, Lunchables, Oscar Mayer, Banquet, and Hunt’s.
Cassaundra holds a bachelor of science in biosystems and agricultural engineering from Michigan State University and a master of engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
She has a great passion for her work in the food industry and for developing the careers of young scientists and engineers. She has been a member of MSU’s Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Industry Advisory Board for the past four years and now serves as its chair.
Cassaundra attributes her professional accomplishments and development to her family and a network of mentors who have shared their leadership philosophies and ideals and ultimately helped shape her as a leader. Her personal philosophy on leadership is that “great leadership is achieved partly through other great leaders and people helping you along the way.”
In addition to driving business growth for ConAgra Foods, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Jay Edwards, eight-year-old son, Miles, and a mischievous Welsh terrier, Coltrane. They currently reside in Omaha, Nebraska.
Andrew Wedel was awarded the Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Andrew Wedel (MS, Agricultural Engineering, 1996) is the General Manager of McLanahan Corporation’s Agricultural Systems Division where he is part of a team that develops, designs, and supplies dairy manure handling systems focused environmental sustainability and cow comfort. Specific designs include: anaerobic digester pre-treatment systems; conveyance and separation systems; earthen, concrete, and HDPE lined manure storage structures; runoff control structures; and pump and gravity conveyance systems.
Andrew holds a B.S. degree in Agricultural Engineering Technology from the University of Delaware and a M.S. degree in Agricultural Engineering from Michigan State University. He is a registered professional engineer in: Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In 2010, Andrew received the Young Agricultural Engineer of the Year award by the Northeast Agricultural and Biological Engineering Conference.
Prior to joining McLanahan Corporation in 1996, Andrew was an Agricultural Engineering Specialist at Michigan State University where he, along with a group of agricultural engineers and dairy producers, researched and developed systems for handling sand-laden dairy manure.
Andrew, his wife Ann, and their three sons reside in Duncansville, PA. Their spare time is spent playing/coaching baseball, boating, ATV-ing, and raising chickens.
Danielle Habitz was awarded the Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award.
Danielle Habitz (BS, Biosystems Engineering, 2008) is a Snacks Process Engineer with Kellogg Company, headquartered in Battle Creek, MI. She has led various engineering startups throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America including the recent international startup and equipment training for Kellogg’s® Special K® Cracker chips in Belgium. She is engineering leader across various product lines for cookies, crackers, wholesome snacks, and on-the-go foods such as Keebler® Fudge StripesTM, Kashi® Soft’n Chewy Bars, Special K® Popcorn Chips, and most recently Rice Krispies Treats® Crackle Snaps.
Danielle has played an active outreach role for several groups including The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Western Michigan’s Senior Design program, and Kellogg’s Intern Leadership Committee. Danielle especially enjoys recruiting MSU intern candidates and presenting to the BE Club and introductory engineering classes.
Danielle and husband Neil, another Spartan graduate, reside in Chelsea, MI. In her free time, she frequently takes part in alumni tailgate events and spends much quality time with family and friends. Both groups along with Biosystems Engineering faculty recognize Danielle as fiercely loyal, determined, caring and passionate; attributes she consistently brings to her personal as well as her professional life. Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering thanks Danielle, 2014 Outstanding Alumni, for being an exemplary Biosystems Engineering Ambassador.
Kevin Evans BS ’87, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, was awarded the 2013 College of Engineering BAE Distinguished Alumni Award.
Mr. Evans is senior technical manager for Beam Global R&D. Since joining the company fall 2012, he has played a key role in the design and build out of the new Beam Global Innovation Center in Clermont, Kentucky. He grew up on a dairy farm in south central Michigan, with green and white running through his veins from the beginning; his dad, sister, and brother all attended Michigan State before him. It was this background that led Kevin to MSU to earn his BS in biosystems and agricultural engineering in1987, where he worked his way through school in the agricultural engineering department. Kevin furthered his education at the University of California, Davis, obtaining his MS in biosystems and agricultural engineering in 1989.
Kevin began his career at Frito-Lay, Inc., in Dallas as an R&D process engineer and acquired exposure across the portfolio of potato chips, extruded and salty snacks, and sweets. While at Frito-Lay, Kevin started to hone his skills and passion for process design and project management. The next career move, in 1994, found Kevin migrating back north to Sara Lee Bakery in Chicago, where he continued to expand his consumer goods exposure in the bakery industry. Continuing to migrate south, Kevin moved to sunny Florida to join Tropicana Products in 1997. There he developed strategic plans and business models for new technologies to drive productivity, quality, and cost. In 2006, he transferred back north to Barrington, Illinois, as the PepsiCo-Quaker- Tropicana-Gatorade R&D operations manager for the cross-functional operations teams including: pilot plant, health, safety and environmental, quality, project management, and purchasing sub-teams. In 2008, Kevin moved into the role of director of commercialization and engineering for PepsiCo Beverage, taking responsibility for research and commercialization of new products and processes across the PepsiCo Beverage portfolio, including Tropicana, Naked Juice, Gatorade, and Lipton Tea.
Kevin has engaged in a variety of leadership and mentoring opportunities. He has chaired local blood drives and United Way campaigns and volunteered for Junior Achievement. He was an original PepsiCo trainer for diversity and inclusion initiatives. He has twice achieved Gold Level Toastmaster status and was the founding member of the Quaker-Tropicana- Gatorade Toastmasters club. He also served on the MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering industry advisory board for several years (as chairperson 2007-2008) and mentored several senior design project teams at MSU.
Kevin and his wife, Shay, reside in Louisville, Kentucky. They have two boys—Avery, 14, and Harrison, 11. Kevin continues to spend many hours coaching and supporting his boys in the many endeavors they undertake, from sports, to music, to academic teams. He also enjoys traveling the globe.