Scott Lineback is a family man devoted to (from left) daughters Averie and Sabrynn, wife Lyndsey and son Cameron, photographed recently on vacation at Emerald Isle, N.C.
Sixth in a series highlighting this year’s recipients of the Purdue University College of Agriculture’s Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award. The award honors mid-career alumni who have a record of outstanding accomplishments, have made significant contributions to their profession or society and have exhibited high potential for professional growth. The series will continue each day leading up to Friday (March 1), when the nine honorees will receive their awards during a 3:30 pm. EST convocation in the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom. A 2:30 p.m. reception, open to the public, will precede the convocation.
Scott Lineback, MS ’89, PhD ’94, is vice president of process innovation at ConAgra Foods in Omaha, Neb., where he leads a team focused on identifying, evaluating and commercializing new process technologies.
Before that, Lineback held leadership positions with companies such as Tropicana Products, PepsiCo, Barilla America and Nestlé Foods.
“Throughout his professional career, Scott has been a tremendous supporter of the food science program at Purdue by participating in our Industrial Associates program,” said Lineback’s nominator, Suzanne Nielsen, head of the Department of Food Science. “He has represented several companies throughout his career, which has allowed our students to establish valuable contacts throughout the industry.”
· Which Purdue faculty member had the most profound impact on your professional career? Dr. Phil Nelson, BS ’56, PhD ’67, my PhD adviser, taught me—and was a great example of—the need to combine technical expertise and business acumen along with outstanding communication and influence skills to drive overall success. Dr. Martin Okos, my MS adviser, taught me that deep technical expertise is the foundation of a great scientific career. Although that may sound like standard knowledge, I learned by watching and interacting with Dr. Okos that in order to bring this simple advice to life, you have to focus on continuing to learn throughout your career, opening yourself up to critique, involving yourself in deep and open technical debates, and while being confident in your opinions, be a great listener, and allow others to influence you and change your opinion.
· What part of your visit back to campus in March are you most looking forward to? I enjoy the campus environment and love feeling the energy and excitement of its students. I enjoy going for a walk around campus. It truly invigorates me. I am also looking forward to going to Harry’s for a beer. I try to make it there every time I come back to Purdue. It brings back a lot of great memories.
· Why did you select Purdue as the place to continue your education? Purdue’s great engineering and food science programs. Plus, my dad is also an alumnus. He strongly recommended Purdue.
· Where was your favorite place on campus to study? My lab in the basement of Smith Hall, the Lilly Library and the basement of the Hicks Library. I also enjoyed many technical/science debates over beers at Harry’s.
· What do you miss most about your college days at Purdue? I absolutely love and miss the campus environment – students, energy, fun, friends, learning, technology, challenges, etc. I had a great group of friends while I was at Purdue. I greatly miss seeing them and spending time with them. I also miss the freedom – I had the most flexibility, control and freedom in my schedule during graduate school than at any other time in my life.
· Were you a good student when you were at Purdue? When I went to Purdue, I wanted to prove to myself and to everyone else that I could be one of the top students. So my first priority was to work hard, learn and make good grades. As a result, I spent a lot of time studying, learning, making great grades and working on my research in the lab. While the work took a lot of time, I was still able to develop great friendships and spend plenty of time having fun.
· What was the most difficult course you took at Purdue? What made it so difficult for you? ABE 627. The math was incredibly intense and hard – integrating in three dimensions. I’m glad I did it then because I don’t spend my days doing integrations now. But I understand it.
· What is the best advice you got while you were at Purdue? Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. Learn to evaluate, make conclusions and decisions, establish next steps, and move on.
· What is the best advice you have ever given? Work hard and play hard. Although you have to spend a lot of hours working, make sure to spend time with close friends. You will cherish and remember the relationships forever. Make sure to have fun, laugh and know when and how to recharge your batteries – all these things will help you enjoy the time and manage the stress. George Abide, PhD ’92, and I used to throw a football in the basement in Smith Hall to relax, talk and take a break from the lab.
Read about other 2013 Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award winners.