Food Science Experience

Nolan Gast Explores Career In Food Science At JBT Lab In Sandusky
Posted on 12/04/2019
In the JBT lab with Nolan Gast (left) and Bob Stacy

Nolan Gast is at home in the kitchen.

At the holidays, he and his family celebrate with gigantic meals – three to four turkeys and all the trimmings are standard for Thanksgiving dinner. He bakes for a hobby. And, this Perkins High School senior has a thing for science. 

Thus, Nolan’s career choice seems quite obvious: He’s going to be a food scientist.

For his PHS Academy Experience, he’s in the right place. Sandusky is home to a 30,000-square-foot food processing and process development facility owned by JBT Corp., where Nolan spends a day or two each week.

There, he rubs elbows with engineers, developers, and chefs who are working to perfect food processing and production methods. 

“I’m usually in the lab with them and running tests,” Nolan says of his experience at JBT. “It’s definitely what I want to do.”

JBT, Nolan explains, has “huge connections” with everyone in the food science industry. 

He saw that firsthand in October when he was invited by JBT officials to participate in an exclusive three-day cooking and frying conference at the company’s First Street facility in Sandusky. Conference attendees included representatives of a midwestern poultry processing company and seafood companies from Seattle and Nova Scotia.

The conference agenda had sessions on frying principals, batter viscosity, and batter and breading processes – niche topics that fascinate food scientists like Nolan who have a knack for mixing ingredients and perfecting food preparation methods. 

The conference enabled Nolan to network with professionals in the field, said Bob Stacy, the Divisional Product Manager at JBT. Nolan also left a great impression with JBT’s guests – one of the attendees invited Nolan to come to visit their facility. 

At JBT, Nolan “is getting a little taste of everything” in the food production industry, Mr. Stacy said. Not only has he been in the labs, but Nolan has also researched JBT’s competitors and met customers, and he’s even spent time in the mailroom pasting shipping labels.

“He’s a quiet, and very intelligent guy,” Mr. Stacy said of Nolan. “He’s going to do well in whatever he does.”

Nolan’s Academy Experience “has been a good experience for all of us,” Mr. Stacy said. “It’ll be interesting to follow him in his career. Hopefully, he will stay connected with us.”

Nolan expects to do just that. After graduation, Nolan plans to attend Ohio State University and study food science.