Kurt Waananen, Ph.D.
Blue Diamond Growers
Kurt Waananen is currently R&D Director for Blue Diamond Growers based in Sacramento, CA. Prior to joining Blue Diamond in 2017, he had 28 years of technical leadership experience with General Mills in Minneapolis, MN, including roles in R&D product, process, and packaging development. Kurt led R&D due diligence for two significant international M&A projects. He has experience in talent assessment and development through recruiting and mentoring leadership roles. Kurt received his BS degree from Washington State University, and MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University, all in Food Engineering. He was recognized with an Outstanding Alumnus Award by the Purdue Ag & Biological Engineering Department in 2001. Outside of work, Kurt enjoys spending time with his wife, Susan, three grown children, and two grandchildren as well as staying active with activities including biking, swimming, and hiking.