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With 15 years as an exemplary voice for the food and beverage industry behind him, Kevin T. Higgins now has a larger transmitter from which to broadcast. Mr. Higgins joined the industry's publication and digital voice of record in February when he joined the Food Processing franchise as Managing Editor.
A career journalist, Mr. Higgins started off in broadcasting while attending college at Northern Illinois University, home of the Fighting Huskies. He worked two years at WNIU-FM, a 50,000-Watt classical music station, reporting on local news and providing feeds to the NPR network. "With a face unsuitable for television, I naturally gravitated to radio," he explains. After considering a move to a station in Hastings, Neb., he decided his talents were better suited to print. The next four years were spent in community journalism, working at two weekly newspapers where he did it all: reporting, editing, photography, layout and prepress production. "Serving the community was a great experience, and the sense of ownership of the finished product was extremely satisfying," he recalls.
From there, Mr. Higgins transitioned to magazine publishing, beginning with Marketing News, a fortnightly publication of the American Marketing Association. The affiliation stretched over three decades, first as a full-time staffer and then as a contributor to several AMA publications. During that period, he also worked at a division of Thomson Publishing. "Our readers were credit-card portfolio managers and electronic payments professionals," he says. "I regard deluding myself that risk management was interesting as my greatest professional achievement." He also managed primary research on the market and developed the blue book of the electronic payments industry, a $3 million project that culminated in publication of the Card Industry Directory. "We cobbled together a database consisting of multiple Excel spreadsheets," he says. "The experience gave me a great appreciation of database management systems." Before leaving, he guided the transition of the print publication to a digital version.
His entry to the food industry followed, first as chief editor of Baking Management, a magazine focusing on wholesale bakeries, and then as senior editor at Food Engineering.
"Unlike risk management, food product development and production is a dynamic topic that never fails to renew itself," says Mr. Higgins. "The opportunity to go behind the scenes at virtually every type of food or beverage plant and to understand the challenges faced by food manufacturing professionals has been rewarding and satisfying." While the experience has made him a pariah at dinner parties, he treasures it. Singling out a favorite plant would be difficult, though the hands-down favorite process would have to be brewing.
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