For more information on Dairy West, please visit its website.
Dr. Eric Bastian
Eric D. Bastian obtained his education at Utah State University with a BS degree in Dairy Science, and MS and Ph. D. (1989) degrees in Nutrition and Food Sciences. He spent one year (1989-1990) as a research fellow with the Danish Government Research Institute for the Dairy Industry in Hillerod, Denmark.
In 1992, Eric accepted a faculty position at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, and for six years he led a research team focused on milk protein and enzyme chemistry, process cheese functionality, and milk protein fractionation. In 1998, he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. In the same year, he accepted a position with Avonmore West (now Glanbia) as director of research & development and relocated to Twin Falls, Idaho.
Eric was promoted to vice president in 2006 and in 2015 to Senior Vice President of Innovation. During his time at Glanbia Nutritionals, Eric developed a research team of five that eventually grew to a team of eighty.
In July of 2016, Eric joined Dairy West as Vice President of Innovation Partnerships and, in 2019, he also became the Director of the Western Dairy Center. Eric is instrumental in developing the BUILD Dairy Program, a research and workforce development initiative for the dairy industry.
Marissa Watson MS
Marissa is the vice president of Sustainability for Dairy West, where she serves dairy farmers in Idaho and Utah. With dairy’s commitment to Net Zero Initiative, she works to tell the story of existing sustainability practices to consumers and customers, as well as facilitate dialogue throughout the supply chain.
Marissa fell in love with food and agriculture in the four years after college, when she was working for National Geographic Television in Washington, DC. After receiving an M.S., in Agricultural Economics at the University of Georgia, where she completed thesis research on Farm to School with Georgia Organics and the Centers for Disease Control, she began farming. Marissa served as the manager for several farms, including the largest kale and collard producer in the country. She went on to work in supply chain management through Vermont’s Farm to School program and Sodexo’s food service management company.
Marissa loves strategic systems redevelopment and solving issues in supply chain management and distribution. She received a B.A., from University of Arizona in Media Arts.
Jaclyn St. John MS, RDN, LD
Jaclyn St. John is a registered dietitian and the director of community wellness for Dairy West. She represents the organization in its partnerships with Idaho and Utah community health, sports nutrition and hunger organizations and oversees programs in each of those areas. Jaclyn is passionate about community wellness and strives to take science-based nutrition and health recommendations and translate them into consumer-friendly messages.
Jaclyn earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition from Central Washington University and a master’s degree in Human Sciences from Texas A&M University – Kingsville.
Jaclyn happily resides in Meridian, Idaho with her husband, Cody, and two children, Chloe and Jaxon.
Ann Lokuta, MPH, RDN
Ann Lokuta is a registered dietitian and health and wellness manager with Dairy West. Ann leads Dairy West’s outreach and offerings for health professionals, including nutrition promotion partnerships, continuing education offerings, and thought leader networking events. Ann enjoys challenging herself and teammates to embrace curiosity and out-of-the-box thinking to produce boundary-pushing work and programs that have a positive impact on our communities. Ann is grateful every day for the opportunity to do such important work on behalf of our Idaho and Utah dairy farmers.
Ann earned her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and her master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). Since completing her dietetic internship, she has worked in the retail grocery setting, outpatient nutrition counseling, and employee wellness with the University of Utah.
Ann lives in Salt Lake City and fully embraces all the outdoor recreation that the mountains and desert have to offer!