About WMC Laboratory Services, Inc.

Most of the activity at the Wheat Marketing Center falls within our non-profit educational and research mission. In response to requests from customers for confidential services, however, WMC Laboratory Services Corporation, a for-profit entity, was established to conduct proprietary research and product development, lab analysis and training.

WMC Lab Services provides a range of services including quality testing; cracker/biscuit, Asian noodle, tortilla, and other product development on our pilot scale production lines; and customized training for technical staff. Under a lease agreement, WMC Lab Services reimburses Wheat Marketing Center for facility and staff use. WMC Lab Services is governed by a separate board of directors.

Thank You for Your Service
Retired Board Members

Brian O'Toole

Brian O’Toole
North Dakota Wheat Commission

WMC Lab Services Board of Directors

Philip Volk

Philip Volk, Chairperson
North Dakota Wheat Commission

Philip Volk and his wife Lisa produce Hard Red Spring wheat, soybeans, dry beans, corn, and Angus beef on their third-generation farm near York, ND, about 50 miles from the Canadian border. No-till has been practiced for 15 years along with cover crops to improve the soil. Their five children all operate equipment and manage records.

Phil is serving his first four-year term on the North Dakota Wheat Commission, representing wheat growers in the north central district of the state. Phil is the Commission’s liaison to the Wheat Marketing Center and the ND Grain Growers Association.
Phil recognizes the importance of communication and education. “Fifty percent of North Dakota wheat is exported and 70% of that travels through the Pacific Northwest,” said Volk. “Wheat Marketing Center is just the place to support our industry. Hearing Portland described as the grocery store of wheat made a big impression on me. WMC can educate and communicate the fantastic quality of all classes of U.S. wheat shipped to our friends who nourish their families with our product.”

Dave Stone

Dave Stone, Secretary
Food Innovation Center, Oregon State University

Dave Stone, an Oregon State University public-health toxicologist and communications expert, is the director of OSU’s Food Innovation Center (FIC) in Portland, directing a talented team at the working with clients to advance Northwest foods. Prior to being director of the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), he worked at the Oregon Health Division and collaborated extensively with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, an important partner with the Food Innovation Center. Stone received his doctorate in toxicology from Oregon State University in 2001 and holds a B.S. in Zoology from University of Texas at Austin, and an M.S. in Environmental Sciences from University of North Texas. Dave is professionally involved with Institute of Food Technologists, Society of Toxicology

The Food Innovation Center (FIC) Agricultural Experiment Station is a resource for client based product and process development, packaging engineering and shelf life studies, food safety, and consumer sensory testing located in Portland, OR. Research work is conducted to develop innovative processing, packaging and traceability technologies, and address food safety challenges. The FIC also engages in scholarly research in agricultural economics and marketing. The Agricultural Development and Marketing division of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is located at the FIC, providing local, national, and international marketing access and development. FIC clients include producers, processors, marketers, and entrepreneurs.  FIC is committed to taking food products to market and advancing Northwest foods.

Steve Wirsching

Steve Wirsching
U.S. Wheat Associates

Steve Wirsching is Vice President and Director of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), West Coast Office located in Portland, Oregon.  Steve has served US wheat producers for over 25 years in various positions and capacities with USW.  He joined USW in 1992 as Assistant Director, West Coast Office, and in 1997 became Assistant Regional Director for the South American region in Santiago, Chile.  In 1998, Steve transferred to Mexico City, as Assistant Regional Director where he helped to open a new office.  In May of 2009, he moved to Portland, Oregon to serve as the Director of the West Coast Office, where he was promoted to Vice President in 2011.  The West Coast office provides market development support services for the 15 USW offices worldwide.  Steve’s responsibilities include building customer relations, supporting market development programs with a focus on wheat quality, purchase specifications and supply chain management.  He also works closely with the 18 state wheat commissions and is a liaison with the U.S. grain export trade.  Steve has traveled extensively and is fluent in Spanish, having lived in Latin America for more than 12 years.  

Prompted by the need for technical service, a coalition of like-minded agriculture groups, including USW and the Oregon Wheat Commission, worked to secure a $6.5 million federal grant to create the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) in 1989.  This market development effort was championed by the wheat industry and Oregon’s own Senator Mark Hatfield.

Over the last three decades, WMC has become a leader in the area of Asian product knowledge with the noodle pilot plant and reached new levels of technical service with the installation of a pilot cracker and biscuit line.  WMC, working with USW, has introduced Asian style noodles in Nigeria and Central America, creating additional demand for U.S. origin wheats.   WMC is a non-profit  research and teaching institution, conducting several independent short courses as well as hosting workshops that promote the quality and end use functionality of U.S. wheat for overseas customers, the U.S. domestic industry and for wheat producers alike.

Tom Zelenka

Tom Zelenka

Tom Zelenka’s entire professional career has involved local, state, national and international public policy issues, both in the public and private sectors.  Tom spent over 25 years with the Schnitzer Group of companies as the Vice President of Environmental and Public Affairs. Before that, he served twelve years as the Government Manager of the Port of Portland and five years as the Legislative Director for a Texas State Representative.

Tom is a founding member and former Chairman of the WMC Board of Directors. Tom helped to develop the public/private partnership to renovate the Albers Mill Building and to secure the federal funding grants under the leadership of U.S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield and numerous state wheat growers and agencies. Tom has been an active member of the board since 1988 and currently chairs the two subsidiary boards — WMC Lab Services, Inc. and WMC Title Holding Company, Inc.

Tom observes that WMC provides critical technical services and a strategic focus for U.S. wheat and affiliated agricultural export interests. It is recognized domestically and globally for providing credible, reliable, cutting edge scientific research to meet current and future industry and consumer needs.  WMC Lab Services meets a particular demand for proprietary services that encompass analytical testing, custom training courses, and focused product development.

Ex-Officio Members

Bill Flory

Bill Flory
Idaho Wheat Commission

Bill Flory manages a fourth generation, diversified grain farm raising wheat, barley, bluegrass, canola, and grass/alfalfa hay in the Winchester, ID area. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho. Bill has had extensive involvement with state and national wheat organizations, serving as president of both the Idaho Grain Producers and the National Association of Wheat Growers. He has served on the Wheat Marketing Center board since 2015, and is the current Chairperson.

Bill describes the Wheat Marketing Center as the technical crossroads of the wheat world, bringing together breeders, growers, millers, bakers, and the consumers from around the world — all of whom are looking for profitable ways to use wheat and compete effectively in their own markets. Idaho wheat growers supply both domestic and export markets and regularly look to the Wheat Marketing Center for technical expertise to help maximize quality and demonstrate new end uses for their wheat. Under his leadership, the Wheat Marketing Center is expanding its outreach to new partners in an ongoing effort to provide creative solutions to the challenges facing our growers and customers.

Mark Hodges

Mark Hodges
Plains Grains, Inc.

Mark Hodges currently serves as the Executive Director of Plains Grains, Inc./Oklahoma Genetics, Inc. and owner of Quality Based Marketing, LLC.  Mark was Executive Director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission and then the Oregon Wheat Commission from 1996 to 2008. He attained his Master of Science (M.S.), Soil Physics from Oklahoma State University (OSU), and was Area Research and Extension Specialist for OSU from 1989 to 1995.

Plains Grains, Inc. (PGI) is a private, nonprofit wheat marketing organization dedicated to providing the link between producers of hard red winter (HRW) wheat, grain companies, and foreign and domestic flour millers to benefit all segments of the wheat industry. PGI serves Great Plains and PNW states with a mission to gather and deliver timely quality and production data, cultivate relationships between producers, elevators, grain handlers, and domestic and foreign millers, and effectively market the quality characteristics of HRW wheat to interested buyers.