Dan Flynn, executive director of the University of California at Davis Olive Center, will be honored with an Award of Distinction on October 14th by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The award is part of the College’s annual celebration when faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university’s founding college are recognized for their contributions and achievements that enhance research, education, and outreach.

Nine others will receive the honor along with Flynn, who is being recognized for his exemplary work leading the Olive Center from its establishment through tremendous growth and development into what is now an internationally known program for olive research and education.

Flynn established the Olive Center in 2008, four years after he’d written a feasibility study and began managing its olive harvest, overseeing extra virgin olive oil production and working on a marketing strategy.

From those beginnings, one would hardly recognize the Olive Center today — the only one of its kind in North America. Flynn’s job has grown along with it and he now oversees strategy, industry networking, revenue generation, the UC Davis olive oil program, and public education programs.

Flynn and his expert team of faculty members, extension specialists and UC farm advisors provide a resource for olive growers and processors with the driving vision “to do for table olives and olive oil what UC Davis did for wine.” With Flynn at the helm, the Olive Center has tripled the number of UC Davis educational events for olive growers and processors.

“The Olive Center has done great work to facilitate the growth of the industry,” said Gregg Kelley, of California Olive Ranch, California’s largest producer of extra virgin olive oil. “Dan deserves great applause for his efforts.”

Kelley continued, “Without him, it wouldn’t have happened. He’s shown a passion for the industry and understood the opportunity early on. He’s a very deserving recipient of this award as he has done a tremendous job of bringing folks together and breaking down barriers. Dan has been a valuable asset.”

Flynn’s passion is clearly his motivating force, but his ability to make things happen captures headlines. From the July 2010 report that exposed quality problems with imported olive oil, the enacting of olive oil grade standards in California, the establishment of an internationally accredited sensory panel and a chemistry research laboratory, to three successful industry sponsored legislative measures, Flynn has led the way on many notable achievements.

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