OVERLAND PARK, KAS. — Sukh Bassi, Ph.D., longtime executive at MGP Ingredients and Manildra Group, Inc., died Jan. 14. He was 78 years old.

Born in Kericho, Kenya, in 1941, Dr. Bassi came to the United States in 1963, receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., and a master’s degree and doctorate from Saint Louis University. He began his career in education, spending 10 years as a professor of biology at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kas.

In 1981, he joined MGPI as chief microbiologist. Four years later he was promoted to vice-president of research and development and corporate technical director. From 1990 to 1999, he also managed the company’s wheat protein sales and marketing activities. He was named vice-president of new product innovations in 2002 and chief science officer in 2004. In 2007, he was named vice-president of scientific affairs.

Dr. Bassi is listed as the chief inventor or inventor on numerous patents awarded to MGPI for work in creating new protein and starch innovations, applications and processes.

In 2013, Dr. Bassi left MGPI to join the Manildra Group (where his son Neal Bassi is president). Dr. Bassi was named vice-president of technology development and scientific affairs. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing various research and development projects, collaborating with industry and academic partners internationally, and representing the company in its relationships with industry organizations and governmental agencies.

Survivors include his wife, Jane; three sons: Neal (Marni), Nathan (Erin) and Sean (Morgan); three granddaughters: MaKayla, Miya and Ava; four sisters and two brothers.