Lyle Parks’ career started as a research engineer for American Potato Co. (now Basic American Foods, Inc.) in Blackfoot, Idaho. The work involved developing dehydrated product ideas and processes associated with the product ideas. He was involved in all areas of technical and production activities with a close interface with the marketing and sales organizations. During his early research and development tenure, Parks developed and /or patented the three most successful dehydrated potato products in use in the retail and food service markets from the late 1960’s till his retirement in 1997.
In 1979, Parks became vice president of engineering and directed the company’s design engineering, process engineering, and environmental activities. In 1986, he became vice president of Research and Development. His responsibility was to direct all the new product/process activities of Basic American Foods, including concept development, product and process development, pilot plant operations, and patent/ technology protection.
As a vice president, Parks was a member of BAF’s executive committee. He was a long time member of the Institute of Food Technologists.
Parks and his wife Sharon contributed regularly to education at the University of Idaho during his career at Basic American Foods. Upon retirement, the Parks ‘ donated appreciated stock to UI in the form of a “charitable remainder trust”. The Parks’ designated that upon their death, the income from the trust would be used for scholarship(s) for Kendrick High School graduates and funding for the Engineering and Agriculture and Life Sciences Colleges at UI. Parks felt this was a very appropriate to gift the two institutions that so adequately prepared him for his career.