Marking the passing of two industry pioneers: Victor Martens and Walter Bushuk


Victor Martens_1981Victor Martens, Cigi’s first Executive Director, passed away on July 26, 2017 at the age of 97.  Mr. Martens was integral to the creation of Cigi, leading the organization from its inception in 1972 to 1981.  During this period Cigi established itself as a unique organization based on a vision to build a facility that could teach Canadians and customers alike about the Canadian grain industry; promote the export of Canadian grains and provide a forum for information exchange between Canada and its trading partners.  That basic concept remains the same today as Cigi works with the value chain throughout Canada and internationally to increase utilization opportunities for Canadian grain and field crops.

During his time as executive director, Mr. Martens met representatives from more than 60 countries attending Cigi programs. “It is testimony to Mr. Martens vision that today more than 45,000 people from 115 countries have participated in Cigi programs over the past 45 years,” says Cigi CEO JoAnne Buth.

A leader in the Canadian grain industry, Mr. Martens’ career spanned more than 40 years, beginning when he joined the staff of the Board of Grain Commissioners (now the Canadian Grain Commission) in 1940.  He worked in various areas of equipment development where one of his major accomplishments was the development of a moisture metre which became the standard type used in Canada and was later marketed in the U.S.  In 1971, as Secretary and Director of Administration in the CGC’s Executive Division, Mr. Martens played a major role in drafting the Canada Grain Act.  He also developed the concept for rationalizing Canadian red spring wheat grades which ultimately led to a system for guaranteeing their protein content for domestic and export shipments.

Read more about Mr. Martens’ life and career:

Dr. Walter Bushuk, Cigi’s first Director of Technology, passes away

Dr. Walter Bushuk, Cigi’s first Director of Technology, passed away on October 14, 2017 at the age of 88 in Winnipeg.

Dr. Bushuk was seconded from the University of Manitoba in 1972 for a year to help establish Cigi’s technology area which included a new pilot mill, pilot bakery and laboratories.  He was responsible for programs related to grain technology and also presented at several national and international scientific meetings.

His long and distinguished career included positions at the Canadian Grain Commission’s Grain Research Laboratory and Ogilvie Flour Mills. In 1966 he joined the U of M as the Faculty of Agriculture’s first professor of cereal chemistry and, addition to teaching and research, held a number of senior administrative positions. Retiring from the U of M in 1993, Dr. Bushuk continued research as Professor Emeritus in Food Science.

Dr. Bushuk is considered one of the world’s outstanding cereal scientists and a leading authority in dough rheology, protein composition and structure, and breadmaking quality. His work was extensively published and is still cited. Dr. Bushuk also played a significant role in wheat variety development in Western Canada and received many international research awards. In 2003 he was appointed the Order of Canada.

For more about Dr. Bushuk:

(Left to right) Victor Martens, Dr. Walter Bushuk, and Dr. Ed Bass who took over Dr. Bushuk's position as Director of Technology when he left Cigi.

At Cigi’s 40th anniversary event in 2012, (left to right) Victor Martens, Dr. Walter Bushuk, and Dr. Ed Bass who took over as Director of Technology when Dr. Bushuk left Cigi in 1973.


First Farm Leaders Course

Victor Martens (photo above, front row, second from right) with the participants from the first educational program conducted by Cigi. The week-long program was attended by 27 Canadian farm leaders to help build their knowledge of the domestic and international grain industry. Six months later Mr. Martens welcomed 32 participants from eight customer countries and Canada to Cigi’s first International Grain Industry Course (photo below).

International Grain Industry Course