The University of Winnipeg



Career Month spotlight: UWinnipeg alum brings Canadian crops to world markets

Dean Dias. Photo supplied.

In celebration of Career Month, UWinnipeg alum Dean Dias will share his career story on Instagram Live on Tuesday, November 2, at 11:30 am.

Curious, energetic, and open to opportunities, Dean Dias (BBA 08) came to The University of Winnipeg in the spring of 2006 from Mumbai, India.

Once he found his way around campus and settled into his classes, he knew he had found his new home. Intending to stay in Winnipeg, Dias landed a job at the Canadian International Grains Institute (CIGI) in 2009.

Join us on Instagram Live 11:30 am, Tuesday, November 2 to hear Dean Dias’s inspiring story.

He has held multiple positions at CIGI over the last decade, and recently led the merger between CIGI and Cereals Canada. This new merged organization continues to thrive as Cereals Canada under Dean’s leadership as CEO since 2020.

A lover of good food, Dias was fascinated with understanding connections between food and place.

“Why do people eat chapatis and roti in India, and in Canada we eat slices of bread? Why is Italy buying Canadian durum wheat to make pasta and Morocco is buying it to make couscous?”

A proud ambassador for Canadian farmers to the grain markets around the world, Dias has learned why grains that we eat differ in the places we live.

Known as the ‘bread basket of the world’, the Canadian prairies are central to global grain production. Dias points out that many people don’t realize that Canada, a country known for six months of winter, produces enough grain in spring and summer that the world relies on for its quality and consistency.

“One thing I learned was Canada’s important role in feeding the world,” said Dias. “The other thing that I’ve learned is the global level of respect for Canadians and Canadian grain.”

At Cereals Canada, Dias works with a diverse group of technical masters — including millers, bakers, analytical lab technicians, and pasta and noodle experts — who are world renowned for their extensive knowledge of the global food industry.

He also liaises with the Canadian value chain and international customers contributing to the overall strategy, execution and successful delivery of activities within the Canadian cereals industry. This work involves international trade missions to investigate and research how Canadian grains – especially wheat, barley, and oats – are used, and how to expand their presence in the global markets.

“I learn something new every day and learn about the complexity of the food industry,” said Dias. “It’s a reminder that there is a lot of research and development, and science-based testing that goes on behind the scenes before the product is made available on store shelves.”

While his love for food remains, Dias has gained a world of knowledge about what it takes to produce the food we eat on a daily basis:

“Let’s just say, I don’t look at a loaf of bread the same way as I did 10 years ago.”

As part of 2021 Career Month, UWinnipeg’s Academic and Career Services team is interviewing alumni about their career journey every Tuesday in November at 11:30 am.

Tune into the University of Winnipeg’s Instagram account Tuesday, November 2 at 11:30 am to hear Dias’s inspiring story as well as tips for students seeking employment. View more upcoming events hosted by UWinnipeg Academic and Career Services. 

A similar version of this profile of Dean Dias was originally published in the Summer 2020 print edition of UWinnipeg Magazine

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