Spudman7: Tim O’Connor
Tim O’Connor is President and CEO of the United States Potato Board, based in Denver. Under Tim’s leadership, a new strategy was developed 10 years ago that began a journey to take the USPB to a place it had never been before; positioned as a catalyst for positive change in the industry. To achieve this vision it was necessary to understand the business environment for potatoes, and empowered by this new understanding, shape the future of the industry.
Guided by this strategy, domestic marketing initiatives deliver a consumer-focused retail channel marketing program, and a nutrition advertising campaign, international marketing programs are developing new potato export opportunities for the entire portfolio of US potato products in targeted markets.
O’Connor also worked for the beef industry for 12 years and was part of the teams that launched the BEEF. It’s What’s for Dinner” campaign and opened the Japanese market for U.S. beef exports.
He received his bachelor’s in agriculture from Western Illinois University; his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and has completed the Harvard Graduate School of Business Competition and Strategy program. He has worked in food and agricultural marketing and business consulting for more than 30 years.
1) What are the best words of advice you’ve received?
Decide what to do and stay focused on your plan.
Big, enduring ideas must be simple and easy to articulate.
2) What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Development of the next five-year Long Range Plan for the USPB.
3) What do you do to relax to get away from work?
Golf and family.
4) What would you like to be your lasting legacy?
Professional The work of the USPB advanced the potato industry.
Personal Good father and husband.
5) Top three things on your bucket list/ must do list:
Play golf in Scotland on the famous courses.
See my kids grow up to be happy and successful.
Spend more time outside.
6) What would you be doing if you weren’t with the USPB?
Similar work at another food marketing organization/company, or strategy and marketing consulting or teaching at a business school.
7) What is the one truth you’ve learned about the potato industry?
There are some visionary, dedicated growers who are willing to take on the difficult task of leadership, not for personal gain, but for the betterment of the industry.”