May/June 2015
Spudman 7: Traci Hiebert

Traci Hiebert grew up in Idaho, finished her undergraduate degree in Tübingen, Germany and spent the next 13 years working her way from intern to management in the international marketing and sales division of Daimler-Benz Ag (aka Mercedes-Benz) in Stuttgart, Germany.

Returning to Idaho in 2004, she began consulting and working for companies in international business development while earning her MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management. She joined the Idaho Potato Commission team as the international marketing director in 2013.

What are the best words of advice you received?

Know what you want, do your due diligence to make it happen and be patient. The patience part is key! And something I still struggle with.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

On the business side of things, there are several new markets waiting for Idaho potatoes and further market development that needs to be done internationally. Going hand in hand with market development, I plan to assist Idaho growers/shippers in increasing their international presence and introducing new shippers to the international markets. On the personal side of things – stay fit, stay in tune with friends and family and make my 50th the best year ever!

What do you do to relax?

Anything from running or biking the foothills, cooking fun meals and savoring fine wines with friends, to long hikes with our dogs or reading a good book.

What would you like to be your lasting legacy?

I would like the people in my life to have the feeling that they are stronger and perhaps have a more positive outlook on life because we spent time together.

What job or work would you have pursued if you had not become involved in the potato industry?

Definitely marketing and definitely something on the international level. I returned to the U.S. after many years overseas with the intention of creating and marketing active vacations in the Northwest to Europeans. Maybe something along those lines … who wouldn’t want to spend their working hours on active vacations in this part of the country?

What are three things on your bucket list/must to do list?

  1. Take several weeks and explore Argentina and Chile and the Patagonia region
  2. Learn to speak a third language – Spanish
  3. Have a second home in Germany or the Italian Alps.

What is the one truth you have learned about the potato industry?

I’m very new to the potato industry and it is very different from the well planned out automotive industry. There are several very unpredictable elements in this industry – weather conditions, pests, pricing, political trade barriers, etc. The practice of being able to adjust and be flexible is my biggest takeaway so far.

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75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
616.887.9008
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