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Idaho Beef Council hires new director

Kuwahara worked for Potatoes USA for 17 years developing and implementing worldwide marketing strategies.
Carol Ryan Dumas

Capital Press

Published on October 31, 2017 8:13AM

T.K. Kuwahara

Courtesy Idaho Beef Council

T.K. Kuwahara

The Idaho Beef Council has hired T.K. Kuwahara as its new executive director following the resignation of Traci Bracco.

Kuwahara has a documented track record of developing and implementing successful worldwide marketing strategies resulting in revenue growth and market expansion for U.S. potatoes during her 17-year tenure with Potatoes USA, the national potato check-off board based in Denver.

With Potato USA, Kuwahara first managed all potato products in the Asia-Pacific region. Throughout her years with the board, she also managed the dehydrated potato, chip-stock potato, global foodservice, global ingredient, U.S. school foodservice and international food assistance and development programs.

“We’re very excited to have her. She’s got a lot of experience in marketing (and) the passion to do the job,” said Lou Murgoitio, IBC chairman.

Her experience providing strategic marketing planning, implementation and oversight of a complex, technical, multi-product, multi-channel, domestic and international program will be highly valuable for IBC, he said.

Before working with Potato USA, Kuwahara was an international trade assistant at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Portland, Ore. She serves on the board of the Institute for Food Technologists.

She grew up and worked on her family’s farm in Vale, Ore.

Kuwahara was not available for comment, but an IBC press release stated she looks forward to working with the Idaho beef industry to build upon its current strategies and help strengthen the demand for beef and beef products, as well as partnering with organizations such as the Idaho Food Bank to ensure beef is accessible to everyone.

Idaho beef is a $9.4 billion industry with more than 2 million head of cattle and 10,000 ranchers. IBC’s vision is to responsibly produce the most trusted and preferred protein in the world, and Kuwahara will help promote that vision, Murgoitio said.

Bracco resigned Oct. 21 after serving as IBC director for nine years. She moved to Nevada to pursue other interests and be closer to family, he said.

She did a phenomenal job for Idaho’s beef industry and was more than willing to do what IBC needed to assist in the transition, he said.

“She was just exceptional,” he said.

During her tenure as executive director, Bracco led IBC in an innovative direction focused on reaching a new generation of consumers through new media platforms and events.

She successfully launched the IBC Facebook page, growing it to more than 15,000 followers in just a few years. She also created and developed Race for the Steaks, a 5k and 15k race solely sponsored by beef. It is now a top race in the Treasure Valley bringing in more than 1,000 participants.

“Traci did a really super job, and I think T.K. is going to take it to the next level,” Murgoitio said.


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