Harada Recognized for Longtime Service to USMEF
USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng, left, presents Susumu “Sam” Harada with an award recognizing Harada’s service with USMEF
After three decades of working to help develop a market for U.S. red meat in Japan, Susumu “Sam” Harada is quick to point out that one aspect of his job has not changed.
“In the beginning, gaining recognition for the U.S. meat industry in Japan required great efforts to establish and enhance trust in our industry and products,” Harada said. “Lately, I realize our task is building trust among the foreign trade members and consumers. So, after all these years, I believe this remains the fundamental role of USMEF.”
Harada, who started working for USMEF in January 1984, received special recognition during the recent USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Arizona. USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng presented Harada with an award and spoke of his long and productive career in the organization’s Tokyo office.
“At the time, USMEF-Japan was a very small operation with only four people in the office, including myself and Harada-san,” said Seng, who was USMEF’s Asia director at the time. “He was a recent graduate of Colorado State University and came in as a marketing specialist in a market that really didn’t exist. We were trying to develop one, and he played a big role in what we accomplished.”
Harada, who had received a bachelor’s degree in political economics at Meiji University in Tokyo prior to earning his master’s degree in economics at CSU, remembers being anxious about returning to Japan to start a “development” job that itself was developing.
“As the first marketing specialist in the office, I had no predecessor to instruct or teach me, so I had to almost self-start, with instruction from Phil Seng and some help from the U.S. Embassy,” Harada recalled. “There were a lot of things to take care of, including marketing and public relations. I look at the Japan market today and it’s hard to image what it was like 30 years ago.”
Seng also pointed to the growth – from that small office where he and Harada began developing interest in U.S. meat – to today, when Japan is the U.S. industry’s leading international market..
As he received the award in Tucson, Harada gave credit to co-workers and customers he has worked with over the past 32 years.
“Our USMEF members are diligent and open, which I have been impressed with and proud of,” he said. “We’ve grown the market in Japan, and though there are always challenges and temporary obstacles, I am confident in our ability to continue this growth.”