By Matt Weimar, USW Senior Advisor and Regional Vice President, South Asia
After 34 years of service to U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), Shi Pu “Andy” Zhao is stepping down from his position as China Country Director. Andy joined USW in 1984 during the establishment of the Beijing Representative Office, serving as a driver and assistant to the country director and secretary at the time. In the early years of the USW Beijing office, he supported liaison with the local grain industry in Beijing and the Sino-U.S. Model Flour Mill, which was established as a training facility for millers across China.
In 1998, Andy became Country Director and Chief Representative, tasked with helping maintain relationships with the national State Administration of Grain, the national grain reserve (Sinograin) and COFCO, along with north China milling companies. He helped develop, plan and participate in annual crop quality reporting seminars with a growing number of attendees from across China’s flour milling industry and grain trading companies. The event is now firmly established as one of the milling industry’s most important opportunities to meet, network and understand the U.S. wheat production and export marketing system.
Andy also accompanied several Asian and End Products Collaborative groups to Portland, Ore., and the Pacific Northwest, working with USW’s West Coast Office and the Wheat Marketing Center to increase understanding of U.S. wheat milling and flour processing quality among key milling and wheat foods processing companies. These activities were a key to increasing opportunities in China for hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat.
His work with USW colleagues helped assure that Quality Samples Program (QSP) containers of northern spring/dark northern spring wheat from North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota successfully improved miller’s knowledge of the HRS wheat class. From those events, which took place after China’s accession to the WTO in 1999, along with QSP programs for Pacific Northwest grown soft white (SW) wheat, USW has helped increase demand for both classes in recent years. Because of Zhao’s dedication to U.S. wheat farmers, industry participants on both sides of the Pacific have come to better understand what each stakeholder needs and can offer to the others.
Thank you, Andy, for your faithful service. Your colleagues all wish you the best of luck as you begin your pursuit of “new adventures!”