For Immediate Release
Contact: Holly Givens
413-774-7511, Ext. 18
Organic Trade Association names new executive director
GREENFIELD, Mass. (Feb. 1, 2006)—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) Board of Directors today announced it has selected Caren Wilcox as the association's new executive director. Wilcox, who will begin working at OTA in March, will succeed Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's original executive director who has served in that role since 1990.
"The Organic Trade Association is delighted to welcome Caren. Under her leadership, the OTA Board expects that OTA will continue to grow as an organization and as the primary source for information on the organic business community, building on the strong foundation established by Katherine DiMatteo, who has served outstandingly in her 16 years as our first executive director," according to Phil Margolis, current president of the OTA Board.
It is anticipated that DiMatteo will remain at OTA through June to work with Wilcox to ensure a smooth transition. During DiMatteo's tenure, OTA was instrumental in shaping national organic standards and has promoted organic agriculture and organically produced goods in North America.
Wilcox brings to OTA a wealth of experience in the world of agriculture. She is experienced at managing domestic and international programs, and has served in both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government. Attentive to the needs of consumers, Wilcox has skills in a number of areas important to OTA, including developing effective communications and public policy programs for government, business and academia; association membership development; and strategic planning. She has handled food safety and quality issues, rural development matters, and environmental issues throughout her career. Wilcox has worked with a diverse cross-section of individuals from the agriculture, business and academic sectors, as well as with local, state and federal elected and appointed officials and their respective offices.
Wilcox was the first director of government relations for Hershey Foods Corporation in Hershey, PA, and was the first Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Recently she served as a senior advisor to the Ranking Member on the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, where she worked on such issues as sustainability, food security, specialty crops, and water and energy.
She also led the National Association of Women Business Owners and served as Region III Advocate for Small Business for the Small Business Administration covering Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
While operating her own firm, Caren Wilcox & Associates LLC, she and her colleagues provided advice on various strategic issues to several land grant universities as well as to World Health Organization's Codex Alimentarius officials. Among her other international experiences, she led the U.S. food delegations to meetings of the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue, and was head of delegation to discussions on food issues among the "Quad Countries" - Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.
Wilcox is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
OTA's principal offices are in Greenfield, MA; it also has an office in Ottawa, Canada. Wilcox will divide her time between the offices of OTA and Washington, D.C.
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The mission of the Organic Trade Association is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. OTA envisions organic products becoming a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people's lives and the environment. OTA's approximately 1,700 members include farmers, processors, importers, exporters, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and more. For further information, visit OTA's web site at www.ota.com and its consumer web site at www.theorganicreport.org.
February 1, 2006
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