K-State graduate alumnus and former associate director of K-State’s IGP Institute earns the position as Vice President of Overseas Operations for the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW).
In this role, Fowler will be responsible for providing program and personnel direction to USW’s 15 overseas offices, as well as technical and marketing guidance in support of USW’s trade servicing activities. USW is the industry’s export market development organization, representing the interests of U.S. wheat farmers in more than 100 countries.
“My first memories growing up in a farming family were riding with my grandfather to the grain elevator with a load of wheat,” Fowler said. “I am honored to be selected to serve U.S. wheat producers and support the mission of U.S. Wheat Associates.”
Fowler is no stranger to the international milling and wheat industries. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Milling Science and Management in 1992 from Kansas State University and later returned to complete a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics in 2006.
“As my career grew, I felt getting a master’s degree in agricultural economics would help enhance my ability to analyze grain markets,” Fowler said. “By coupling my past and current work experience, I am able to bring greater depth to my new position.”
The K-State Agricultural Economics master’s of science degree program stresses a strong foundation in economic theory and quantitative analysis, and their application in agriculturally related areas.
“My master’s degree helped enhance my critical thinking and analytical analysis of the market,” Fowler said. “Through quantitative and critical analysis, I became a better listener and was able to respond to customer and consumer needs from around the world.”
Fowler’s career began as a miller for Cargill, Inc., and then went on to work for Seaboard Corp. In those roles, Fowler managed flour mills and worked on projects in several developing countries. Fowler also gained valuable international experience living with his family in Durban, South Africa while he served as the technical director of the Africa Division within Seaboard’s Overseas Group.
“It has been an honor to travel the globe promoting Kansas in so many ways,” Fowler said. “Everyone relates Kansas to wheat. Whatever capacity I was working in, U.S. wheat offices across the globe always point back to Kansas.”
Later, Fowler spent 12 years back at K-State as a milling specialist and associate director at the IGP Institute in the university’s Grain Science and Industry department.
“I had the opportunity to travel and promote K-State across the globe,” Fowler said. “K-State is the only school that has a milling science degree. I remember my first trip to Kenya – I was greeted by a K-State milling science alumnus at the airport. K-State’s milling industry provides great networking opportunities.”
Over the past decade, Fowler has also been a technical milling consultant for USW, as well as the Northern Crops Institute (NCI), allowing him to become well acquainted with many USW staff and overseas customers.
“Throughout my career, I have experienced the global impact of the milling industry from several perspectives,” said Fowler. “I am excited to engage with friends and colleagues in the industry to advance the U.S. wheat export market development mission.”
Most recently, Fowler was the President and CEO of Farmer Direct Foods, Inc. a farmer-owned, flour milling company in New Cambria, KS. In this role, Fowler gained critical senior management and executive experience, which gave Fowler the leadership and capabilities to manage USW’s overseas operations.
Fowler understands the importance of balancing his career and spending time with family. He has been successful with managing both and shares how he prioritizes his life.
“My career has been diverse – with it I’ve had to relocate and travel quite a bit,” Fowler said. “Having a good support group has been my priority. Between managing my career and my own professional working development, I have to make sure I am taking care of my family and myself too. That is an important part of life; you have to be successful with all of those different pieces.”
To read the full news release about Mark Fowler, visit Morning AgClips here.
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