Produce Processing 7: Q+A with Nick George

April 12, 2016

Nick George is president of the Midwest Food Processors Association, representing food processors in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. He joined the association in 2006. Prior to joining MWFPA, he was the executive director of public affairs for the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce; and vice president of government affairs for the Wisconsin Utilities Association.p27_nickgeorge

Nick is a board member of the Great Lakes Legal Foundation, the Wisconsin Economic Development Institute, the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, the Wisconsin Academy of Graduate Service Dogs and serves on the Wisconsin State Use Board and Wisconsin Producer Security Council.

What are the best words of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t burn any bridges. When I started in the government affairs business, my boss told me to treat everyone with respect (legislators, regulators and staff) regardless of their job status or position on public policy. He told me that, “you never know where they will end up.” He was right. I’ve seen pages become leaders of the House and Senate and old “enemies” have become good friends.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

Professionally — recruit new members, communicate more with the members to insure we are accurately representing their interests and increase our activity on regulatory issues. Personally — get down to an 18 percent BMI.

What do you do to relax?

I like to fish, travel and cook, not necessarily in that order. My wife knows it’s been a tough week when I spend the weekend cooking and trying out new recipes. A cigar can do the trick, too.

What would you like to be your lasting legacy?

When I leave the association, I want it to be financially stronger and a more effective advocate for the industry than when I started.

What are the top three things on your bucket list/must-do list?

Spend a few months in Australia and New Zealand, scuba dive in the Caymans and jump out of a plane … with a parachute.

What job or work would you have pursued if you had not been in the produce processing industry?

I don’t know. I never had a plan but I worked in the construction industry for years and also cut meat at a grocery store through college and after. I probably would have ended up in one of those industries.

What is the one truth you’ve learned about the produce processing industry?

People in this industry work hard to produce a high quality product at an affordable price. I consider myself lucky to be working with and for them.