At the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) 20th International Marketing Conference and 63rd Annual Membership Meeting in February two Council staff members were recognized for 10 years of service: Heidi Bringenberg and Vivien Liu.
Heidi Bringenberg, USGC director in Mexico, began her journey with the Council immediately following her graduation from George Washington University. Although she had just stepped into the new role, Bringenberg had dreams of working in an international position from the beginning.
“During the interview, I remember feeling very excited but also a bit overwhelmed at the scope, reputation and incredible history of the U.S. Grains Council. I was most excited by its international footprint and the ability to connect and work with colleagues around the world,” Bringenberg said. “I accepted the position immediately in June 2012 and imagined myself taking on a position in the overseas offices. At that point it was just a far-off dream, and it wouldn’t be for four more years until I achieved it.”
Since that initial interview, Bringenberg has held several positions within the Council – global strategies coordinator, global programs coordinator, assistant director in Mexico and now director. While she has had many memorable moments over the years, one that sticks out for her involves her passion for Mexico.
“In 2013, I traveled with the Mexico director at the time, Dr. Julio Hernandez, to Kentucky and Missouri with a white corn purchasing team. I remember this being one of my first trade team travels in the global programs’ role. At the time, local white corn production in Mexico was having a tough year due to drought conditions paired with growing local snack food and tortilla industries. I was very excited to get to participate in this program that felt like we were setting out to accomplish something important that directly impacted consumers in Mexico. I learned how important the tortilla was,” Bringenberg said. “Little did I know how important it would continue to be in my career.”
“I learned how the U.S. and Mexico complement each other’s food systems and how important NAFTA and now USMCA is to protect. It was definitely this trip that piqued my interest in Mexico. I made relationships that I still have to this day with some of those trade team members who continue to work in the ag space.”
Vivien Liu, who was unable to attend the Council’s February meeting, serves as the Council’s accountant and human resources manager in the organization’s China office. Before joining the Council, though, Liu held a similar role.
“I majored in accounting in college and had held a different accounting job for almost 16 years before joining the Council,” Liu said. “Numbers have always been a part of my life.”
A favorite memory for Liu involves her global Council accounting colleagues.
“In 2016, I attended the International Accounting Conference in Washington, D.C.,” Liu said. “I got to know many of my colleagues in the D.C. office and other overseas offices while there, which is a good memory for me.”
When asked what she enjoys most about the Council, her response was familiar.
“The culture at the Council as a whole is full of love and care, equality and respect.”
Congratulations to Heidi and Vivien on their accomplishments during their 10 years of service!
About The U.S. Grains Council
The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 28 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is online at www.grains.org.