Rob Meijer leaves Canada Beef with no regrets and a lot of pride in what the organization achieved in five years.
“There are times in life when it is just the right time and it is a chapter in my career that I can put in the database and say that was a good five years and see what’s next,” he said on his last day of work Sept. 16.
“I had an amazing opportunity to work for an industry that was trying to find a better way to do something globally.”
Meijer joined the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency when it formed in August 2011. Formerly with Cargill for more than seven years, he was part of the merger team when the Canada Beef Export Federation and Beef Information Centre came together. The agency is also responsible for administering the $1 national checkoff.
As president, Meijer was responsible for overseeing Canada Beef’s mandate of market development and beef promotion.
He worked with a strong board of directors representing all parts of the industry to build a business plan and promote beef at home and abroad.
“We fundamentally changed the way marketing, branding and business development is done not just in Canada but globally,” he said.
He helped build a strong recognizable brand for Canadian beef and was also instrumental in building the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence that opened in Calgary last year.
He believes the beef centre is his greatest accomplishment. It welcomes the beef industry to Calgary where industry experts offers education and promotion to Canadians and international guests.
“Without that centre, we were just talking the good talk. We are not talking anymore, we are adding value,” he said. “One of the toughest things to do in these trade associations is to create value when you don’t own anything.”
Canada Beef does not own cattle or meat but is responsible to producers and taxpayers to promote it, build value and develop a maple leaf brand that consumers recognize. He hopes the business culture is maintained to continue building the reputation of Canadian beef.
“I don’t think there is an ag association out there that is finely tuned as we are today at Canada Beef when it comes to strategy, planning, matrixes and accountability.”
He holds master’s degrees in economics and international agri- business management. A father of two, he and his wife, Hilary, plan to stay in Calgary.
The agency board plans to immediately look for a replacement.