soybean field

USSEC Promotes Two Within Its Ranks

Ed Beaman was named chief operating officer. As the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia merge, Kevin Roepke will serve as the regional director.

As fiscal year 2020 came to a close, the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s (USSEC) executive management team took a strategic look at the needs of the council, the goals it aims to reach and its resources. From that evaluation, came two key changes: Ed Beaman was named chief operating officer (COO) and Kevin Roepke was selected to direct the newly merged region of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to the announcement, Beaman served as senior director of emerging markets and regional director of sub-Saharan Africa.

“It became clear that we needed someone to oversee and guide our internal, non-financial processes and procedures to ensure that as an organization we meet the needs of our funding partners, strategic partners and stakeholders,” said Jim Sutter, USSEC CEO. “Centralizing the responsibility and having one go-to person oversee that and to serve as a resource for the rest of the USSEC team to lean on and be able to ask questions of will only support the rest of our team in meeting their objectives and fulfilling their roles.”

Beaman, who has been with USSEC right at 9 years, said he’s comfortable stepping into this role and grateful for the opportunity.

Ed Beaman serves as chief operating officer for USSEC.

“My history at USSEC has provided me with an intimate understanding of the council’s many partners, whom we are accountable to, and as a cooperator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we have numerous reporting and contractual obligations that must be followed,” Beaman said. “I look forward to stepping into the role, helping to navigate the way and making it as easy as possible for our regional directors, focus area directors and supporting staff to achieve their goals — weather that’s through the adoption of new technologies, training on the tools that we have and looking for ways to streamline our paperwork and reporting.”

As Beaman transitioned to COO, Roepke was tapped to lead the sub-Saharan Africa region in addition to that of South Asia.

While these regions of the world have very different cultures, Sutter said they also have much in common. One of those commonalities is that those two regions have the fastest growing population with South Asia at 1.8 billion people and sub-Saharan Africa at 1 billion (combined about 35% of the global population).

Kevin Roepke serves as regional director of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (SASSA).

Roepke said the synergies captured by merging the regions will enable more robust programming and provide for more efficient allocation of resources.  Every country in the region unfortunately suffers from protein deficiency, which translates into tremendous opportunity for global engagement in the areas of food security, sustainability and trade.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is a market of tomorrow, that’s ready today," Roepke said.  "I’m proud to help he businesses on both continents build relationships that will be the cradle of commercial interactions for decades to come.”

These strategic changes will help to set the pace as USSEC moves into fiscal year 2021. These changes were effective Oct. 1.