Virginia – Dr. Won Bang Koh, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) country director in South Korea, will retire on Sept. 30, 2013. Koh will be replaced by Chang-Yoon (C.Y.) Kang, who joined USW on Aug. 12, 2013.
“In the wheat business, relationships matter and Dr. Koh has built an incredible link between U.S. wheat farmers with the Korean millers and bakers who buy and process their crops. We thank him for his commitment to this industry and for his dedicated service over the last 28 years; he will be missed,” said USW President Alan Tracy. “Dr. Koh and Kang are working together to transition office leadership. With 19 years of experience in the commercial grain trade and shipping, Kang is a valuable addition to USW.”
Dr. Koh joined USW in 1988. As country director, he directed all trade servicing, technical assistance and promotional activities in South Korea on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers. Before that he served as principal of the Korea Baking School, as research and development manager with Crown Confectionary Co. and as a researcher with instant noodle manufacturer Samyang Foods Co. Dr. Koh earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science and technology and his doctorate in baking science from Dongguk University.
South Korea imports U.S. soft white, hard red spring and hard red winter wheat for use in noodles, baked goods and confectionary products. Despite competition from Australia, the United States maintains a nearly 50 percent market share in the South Korean food wheat market, averaging 1.5 million metric tons. USW works closely with the Korean milling, baking and master baking associations, including promotion of whole wheat flour for increased nutritional benefits.
“It is great to have someone with C.Y.’s experience ready to assist Korean wheat buyers,” USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Vince Peterson said. “We look forward to his innovative approach to this sophisticated market.”
Most recently, Kang worked as the team leader for the grain business division of STX Pan Ocean in Korea. In that position, he traded wheat and other grains to markets in South Korea, China and Taiwan. Kang joined Pan Ocean in 1995 and has worked in various positions, including as the youngest team leader of the grain team. Kang also helped establish STX America, the company’s U.S.-based grain trading business. Kang has a bachelor’s degree in law from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.