University News

O'Connor Named 2014 College of Business and Technology Distinguished Alumnus

January 22, 2014


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MACOMB, IL – Martin E. O'Connor, a 1978 graduate of Western Illinois University, has been named the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus for the University's College of Business and Technology (CBT).

O'Connor, who received his bachelor's degree in agriculture, is currently the president of OCM, Inc., an organization that provides consultant services to the meat and livestock industries for national and international compliance with regulatory and contracting requirements.

Before his consulting work, O'Connor was the director of the Livestock and Meat Standardization Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he served as the assistant chief of the Meat Grading and Certification branch of the USDA and as an international marketing specialist of the USDA's Livestock and Seed Program.

The WIU CBT will honor O'Connor with a community luncheon Friday, Feb. 7, during his visit to campus from Thursday, Feb. 6-Saturday, Feb. 8. While on campus, O'Connor will also speak with CBT students and faculty.

During his career, O'Connor managed the USDA grade standards programs for livestock and meat, including research, development and implementation of grade standards, policies and procedures, training personnel and interacting with producers, industry, academicians, researchers and government officials.

The nationwide USDA standards program O'Connor directed has assisted in the marketing of livestock and meat throughout the supply chain from producer to consumer. He also participated in international market assessments, as well as market access programming in countries, including China, Japan, Serbia, Chile, Argentina, Poland, Taiwan, Korea and Venezuela. He has also researched, developed, tested, approved and implemented an instrument technology assessment for official USDA grading of beef carcasses to replace subjective human evaluations. Under his direction, an instrument-grading program for lambs was also approved.

O'Connor was also responsible for the implementation of the Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and development of purchase requirements for federal nutrition and assistant programs for red meat and fish.

Throughout his career, O'Connor has been awarded the USDA Secretary's Honor Award, the Agricultural Marketing Service Distinguished Service award and the Agriculture Marketing Service Superior Service award. O'Connor is a member of the American Meat Science Association (AMSA), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and The Society for Standards Professionals (SES).

O'Connor grew up on a farm near Galesburg, IL, and attended Carl Sandburg College before coming to WIU. He and his wife, Melissa, live in Round Hill, VA. Their daughter, McKenzie, is a senior at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.

For more information of the CBT's Distinguished Alumnus program, contact CBT Director of Development Becky Paulsen at (309) 298-2442 or B-Paulsen@wiu.edu.

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (JK-Pospeschil@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations