Volunteer Stories

Harold “Hal” Handley: Facilitating Economic Growth Project (FEG)

Facilitating Economic Growth Project (FEG)
  • Story Snapshot

  • Country: Sri Lanka
  • VEGA Lead Member: International Executive Service Corps (IESC)
  • Objective: To assist development of the Ceylon Cinnamon brand and support the cinnamon industry as a driver of economic growth in Sri Lanka.

halHarold “Hal” Handley
Former Senior Vice President, McCormick & Company
Location: Cockeysville, MD
Career Summary: Harold has over 47 years of experience in food product sales, marketing and production. He has worked extensively in emerging economies around the world helping agribusinesses develop strategic plans, consulting on organization structure and evaluating product performance.
Area(s) of Expertise: Food product sales, food marketing & production, dairy production, value chain systems
Language(s) Spoken: English

ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW
Name of project: Facilitating Economic Growth Project (FEG)
Volunteer Assignment and Impact: Harold began his volunteer assignment by conducting exhaustive background research on the Sri Lankan cinnamon industry, which ultimately allowed him to hit the ground running upon arrival in Colombo (the commercial capital and largest city in Sri Lanka). He met with the Sri Lankan Ambassador and Commercial Minister at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington, D.C., to highlight the project, obtain additional insights, and engender high-level government support for the branding initiative.

Soon after arriving in Sri Lanka, during his in-country market assessment, he realized that the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act, signed in to law in January 2011, would have significant ramifications for Sri Lankan cinnamon as the law imposes a number of requirements regarding inspections, record keeping, controls, registrations and certifications to be able to export food products to the U.S. Although outside the scope of his project, Harold began a campaign to inform the local stakeholders of this new regulation, of which none of them were aware at the time. In addition to meeting all required deliverables, including a comprehensive, world class strategic plan for branding Ceylon Cinnamon, he solicited and secured proposals from a number of prominent marketing and public relations firms who are interested in promoting Ceylon Cinnamon in the United States.

Even after the formal end of his project, Harold has continued to work remotely to promote marketing and brand development over the course of the last six months.