Food Safety Magazine

News | March 25, 2020

Former USDA FSIS Leader Launches New Private Sector Agriculture Consulting Firm

By Staff

Former USDA FSIS Leader Launches New Private Sector Agriculture Consulting Firm

Carmen Rottenberg, former administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) has launched, along with Randy Russel, Groundswell Strategy, a new consulting firm focused on customizing strategic approaches for clients that interact with regulatory agencies.

“I’m grateful for my experience as a policymaker and leader of a food safety regulatory agency, and look forward to helping clients navigate the regulatory maze in a more strategic way,” says Carmen Rottenberg, who will be Groundswell Strategy’s managing director. “It’s an exciting time in the U.S. food and agriculture sector, as the U.S. government focuses on innovation and modernization, in order to ensure that we can safely feed and clothe a rapidly growing world. I look forward to working with stakeholders who want to leverage this movement into strategic success, as they seek to improve and expand their influence across the U.S. government and the world.” 

As managing director Rottenberg will oversee day-to-day operations and client development. Randy Russell, president of The Russell Group, Inc., will serve as Chairman of the Board and is excited to be an equity partner with Carmen in this new business venture. 

“Throughout my over 40-year career in the agriculture and food arena, covering both government and advocacy work, my philosophy has been to build long term relationships,” said Randy Russell, Groundswell Strategy’s Chairman of the Board. “Having worked with Carmen Rottenberg over the course of the last decade, I know she shares this philosophy and commitment. My equity investment in Groundswell Strategy is an investment in the future of agriculture consulting. Carmen is uniquely positioned to develop comprehensive strategic approaches to the regulated world in which we live.” 

Rottenberg recently departed USDA FSIS after 13 years of service. She held several leadership roles at the Department, including as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Office of Food Safety from August 2017 through January 2019, and Administrator from May 2018 to March 2020. From April 2016 to August 2017, Carmen served as FSIS Deputy Administrator. Carmen is credited with spearheading and implementing several key agency initiatives in recent years including modernizing food safety inspection systems and establishing and updating pathogen performance standards. 

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