Carissa Olsen was appointed president and CEO of NoKota Packers Inc., following the retirement of Steve Tweten in December 2019. NoKota Packers is a third-generation packer and shipper of red potatoes in the Red River Valley of North Dakota, and an exclusive supplier of Side Delights potatoes.
Olsen assumed the role of COO in February of 2017, following six years as director of operations. She joined the company 15 years ago as an administrative assistant. During her career at NPI, Olsen has been active in the community with leadership roles, including church council trustee, president of daycare board, president of booster clubs and treasurer of H509 scholarship board. Olsen graduated summa cum laude from Mayville State University with a bachelor’s degree in business education in 2003. She is also a graduate of the Dale Carnegie business immersion course and the Dale Carnegie leadership for managers course.
“Having spent my entire career at this company, I am honored to move into this role of president and CEO. Starting as an administrative assistant and working my way through various parts of the business—food safety, HR, employee safety, grower relations, shipping and billing, and accounting have helped me immensely with the nuts and bolts of the business operations,” Olsen said. “My father, who will retire at the end of this season, was NoKota’s first employee, so I grew up around the business, following him while he worked in the plant and touring potato fields. Pairing my experience in various roles with my knowledge of the history and current operations has prepared me thoroughly for this position.”
Mike Rerick, VP of sales and marketing, and Steve Johnson, sales, will continue in their current capacity with the company.
“We are lucky to have them and their experience,” Olsen said. “I am thankful they will continue to fill those key roles in this transition.”
Tweten commented on Olsen’s appointment: “I have watched Carissa grow up at NoKota. I am confident she will continue to be innovative with our operation while preserving NoKota’s commitment to our employees, growers and customers.”
“We are thrilled that Carissa has accepted this role,” said Kathleen Triou, president and CEO of San Francisco-based Fresh Solutions Network. “She will continue to lead with the same clarity of vision, mission and purpose that has made NoKota successful over the last 40 years, while honoring the legacy of the founders and continuing it for future generations.”
Fresh Solutions Network is a group of family-owned growers and shippers who choose to work together to make the potato and onion industry better for everyone. FSN helps potato and onion buyers grow their categories, maximize category investment and increase sales.