NCBA CLUSA Welcomes New Executive Vice President

With a long career focused on empowering people and communities in rural places, O’Brien comes to NCBA CLUSA after serving as Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs on the White House Domestic Policy Council. In his role at the White House, O’Brien led the day-to-day work of the White House Rural Council, which is chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture and composed of cabinet members from across the federal government. The council focused on breaking down silos to make the government have a more positive impact in rural places and has focused on topics such as job reation, rural manufacturing, and child poverty.

“Doug’s wealth of experience and dedication to the cooperative business model add to the strategic focus of our organization,” said Judy Ziewacz, president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA. “His deep knowledge of both domestic affairs and international development strategies are a perfect fit to grow NCBA CLUSA’s global impact as we strive to be a force for good.”

Prior to the White House, O’Brien served in leadership positions at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) where as Acting Under Secretary of Rural Development he led numerous innovative initiatives to help create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life in rural communities.

On the international front, O’Brien served as Chair of the Rural Working Group of the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development, where he reinvigorated the rural mission of this international body that focuses on improving the policies of developed nations through research, peer learning, and sharing of best practices. 

“I’m excited to become part of NCBA CLUSA at this historic time,” said O’Brien. “The cooperative business model is a proven strategy to empower people and communities. More and more, the private and public sector should look to cooperatives to help people capture their economic potential and take on crucial societal challenges.”

Beyond his federal experience, O’Brien has served as Senior Advisor to governors, Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Counsel on the U.S. Senate Agricultural Committee. O’Brien has authored numerous articles for legal journals and was the lead co-author of a book on producer marketing associations. 

Raised on a diversified farm in Dubuque County, Iowa, O’Brien brings a unique perspective on rural and international economic development at both the state and federal levels.

Celebrating 100 years of supporting cooperatives that build a better world, the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the apex association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector support, advocacy and international development that helps co-ops thrive. NCBA CLUSA continues to advance and protect cooperative enterprises, highlighting the impact that cooperatives have in bettering the lives of individuals and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has grown its international development portfolio to over $45 million of active programs Asia, Africa and Latin America.