From January 2002 until mid-2007, Richard Weiss served as the Chief Operating Officer for The National Grange, the nation’s oldest rural advocacy organization. Under Weiss, the National Grange was reorganized into functional areas of lobbying, sales and marketing and communications using a new departmental budgeting system. He moved the organization from dues dependence to outside income sources, expanded member benefits, developed and built coalitions with like organizations and corporations. As Grange COO, Weiss oversaw an extensive grassroots education program on Medicare Part D, the new prescription drug plan. He also managed the National Grange Building in Washington DC and negotiated real estate and convention hotel contracts.
His background includes twenty years of association management experience as well as twenty years of consumer product marketing experience, including international. His strengths are financial management, strategic planning, crisis management and team building.
Weiss, a Chicago native, is a 1962 graduate of Dartmouth College, with a BA major in Spanish and a minor in Economics. His studies include the University of Salamanca in Spain. He completed his MBA with a major in marketing and minor in economics at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
Following college, Dick Weiss’ work experience includes three years as Sales and Product Management for Curad brand bandages, diapers and cotton balls. In 1967, Weiss became Product Manager for Alberto Culver Company where he was promoted to Caribbean Marketing Manager, based in Puerto Rico, for the global toiletries goods company. He became Latin America and Canada OTC Marketing Manager for Abbott Laboratories in 1972, establishing OTC marketing functions in six Latin American countries and introduced Sucaryl artificial sweetener, a multimillion-dollar consumer product, into Canada. Weiss moved to The Keebler Company in 1975 as Group Product Manager, guiding advertising and promotion for Keebler’s $200 million cracker line. In 1978, Weiss became Director of Marketing for Hollister, Inc., establishing product management systems and consumer marketing techniques for the $45 million disposable health care line with a $6 million marketing budget and five staff.
From 1980 through 1989, Richard Weiss served as Director of Public Relations for National Paint and Coatings, the paint manufacturers’ association, where he oversaw a $1.0 million campaign for the restoration of historic edifices. The campaign won the White House Private Sector Initiatives Award in 1987. These efforts included San Francisco’s Coit Tower, Bronx’s “Last Hope Building” and a Miami art deco hotel. He also oversaw a half million-dollar generic “Picture it Painted” campaign, reaching over 80 million consumers and assisted the association with strategies to deal with solvent and lead issues.
In 1989, Weiss moved to the National Dairy Board, the American dairy farmer advertising and education program, as Senior VP for Public Relations. For the next five years, he was the industry spokesperson on the introduction of BST, a controversial artificial hormone for increased milk production in dairy cows. Weiss brought the association’s education programs in line with advertising messages and enlisted the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to support chocolate milk.
From 1994 to 2002, Weiss ran The Weiss Consultancy, an independent consulting company. Clients included the International Food Information Council, where he developed and implemented a crisis management plan to deal with the onset of “Mad Cow Disease”; the National Dairy Board, where he managed the response to the introduction of BST; the American Digestive Health Foundation, where he created a strategic plan to obtain funding for medical research on food borne illnesses, especially E Coli 0157:H7. For the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Weiss crafted a strategic plan to increase voter registration among disabled veterans. He consulted to the National Grange, where he wrote the National Grange newsletter from 1999 to 2002, when he joined them as full-time COO.
Weiss is a member of The Washington Ag Roundtable, a group of legislative and public relations professionals. After retiring in 2007, Weiss continues to consult for the National Grange as well as health care clients.