( Photo courtesy Steve Tweten; Graphic by Brooke Park )

After 40 years with the company, Steve Tweten, president, CEO, and partner of NoKota Packers, Inc., will retire on Dec. 27.

NoKota Packers, Inc. is an exclusive supplier of Side Delights potatoes for the Fresh Solutions Network, according to a news release. The company is a second-generation packer and shipper of red potatoes in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. 

In 1979, Steve Tweten, his father Malcolm Tweten, his uncle Maurice Gjelsness and cousin Ron Gjelsness started NoKota Packers. The company started shipping potatoes in 1980, according to the release. In 1988 Malcolm Tweten retired, and Steve Tweten became president. 

“Steve is a rare breed of businessman who balances both the needs of the business with those of his team,” Kathleen Triou, president and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network, said in the release. “I came to know and respect Steve as a member of the Fresh Solutions Network Board, and over the past six years, I am proud to call him my friend. We will miss Steve’s steady, unwavering support for Fresh Solutions Network and its mission.”. 

“Steve has a natural talent for forming and maintaining relationships that both NoKota Packers and the red potato industry will truly miss. I’ve worked with Steve during the past 15 years at NoKota Packers and appreciated all of the knowledge he shared with me,” Carissa Olsen, chief operating officer of NoKota Packers said in the release. “Every employee at NPI is grateful to Steve for all he’s done to help build and grow NoKota Packers into what it is today. We wish him all the best in his retirement.”.

Tweten served on the marketing and promotion committee for the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, according to the release. He also was a consultant to United Potato Growers of America, was president for his local Farm Bureau, and was a volunteer leader in other groups.

Tweten will begin his retirement with a vacation to Jamaica but plans to keep up with industry friends by continuing to attend regional potato events. “I’ll miss connecting with buyers, industry influencers and my Fresh Solutions Network partners to exchange ideas, grow, and learn,” Tweten said in the release. “I have loved this industry my whole life, but I’m ready to enjoy additional family time now.”