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25 years and still going strong

14 February 2024

Shuichi Kitano (SK), Senior Manager Trade & Insights, International Markets, is one of Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) longest serving staff members, with an impressive 25 years’ service under his belt. Based in Japan, SK sees his role as key in facilitating a bridge between Australia’s red meat industry and Japan.

His wealth of experience in the red meat industry includes a wide range of on-the-ground and office-based roles. Early in his career, SK spent a decade as a meat wholesaler, and worked in meat delivery, a butcher’s shop, a pork abattoir and in marketing for a beef import business.

Proud to work at MLA, SK hopes to stay active and continue to strive for excellence in his career.

“I would like to keep working, either at my desk or perhaps cutting or delivering Aussie beef. I’d also like to play golf with my friends once a week. I will continue to do my best today, this week, this month and onwards, over the next five to ten years,” SK said.

An active and motivated man, SK enjoys playing golf, fishing, watching sports including baseball and soccer, traveling, eating out with friends and spending time with his wife.

Catching waves

Something that may surprise SK’s colleagues is his passion for surfing and admiration for a number of Aussie pro surfers that he keenly followed in his youth.

“I used to be a surfer when I was a student – but my skill level wasn’t so high and the big waves were scary. Unforgettable highlights for me were watching great Aussie surfers like Mark Richards perform,” SK said.

SK recollects being a spectator at the World Championships in Chiba Japan in the 1980s where Tom Carroll, Cheyne Horan and Mark Occhilupo competed.  

Changes over the years

SK’s 1998 staff photo – his first year at MLA. Image: Shuichi Kitano.

Over SK’s 25 years in the red meat and livestock industry, he has witnessed a number of improvements and changes.

“The red meat quality has improved wonderfully, and I think the industrial system must be the highest level in the world at the moment,” SK said.

SK is grateful to his colleagues and the many MLA members who have contributed their expertise, information, insights and data to advance the industry.

“MLA’s International Markets team has been wonderful at sharing information about activities in each area and the Japanese team is fantastic to work with. I appreciate my colleagues’ support,” SK said.

SK’s top three highlights at MLA

  1. MLA’s Japan team has maintained good, solid relationships with external stakeholders.
  2. SK has amassed a collection of over 20,000 business cards so far.
  3. SK says his English is better than it was 25 years ago.

A red meat fan, SK’s favourite red meat meal is medium-rare Aussie beef cutlets with Japanese sauce, especially sesame sauce or ponzu sauce (soy sauce, vinegar and citrus).