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U.S. Citizen. 5 years international development work through USDA FAS stationed with the Organization of American States (OAS) at IICA Headquarters in Costa Rica as an agricultural development and food safety specialist for all Latin America.  Fluent in Spanish with career focused in areas of environmental sciences and policy, natural resources protection and international agricultural development. Experienced in international environmental and trade diplomacy in Latin America. Developed and executed policy and project initiatives on both the production and diplomatic levels in various countries. Additional experience includes work as environmental engineering industry lobbyist in Washington D.C., U.S. Geological Survey as water resources and environmental restoration researcher. Private sector experience working directly with international trade as green coffee buyer with extensive international and remote site travel for specialty coffee importing companies.  Owned and maintained specialty coffee plantation and micro mill in Costa Rica for ten years that also supported local community producers. Two years of Peace Corps Volunteer service in natural resources management and community development (1994-1996) in Costa Rica. 

Work History


Coffee Expert

Coffee Buyer/Micro Mill Owner/Independent Consultant

Consultant responsible for direct green coffee sourcing, export/import requirements, producer relations, quality control throughout chain, infrastructure development and principle client contact.  Ten years experience with wet and dry mill operations, cupping and specialty coffee grading. Owned and maintained award winning specialty coffee plantation and micro mill in Costa Rica from 2005-2015. 

International Green Coffee Buyer/Coffee Sales - Cafe Imports                                                        2009-2011
Exporter and Coffee Development Expert - Exclusive Coffees-Costa Rica                                    2008-2009


International Agricultural Development and Food Safety Specialist

Organization of American States (OAS) / USDA Foreign Agriculture Service

Placed as diplomat at HQ of Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the agricultural institute of the OAS, through USDA-FAS. Coordinated with government agencies and representative from all 34 OAS member nations. Provided technical assistance and developed project analysis and informational reports in cooperation with regional IICA offices, national governments and international partners like USAID, World Bank and PAHO/WHO.  Included research and policy discussions concerning trade, food safety, climate change, water and food security for the Americas.  Position was as diplomatic official of OAS (IICA) but managed through USDA FAS in Washington DC.  Facilitated inter-governmental and public-private sector communication on politically sensitive policy initiatives. Representative to UN-FAO Codex Alimentarius in Rome. Produced technical and educational presentations at recognized international forums in both Spanish and English.  FAS Supervisor contact - [email protected]


Environmental Research Specialist

U.S. Geological Survey, National Water Resources Project - Reston Virginia

Water and ecological restoration research specialist Government researcher for three national wetland research and restoration projects located in the Chesapeake Bay, Florida Everglades and Lower Mississippi Basin. Coordinated with regional scientists, generated scientific reports, abstracts and GIS data sets based on remote sensing and experimental results. Developed and executed field and lab research experiments. Studied the biological, chemical, and physical processes, including climate change, that impact aquatic and wetland ecosystems. Promoted technical exchanges of information through presentations and training with other scientists and organizations. 


Assistant Director Government Affairs and Operation

American Consulting Engineers Council

Assistant Director, Hazardous Waste Action Coalition (HWAC) of American Consulting Engineers Council, K Street, Washington, DC.  Registered lobbyist for Hazardous Waste Action Coalition (HWAC). Represented and supported the interests of 60 leading U.S. environmental engineering and science firms.  Worked with U.S. lawmakers to provide technical analysis of implications of proposed government regulations.


Peacer Corps Volunteer - Costa Rica

Specialized in natural resource management, sustainable rural agricultural and environmental education. Coordinated and assisted network of over 500 farmers with all stages of the production of high altitude crops and exportation and certification of organic agricultural products. Organized and taught technical training sessions on infrastructure improvement, food safety, BAP, and quality control. Conducted resource analysis, reforestation, watershed management, soil enhancement, and sustainable agricultural practices.



Johns Hopkins University - M.S. - Environmental Science and Policy


University of Kansas - B.A. - Environmental Science


World Bank Diagnostic Trade Integration Study - Uganda, Standards and Trade: Experience, Capacities, and Priorities. Report team: Steven Jaffee, Tom Deeb, Tim O’Brien, Yolanda Strachan, and Rose Kiggundu. January 2006.

Tim O’Brien, “A closer look at how the Americas’ are advancing the WTO/SPS agreement”, Proceedings: International Conference on Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS) Risk Assessment Methodology, Washington DC, August 9-11, 2005.

Tim M. O’Brien, “Las demandas o expectativas de los mercados modernos para productos inocuos”, Proceedings: IX Congreso Internacional de Manejo Integrado de Plagas, El Salvador. November 3-5, 2004.

Tim M. O’Brien, Alejandra Diaz Rodríguez, “Improving competitiveness and market access for agricultural exports through the development and application of food safety and quality standards: The example of Peruvian asparagus”, Report of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, Costa Rica, July 2004.

Tim M. O'Brien, "Building SPS and National Capacity", World Bank Seminar presentation, Washington DC, March 8-9, 2004.

Tim M. O’Brien, “Agricultural Health and Food Safety and the Private Sector”, Proceedings Foro International: Agronegocios de Frutas Tropicales, El Salvador.November 27-28, 2003.

Dr. Kevin Walker, Tim O’Brien, “Accidental Introduction or Deliberate Use of Biological Agents in Food and Agriculture: Level of Preparedness of National Services in Latin America and the Caribbean”, Proceedings: International Aspects of Accidental Release or Deliberate Use of Biological Agents Affecting Food and Agriculture, Texas A&M University, Houston, Texas. October 14-15, 2003.