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Name and title: Vivian S.Y. Tseng, vice president, general counsel and secretary Grape growers: Welch Foods Inc., A Cooperative, of Concord, Mass., has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Grape Cooperative Association Inc. since 1952. It is the world’s leading producer of juices, jams and jellies made from Concord grapes, the United States’ premier native variety. The company also grows Niagara grapes. Welch Foods Inc., the marketing arm of the cooperative, offers more than 400 products. Thomas Bramwell Welch launched both the company and the modern fruit-juice industry in 1869, when he pasteurized Concord grape juice to produce nonfermented wine for his church. Later, Prohibition would spur sales. Today, Welch’s items are sold throughout the United States and in 50 other countries and territories. The company has 1,200 domestic employees, along with the Cooperative Association’s 1,400 grower-owners. In its last fiscal period, Welch Foods approached $578 million in sales. Dual focus: Tseng handles matters that are germane to a consumer products company that also is steeped in the world of agriculture. She calls the juxtaposition “a little bit of country, a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll.” Tseng operates in a less circumscribed realm than the typical legal arena while representing the interests of the grape growers of the cooperative. Growing and harvesting, viticultural research and new product development generate a wide range of legal issues. There are “episodic” immigration matters and two unionized plants to deal with, she said. As a fruit company, Welch is subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration jurisdiction and must adhere to Federal Trade Commission regulations concerning advertising. The company has no stockholders to which she must defer. Daily duties: Tseng, a self-described “generalist,” compares her role to that of a military leader. A general counsel, like a general officer, has targets and objectives and deploys resources to meet them, she said. Tseng oversees and supervises the entirety of Welch’s legal operations, including those of the parent cooperative, where she also holds the title of general counsel. The essence of her position, she said, is “giving advice” � more specifically, providing a legal framework for management and the boards of Welch and the cooperative. No two days are alike, and Tseng’s duties are defined by “the content of the dialogue” among officers and board directors. “The law is fundamentally about relationships,” Tseng said. “And it’s a very intellectual, conceptual, cerebral approach to problem solving.” The legal chief has had a hand in recent acquisitions and divestitures, and also in licensing arrangements for fresh produce, squeezable containers, and jars and tumblers featuring Winnie the Pooh, the Flintstones and Pokemon. Earlier sponsorships involved pioneering television classics like The Howdy Doody Show and The Mickey Mouse Club, and the company’s international inroads include licensing, marketing and direct export ventures in Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Tseng reports to President and Chief Executive Officer David J. Lukiewski. Legal team and outside counsel: Welch’s law department consists of Tseng, three additional attorneys and a paralegal. Tseng uses the Chicago office of McDermott, Will & Emery for cooperative, corporate and tax advice; Washington’s Crowell & Moring for antitrust counsel; Syracuse, N.Y.’s Bond, Schoeneck & King for cooperative and corporate advice; Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw’s Boston office for employment and labor law matters; and the Boston office of Washington-based Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner for intellectual property work. Fierce lobbyist: Tseng directs lobbying efforts for Welch and the parent cooperative. She is deeply engaged in lobbying at the federal level, particularly in negotiations concerning the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bills. “We are the stepchild to federal agricultural support,” Tseng said. The company seeks subsidies for “specialty crops” such as grapes, cherries, apples and nuts that are comparable to those for so-called “programmed crops” like wheat, corn, rice and soy. Ensuring the continued availability of 100%-juice products in schools is another project. Welch wants federal Institute of Medicine nutrition standards, not simply caloric content, to determine which beverages can be distributed in schools. Additionally, as an advocate for the interests of farmers, Tseng supports immigration-related legislation to boost the supply of agricultural workers. Tseng is particularly proud of her successful efforts to secure grape crop disaster relief through the 2003 Agricultural Assistance Act. She spearheaded efforts that resulted in total-duty relief for U.S. grape juice imported into South Korea in the recently negotiated U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Route to present position: Tseng accrued experience at several law firms before joining Welch Foods more than 20 years ago. She was a summer associate in 1979 at now-defunct Trubin Sillcocks Edelman & Knapp in New York. From 1980 through 1982, she practiced general business law at now-defunct Tillinghast Collins & Graham in Providence, R.I. She was a tax generalist at Boston’s Foley Hoag & Eliot (now Foley Hoag) from 1983 through 1986. Tseng also clerked for Administrative Law Judge Daniel J. Davidson in Rockville, Md. In 1975, she acted as press and legislative assistant for the late Representative Morris K. Udall, D-Ariz. Tseng holds a bachelor’s degree from New College of Florida (1974) and a master’s from Yale University (1977). She graduated cum laude with a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center (1980), continuing her education at Boston University School of Law, where she received an LL.M. in taxation (1986). Personal: Tseng was born in Taiwan. She and her husband, Louis Putterman, an economics professor at Brown University, have two children. She serves on the board of trustees of the Boston Bar Foundation and the board of editors of Boston Bar Journal, and belongs to numerous bar associations. Tseng is an avid reader and moviegoer. A personal highlight occurred when she served as hostess for a Welch’s Town Hall Forum for all employees and cooperative members. Last book and movie: When I Was Puerto Rican, by Esmeralda Santiago, and Water.

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