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United States of America - A year after his passing: Don Ohsman remembered
06 February 2020

Chinese demand for imported meat is expected to reach its peak in 2020, according to Gilberto Tomazoni, CEO of meat processing giant JBS and as reported by ILMAPLF started collaborating with Don and Hidenet after a meeting held in Sao Paolo during Couromoda 2010 when the CICB organized the International leather Forum where Don, along with APLF director Michael Duck, were on the panel of speakers. This led to a mutually satisfying arrangement with APLF publishing Hidenet’s Weekly Video Review oo the international hide markets which still continues to this day.

 

 

In this tribute to Don, the former Hidenet correspondent. Craig Roalson writes that one year ago,  Hidenet founder and CEO, Don Ohsman, wrote his  .last weekly report to the hide and leather industry he loved so much during his entire working life. He succumbed to cancer on January 31, 2019.

Some will remember him for the publishing company he built up over six decades of charting cattle hides. Others who knew him best will describe him as one of the most colourful traders and exporters ever to grace this very special fraternity. Not only did he stand out at conventions and trade shows due to his 6 foot 4-inch frame, but his personality was bursting with an uncontainable zest for the many contacts he wooed and charmed from around the world.

I should know. I associated with Don from the time he hired me almost 37 years to the day before his passing. There was no doubt that Don’s work world and his social network consisted of many of the same people- and he cherished those friendships.

The Hidenet report actually began as the Trans World Hide market report in 1975 shortly after Ohsman left his family’s hide and fur business to launch Trans World Hide Corporation. Originally it was a side activity next to his trading and exporting business. He used to mail the reports by hard copy to a growing list of customers and suppliers. As technology and his business grew, so did the distribution and reputation of the report.

When I first joined Don in 1982, he would write the weekly report rough draft, then I would shorten his run-on sentences and grammatical errors (of which there were many!) before we sent it out. In fact, he unashamedly admitted that his high school English teacher once told him that he had “diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain!” Fortunately for him and for the industry, Don’s market report prognostications were among the very best available and kept readers always coming back for more.

Don was a tireless worker, constantly making calls and amassing information as he simultaneously traded hides. He was known to be a bit of a market gambler and indeed loved to speculate on the hides he wrote about. Whereas he managed on occasion to get on the wrong side of speculation, he had an excellent market sense and acted on it before others knew what was happening.

Over time Ohsman’s trading days waned but his Hidenet Publishing Company expanded as he added regional reports and editors around the world. The energy he brought, his sense of humour and his enthusiasm are already legendary. And today Hidenet is a living tribute to the indomitable spirit of the one who created it.

 

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