James MatsonJames Matson has a passion for helping rural businesses, whether they are looking to start a new business or wanting to expand their current operation. He is a business advisor with expertise in many areas involved with marketing and business organization. Mr. Matson has more than 25 years marketing, developing, researching, writing, and teaching experience in management for private, government, and non-profit organizations. He is currently the owner and lead consultant for Matson Consulting where he uses his years of national and international experience to bring his passion to life.

In 2001, Mr. Matson created Matson Consulting to specialize in helping rural businesses in a variety of industries. The firm’s major project areas include feasibility studies, business plans, strategic plans, marketing strategies, grants, and proposals.

Mr. Matson has created several professional partnerships with other consultants and agencies to help with the creation of these documents and provide the additional information and resources to help businesses succeed. The firm’s partners include the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation, and Rural Sustainability and North Carolina State University. These partners and consultants bring a plethora of expertise in many areas, including the procurement and logistics of local food.

Matson Consulting is a client driven business, where Mr. Matson’s desire to help people understand the process of creating or expanding their business comes to life in the documents the firm produces. He founded his company with the belief that when one door closes, another opens. Mr. Matson offers alternatives to negative responses, and provides valuable, independent, and objective feedback and guidance every step of the way.

Matson Consulting has primarily focused on local foods and economic development in rural areas and the ways in which businesses can succeed within this area. Mr. Matson’s passion for this industry is evident in the many articles and reports he has written with the staff at his consulting firm. The most recent example of Mr. Matson’s dedication to local foods is in the USDA Service Report titled, “Running a Food Hub: A Business Operations Guide.”

Mr. Matson is also a skilled lecturer on local foods, local food systems, and regional development. He has conducted multiple presentations at conferences across the nation including the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Local and Regional Food Conference, the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network Meeting, South Carolina AgriBiz & Farm Expo, and the Florida Local Food Summit.

Mr. Matson has a long history of creating feasibility studies for business owners, government agencies, cooperatives, and other interested entities. In 2000 he created “Cooperative Feasibility Study Guide” which was published by the United States Department of Agriculture in October of the same year. After this publication, he started Matson Consulting and authored a feasibility study as his first document with the firm. Since then, he has worked with a countless number of clients to produce feasibility studies, and although each study differs for each client, Mr. Matson has maintained his original methodology that has proven its worth over the years.

Mr. Matson has gained extensive experience in almost all facets of the grant process, including the creation and reviewing of grant applications. Most of Mr. Matson’s experience with grants stems from his time administering Federal grant programs. Mr. Matson is an experienced grant expert having been trained in Federal grants administration, and has authored program grant manuals for U.S. and international grant programs.  He has shared this knowledge through workshops, enlightening producers and grant writers on techniques for successful grants. An example of Mr. Matson’s helpful workshops is displayed by the following Lakelands Connector news article titled, “United Ministries leaders attend fundraising workshop.”


Professional Experience
Mr. Matson has obtained over 25 years of professional experience, half of which involved running his own consulting firm. Previous positions include working in and out of the United States with various organizations. His experience has been gathered from around the world including Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Spain, and Japan.

As part of his international professional experience, Mr. Matson worked as an Agribusiness Specialist in Bolivia. While in this position, Mr. Matson gained experience in agricultural marketing, trade promotion, grant management, strategic planning, and association strengthening. This position allowed him to gain valuable insight into the document creation process and experience working with grants and the application process.

Within the United States, Mr. Matson was a part of the USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service in Washington D.C. where he worked as an Agricultural Marketing Specialist. Most of Mr. Matson’s expertise and knowledge of feasibility studies stems from his position with the USDA where he conducted and reviewed feasibility studies, marketing strategies, and business plans of producer-owned businesses. This has allowed him to gain valuable insight into the components of these documents and the best uses for businesses.

Mr. Matson was also a partner with Heatherwood Consulting Group, which he helped co-found. This internet-based promotional products company has gained several millions of dollars in sales from all 50 states and internationally. With this position, he oversaw all aspects of internet marketing, business planning, and contractor selection to manage business expansion. His time with this company gave Mr. Matson more experience with marketing and promotional planning.–www.runandwin.com/, www.yourlogoworks.com/

Mr. Matson maintains a strong presence within the education system and has taught multiple economic and marketing classes for several universities.  These positions allow him to share his expertise on all aspects of basic economic theory. He is also a licensed amateur radio operator and is a volunteer for emergency and disaster preparedness operations.