My name is Connor Fullerton and I’m from Truro, Nova Scotia. I grew up on a small family farm and spent over a decade in 4-H, which piqued my interest in agriculture at an early age. This passion for the sector has only continued to grow through experiences in academia and industry, domestic and abroad.
I graduated in 2019 with the University Medal in International Food Business at Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Agriculture, as well as with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Aeres University of Applied Sciences with Cum Laude honors. My undergraduate thesis investigated public sentiment towards dairy, globally, using social media data. During this time, my studies took me around the world, including quality assurance and biology at Clearwater Seafoods, sweet potato market research in the Netherlands, and studying value chains and rural development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
I was attracted to the University of Guelph for graduate studies because of its widely respected reputation in agriculture, the business faculty’s expertise, and University’s connections with important stakeholders in Canadian agriculture. Naturally, Guelph is the next step toward an agribusiness PhD.
Dr. Simon Somogyi is an expert in value chain management. I’ve admired his passion for the food sector even during my time at Dalhousie when he was an instructor. I’ve enjoyed my time working with him—his worldly view and depth of knowledge make him a great supervisor, as well as an excellent mentor!
My research looks at the rapidly growing Ontario wine and craft beer sectors because very little research from a supply chain or value chain perspective has been conducted to date. Previous research has studied these businesses from a tourism or productivity viewpoint only.
My research aims to fill this gap by investigating the drivers and barriers that exist for businesses adopting value chain thinking and it will map the chain from input suppliers through various channels to the beverage's consumer. Grape growers and wineries, brewers, wholesalers, retailers, regulators, and industry organizations are being qualitatively interviewed to understand their business, who they buy from and supply to, and what major players influence decisions within the chain. It is my hope that this research can inform government policies that will foster growth in these essential agribusinesses.
OMAFRA’s HQP program has been an incredible opportunity. Since arriving in Guelph, I have been immersed in a rich network of diverse, but like-minded students and faculty. The opportunities this program has connected me with since the very beginning has been a centrepiece of my time at the University; whether it is representing the University of Guelph at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, working hands-on with industry to tackle current problems in HQP’s unique class, or access to a multitude of workshops on public speaking, communicating research, developing policy, I’ve always felt HQP took my grad school experience to another level! It has motivated me to put my best foot forward every day because not only do I feel supported, but I feel like my research will have a positive impact for the people around me.