PORTLAND, ORE. -- Thomas J. Hammond, president of Columbia Grain Inc., died Feb. 14 in Portland following a brief illness. He was 60.
A native of Florida, Mr. Hammond held a master of business administration from Vanderbilt University. After spending time early in his career with Cook Industries, Inc., Mr. Hammond became part of newly formed Columbia Grain in 1978 when Cook’s Portland export grain elevator was sold to Marubeni Corp. of Japan. Mr. Hammond succeeded Wayne Parks as president of Columbia in January 2000.
Since its inception, Columbia Grain has grown considerably, in part because of a number of grain elevator acquisitions in the Pacific Northwest. The company’s share of U.S. wheat exports totals about 15%. In 2012, Marubeni expanded its U.S. grain industry presence further with the $3.6 billion acquisition of Gavilon Holdings L.L.C.
At the time of his death Mr. Hammond was chairman of the North American Export Grain Association, and he was a member of the group’s board since 2001. He was a past president of the Portland Merchant’s Exchange and the P.N.W. Grain Export Association. He also was on the boards of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and the National Grain and Feed Association.Mr. Hammond is survived by his wife Cheryl of 33 years; a son, Robert; and a daughter, Katherine. He was predeceased by his brother Kenneth Hammond. A celebration of life for family, friends and business associates will be held March 9.