PORTLAND, Ore. - A new book by the late Al Reser details the life of the famous Oregon philanthropist and businessman.

"No Small Potatoes" explores Reser's inspirational personal story of rising from poverty to become a nationally recognized food industry leader - and how a family potato salad recipe became a billion dollar business. Reser died earlier this year. The book was published by the Oregon State University Press for the OSU Alumni Association.

A native of Kansas, Reser moved with his family to Oregon as a young man. He and his wife, Pat, were graduates of OSU and avid supporters of their alma mater. Reser Stadium, where the OSU Beavers play, is named after the family.

Reser's Fine Foods began as a small business operating out of his parents' kitchen. Today the company has more than 2,600 employees and annual sales approaching $1 billion. In his book, Reser outlines the difficult decisions he faced as the Reser company expanded. The story serves as inspiration to small business owners hoping to grow their company into something larger.

"No Small Potatoes: How a Family Potato Salad Recipe is Fast Becoming a Billion Dollar Business" was written by Reser and Kerry Tymchuk, author and former top aide to United States Senators Bob Dole and Gordon Smith. In his foreword for the book, OSU President Ed Ray said Reser's death in April 2010 was a profound loss to Oregon, and that he leaves a legacy of humility, philanthropy and authenticity.

"How Al rose from his impoverished childhood to preside over one of America's largest and most successful refrigerated-food businesses is a story that would make Horatio Alger envious," Ray wrote.

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said of Reser and his new book, "He was a true Oregon treasure, a great corporate citizen, and 'No Small Potatoes' is a story that will make all Oregonians proud."

Copies of the $19.95 hardcover book are available in bookstores or by calling 1-800-426-3797."

Pat Reser and Tymchuk will sign copies of the book this Sunday, Dec. 5, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Oregon Historical Society's annual Holiday Cheer author celebration, 1200 S.W. Park Ave., Portland. For more information: http://www.ohs.org/visit-ohs/holiday-cheer.cfm

For more information on the book, see http://oregonstate.edu/dept/press/m-n/NoSmallPotatoes.html

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Tom Booth, 503-796-0547