New Directors Appointed to World Potato Congress

Published online: Jul 17, 2014
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David Thompson, president and CEO of World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC), today announced the appointments of Ron Gall, Dr. Nora Olsen and Anne Fowlie as members of the Board of Directors.

These three eminent individuals are recognized worldwide for their contributions to the development and growth of the global potato industry. Their appointments were approved by the WPC Board of Directors during the annual meeting of the Board recently.

Ron Gall was a business manager with Horticulture New Zealand for over 20 years until his retirement in 2012. Horticulture New Zealand is a trade organization representing the interests of New Zealand’s 5,500 vegetable, fruit and berry fruit growers. Gall is also a very experienced event planner and tour leader.

After a career in the Inland Revenue and subsequently as a senior private secretary to Cabinet ministers in the New Zealand government, Gall joined the New Zealand Vegetable & Potato Growers’ Federation in 1991. 

As business manager of Potatoes New Zealand Inc. from 1994 until his retirement in December 2012, Gall focused on four core activities:

•    Seed certification

•    Export access to new markets and growing existing markets
•    Research and development

•    Education and marketing the nutritional value of potatoes

Gall has presented papers at various international conferences and represented the New Zealand potato industry at numerous World Potato Congresses. He was appointed to the International Advisory Committee of the World Potato Congress and in 2009 was Congress manager for the 7th World Potato Congress in Christchurch, New Zealand, which attracted over 600 participants.

Dr. Nora Olsen is a professor and Extension potato specialist at the University of Idaho based in Kimberly. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in horticulture from Washington State University with emphasis on potato physiology and production. 

Her research and extension programs for the past 15 years at the University of Idaho have focused on potato field and storage management, sprout and disease control in storage, seed physiology and performance, cultivar evaluation, and food and farm safety. She has been the program director for the University of Idaho Kimberly Potato Storage Research Facility since 2003. Olsen has given over 350 Extension and scientific presentations and authored or co-authored over 280 scientific and Extension deliverables.

Olsen is currently serving as president of the Potato Association of America (PAA); she is the first women to have been elected as president of the organization. She has also served as a director of PAA and chair of the physiology and Extension sections of the organization. 

Olsen is also a processing editor for Potato Research, the journal of the European Association of Potato Research. She also served as the United States member of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) technical advisory group on sprout inhibition. 

Anne Fowlie embarked on a career in agriculture in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1978. After 21 years contributing to the growth the potato industry there, she accepted the position of executive director of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) in Ottawa, where she currently serves as executive vice president. The CHC represents producers across Canada primarily involved in the production of over 100 fruit and vegetable crops. The potato sector is a key constituent of the CHC.

Throughout her career Fowlie has been involved in a myriad of agricultural sector issues including sales and marketing, organizational and sector strategic planning, trade dispute resolution, food safety and traceability, and government relations. She has also participated in Team Canada trade missions and was a member of the Canadian industry delegation to the 2005 WTO negotiations in Hong Kong.

As a member of the International Federation for Produce Standards, she is well-informed on issues related to the potato industry worldwide. The global potato industry is of particular interest to Fowlie. She has attended numerous WPC events and is optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead for the industry, as well as the role WPC Inc. can play in the future.

Thompson stated, “We are very pleased that these three individuals have agreed to join our Board of Directors,” said Thompson, WPC’s president and CEO. “With their extensive backgrounds, they bring a wealth of experience, a commitment to excellence, and a strong desire to contribute to the growth and development of the global potato industry. We are confident that all three will make significant contributions to the World Potato Congress Inc.”