Peter VanderZaag has been named as the new president and CEO of the World Potato Congress (WPC), a Jan. 7 news release said. VanderZaag will take over from John Griffin who was named to the role last year.
Griffin has been part of the WPC for 16 years, serving in various roles on the board of directors since 2007. The release noted he played an integral role in the growth and development of the non-profit organization. The WPC board of directors wishes him well as he continues to focus on his potato operations in Elmsdale, P.E.I., the release said.
VanderZaag has served as the International Advisor and then as a director for WPC since 2013. The release said he played a key supportive role in developing the programs for the past three congresses in China, Peru and Ireland.
VanderZaag, along with his daughter Ruth and son-in-law Nick, own and operate Sunrise Potato, a large potato farming operation in Ontario, Canada. He has served numerous roles in international potato research and development with the International Potato Center and as a visiting professor at Yunnan Normal University in Kunming, China.
“Peter has positively impacted national potato programs in Asia and Africa with focus on developing new improved varieties, novel seed potato production and crop management. His knowledge of the potato crop is recognized worldwide,” Griffin said in the release.
Nora Olson has been named as the new vice-president of the WPC, the release said. Olsen is a professor and potato specialist with department of plant sciences at the University of Idaho.
She has co-authored and presented hundreds of extension and scientific presentations and publications. Olson was the first female president of the Potato Association of America, and has been a WPC director since 2014. The release noted she has been instrumental in launching the WPC webinar series.
The release also said that Brian Douglas has accepted a nomination of director to the WPC board. Douglas was previously WPC general manager.