Ellen Kouwenberg has been hired as the new executive director of the World Potato Congress (WPC), an Oct. 12 news release said. Kouwenberg replaces outgoing General Manager Brian Douglas.
Kouwenberg was raised on a potato/beef operation on Prince Edward Island. She received her bachelor of business administration from the University of Prince Edward Island and studied international business at the University of Copenhagen while travelling extensively throughout Europe and Russia exploring various business models as part of her studies, the release said.
She then worked for the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture in various roles including potato services, farm business management, and in the international programs division. Kouwenberg also worked in the private sector where she completed a feasibility study into and the establishment of the P.E.I. Potato Quality Institute (PQI), a nationally accredited testing laboratory which she then managed and expanded.
Following her time at PQI, Kouwenberg has continued to work in the global potato network, collaborating on projects with American university potato variety research programs, expanding international technical and regulatory trade, and farm biosecurity. The release noted Kouwenberg brings experience to the WPC through her global connections, facilitating incoming and outgoing agricultural missions and trade shows involving countries in North Africa, Central and South America, the Philippines, United States, and the Middle East.
Kouwenberg lives with her husband three children on a 285-cow milking herd dairy farm. She has served as a 4-H youth leader, sat on various boards and committees in this and other organizations within her community, and has been recognized with a Women In Agriculture award for her on-going contributions.