February 2016
Spudman 7: Phil Nolte

Born and raised in Minnesota, Phil Nolte obtained a B.S. in biology at Moorhead State College. He went on to earn an M.S. in 1983 and a Ph.D. in plant pathology at North Dakota State University in 1991. Prior to earning his degrees, Nolte had a number of jobs with two of the most notable being a parts runner for a Moorhead Dodge dealer and a saxophone repairman for Nels Vogel Music.

Nolte served as technician for the Secor/Gudmestad potato projects at NDSU from 1979-1991, gaining a wealth of practical experience in both potato pathology and in seed potato production. He recently retired from the University of Idaho where he served as the Extension seed potato specialist for the past 24 years.

He has always had a passion for writing, having penned over 200 articles for the various potato trade journals while at NDSU and the U of I. He began dabbling at writing science fiction short stories back in 1985 but put this hobby on hiatus when he went to work for the University of Idaho. A rekindled interest in recreational writing” in 2009 has resulted in the publication of four science fiction novels. His latest book, “The Deimos Artifact,” went on sale Dec. 15, 2015.

His previous books include the “Junkyard Dogs” trilogy consisting of “The Scrapyard Incident,”The Veritian Derelict” and “The Santana Nexus” along with a collection of 11 short stories entitled “Cannibals Shrink Elvis’ Head.” All are available in ebook or paperback format at Amazon.com.

What are the best words of advice you’ve received?

Trust your instincts.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

Write another novel, exercise more, stay in touch with old friends and make new ones.

What do you do to relax?

See #2 but I also read a lot and fool around with my guitars.

What would you like to be your lasting legacy?

That I was able to resolve most disputes by helping everyone involved find some kind of common ground.

What are the top three things on your bucket list/ must do list?

1) Take my wife back to Scotland; 2)Go to the Meteor Crater in Arizona; 3) Visit the Smithsonian. (Note: Items on this list are subject to change)

What job or work would you have pursued if you had not become involved in the potato industry?

One of my major goals after high school was to become a university professor. I’m not sure what path I would have taken but I would almost certainly have done something else involving biology. I’ll freely admit that even though it was one of the best things that ever happened to me, becoming an Extension professor was not even on my radar until the opportunity found me.

What is the one truth you’ve learned about the potato industry?

That the industries might be a little different in every state but the entire industry comes together in times of crisis.

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