March 2014
Taking Stock: Lessons in Leadership By Bill Schaefer

The days are getting longer, the finches are singing louder and soon enough planting will commence here in the Pacific Northwest. As author Lawrence Durrell once observed, In the midst of winter you can feel the inventions of Spring.”

This month we profile Randy and Karlene Hardy. During the past three years the Hardys have been doing double duty for the National Potato Council and the U.S. Potato Board.

Randy Hardy was elected president of the NPC for 2014 at its annual meeting this past January in San Antonio, Texas. While he helps steer NPC policies in the coming year Karlene Hardy is a representative on the USPB’s International Committee.

Randy Hardy is a bit of an old hand at helping shape national potato policy. Back in 2006 he served as USPB chairman. He also was on the cover of Spudman’s May 2006 issue. We have a link to that story on in the archives ( To read the current profile go to page 10.

I’m almost recovered from the 16-hour days at the POTATO EXPO. The event keeps getting bigger and better. I get the sense that it’s developing into something with an international appeal. Unfortunately, the polar vortex that descended on the country that week upended the flight plans for many attendees. Some arrived late and some couldn’t make it to San Antonio.

Nevertheless, the EXPO was well attended and Spudman, in partnership with Bayer CropScience, presented the second annual Emerging Leader Award (ELA) to Jeremie Pavelski of Heartland Farms in Hancock, Wis., at the NPC’s annual banquet.

I have no doubt that we will be reading more about Jeremie and his wife, Alicia, in future issues of Spudman. They’re dedicated to promoting what is best about the potato industry as well as being involved in their local community. They’re an interesting couple, but don’t take my word for it. Read the interview on page 22.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to nominate someone this past fall. We had twice as many nominees this year than we had last year. Based on the quality and leadership potential of this year’s nominees, the future of the potato industry will be in good hands.

I also encourage everyone to keep in mind anyone 35 or younger as a nominee for next year’s ELA. The award is open to anyone involved in any area of the potato industry.

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