April 2013
Training Future Leaders By Bill Schaefer

It wasn’t quite as intense as a boot camp but participants in the 2013 Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI) spent seven days immersed in everything about the potato industry.

Beginning in Idaho Falls, Idaho, on February 21, the 2013 class spent two and a half days working on leadership training and visiting two packing sheds, a processing plant, a dehy plant and a potato equipment manufacturing plant.

Travis Blacker, Idaho Potato Commission’s director of industry relations, and Derek Peterson, an alumnus from the 2012 PILI class and the grower leader for the 2013 class were the hosts and tour leaders during their time in Idaho.

Following their time in Idaho the class flew to Washington, D.C., where they spent Sunday in an Iron Chef style cooking competition and then joined fellow members of the potato industry in the NPC Potato D.C. Fly-In.

On Monday and Tuesday they participated in two more days of seminars on the potato industry, how Congress works, the current budget crisis and pending federal legislation facing the industry.

Finally, the class took to Capitol Hill with their respective state delegations to visit with their Senators and Representatives to lobby for the potato industry.

At the end of the week Eric Schroeder, of Antigo, Wis., was elected PILI grower leader from the class at a dinner following a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill.

To see a PILI photo gallery from their time in Idaho go here.

To see a photo galleries from the NPC Potato D.C. Fly-In go here and here.

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