Sep 5, 2014
PAA honors four with Honorary Life Member awards

Chuck Brown, Jim Zalewski, Sam Thornton and Phil Nolte were recognized by The Potato Association of America (PAA) as Honorary Life Members during its 98th annual meeting held in Spokane, Washington this summer.

Brown is a research geneticist at the Agricultural Research Service in Prosser, Washington. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis and his first job was at the International Potato Center. He has spent his professional life studying and incorporating disease resistance in potatoes.

Zalewski grew up on a seed farm in Antigo, Wisconsin. He received his Ph.D. in plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

He taught plant pathology at Oregon State University for five years, was director of cultural research at Ore-Ida until 1992, and was the manager of commercial application research for NatureMark Potatoes from 1992 to 2002. During this time Zalewski started a consulting firm, Spud Dr., which he operated until 2013. Zalewski joined 1,4Group as director of research and development in 2009 and held the position until his death in 2014.

Zalewski died of pancreatic cancer on May 30, 2014. He received his Honorary Life Membership from PAA President Nora Olsen during a reception at his home a few days prior to his death.

Nolte is currently the Extension seed potato specialist for the University of Idaho. He received his Ph.D. from North Dakota State University. He has worked for the University of Idaho since 1991. In 2000 Nolte received the University of Idaho’s Excellence in Outreach award.

Nolte’s research has focused on seed-related problems, including potato mosaic virus complex, bacterial ring rot, as well as fusarium dry rot and suberization.

Thornton joins his father, Robert Thornton, as a PAA Honorary Life Member. Thornton currently works for Syngenta and its Land.db software promoting effective farm record keeping. He previously worked for Novartis and Zeneca as a seed treatment specialist. Prior to that he worked for the Washington State Potato Commission as the director of research and grower relations.

Thornton was PAA president in 2006.

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