May 17, 2019
Potatoes USA seeks director of research

Potatoes USA, the marketing organization for the U.S. potato industry, is seeking a director of research. The position reports to CEO & president Blair Richardson.

Job purpose

Provide leadership and coordination of the U.S. potato industry’s efforts to identify and communicate national and regional research priorities to targeted parties, identify and access third-party funding of these priorities through grants and other alternative sources, and interact with researchers to attain research objectives. Oversee/manage ongoing variety trial programs facilitated by volunteer growers, seed companies, independent contractors and other interested parties. Facilitate committee meetings of the Potato Research Advisory Committee, Potatoes USA Research Committee and other related committees. Communicate research results to the industry. Work with and help coordinate research projects with contractors, researchers, processors, fresh packers and research and marketing organizations of the States. Work closely with the CEO on the development, implementation and evaluation of these programs, evaluation of contractors, and facilitation of a nationally coordinated approach to research. Assist and correspond with clients, customers, and vendors consistent with the mission and vision of the Organization.

Essential job duties

  • Manage all aspects of the Potato Research Advisory Committee and the Board’s Research Committee
  • Plan, develop and implement the annual research programs budget for the organization
  • Manage independent contractor(s) of the NFPT, NCP variety development programs
  • Create and maintain an Internet-based database of funding sources for researchers and facilitate outreach to researchers related to the database
  • Coordinate national research projects, with Researchers, Processors, Fresh Packers, growers, and State programs/organizations
  • Maintain communication with the Board’s various committees, industry leaders, board staff and government officials
  • Procure and manage funding for projects, which may include drafting and submitting grants on behalf of Potatoes USA, researchers, and/or the broader potato industry
  • Establish and manage overall budgets for programs
  • Coordinate Board research efforts with those of the States
  • Establish positive working relationships with: state potato organizations; potato growers and shippers; researchers, government agencies, exporters; retailers; processors; fresh packers; food manufacturers; and related national organizations
  • Serve on management team
  • Other duties as assigned

Supervisory responsibilities

Research Program Coordinator, independent contractors, contracted universities and other researchers

Knowledge, skills and experience required

  • Minimum of ten (10) years’ experience in agricultural industry or university extension services and at least seven (7) years management experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in agricultural science, business administration, public policy, agronomy or nutrition sciences or related field
  • Experience in commodities marketing, strategic planning, budget management, communications and staff management
  • Experience in management and administration of third-party funding programs
  • Ability to work independently
  • Must have strong interpersonal skills, including ability to negotiate effectively and develop creative solutions to problems
  • Proven ability to motivate and positively manage staff as well as industry partners
  • Excellent verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills. Must be comfortable communicating results to the industry and presenting various information in an effective manner
  • Advanced computer skills including proficiency in Microsoft Office applications
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Excellent organizational skills and detail oriented

Working conditions

  • Fast-paced work environment
  • Travel required up to 30%

Material and equipment directly used

  • Personal computer with MS Office software applications
  • Multi-line telephone
  • Copy machine
  • Printer
  • Sage 100 accounting software

(Note: This job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities or qualifications associated with the job.)

Interested parties should apply to Executive Administrator and Director of HR Carrie Brown at [email protected] or 303-873-2322. For more on Potatoes USA, visit 

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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