A P R I L 2 0 1 7 22 POTATO GROWER Tomorrow’s Leaders Trained At 2017 Potato Industry Leadership Institute The 2017 Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI) provided training to 22 potato growers and industry representatives in leader- ship development, public policy, marketing, team building and pub- lic communication. The annual program, administered by the National Potato Council (NPC) and Potatoes USA, aims to cultivate the next generation of industry leaders. The PILI was held February 9-16, starting in Bangor and Aroostook County, Maine, and concluding in Washington, D.C. In Maine, the class received an overview of the local and national potato industry. Northern Maine potato grower Dominic LaJoie, NPC Vice President of Environmental Affairs, provided details on the Maine growing season. A PILI alum- nus, LaJoie also spoke on how the program has benefited him as a grower and NPC leader. John Toaspern of Potatoes USA pre- sented marketing insights, retail sales and the changes in consumer eating habits. He highlighted good news with world potato demand and potential new markets. The participants toured local chip- ping producers Crane Brothers Farm. The class inspected their state-of-the-art storage facility and asked questions about crop rota- tions and production cycles. A visit to McCain Foods showed where millions of pounds of fries, hash browns, and other frozen potato products are processed. Participants stopped in the onsite lab which regularly tests raw prod- uct for optimum color and quality. Participants in the 2017 Potato Industry Leadership Institute: (front row, left to right): Lucas Wysocki, Wisconsin Rapids, WI; Jay LaJoie, Van Buren, ME; Lynn Dickman, Hancock, WI; Lindsey Dodgen, Denver, CO; Suzanne Price, Washington, DC; Lyla Davis, Monte Vista, CO; Brant Darrington, Declo, ID; Matthew Skogman, Foster City, MI; (second row): Braden Lake, Rupert, ID; Mike Larson, Rupert, ID; Sander Dagen, Karlstad, MN; Russ Kehl, Quincy, WA; Nate Lancaster, Connell, WA; Jared Smith, Blanca, CO; Kelly Kuball, Bakersfield, CA; (third row): Chad Platt, Kennewick, WA; Nathan Bula, Oxford, WI; Travis Meacham, Moses Lake, WA; Paul Streich, Kalispell, MT; David Fedje, Crystal, ND; and Scott Fenters, Klamath Falls, OR (not pictured: Jordan Reed, WA)