Award Recipients

Potato Industry Recognizes Innovators

The Awards recognize outstanding personal contribution and leadership in respect to the development and progress of the global potato industry.

Written nominations were submitted for consideration by the Awards Committee which was Chaired by Mr. Doug Harley, from Scotland. Other members of the Awards Committee are Mr. Tamas Houlihan, Managing Editor of Badger Common’Tater Magazine, USA;  Dr. Bir Pal Singh, WPC International Advisor, India; and Dr Qu Dongyu, Vice Minister of Agriculture, China.

The awards were presented by World Potato Congress Inc. President and CEO, David Thompson, and Awards Committee Interim Chair, WPC Vice-President John MacQuarrie. Five individuals were presented with symbolic plaques to commemorate the occasion.


 The 2015 Recipients

The following recipients received their Awards at the 9th World Potato Congress which was held in Yanqing County, Beijing, China, from the 28th to the 30th of July, 2015. The presentations took place during the official congress closing ceremonies.

The 2015 award recipients are Dr. Kevin Clayton-Green, Tasmania, Australia; Dr. Neil C. Gudmestad, USA; Kees van Arendonk, The Netherlands; Albert T. Wada, USA and Dr. Yili Chen, China.

Here is a short version of the citations for the award recipients.

Dr. Kevin Clayton-Green:
Following receipt of his PHD, from Melbourne University in 1982, Kevin played a Dr. Kevin Clayton-Greene leading role in the developing blueberry industry and served as a chairman of the Australian Blueberry Council. In 1993 he joined a leading Tasmanian fresh vegetable exporter, “Harvest Moon” where he played a major role introducing and developing new potato varieties for the Australian industry. He was also responsible for introducing the major processing variety for McCain Foods.

Kevin continues to work on improving the Australian potato and horticulture industry, purely for industry’s benefit. He initiated the formation of a Tasmanian seed potato group to ensure Tasmania’s industry and biosecurity matters are addressed and represented.

Most recently he assisted in the formulation of future R&D programs to benefit the industry.

Dr. Neil C. Gudmestad:
Obtained a Ph.D. in plant pathology in 1982 and joined the Department of Plant Neil GudmestadPathology at North Dakota State University in 1985.  Neil’s 30 year research career at NDSU has focused on pathogen biology and diversity and on potato disease management.

The diseases he studies affect the potato plant from seed tuber to storage. All of his efforts are aimed at solving real-world problems facing the potato industry. This “one foot in the furrow” philosophy – making certain that his science finds solutions to practical problems- has guided Neil’s research throughout his career.

In January 2015, he was named the Neil C. Gudmestad Endowed Chair of Potato Pathology. The Neil C. Gudmestad Endowed Chair is the first fully endowed faculty position at NDSU and it is the first time a current faculty member has had a position named in their honor.

Kees van Arendonk:
After the completion of his studies, at the Agricultural University in Dronten, and theKees van Arendonk University of Nyenrode, he began his career in 1973 with potato cooperative Agrico.

In 1986 he became general sales manager for seed potatoes, and in 1989 he was promoted to commercial Director. However, most people know him as CEO of the Cooperative Agrico Group. Under his leadership Agrico became one of the key players in the international potato world, especially in new seed potato varieties.

In 1999 Kees oversaw the merging of the Dutch potato organisations into what is now the trade association NAO. He was subsequently elected president of the (NAO). And since 2009 he has also served as the president of the European Potato Trade Association (Europatat).

Albert T. Wada:
Is the Chairman of Wada Farms Inc., an agricultural enterprise in Idaho growingAW Head Shot 2-12 fresh and process potatoes, seed and commercial wheat, corn, alfalfa and malt barley. Wada Farms grows crops on approximately 30,000 irrigated acres and includes a trucking company, a potato packing plant, and a potato, sweet potato and onion marketing company.

Albert helped to educate the industry on supply, demand and price as the founding chairman of United Potato Growers of Idaho, and the United Potato Growers of America. He helped lead the United Potato Growers of Idaho cooperative members into ownership of a dehydrated potato processing company, Idahoan Foods.

He has received wide recognition for his efforts including Potato Man of the Year, and Top 25 Produce Leaders from The Packer, Idaho Potato Grower of the Year, Idaho Governor’s Award for Marketing Innovation, and induction into the Idaho Potato Expo Hall of Fame.

Dr. Yili Chen:
Graduated from the Northeast Agricultural University in 1970. His career Professor Yili Chencontributed to potato genetics and breeding, and related researches and teachings. As a potato breeder, he has released more than 10 new potato varieties which have being widely planted in China. As a supervisor, he guided six Ph. D students and 30 M.Sc. students over the years. Most of these students play important roles in the potato industry of China.

As the Secretary General of the China Potato Association, he has successfully organized 15 China Potato Congresses since 1999. In order to push the potato industry forward, he participated in drafting regulations and standards and served as a consultant for several potato companies. He also ran a number of training courses for potato farmers related to potato production.

He has worked as the Editor-in-Chief the Chinese Potato Journal for over 20 years and published more than 30 books.

He has been recognized for his huge contribution to the potato industry in China, receiving more than 10 awards from different levels of the industry.


Former World Potato Congress Award Recipients

1993 – Canada
David Loggie, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Walter Kroaker, Manitoba, Canada
Prof. John Neiderhouser, Arizona, USA
Dr. Date van der Zaag, Wageningen, The Netherlands

1994 – England
Harrison McCain, New Brunswick, Canada
Dr. Gunther Graf, Germany
Dr. Jack Dennett, Caithness, Scotland
Mr. Andreas Savvides, Nicosia, Cyprus

1997 – South Africa
John Richard (JR) Simplot, Idaho, USA
Dr. Hubert Zandstra, International Potato Center, Lima, Peru
Heinz Wenger, Germany
Robin Pooley, England

2000 – The Netherlands
Jan Frans Binst- Belgium
Kees van Loon, The Netherlands
Robert Mercer, USA
Dr. John Hillman, Dundee, Scotland
Luis Matutano, Spain

2004 – China
Ray Owen, England
Antonie M (Tony) van Leersum, The Netherlands
Walter Karl Heinz (Buebi) Krohn, Germany
Dr. Prof. Song Bofu, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

2006 – USA
Jim Godfrey, UK
David Montgomery, Australia
Dr. Dongyu Qu, China
Ronald D. Offutt, USA

2009 – New Zealand
Ron Gall, New Zealand
Gregg Halverson, USA
Hardev Sing Sangha, India
Mr Joop N Stet, the Netherlands.

2012 – Scotland
Dr. Stuart Carnegie – Scotland
Guy Van den Broeke – Belgium
Luc Van den Broeke – Belgium
Ennino Pizzoli – Italy