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Houlihan named WPVGA executive director

Houlihan named WPVGA executive director
December 7, 2014
Tamas Houlihan has been named executive director of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) by the board of directors, effective immediately. Houlihan has been serving as interim executive director since August, replacing Duane Maatz.

For the past 27 years, Houlihan has served as the WPVGA communications director and the managing editor of the Badger Common’Tater magazine, the official publication for the Wisconsin potato and vegetable industry. He previously had served as interim executive director in 2000 and in 2008.

The Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) made the announcement on December 4, 2014.

WPVGA President Larry Alsum of Alsum Farms & Produce, Friesland, said he is pleased to have Houlihan assume the Association’s leadership role.

“I’m very excited about the future of the WPVGA under the leadership of Tamas Houlihan,” Alsum said. “His knowledge of the industry and communication skills make him an excellent choice to give the Association leadership and direction in the years to come. His experience working with growers and our allied industries make him an asset to the Wisconsin potato and vegetable industry.”

“I am honored to accept the responsibility of leading the WPVGA as Executive Director,” Houlihan said. “I am proud to serve the agricultural community and look forward to continuing to work on its behalf. I am fortunate to have an outstanding, experienced staff in place to help our industry accomplish its goals.”

At the WPVGA, Houlihan will lead a potato and vegetable trade association with over 500 members and an annual budget of $1.5 million. He is expected to develop and maintain an aggressive grower relations program and build consensus in the areas of research, marketing, education and governmental relations. He takes over a staff of one part-time and four full-time employees

“The Wisconsin potato and vegetable industry is vibrant and progressive,” Houlihan stated. “We rank second in the nation in the production of vegetables for processing and third in potato production. The WPVGA has a long-standing research partnership with the University of Wisconsin and an active membership base of grower volunteers and industry supporters.

“At the same time we face many challenges,” Houlihan continued. “The voice of agriculture is getting smaller and smaller. Farmers today represent less than two percent of the population. I look forward to working with all of our members to advance the interests of Wisconsin potato and vegetable growers.”

A 1985 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Houlihan has a Bachelor’s Degree with a double-major in Communication and German. He received the Chancellor’s Leadership Award and the Albertson Medallion at UWSP. He worked as the Sports Editor and News Editor at the Rhinelander Daily News before joining the WPVGA in 1987.

At the WPVGA, Houlihan received a Distinguished Service Award in 1997; the President's Award in 2001; the Agri-Communicator Award in 2008; and the Wisconsin Seed Potato Industry Leadership Award in 2011.

The WPVGA has announced an immediate search for the next Managing Editor of The Badger Common’Tater magazine. Houlihan will continue to oversee the production of the association’s monthly magazine.
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The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) provides grower education, government support, environmentally sound research and consumer education for 150 grower organizations across the state of Wisconsin.