Todd Cornelison, Vice Chairman, Shipper
I was born into the Idaho Potato industry via a family farm in Hamer, ID. At the time we lived in a small trailer on a gravel road, no phone, no neighbors, just sand, potatoes and sagebrush. Like so many kids of that day, I grew up doing any job I was capable of around the farm, with harvest seasons being the most memorable. My first job at harvest was “clod” picker at the cellar. Over the years I graduated to scraper tractor, truck driver and then tractor operator. Eventually we moved off the family farm to St. Anthony, ID where I went to High School.
My wife Kelli and I are High School sweethearts, we started dating when I was a Junior and decided to attend the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) in Twin Falls, ID together, we married after our first year of school. After 2 years at CSI we spent a brief stint at the University of Utah before moving to Logan, UT and attending Utah State University (USU). I graduated from USU with a degree in Business Management and minor in Accounting in 91. We added to our family at USU with the birth of our first child, our daughter Jordan.
After college, I returned home to the family business which now included a fresh warehouse and I was hired onto the sales desk. I sold fresh potatoes from 91-95 before wondering if there was something else in life and decided to go to work for a finance company in Utah and Nevada. While in Utah, we added a son to our family, Kobe. Though the finance experience was good, I decided to return back to the family farm in 98 and was hired on as the CFO of High Country Potato (HCP) and our third and last child was born, a daughter, BayLee. Many changes were to occur over the next few years, not the least of which was dad retiring and selling the farm in 2007. With the aid of 2 partners, we decided to purchase High Country from the family and give it a go. With no family potato supply there was nothing to run in HCP, so the warehouse was leased out for a time. During that time, I went to work for the Idaho Potato Commission as their first Industry Relations Director. Even though I had spent most of my life in the potato industry, I learned many more aspects of the industry while working for the Commission and found the experience to be invaluable.
In 2012 I was faced with a decision, stay with the IPC or move on and try to make HCP a viable enterprise again. With the support of my wife and partners, I decided to return to High Country and I have been there ever since. Our family has grown to include a grandchild and Kelli and I are blessed to have our children near us, so we can enjoy their company. I continue to be very active in both the National and State potato organizations and would like to contribute to the industry that has treated me so well for so many years.