CEO, National Potato Council
Kam Quarles is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Potato Council. He assumed this role in May of 2019 after serving as Vice President of Public Policy and Communications.
Since taking on the job of running the U.S. potato industry’s national trade association, Kam has overseen a comprehensive overhaul of the organization and its activities. These include building a strong team of professional staff and consultants, rebranding the organization and its signature Potato Expo, coordinating the largest disaster relief response in the industry’s history, securing significant victories in the long-standing Mexican trade dispute, and supporting a new multimillion-dollar foundation dedicated to industry leadership.
As a national leader in the fruit and vegetable industry, Kam serves as co-chairman of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, and as a member of the USDA/USTR Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee.
Prior to joining the Council staff, Kam worked for the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery with clients including NPC, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Sunkist Growers, Chiquita Brands International, the California Avocado Commission and other specialty crop interests.
He served as a vice president for both the United Fresh Produce Association and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the managing director of the D.C. office for Sunkist Growers, the world’s largest citrus marketing organization. Kam was also a staff member in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Kam holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University in Virginia.
He and his wife Karen live on Capitol Hill. Their daughter Cate is now a freshman in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
CEO and President of Potatoes USA
Blair Richardson has fulfilled the responsibilities as CEO and President of Potatoes USA since 2013. On behalf of Potatoes USA and the potato industry, Blair sits on several produce and potato industry boards including the Alliance for Potato Research and Education, the Potato Leadership, Education, and Advancement Foundation, the Alliance for Food and Farming, World Potato Congress, and others.
Mr. Richardson actively engages in issues of importance to the potato industry and is passionate about the need to proactively protect and defend the reputation of the potato. He is a strong proponent of aggressive advocacy and marketing tactics.
Prior to this, Blair served in similar positions with other private and industry organizations in California and has been an active farmer of both almonds and cherries while he was CEO/Partner of a large grower/packer/sales company specializing in fresh stone fruit, grapes, and citrus.
Mr. Richardson sold his last farm in California in 2021, which capped 32 years of working and/or farming in the state that began in 1989 with a ten-year career in the California cotton industry.
Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation
Betty Resnick is an Economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation with a focus on row crops, farm policy programs, and sustainability. AFBF is the nation’s largest general farm organization and the leading advocate for farm and ranch families.
Betty was raised in Lenexa, Kansas, and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University. Prior to joining AFBF, Betty worked for Bryant Christie Inc. in Sacramento, California as a research analyst concentrating on global food regulatory and market access issues. She currently resides in Washington, DC and is a proud military spouse.
Sysco Senior VP of Produce
Sr. Director of Produce Sourcing Sysco Corporate (January 2016 -Present). Oversight on 3 million cases per week of produce purchases. Contract management of 70+ suppliers on 2.5 million cases (contracted) of the 3 million in purchases weekly. Managing 5 direct reports (both central and remote associates).
Prior, Sr. VP Operations of FreshPoint Southern California (July 2014 to December 2015), committed to cost-effective management of resources and quality performance. Managing 9 direct reports with over 200 warehouse and transportation employees under my area of responsibility.
Have spent 30 years in the Produce Industry in one facet or another. The majority of that time has been spent with Sysco in the Food Service industry. Born and raised in the Salinas Valley and have been around Ag for my entire life.
Have multiple family members in Ag business and most all friends as well. Produce is truly a lifestyle of mine, not an occupation.
Idaho Secretary of State
Phil McGrane is a fourth-generation Idahoan born and raised in Pocatello and then Boise. Today he lives in Hidden Springs with his wife Angella and three kids. McGrane’s passion for elections began in 2005 counting punch cards and recruiting poll workers. Since then, he went on to serve as a law clerk to the United States Elections Assistance Commission and involved in every aspect of running elections in Ada County. As chair of the Elections Committee for the Idaho Association of County Recorders and Clerks McGrane created and organized the first of its kind statewide elections conference to provide common training for all clerks across the state. During the tumultuous 2020 election, he rallied county clerks across the state to successfully lobby for a special legislative session to pass legislation that helped Idaho pull off an unprecedented election we can all be proud of. As the elected Ada County Clerk McGrane oversees Elections, Courts, Budget & Finance, Property Records, and Indigent Medical Assistance. With a team of 198 deputy clerks, we’re often best described as the wheels and cogs of county government.
Merchandising Director at Walmart
Wynn Peterson joins us from Bentonville, Arkansas, where he is Merchandising Director for Potatoes and other fresh produce categories for Walmart’s 4,600 US stores. He has been with Walmart for fourteen years and has held positions in Strategic Planning, Finance and Merchandising at Walmart US, Walmart International and Sam’s Club.
He spent the first twenty years of his career primarily in the airline industry, starting out with American Airlines in Dallas. Prior to joining Walmart he was President and CEO of an on-demand private jet charter business with 26 jets and over 100 pilots based throughout the country.
Wynn received an MBA from Rice University and a BA from Brigham Young University. He and his wife Jocelyn live in Bella Vista, Arkansas and are the parents of five wonderful people. Wynn grew up in Caldwell, Idaho and remembers fondly the hundreds of Saturdays he spent at his grandfather’s dairy farm in Nyssa, Oregon.
President and CEO of Idaho Potato Commission
Jamey Higham, President/CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission is no stranger to Idaho’s “Potato Country.” Born and raised in Shelley, ID potatoes have played a big role in Higham’s life. He studied Political Science at BYU in Provo Utah. Received his MBA in International Marketing from Thunderbird School of Global Management. After college Higham moved back to Idaho and worked in the industry for 25 years, primarily in sales, marketing, and shipping. He also spent 5 years working for Ford Motor Company corporate in their marketing and sales division. Higham has also given back to the produce industry throughout his career, as a current member of the IFPA Board of Directors and as part of United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership class 13. He has also given back to community, serving for 12 years on the Shelley school board. Higham has been working at the Idaho Potato Commission since January of 2022 and currently resides in Eagle, ID with his wife Melissa. They have 4 children together.
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