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(Bottom)-Market relations directors representing the Idaho Potato Commission are: (left to right, top row) Bill Hartz, Larry Whiteside, Bill White. Bottom row, Jim Grimm and William Savilonis, Jr.
Increasing potato production in Idaho and higher advertising-assessment rates provided the IPC with larger budgets, which not only made staff additions possible but provided more funds for direct promotional work with retail and foodservice chains.

The Market Relations Directors were aided in the responsibility of foodservice contacts by foodservice director Barbara Bertelli and later by Don Odiorne, who replaced Bertelli in 1989 with the title of Vice President for Foodservice. Sharyl Strongman was added as Foodservice Specialist and Staff Dietitian in 1990 later to become Foodservice Market Relations Director.

As programs grew, the IPC decided to add a Vice President for Retail Merchandising who would oversee the market relations directors. Jack Hansen left the Washington Apple Commission to fill the Idaho position in February of 1991. Don Luchka resigned that year and William White and William Savilonis, Jr., joined the retail staff to bring the total manpower to six including Hansen.

The Idaho field program has long been regarded as one of the most successful in the nation and has achieved remarkable results, particularly in the early days when it was forced to operate on a tiny budget compared to other commodity programs.

The availability of more money and more people has added greatly to the impact of market representation for the Idaho® potato industry and has made possible the targeting of specific markets and specific customers to increase sales of Idaho® potatoes in a more direct way.

Much has changed since C. G. Rice took to the road in his Chevrolet to represent Idaho® potatoes back in the '40s, but the continuity of Idaho's market-contact program has never faltered and the contribution that it has made to industry growth and prosperity is a major factor in the success story of the world's most famous potato.

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