Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association

Meet the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association staff.

At your service

 

Houlihan, Tamas2Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director

On December 4, 2014 the WPVGA Board of Directors announced that Tamas Houlihan had been named the Executive Director of the WPVGA. For the previous 27 years, Houlihan served as the Managing Editor of The Badger Common’Tater magazine, the official voice of the Wisconsin potato and vegetable industry. During that time, he also held the title of Communications Director. In the fall of 2014, Houlihan was in his third stint as Interim Executive Director, having filled the role in 2000 and 2008. With his appointment in 2014, Houlihan became the 13th Executive Director of the state’s potato association, which was founded in 1948.

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. He also received the WPVGA President’s Award in 2015.

Houlihan lives in Stevens Point with his wife, Paula, who also happens to be the President of the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary. They have seven children, including two teenage daughters who still live at home. Tamas enjoys biking, playing softball, traveling and reading. He is an avid sports fan who loves football (especially the Green Bay Packers), basketball and baseball.

thoulihan@wisconsinpotatoes.com

Joe KertzmanJoe Kertzman, Managing Editor

As Managing Editor of the Badger Common’Tater, Joe Kertzman brings an unbridled enthusiasm for writing, editing and publishing to the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association. His background includes 20 years as the Managing Editor of BLADE Magazine, a Krause Publications, Iola, Wisconsin, title, and the world’s largest knife publication targeted toward enthusiasts, users, collectors, makers and manufacturers. For five years prior, Joe was an editorial assistant for Reminisce Magazine of Reiman Publications based in Greendale, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.

Joe prides himself on asking the right questions and learning from experts in the field in order to provide comprehensive content to magazine readers. His hobbies include not only reading and writing, but also traveling, camping, skiing and other outdoor pursuits, watching Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers games, and spending time with his family. Joe is married with two children and lives in Rosholt, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Tricia, own two horses, a dog and usually a barn cat or two.

jkertzman@wisconsinpotatoes.com

 

Dana-Rady

Dana Rady, Director of Promotions, Communication and Consumer Education

Dana Rady joined the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) team as the Director of Promotions, Communication and Consumer Education in September 2012. Dana’s main duties include promotional program and communication activities,
as well as serving as the committee liaison for the Vegetable and Chip Divisions.
Dana has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, with majors in Radio/TV/Film and Spanish, and minors in Journalism and Political Science. After graduating in May 2007, she ventured to the Lone Star State where she taught English and Spanish classes to adults. Upon moving back to Packer country and the Northwoods, Dana served as an Anchor and General Assignment Reporter at WJFW in Rhinelander for about two years. Then she branched out to forestry as the Sales and Marketing Coordinator for the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association (GLTPA).
Dana is thrilled to be a part of WPVGA and the agriculture industry. She enjoys hunting and fishing with her husband, running, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying all the benefits Wisconsin has to offer.

drady@wisconsinpotatoes.com

 

Karen-Walters

Karen Rasmussen, Financial Officer

Karen’s responsibilities are to perform all accounts payable, payroll, and accounts receivable functions for the WPVGA and related entities. She also manages the assessment and collections for the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board. Karen received an Associate Degree in Accounting from Northcentral Technical College in 2005 and has been employed with the WPVGA since September 1993. Karen lives in Antigo with her husband, Andy, and enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and going for walks.

krasmussen@wisconsinpotatoes.com

 

Julie-Braun

Julie Braun, Executive Assistant

As the WPVGA’s Executive Assistant, Julie Braun coordinates Association meetings and conferences with great efficiency and ease. Julie also serves as the staff liaison for all WPVGA Boards and Committees within the organization. She has been employed by WPVGA since February 1998.

Julie is also the Administrator for the Wisconsin Mint and Muck Boards. Julie lives in Polar with her husband Brian and sons Emmett and Ezra. She enjoys spending time with her family, getting together with friends, going for walks and reading.

jbraun@wisconsinpotatoes.com

 

Danielle-Wendt

Danielle Sorano, Program Assistant

Danielle serves as the primary receptionist at the WPVGA office and provides support to the rest of the WPVGA staff.    Danielle attended Northcentral Technical College in Wausau where she received a Marketing: Business-to-Business Associate Degree in May of 2008.  She then attended Lakeland College in Sheboygan where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing in May of 2010.  Danielle grew up on a potato farm and is therefore very familiar with the potato and vegetable industry.  She has been employed by WPVGA since January 2011.  She lives in Antigo with her husband, Justin,  and enjoys reading, scrapbooking, snowmobiling, baseball, and football.

dsorano@wisconsinpotatoes.com

imageJim Zdroik, Coordinator of Community Relations

Jim Zdroik serves as the Coordinator of Community Relations and is the primary driver of the Wisconsin Spudmobile. He is no stranger to the potato and vegetable industry, growing up on his family’s potato and vegetable farm in Rosholt.  For the past 15 years, Jim worked as a Warehouse Associate and Warehouse Supervisor at Roundy’s in Stevens Point.  He has also worked part-time at Les’s Upholstery in Stevens Point for over 15 years.

Jim served on the Rosholt School Board for 20 years and has been an elected member of the Portage County Board of Supervisors since 1997.  During his time on the Portage County board, he has served as chair of numerous committees, and currently chairs the Human Resource committee, while also serving as Director of Executive Operations. An avid cook of traditional Polish food, Jim also enjoys biking.  He has been married for 35 years to his wife, Jo Ann.  They have three children and three granddaughters.

jzdroik@wisconsinpotatoes.com

DOUGDoug Foemmel, Spudmobile Assistant

Starting his first summer with the WPVGA, Doug serves as Spudmobile Assistant. He will be working with the Coordinator of Community Relations, Jim Zdroik on Spudmobile-related activities and events.  Doug is a Central Wisconsin native having grown up in Neillsville, attended UW-LaCrosse studying psychology and photography before settling in Stevens Point.

Doug founded Foemmel Photography Studio where he has specialized in Classic Portraiture, Marketing and Community Relations.  He and his wife Carol enjoy boating, motorcycling and traveling in their free time. They have two grown children and two grandchildren.