2016 Honorary Life Member Selections

William L. Campbell


2016 Honorary Life Member William L. Campbell

Bill Campbell’s life has been intertwined with the potato since his first undergraduate experiment at Oregon State University in 1978. Over time, he became the go-to guy for all things potato for the state of Alaska, from providing seed to up-to-date production and pest control information. Among highlights of his 35-year career was creating the Palmer Potato Pageant in honor of the UN International Year of the Potato in 2008. His efforts received front-page coverage from Alaska’s largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News, as well as an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered: .https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95523385. The event drew about 200 people, many of whom competed in the ugliest potato contest, made potato monsters, recited potato poetry and participated in other spud-centric events. In addition to celebrating the potato, the pageant got three fiercely competitive growers in the same room at the same time for the first time.

“The Potato Man” or “The Potato Guru” as Campbell is widely known, spent 30 years as a Potato Disease Control Specialist with the state of Alaska, charged with producing disease-tested seed, inspecting certified-seed fields, and helping potato growers improve their production methods. He created a tissue-culture-based certified seed program to provide seed to potato growers, made virus-tested seeds for more than 450 varieties, and helped register pesticides with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, all the while gaining the trust and respect of growers. Bill also discovered a purple-fleshed clone in a true seed planting from the Red Beauty variety, named it Magic Molly after his daughter, and watched in amazement as it caught on as a garden variety.

Campbell has contributed to various international Farmer to Farmer volunteer programs through ACDI/VOCA, CNFA and Winrock International, exchanging technological information with potato growers in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Bangladesh and Egypt. He has given annual talks at the Alaska Vegetable Growers Conference, and has been a featured speaker at garden clubs and other venues throughout Alaska.

Forced to choose between the PAA and his son’s wedding, Campbell has attended all but one PAA meeting since 1984, and has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award four times. He has served as chair of the organization’s pathology and certification sections, and as its director, vice president, president-elect and, in 2011, president.

Now retired, he continues to be active in the association, which he considers a vital component of the world’s collective potato knowledge.  The dissemination of science-based information through the American Journal of Potato Research improves crop production worldwide. The annual PAA meetings provide for professional interaction among the many disciplines devoted to the study of the potato. Campbell plans to continue helping strengthen the association through encouraging increased membership, improving the financial status of the PAA Endowment Fund and augmenting member involvement.


Edward C Lulai


2016 Honorary Life Member Edward C Lulai

Ed Lulai completed his Ph.D. from North Dakota State University in 1977 and accepted a position as a research scientist with the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA. For nineteen years (1997-1996) he was stationed at the USDA-ARS, Red River Valley Potato Research Laboratory in East Grand Forks, MN.  From 1997 to the present time, Ed has conducted research at the USDA-ARS Northern Crop Science Laboratory, located in Fargo, ND.

 Dr. Lulai’s research has been directed towards solving post-harvest market quality issues of the potato.  Perhaps one of Ed’s greatest contributions to the potato industry has been his landmark research into the molecular/biochemical mechanism governing periderm formation and the establishment a bruise testing system for potatoes. Ed became globally recognized as a leading authority on the regulation of wound healing and elucidated the cause of pink-eye in potatoes.  He found that pink-eye is actually a physiological defect that later can lead to infection by a number of pathogens.  Four of his senior authored papers were nominated for best paper of the year competition (1993, 1995, 1996, and 2005).  His paper in 1996, entitled “Cellular changes and physiological responses to tuber pressure bruising”, received the award.

Since joining the PAA in 1977, Dr. Lulai has served in various capacities including 1) senior editor of the American Journal of Potato Research in the area of potato physiology for over a decade, 2) as a member of PAA finance committee, 3) and served in several offices of the Utilization and Physiology sections. Together with Jane Seabrook (1988), they presented an outline to initiate poster sessions at PAA meetings.  The initiative was accepted by the executive committee. He was part of a formal group that successfully proposed restructuring of the American Journal of Potato Research to a new page size and layout.  He then served on the committee that developed the final journal format plan that was accepted by the PAA membership and implemented in 1998.  Dr. Lulai has participated as an organizer of symposia held at PAA meetings and served on the local arrangements committee for an annual PAA meeting held in Fargo, ND, in1998. He also spearheaded the establishment of a system whereby potato researchers could submit review articles that would be published annually in the AJPR. He developed the formal format for these reviews and served as senior editor guiding the inaugural submission.

There is no question that Dr. Lulai has distinguished himself in the area of potato physiology research and has played a very active role in the affairs of the PAA throughout his career.

Congratulations Ed on your well deserved HLM award!

Respectfully Submitted
Joe Sowokinos
Adjunct Professor
University of Minnesota
(HLM, 2006)


Warren L. Henninger


2016 Honorary Life Member Warren A. Henninger

Born and raised on a potato farm in Pennsylvania, Warren Henninger learned at an early age to work with potatoes.  As a young man, he continued his involvement with potatoes serving as president of both local and district Future Farmers of America chapters.  After earning an Agronomy degree from Penn State University, Warren planned on returning to the family farm.  His plans changed when Warren’s father stated there was no future in potato farming in their area of Pennsylvania as the future of potato farming was out West. Warren followed his father’s advice and continued his education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Agronomy at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

 Along the way, Warren met his wife Judy.  Following a two-year courtship, they married in Klamath Falls, Oregon and settled in Ontario, Oregon where Warren took a job as Malheur County Potato and Onion Extension Agent.  Judy finished school and became a teacher.

Warren’s goal of a career in the potato industry soon became a reality when he worked as a potato researcher and field manager for Simplot in Caldwell, Idaho and Hermiston, Oregon.  Warren and Judy relocated to Moses Lake, Washington where Warren served as area field manager for Carnation, later to be Nestle; then Simplot. Warren and Judy had expanded their family adding their Washington baby (Melanie) to their Idaho baby (Bryan), and Oregon baby (Craig).   Through these years, Warren attended his children’s basketball, tennis, volleyball, cross country, and track events as well as musical concerts and drama productions, letting his children know how much he loved and supported them.

Warren was content with his career path, but God had different plans and laid it upon Warren’s heart to take a huge leap of faith and venture out on his own.  Having served the potato industry for many years, Warren saw a need for a third-party, private, inspection service and established Ag World Support Systems in June 1997 to provide unbiased and professional agricultural inspections, sampling and analysis.

Nearly 20 years later, Warren’s vision to service the potato processing plants in every area of North America is closer to becoming a reality.  Ag World Support Systems services plants in Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Maine, Manitoba, and recently started consulting in China.  As Founder and Chairman of Ag World Support Systems, Warren is delighted to have his son, Bryan serve as President/CEO of the company.  It has been a joy for Warren to see the next generation willing and able to lead the organization.

Desiring to use whatever gifts God gave him to build Christ’s Kingdom, Warren remained active in his church and community as he served on the local, district, and national boards of the Missionary Church.

Warren has been participating in PAA meetings for 48 years. His company, Ag World Support Systems, has been a Sustaining member of PAA since 1999 and has been Sponsoring Annual Meetings for over 15 years.  He currently serves on the Washington Potato Foundation Board, which advances the agriculture industry by providing scholarships to students who enter ag-related fields of study.  In addition, Warren will begin his first term on the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane in 2017.

So how do you say thank you for all you have been given.  In an effort to give back with a grateful heart, Warren started the Ag World Golf Classic in 2014, an annual golf event benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane which provides a “home away from home” for families of children seeking hospital care in Spokane.  This event brings the agricultural industry together for a fun day of golf and networking as well as providing an opportunity for growers, processors and industry partners to contribute to a great need.  To date, the Ag World Golf Classic has contributed over $150,000 to the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane.

Warren has been married to Judy for 46 years, blessed with 3 children, their spouses, and nine grandchildren.   Warren gives thanks to the Lord for these many blessings!  To God be the Glory!


Willem W.M. Schrage


2016 Honorary Life Member Willem W. M. Schrage

Willem Schrage, Director of Potato Programs for North Dakota, retired April 4, 2016. Willem joined the Seed Department in September of 2007 after a long, distinguished and geographically diverse career in the potato industry. Willem directs field inspection, shipping point, tissue culture/greenhouse, winter test, grower relations and seed regulatory aspects of the NDSSD Seed Potato Program. Before North Dakota Seed Willem was Head of the Potato Inspection Program for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for 13 years.

 Willem is a native of the Netherlands, where he developed an interest in agriculture and farmed prior to earning an advanced degree.  He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in plant sciences and nematology, which served him well in a career path taking him worldwide working with seed potatoes. Those career stops include:

1976-77: International Potato Center, Lima Peru.

1977-79: International Potato Center (Regional Center), Izmir, Turkey. Development of a national seed potato program, research and extension.

1979-82: International Potato Center, Tunis, Tunisia. Tunisian National Seed Potato Program (expatriate manager of the national seed potato program).

1982-85: Seed Potato Specialist for the N.B. Department of Agriculture. Duties included seed potato research and extension, management/ coordination of the provincial seed potato production program.

1985-94: Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada. Manager of the N.B. Potato Agency (Provincial Potato Marketing Board).

1994-2007: East Grand Forks, Minnesota. Head of Potato Inspection Program, Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Willem has been active in many professional societies and organizations throughout his career. During his time in the U.S. with Minnesota and North Dakota seed agencies, he has served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Potato Association of America Seed Certification Section along with service on other seed-related committees with the National Potato Council, U.S. Potato Board and USDA. He has represented U.S. seed potato programs with the UNECE specialized section on seed potatoes, traveling world-wide for meetings representing the U.S. This dedication to and professional representation of potato seed growers in the region speaks to Willem’s commitment to the seed industry.

While Willem’s career is very much international in scope, he has served this region’s seed growers with distinction for over twenty years. His knowledge of and loyalty to Northern Plains Potato Growers Association seed growers, evidenced by leading the two state certification agencies within the NPPGA, was recognized in 2013 with the National Potato Council Meritorious Service Award.

This vast list of jobs and places has benefited the North Dakota seed industry and the North Dakota State Seed Department. Having experienced or observed seed production on every continent but Antarctica is impressive.

North Dakota State Seed Commissioner, Ken Bertsch says, “Willem’s people skills are as important as any other in his success as our Program Director. His teamwork skills and tendencies, and his ability to work well with everyone around him is a gift…one that is truly appreciated.”

Willem and his wife Gail have three children and seven grandchildren, who will now benefit from more of his time. Willem will be missed at the North Dakota State Seed Department, but promises to remain active on a part-time basis.

NPPGA President Chuck Gunnerson says, “Willem is one of the most knowledgeable individuals I know when it comes to seed potato issues. He is always current on the many regulatory standardization issues facing the industry. He provides the National Potato Council and United States Potato Board with valuable insight and information. Willem is able to accomplish this with a great deal of respect from producers, processors, other state seed agencies and industry. Willem has always been considered an international seed potato expert because of his work and experience across several time zones. He sincerely enjoys the numerous relationships he has made over a lifetime of working to make the seed potato industry better for everyone. When he returns from a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) meeting on seed certification and international regulatory standardization issues, he shares hours of stories about his many friends he has not seen for years and provides an analysis of decisions made on International Potato Seed Stan-dards. Willem’s accomplishments are numerous and his support of the seed potato industry has been unequaled. He has given a lifetime and has asked for nothing in return.”

Willem Schrage has been a great friend and contributor to our magazine, the Valley Potato Grower for many years. His insight on the potato industry in the Red River Valley and around the world is vast. We would like to thank Willem for his many years of service and congratulate him on his most deserved retirement.