The members of the Board of Directors are all volunteers who have made a commitment of time, energy and expertise to assure a successful future for World Potato Congress Inc.
Romain Cools was born in Lokeren, a small town between Ghent and Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium and where he resides today. He was introduced to the agricultural sector from a young age as his parents owned an SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) in the meat industry.
Following his studies to become a teacher, Romain became active in Europe’s cultural sector as a spokesman for the State Secretary of Environment and Social Emancipation. He later joined the Belgian SME organisation, UNIZO, where he was asked to become Secretary General of Belgapom, the Belgian potato trade & processing association. Romain has remained in this position for 30 years and retired in 2021.
As Secretary General of Belgapom, along with a small team of FVPhouse (the umbrella association for the fruit, vegetable and potato trade and processing industry) of which he acted as Director, he assisted the Belgian potato and vegetable sector to move forward in a more and more complex Belgian, European and global environment.
As well, he created a number of initiatives such as: the guideline for self-checking for the trading and processing of potatoes, fruit and vegetables; the international trade fair for potatoes and vegetables, Interpom and, the promotion campaign for Belgian fries with James Bint, Ambassador of the Belgian Fries.
New initiatives related to research and development such as WatchITgrow (crop advice with remote sensing by satellite) and further collaboration within the Belgian potato chain, were also launched.
Romain has also been Secretary General of the European Associations of Potato Trade, Europatat for 15 years and of EUPPA, the potato processing industry for seven years.
Together with the Boards of both organisations, he managed to establish a full time Secretariat for both European associations in Brussels, the capital of the European Union.
Romain has been active with several consultation bodies of the Belgian and European authorities and co-founder of the Belgian food and plant safety & sustainability scheme, “Vegaplan”. He was also a Board Member of the Belgian (FEVIA) and European (FoodDrinkEurope) food industry association and Chairman of the UNIZO agro-food platform for SME organizations in the food value chain.
Romain was appointed to the Board of Directors of the World Potato Congress (WPC) Inc. in 2006 and served as Vice-President from 2015 till 2017. As of January 1, 2018, he succeeded David Thompson to become the fifth President and CEO of WPC Inc. Romain is the first WPC President and CEO from Europe.
Romain is married to Patricia and is the father of Rebecca and Joachim.
President & CEO
World Potato Congress Inc.
PO Box 40020,
West Royalty PO,
Tel: (902) 368-8885
Fax: (902) 628-2225
Dr. Nigel Crump,
PhD in Agricultural Science
Mrs. Yayun (Elven) Huang,
Department of Economic and Trade Foreign languages Quanzhou Agricultural University of Fujian, China
Bret A. Nedrow,
B.S. in Agribusiness Management and a M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Idaho
Professor and Extension Potato Specialist
University of Idaho
Mrs. Yayun Huang
Founder of Yunnan Greentech Co., Ltd.
Member of the Yunnan Provincial Committee of the Chinese people’s political Consultative Conference, as vice chairman of the Zhaotong Federation of Industry and Commerce, and a member of the board of the Committee of the Chinese people’s political Consultative Conference.