Mark Szymanski, communications director for the National Potato Council, is leaving the Washington, D.C.-based group.

Succeeding Szymanski is Steve Holton, who has been hired as the council’s director of public and corporate relations, the council announced Sept. 8.

After moving to New York City the weekend of Sept. 13-14, Szymanski will become communications director for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, according to an email Syzmanski sent to industry members.

His last day at the council, which he joined in 2011, is Sept. 12.

“It has been an absolute honor working for the men and women of the U.S. potato industry,” Szymanski said in the e-mail. “When I joined NPC, I never expected that potatoes would be in the crosshairs of so many powerful interests, or that we would be waging public battles on the front pages of the largest newspapers in the country. It has been a privilege to share in the victories we’ve been able to achieve over the past few years, and to work together set the industry up for future successes.”

Holton has more than 10 years of experience, including work as a legislative aide on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture and for U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R - N.C., when she was a committee member of the House Committee on Agriculture, according to a council news release.

“Holton’s agricultural background has already made him a key addition, and I believe his experience will help NPC address the diverse interests of the U.S. potato producers,” John Keeling, the council’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, said in the release. “We view his appointment as a sign of our commitment to being the unifying vehicle of the potato industry voice in the public policy arena and expanding the U.S. grower’s ability to compete both domestically and globally.”

Holton, a native of Camilla, Ga., has a BA in public relations and political science from the University of Alabama.