(Jan 15) Ivan Noonan, for 13 years the general manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, Charlottetown, is stepping down from the position in February.

Bob Harding, a veteran of the Canadian pork industry, will become the board’s new general manager effective Feb. 4.

Noonan said he plans to remain on staff through April or May to help the board, which represents more than 360 growers, with its transition to a new general manager. He also said he would wait until then to comment on his decision to leave and his plans for the future.

Kevin MacIsaac, the board’s chairman, praised Noonan’s work on behalf of the island’s potato industry.

“When he came 13½ years ago, he already had a lot of experience in the industry, and his leadership has been second to none,” he said. “I can’t say enough good about him. We made tremendous gains under him.”

Noonan’s honesty and accuracy are among his many virtues, MacIsaac said.

“You may not always like the information he’s giving you, but you know it’s 100% accurate,” he said. “He worked tirelessly for the industry.”

Harding has for the past 15 years been executive director of the Prince Edward Island Hog Commodity Marketing Board. He also has served on the boards of directors of several national agriculture marketing committees.

His agriculture and commodity board experience and knowledge of French — the board has close ties with Quebec — will serve him well in the position, MacIsaac said.

One of Harding’s challenges will be to reverse the fortunes of the island’s spud growers, MacIsaac said. Harding’s experience in the hog industry, he said, should be a good primer.

“Coming from hogs, he has no shortage of knowledge about hard times,” MacIsaac said. “And right now, our growers are not having good times. The No. 1 objective of the board is to increase the incomes of growers on PEI.”

PEI Potato Board names new manager
Kevin MacIsaac, chairman of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, welcomes the board’s new general manager, Bob Harding.