Position Summary

Position Description

General Statement
The MSU Extension Associate Specialist and Director of Montana Seed Potato Certification Program oversees all services provided to Montana seed potato growers required to fulfill the standards of certification. Position breakdown is 40% administrative, 25% scholarship, 25% research and 10% service.

The Montana Seed Potato lab is grower supported and exists to meet the needs of the Montana Seed potato industry. The primary mission is to be an unbiased source of testing to ensure Montana seed potato growers produce disease free seed potatoes. The potato lab does this by conducting in field and post-harvest grow out testing of potato plants for diseases. The MSU Extension Associate Specialist and Director of Montana Seed Potato Certification Program supervises the lab staff and directs all operations including field inspections, inspection fee collection, and grower education and communication. The MSU Extension Associate Specialist and Director of Montana Seed Potato Certification Program also carries out research projects aimed at improving the efficiency of seed potato disease testing.
Duties and Responsibilities

Supervise tissue culture staff to ensure that the tissue culture program and maintenance of the mother stock collection is run efficiently.
Distribution of pre-nuclear material to meet growers needs.
Supervise the Assistant Manager and Lab Supervisor to ensure that they are appropriately implementing standard protocols for disease testing.
Ensure that disease testing results are accurate and disseminated to growers in a timely manner.
Monitor the Lab Supervisor’s supervision of temporary and student employees.
Supervise and participate in summer and winter field inspections and communicate results to growers.
Maintain and establish contracts for execution of the winter grow out in Hawaii.
Track income and expenditures documented by the bookkeeper to develop program budget and ensure that revenue is sufficient to meet expenses.
Explore and pursue grant opportunities and research to improve diagnostic capability and services.
Develop the program for the annual seed potato seminar.
Participate in advisory board meetings, national and international potato board meetings and presentations.
Engage with the research community, producers, and professionals in the potato industry to anticipate disease threats to seed quality and respond with timely and reliable diagnostic services.

Required Qualifications

PhD degree in Plant Pathology or closely related field, or M.S. degree in Plant Pathology with closely related field and substantial related work experience. Experience working in a supervisory capacity leading efforts of a group.

Preferred Qualifications

Demonstrated experience and success in grant writing. Demonstrated success in utilization of strong leadership and management skills. Experience coordinating multi-disciplinary efforts to address issues facing growers. Experience managing budgets (monitoring expenditures and income).

Other Requirements

The successful candidate will possess excellent human relation skills; a high level of professionalism; the ability to work effectively with other staff members; evidence of good judgment; flexibility and innovation to respond to the changing needs of potato growers; the ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing when disseminating scientific knowledge effectively to clientele, and the ability to contribute successfully to MSU Extension teaching, research, outreach, and engagement. The successful candidate will also have a familiarity with multi-cultural and different socioeconomic audiences, an interest in working with people from diverse backgrounds, and a commitment to the principles of diversity.

Travel Requirements

Extensive travel in Montana during the summer months and must be willing to travel to Hawaii for up to two to three weeks at a time twice a year, 4-6 times for one-to-two-day trips for potato related meetings and field days, and on rare occasions internationally.

Driver’s license or alternate transportation required?


Contact Name

Doug Holen

Contact Email


Contact Phone


Application Instructions

Apply online at https://jobs.montana.edu/postings/41514

Equal Employer Statement(s)

Equal Opportunity Employer, Veerans/Disabled.

About Montana State University Extension

Brief Position Overview

Extension work at MSU is defined as, the creation of partnerships, programs, and plans through Extension, or other community-based research, that leverage the knowledge and resources of the university and the public/private sector to enhance learning, discovery, and engagement; educate and engage citizens; strengthen communities; address locally identified issues and problems; apply and disseminate knowledge; and contribute to the public good.