WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced on Aug. 9 that Paul Bertels, former director of agricultural economic analyses and environmental impacts, has been promoted to the position of vice-president for production and utilization. Bertels assumes a pivotal position coordinating the staff and activities for the former research and business development department.

"For a dozen years, Paul has played a valuable role in our organization and we are excited about the experience and perspective that he brings to our management team," said NCGA Chief Executive Officer Rick Tolman. "Given his strong leadership experience and intense personal motivation, Paul will be able to provide the direction that we need as we continue to adapt and look toward the future."

In his new role, he is responsible for strategic and on-going departmental program planning and staff oversight and serves on the NCGA management team.

NCGA said Bertels brings considerable business analysis experience to the position. Prior to his employment at NCGA, he worked as an agricultural economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

Bertels has worked in agriculture from a young age, growing up on a grain and cattle farm in southwest Illinois. He then went on to earn both a bachelor’s of sciences degree in animal sciences and a master’s of sciences degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois.

Bertels also gained significant leadership experience through his work both with NCGA and in the U.S. Army. In 1998, he joined the NCGA in St. Louis as director of production and marketing. As an officer in the Illinois Army National Guard, Bertels took a military leave of absence from NCGA in 2003 that included a tour of duty in Iraq. Following his return in 2005, he was appointed director of agricultural economic analyses and environmental impacts.

In 2008, Bertels was recalled to active duty and deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as a mentor to the Afghan National Army. He returned to the NCGA in November 2009, where he focused on general economics, trade and cap-and-trade issues.

Bertels remains involved in agriculture on a more personal level, running a small farming operation with the assistance of his four sons.