Saluting Tomorrow’s Leaders

For 24 years, Greenhouse Grower has been honored to present the Grower of the Year award, recognizing growers who are moving the industry forward. The recipients have been the best and brightest in our industry and reasons why we are gung-ho looking to the next 25 years. Who will be our 25th Grower of the Year? You can help decide.

To commemorate this milestone, we will take this award to a new level by presenting it during the OFA Short Course in July. This award will become part of an “Evening of Excellence” and add a strong grower component to our successful Medal of Excellence program, which recognizes innovative varieties, marketing programs and the organizations and individuals behind them. Together, Grower of the Year and our Medal of Excellence program become a fascinating floriculture hall of fame.

When we consider candidates for Grower of the Year, we not only think about why this grower or operation, but also why this year. When the award ties in with pressing industry issues and developments, timing is more critical. To get an idea of which growers have won in the past, here are the past 24 Growers of the Year:

1985–Jack & Peter Van de Wetering, Ivy Acres, Calverton, N.Y., for their entrepreneurial spirit and leadership in the bedding plant industry.

1986–Jim Youngsman, Skagit Gardens, Mt. Vernon, Wash., for ingenuity turning problems into opportunities, including embracing infrared heating.

1987–Arne Thirup, Pajaro Valley Greenhouses, Watsonville, Calif., for efforts to form the Floral Trade Council to represent cut flower growers on trade issues.

1988–Sonny Connor, Heritage Greenhouses, Mt. Dora, Fla., for leadership promoting foliage plants through the Foliage Marketing Institute. 

1989–Tim Haley, Pikes Peak Greenhouses, Colorado Springs, Colo., for fighting for fair international trade in cut flowers.

1990–Norm White, White’s Nursery & Greenhouses, Chesapeake, Va., for leadership growing blooming potted plants and efforts developing grades and standards.

1991–Kee Kitayama, Kitayama Brothers, Union City, Calif., for spearheading the formation of the California Cut Flower Commission.

1992–Kalamazoo Valley Plant Growers Cooperative, Kalamazoo, Mich., for its growers serving markets together while setting standards for quality, packaging and pricing.

1993–Larry Windham, Windham’s Greenhouse, Glenwood, Ga., for leading the Georgia Commercial Flower Growers’ efforts to get a state law passed, requiring manufacturers to label contents of growing media.

1994–Russell Weiss, Kurt Weiss Florist, Center Moriches, N.Y., for mass-market leadership and his efforts to uphold Quarantine-37 restrictions.

1995–Tom Smith, Four Star Greenhouse, Carleton, Mich., for embracing innovations from computer software and cutting-edge production to the Magic Planter flat.

1996–David Wadsworth, Suncoast Greenhouses, Seffner, Fla., for excellence in young plant production and industry leadership.

1997–Jim Leider, Leider Horticultural Co., Buffalo Grove, Ill., for national industry leadership and dedication to business management and focused, high-quality production.

1998–John Rader, EuroAmerican Propagators, Bonsall, Calif., for his vision creating the Proven Winners brand and more markets for growers driven by innovative plants. 

1999–Lorence Wenke, Wenke Greenhouses, Kalamazoo, Mich., for leadership among Michigan’s growers and as an elected official and community leader.

2000–Terry Smith, Smith Gardens, Bellingham, Wash., for vision, enthusiasm and success leading his family business into a new century.

2001–Gary Mangum, Bell Nursery, Burtonsville, Md., for setting a new standard serving large retailers and breathing new life into contract growing networks.

2002–PJ Ellison, Ellison’s Greenhouses, Brenham, Texas, for her passion promoting our industry and the endowed floriculture chair at Texas A&M in her family’s name.

2003–Ken & Deena Altman, Altman Plants, Vista, Calif., for their innovative marketing programs for large retailers, including the VIVA! brand.

2004–Jeff & Henry Huntington, Pleasant View Gardens, Loudon, N.H., for making customers successful and leadership in Proven Winners.

2005–Lloyd & Candy Traven, Peace Tree Farm, Kintnersville, Pa., for championing small, successful wholesale growers and embracing technology.

2006–Raker Family, C. Raker & Sons, Litchfield, Mich., for their progressive corporate culture and leadership in young plants.

2007–Tim Wada, The Plug Connection, Vista, Calif., for creating opportunities for growers in organics and leadership in young plants.

2008–Mark Elzinga & Roger Rosenthal, Elzinga & Hoeksema Greenhouses, Portage, Mich., for their investment in sustainable production and alternative energy.

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
If your Wi-Fi is truly secure, your staff can help customers on the sales floor starting today

March 25, 2017

What Marketing Approach Can Attracts the Most Customers to Your Greenhouse?

Inc.com surveyed more than a thousand customers to find out which marketing strategies worked best to entice them to try out a new business

Read More
Greenhouse Loyal Customer

March 16, 2017

How Brand Enthusiasts Can Be Your Most Loyal Customers

A marketing expert shares three core principles that direct-to-consumer companies can follow to create brand enthusiasts.

Read More

February 17, 2017

How to Keep Customers Coming Back With Top-Notch Service

A recent article on Forbes.com outlines seven ways organizations can take their customer service from good to great and beyond.

Read More
Latest Stories
If your Wi-Fi is truly secure, your staff can help customers on the sales floor starting today

March 25, 2017

What Marketing Approach Can Attracts the Most Customers…

Inc.com surveyed more than a thousand customers to find out which marketing strategies worked best to entice them to try out a new business

Read More
Greenhouse Loyal Customer

March 16, 2017

How Brand Enthusiasts Can Be Your Most Loyal Customers

A marketing expert shares three core principles that direct-to-consumer companies can follow to create brand enthusiasts.

Read More

February 17, 2017

How to Keep Customers Coming Back With Top-Notch Servic…

A recent article on Forbes.com outlines seven ways organizations can take their customer service from good to great and beyond.

Read More

January 27, 2017

Why Greenhouse Growers Must Know Their Costs to Stay Co…

Tom Dudek, Senior Educator at Michigan State University Extension, says greenhouse growers should evaluate their production costs to determine if they need to make adjustments to stay competitive.

Read More
Workplace Trends

January 20, 2017

10 Trends Predicted to Impact the Workplace in 2017

Here are 10 workplace trends that Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel predicts for 2017 that may change the way you do business in the future

Read More

January 10, 2017

Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund Accepting …

The deadline for applications is May 26, and 12 scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded at the SEGreen Conference in August.

Read More
GROW Logo

December 28, 2016

Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative: A Year In Review

Staying ahead of the competition in today’s world is about remaining in constant motion with innovation. To create a competitive advantage, you must consistently experiment with and learn from new ideas. Greenhouse Grower’s GROW initiative provided cutting-edge ideas and actionable advice.

Read More
Grow Summit 2016 group shot

December 20, 2016

Less Talk, More Action At Greenhouse Grower’s GRO…

Investing in technology, developing new marketing solutions, and recruiting young growers were just a few of the issues covered at GROW Summit 2016.

Read More
Dramm-Echter-Pink-Gerbera-Daisies

November 22, 2016

Dramm & Echter Donates Pink Gerbera Daisies During …

“As a local flower farm, we are honored to show our support by sharing symbolic pink flowers with each participant as they reach the midway point on their amazing journey,” says Bob Echter, Owner of Dramm & Echter.

Read More
deming-pdsa-cycle

November 21, 2016

How The PDSA Cycle Can Help You Improve Your Business

No successful business stays stagnant, which means you should constantly be looking for ways to make improvements to your business and your products. Are you looking for a good model to follow? Try the PDSA Cycle.

Read More
afe-fundraising-dinner

November 17, 2016

AFE Fundraising Dinner Celebrates Success, Raises Almos…

The American Floral Endowment’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the 2016 Annual Fundraising Dinner, did more than just honor industry champions. It also raised nearly $20,000 for the future of floriculture programs.

Read More
hoffman-nursery-owners

November 9, 2016

How Hoffman Nursery Invests In The Future Of The Greenh…

Hoffman Nursery believes in the future leaders of horticulture, and the operation invests in several programs to cultivate young people in their careers.

Read More
2015 GROW Summit_discussion shot

October 28, 2016

How We Can Inspire Millennials To Get Involved In Horti…

By uniting our efforts, we can attract new generations of growers and consumers to the horticulture industry, starting when they are young.

Read More
green-plan-it-gardening-outdoor-nature-explore-classroom

October 22, 2016

Here’s A Great Way To Bring Horticulture And Scho…

The Green Plan It Challenge gives school students in the U.K. the opportunity to participate in a 10-week project where they rethink the role of green space and develop solutions to horticulture-related problems.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

October 19, 2016

How Jeffery’s Greenhouse Is Investing In The Indu…

Greenhouse Grower reached out to Albert Grimm, the 2016 Head Grower of the Year and Head Grower of Jeffery’s Greenhouse, to ask what he and his company have done in the last 12 months to invest in the industry. Here is what he had to say.

Read More
Dallas Johnson Greenhouses has significantly reduced the amount of time and labor spent pulling and processing orders, while improving plant quality at retail

October 1, 2016

Political Stalemate On Labor Means Your Opportunity To …

Despite the frustrating nature of our current political climate, now may be the best time for you to address your long-term labor and automation needs.

Read More
Vogel Alcove NGB Therapeutic Grant Winner

September 27, 2016

National Garden Bureau Announces Horticulture Therapy G…

The NGB’s annual grant program, Growing for Futures, recently selected three therapeutic gardens that will receive grants totaling $5,000.

Read More
customer-base

September 21, 2016

6 Creative Ways To Expand Your Business

Marketing experts offer tips to help you catch the attention of new customers and grow your business.

Read More