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...
Dramm-Echter-Pink-Gerbera-Daisies

November 22, 2016

Dramm & Echter Donates Pink Gerbera Daisies During Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day Event

“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 Almost $20,000

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
Latest Stories
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
America In Bloom Project

August 29, 2016

Your Chance To Help America In Bloom As It Celebrates I…

America In Bloom is launching a fundraising campaign to help the group continue its mission of creating beautiful and vibrant communities across the country.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generatio…

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

August 25, 2016

7 Ways Albert Grimm Strives To Be An Effective Leader

Grimm, Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, tries to live by the "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” from author Stephen R. Covey.

Read More
LuxFlora - feature

August 22, 2016

Check Out Luxflora’s International Adventures In Europe

A new, women-led professional organization provides its members the opportunity to gain insight, develop ideas, and build connections on its annual international trip.

Read More
Echinacea ‘Butterfly Rainbow Marcella’

August 12, 2016

IR-4 Project Receives Federal Funding For Pollinator An…

Grants from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative will fund IR-4 projects on protecting pollinators through ornamental horticulture, and downy mildew management strategies.

Read More
Emily Teng

August 11, 2016

American Floral Endowment Announces Its 2016 Scholarshi…

This year, thanks to the generosity of several donors, AFE awarded more than $35,000 to 17 students pursuing careers in horticulture.

Read More
Josh Henry, North Carolina State University

August 8, 2016

Get To Know Joshua Henry, Winner Of The 2016 Richard T.…

Henry, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, is pursuing a Master’s degree in horticultural sciences, with a focus on crop nutrition in bedding plants and flowering potted plants.

Read More
Workers

July 23, 2016

5 Reasons To Invest In Employee Training

Training and developing your employees is critical to the future success of your organization and the horticulture industry at large. Here are five reasons why your employees are worth the effort.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]