Investing In People

Investing In People

Joe Moore of Lucas GreenhousesGeorge and Louise Lucas share their success with long-term, dedicated employees. For instance, Lori Fletcher, who manages all the orders and systems that go with them, has been with the company 21 years. Head grower Joe Moore (pictured) has been there for nearly 30 years, starting at age 11.

“We try to make Lucas Greenhouses a great place to work, like a family environment, and treat people fairly,” George says. “We want this to be a career. I try to emphasize to all the employees that as my business makes money, they will also make money, get a good bonus and pay raise. I make sure I share the business with everybody and am not putting all the money in my pocket. I know my business does not exist without them. You can have all the good ideas you want, but you have to put them into practice and execute, or you’re not going to make it.”

Louise adds, “We want people to take pride in what they’re doing and feel like individuals, whether it’s Joe (Moore) making up combos that he decides or Tim (Moore) being creative in marketing.”

As the head grower, Joe is the employee who is most nationally known in the industry. He is regarded as one of the best growers in the country and serves on the OFA board of directors. All of his horticultural training has been on the job and he has developed an extensive network to share information back and forth with other growers, which leads to new ideas and practices to incorporate.

“One reason I’ve had the success I’ve been able to achieve as a grower is I’ve been given the free range to run and develop the production side of the business here,” he says. “I’m not crazy enough to think I would or could have had the success I’ve had without having been given those opportunities. I pretty much have final say and responsibility in every area of production and growing of the crops here, along with a lot of input into the running of the business itself. That’s pretty rare.”

One lesson that has always stuck with him is the importance of consistency. “Louise probably doesn’t remember this, but when I was still pretty young and wanting to take on some additional responsibilities, she reminded me that in order to take on more, I had to be sure to be consistent with what I had already been given,” Joe says. “That has stuck with me for all of those years since.”

Fletcher marvels at the evolution she has witnessed at the company during her tenure. While she started working in the greenhouse when all production tasks were performed manually, in the office she has played a role in integrating order-entry software from breeders and brokers. “George and Louise have built their business with pride, honesty and integrity,” she says. “I have watched George work side by side with all of us. He would never ask someone to do a job that he would not do himself. George and Louise are the most generous and understanding people I have met.”

Dave Miller, who manages site work, subcontractors and construction crews for all the building projects, worked for Lucas Greenhouses as a kid in 1985 and then returned after having his own landscaping business. “George and Louise always have treated all of us as though we were partners rather than just employees, allowing us to make our choices and live with the results whether good or bad,” Miller says. “It is a great honor for the company to win this award (Grower of the Year). It takes many key people in the right positions with the right attitudes, and also the right type of owners to let everyone develop their own style and trust in them to let them take their own small part of the company and run with it.”

Leave a Reply

More From Labor...
labor-supply-and-quality

March 27, 2017

Your Help is Needed to Save H-2B Returning Worker Exemption

AmericanHort is leading the charge on this effort, but you can also help by contacting your elected officials via phone calls and social media, or by sending AmericanHort your personal story.

Read More
epa-wps-guide-feature-image

January 2, 2017

How Do You Comply With the New Worker Protection Standard? There’s a Guide for That

EPA, in conjunction with the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative, has provided a guide to help users of agricultural pesticides comply with the requirements of the 2015 revised federal Worker Protection Standard.

Read More
Workers are required to wear uniforms and use tools restricted to the section of the facility where they work, and street clothes are prohibited

December 16, 2016

House Failure To Address H-2B Exemption Could Affect Spring 2017 Season

Despite efforts by AmericanHort and others in the industry, the House of Representatives failed to renew the Returning Worker Exemption, a policy that helps ensure that small and seasonal businesses have an adequate workforce for the peak spring season.

Read More
Latest Stories
labor-supply-and-quality

March 27, 2017

Your Help is Needed to Save H-2B Returning Worker Exemp…

AmericanHort is leading the charge on this effort, but you can also help by contacting your elected officials via phone calls and social media, or by sending AmericanHort your personal story.

Read More
epa-wps-guide-feature-image

January 2, 2017

How Do You Comply With the New Worker Protection Standa…

EPA, in conjunction with the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative, has provided a guide to help users of agricultural pesticides comply with the requirements of the 2015 revised federal Worker Protection Standard.

Read More
Workers are required to wear uniforms and use tools restricted to the section of the facility where they work, and street clothes are prohibited

December 16, 2016

House Failure To Address H-2B Exemption Could Affect Sp…

Despite efforts by AmericanHort and others in the industry, the House of Representatives failed to renew the Returning Worker Exemption, a policy that helps ensure that small and seasonal businesses have an adequate workforce for the peak spring season.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-veterans-workforce

December 13, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Navigates The H-2A Program

Joe Bailey, Human Resources Director at Bailey Nurseries says each operation has to analyze their situation and decide for themselves if the H-2A program is right for them.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-team-feature

December 5, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Has Found Solutions To The Labor S…

A changing seasonal workforce led this Minnesota-based company to explore new labor sources through the H-2A program and refugee organizations, and it’s working out for the better.

Read More
american-floral-endowment-horticulture-careers-video

October 26, 2016

New American Floral Endowment Video Creates Awareness A…

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has created a video to promote careers in floriculture and horticulture and to inform students about AFE scholarship and internship programs.

Read More
worker-protection-standard

October 25, 2016

EPA’s Worker Protection Changes To Take Effect In Janua…

The EPA has made a significant number of changes to the Worker Protection Standard, and growers must be compliant by January 2017. Experts from Michigan State University Extension outline how some of these changes could affect you.

Read More
young-professionals

October 25, 2016

AFE Develops Employer Resource Guide For Floral Interns…

The guide was created to help greenhouse and floral companies build a successful internship program, with easy-to-use guidelines and steps to create meaningful learning experiences for the next generation of business leaders.

Read More
EuroAmerican Propagators Greenhouses

October 4, 2016

The New Realities Of Labor Broached At AmericanHort’s 2…

During a labor presentation given at AmericanHort’s 2016 Plug & Cutting Conference, three industry players give their take on the current labor crisis and offer solutions to address the growing challenges.

Read More
Employees separate the plants by stem count, bud development and height. “This process allows us to respond more quickly to specific requests from customers,” Van Wingerden says

September 22, 2016

AmericanHort Hosting Webinar On Overtime Rule Complianc…

The webinar takes place on Thursday, Sept. 29. AmericanHort is also throwing its support behind the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act.

Read More
Workers

September 20, 2016

How California’s New Overtime Law Will Affect Greenhous…

Some growers say they will have to make hard decisions about worker benefits or the crops they grow. One thing is certain: the need to automate is now more critical than ever.

Read More
Workers at Golden State Bulb Growers clean Calla tubers and select the best quality bulbs, placing them on conveyors to be graded, counted and sorted in the new system

September 13, 2016

Newly Signed California Law Expands Overtime To Farmwor…

The new law, which will be phased in beginning in 2019, is the first of its kind in the nation to end the 80-year-old practice of applying separate labor rules to agricultural laborers.

Read More
Workers at The Farm at Green Village

September 10, 2016

Now Is The Best Time To Demand Federal H-2B Program Sup…

Congress is expected to pass a continuing resolution spending bill in the near future, and whether or not that measure includes an H-2B returning worker exemption could impact your labor supply for 2017.

Read More
Michigan State University Employee Handbook

September 2, 2016

Why You Might Need An Employee Handbook For Your Greenh…

Employee handbooks are not just for big greenhouse operations that employ large numbers of workers. According to a Michigan State University expert, they are an important human resources management tool that all growers should have.

Read More
The-Capitol

June 14, 2016

Fate Of H-2B Program A Hot Topic On Capitol Hill This W…

Following a Senate hearing on the economic impact of the H-2B Program, the House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to take up its own version of a funding bill this week.

Read More

May 3, 2016

Migrant Farm Workers Moving Around Less Than In The Pas…

The number of farm workers who migrate and work on multiple farms during the growing season dropped from 55% in 1998 to 20% in 2009.

Read More

January 3, 2016

60,000 New Ag Jobs Leave Employers Scrambling For Talen…

A new report indicates that while new jobs in the agriculture industry may be plentiful, there are not enough new ag graduates to fill the positions.

Read More

December 22, 2015

Newly Signed 2016 Spending Bill Includes H-2B Relief Pr…

Late last week, President Obama signed into law an omnibus spending bill for the fiscal year 2016 that includes important H-2B relief provisions.

Read More