Ludvig Svensson, Inc. recently announced the addition of Katherine Wolper as its West Coast Sales Manager.
“Katherine brings a strong wealth of multi-faceted industry knowledge which our customers can leverage to grow their businesses even stronger,” says Mauricio Manotas, President of Svensson’s Americas group.
Wolper joins Svensson’s North American sales team with more than 15 years of industry experience, including five years as the Northwest Account Manager for MasterTag and five years as Retail Ready and Key Account Manager for Tagawa Greenhouse. She brings a wide range of retail, greenhouse, and market knowledge to the position.
Based out of Portland, OR, Wolper will support the company’s growing customer base in both the U.S. and Canada, servicing growers and distributors throughout the West Coast. She graduated with a business degree from Portland State University.
Greenhouse Grower magazine recently asked Wolper about her new role, and how she plans to work with the greenhouse industry in dealing with critical issues.
Greenhouse Grower (GG): How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?
Wolper: The vast amount of knowledge and experience I was able to pick up working for a grower and then a marketing solutions company (and all the retailers I became familiar with along the way) has helped give me a broad view of our industry as a whole. I’m able to take that experience and relate to Ludvig Svensson’s customers on a myriad of levels. The needs of being a grower, a retailer, and a supplier can vary greatly; however, at the end of the day, we’re all looking for the same thing: how do we make our business and our industry thrive in an ever-changing landscape? I believe that my varied industry knowledge helps me relate to Svensson customers and ultimately helps them better utilize our products to be successful.
GG: What are the some of the biggest issues or concerns you’ve heard from the growers you work with, and how do you plan to help them deal with these issues?
Wolper: The majority of growers struggle daily with how to make their business profitable and keep their heads above water. We work in an ever-changing industry and environment, and there are so many factors out of your control that affect your bottom line. You can’t rest on your laurels; one amazing year does not guarantee a successful following year. By understanding the challenges of being a grower, and really listening to each customer’s concerns and needs, I can help growers effectively leverage innovative products and solutions like those Ludvig Svensson offers to help ensure that their growing climate is under control (well, at least as much as we humans are able!).
GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing? Conversely, what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?
Wolper: One of the biggest challenges facing our industry today is climate change. Extreme weather events like drought and flooding, changing production regions, increased temperatures, and reduced water availability have a major impact on how, what, and where we grow, and present us with a range of challenges and opportunities. There is no textbook solution to the problem; we must continue to innovate and adapt to stay on top of the changing environment. The new technologies that have come out of these challenges, and the solutions we will continue to find, are incredibly exciting. It’s a testament to what an amazing industry we are working in.
Conversely, with the changing climate we are seeing a new generation of gardeners who realize the important role plants play in our everyday lives, and the impact that awareness can have on the environment. More and more homeowners are converting their yards to food gardens, and/or planting nature habitats to help local wildlife and bees thrive in their communities. There is a rising awareness of how a single person’s actions can affect others on a global scale. How do we reach and educate these gardeners? How do we help them minimize their footprint? How do we continue to capture their interest and help them be successful? What new varieties are they looking for? Our industry has limitless opportunities to touch and affect someone’s day-to-day life, so how do we make their lives better? By asking ourselves these questions, we can continue to create new products and ensure the continued growth of our industry.
GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward?
Wolper: Never underestimate the importance of being an engaged listener. My role is not to sell a product; my role is to listen to the needs of growers and suppliers and to work to resolve their problems. By listening to the grower and understanding their concerns and the obstacles they face, I can then take that information back to Ludvig Svensson, and we can work to find a solution. By creating innovative products that create better climates for plants and businesses, we are ensuring the success of growers and the health of our industry.
GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
Wolper: Honestly, I have a hard time seeing myself working in any other industry. I was lucky to grow up with an avid gardener and nature lover for a father, and our home was surrounded by prolific vegetable and flower gardens. I enjoy meeting new people and learning their life stories, and I love to travel. My role in this industry allows me the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people, while frequently being surrounded by plants and flowers, and it is such a varied industry that there is always something new to learn. What could be better than that?