As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we are profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 20th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Andy Ambrosio of Wenke Greenhouses in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Age – 50
His Job–Andy is sales and marketing manager for Wenke Greenhouses in Kalamazoo, Mich. Years ago, he was district and regional sales manager for the Sony Corporation of America. Andy obtained an MBA from DePaul University.
Taking A Unique Path – Wenke focuses a high percentage of its production toward independent garden centers, landscapers and landscape wholesale operations, even though it is one of the largest growers in the country–29th on our Top 100 Growers List. Wenke, of course, also serves its own retail store, and it’s heavily involved with the young plants segment of the industry.
Gotta Haves – The keys to a successful future for Wenke, Andy says, are understanding production costs, working with new branded programs and developing a faster, more effective order-entry process. “The ability to greatly reduce energy usage and the development of new, bio-friendly packaging are of high importance.”
Twenty-Five Years From Now–Diesel must be priced around $2.50 per gallon, and natural gas will have to be around $6 per MCF for greenhouse operations to remain successful. Consumers will also have to express interest in wanting to plant flowers, as well. “Like any other industry, we have to understand our cost structure, price our products accordingly, minimize all transaction costs, manage our logistics and always strive to have superior customer relationships.”
Why He’s One To Watch–Andy is very active and plays a key role with the revamped Kalamazoo Flower Group brokerage division. He believes in serving independent garden centers, and he’s focused on delivering value specifically for them and landscapers.