November 12, 2008

Ones To Watch: Andy Ambrosio

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 […]

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November 11, 2008

Guidelines To Success by Will Carlson

It may be that no one can accurately predict the future 25 years from now or even imagine what our industry will look like. However, 25 years ago, when Dick Meister and I decided to start Greenhouse Grower magazine, his words of wisdom were, “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” so here are my thoughts on what a “grower” will be in 2033. I’ll never forget what Neil Mast, a good old Dutch grower, told me about 25 years ago when I said, “You need to get a computer.” He said, “Will, my mother and father gave me a computer when I was born.” I said, “Neil, they didn’t have computers 60 years ago.” He smiled at me and said, “Oh yes they did. My computer is between my two ears and it has more data, information and knowledge in it than any computer you have.” Neil […]

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November 11, 2008

Defining Greatness by John Van Wingerden

Our industry is at a crossroads. Negative economic indicators, poor consumer confidence, surplus production and challenging distribution costs are just a few of the realities of the day. The opportunities that result from a combination of unique macroeconomic conditions and changing consumer demands require our industry to set priorities and will continue to be what determines whether growers embrace the future and its opportunities or run away from it. As one writer in Fortune magazine wrote recently, “Downturns aren’t for wimps.” Although the times are tough, we can be thankful the same principles that have characterized successful operations of the past within our industry still apply today. Low-cost production, efficient distribution and first-class marketing have been and will continue to be the critical issues in the next 25 years. It is the implementation and execution of these principles that will separate the men from the boys. Low-Cost Production: The importance […]

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November 11, 2008

Commit To Being Green by Mark Elzinga

Sustainability will not only continue to be an issue in the minds of consumers but will one day drive the very decisions they make. The companies that realize this will be the ones ultimately successful in the coming years. For the sake of the planet’s future, we cannot allow sustainability to become a fad. The earth is a closed “system” which is adversely affected by decreases in its renewable and non-renewable resources, as well as increases in poisonous emissions. Keep in mind that anything diminished at a rate of 2 percent a year will only be half as much in 25 years. The same concept applies to anything that multiplies. With the widening consumption of previously non-industrialized third-world countries, the rate of exhaustion of the earth’s resources has become even more accelerated–as will the emissions that follow. It is this ever-increasing depletion of our global resources that has forced more […]

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November 4, 2008

Ones To Watch: Lawrence Ohlman III

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 19th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Lawrence Ohlman III of Ohlman Farm & Greenhouse in Toledo, Ohio. Age–29 His Job–Lawrence is part of the fifth generation family business, Ohlman Farm & Greenhouse, in Toledo, Ohio. He’s currently studying at the University of Toledo, pursuing an MBA in finance and marketing. An Eye For The Future - Innovation and creativity will determine how growers develop over the next quarter-century. Making more local purchases will also become more of a trend. “Working together with local grower groups is imperative to competing in today’s marketplace,” Lawrence says. “The industry needs to be more business-minded for the long haul. Many times, it’s not about growing plants, but business strategy, product development and […]

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November 3, 2008

SNA Disaster Relief Forum Helping Those In Need

The Atlantic and Gulf Coast states were battered during hurricane season, but the Southern Nursery Association’s (SNA) Disaster Relief Committee played a role in keeping growers afloat with an online forum to share information and help those in need. The forum should also play a role as a grower tool in the coming months if growers encounter wintry dilemmas. The forum is hosted on the SNA Web site at www.sna.org, and it’s available for anyone who wants to communicate or stay informed regarding an ongoing situation or natural disaster. “After Hurricane Ike hit Texas, we offered the forum to the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association,” says Andy Zimlich, chair of the committee. “Any state or local association who needs to use the forum is welcome to do so.”

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October 29, 2008

Ones To Watch: Dominik Neisser

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 18th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Dominik Neisser of EuroAmerican, who was featured in our October issue. Age–34 His Job–Dominik is the assistant lead grower at EuroAmerican. He was born into a horticultural family in Germany, where he worked in greenhouse production before becoming an intern with EuroAmerican through The Ohio State University. Aside from his role of grower, Dominik is also a member of a Proven Winners grower group that exchanges information about Proven Winners varieties. The Plants Of Tomorrow–At EuroAmerican, Dominik is one person who’s constantly in search of new varieties, and he’s trying to develop the perfect production practices–if there is such a thing–to provide the highest quality liners possible for the market. To enhance […]

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October 21, 2008

Growers Optimistic Amid Economic Turmoil

Sales are down this fall but spirits remain mostly high among growers, despite the current state of the economy. We asked a few top growers, including some of our Ones To Watch, how market conditions are affecting their own greenhouse operations and their plans for the coming year. Abe Van Wingerden, president of sales, marketing and merchandising Metrolina Greenhouses; Huntersville, N.C. “We do not plan any large-scale changes in 2009 versus what our original plan was. Yes, we are tightening expenses, but our expansion plans continue, we will still do the full amount of contract growing we had planned and our long-term goals are still in place. We still feel good about 2009 and the ability to drive sales in a tough environment. Reasons we are bullish: “Our scan data in the fall has been 20 percent stronger than last year on mums and pansies–and still well ahead of 2006, […]

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October 21, 2008

Ones To Watch: Peggy Van de Wetering

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 17th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Peggy Van de Wetering of Ivy Acres, who was featured in our October issue. Age–39 Her Job–Peggy is marketing manager at Ivy Acres in Baiting Hollow, N.Y., where she’s been active creating brand awareness for the StrawPot. Peggy earned a Certificate of Horticulture at Michigan State University, and she holds a bachelor’s degree from Colby-Sawyer College. “It was always my plan to work in the family business,” she says. Packaging Comes First–One factor that separates Ivy Acres from other operations is packaging, Peggy says. She enjoys searching the world for new ideas and believes Ivy Acres has always challenged the industry with truly unique packaging creations. “We strive to stay outside the […]

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October 21, 2008

Hypercompetition In Our Green Industry

Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, will lecture on the dynamics of hypercompetition in the green industry Friday, Oct. 31 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). Hall will address proactive strategies growers, service providers and retailers can use to compete profitably as consumer demand in the green industry matures. Hall’s presentation in Wooster, Ohio, will be followed by a luncheon and floriculture open house from 12-3 p.m. Michelle Jones, the new D.C. Kiplinger Chair in Floriculture at Ohio State University, will be introduced. Current and future floriculture research projects will also be discussed. Those interested in attending can RSVP by Oct. 27 to Jones at jones.1968@osu.edu or (330) 263-3885.

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October 20, 2008

BenchPress Profile: Bart Hayes

Bart Hayes, a graduate of The Ohio State University (OSU) floriculture program, was named annual trials manager at his alma mater in October 2007. He has spent his entire career in Central Ohio, first serving Timbuk Farms in Granville as assistant grower before moving along as a grower to Baker’s Acres Greenhouse in Alexandria. Timbuk Farms, a one-time rooting station for Ball Seed Company, exposed Bart to liner and spring production. He later led production of all potted plants during his time at Baker’s Acres, a grower-retailer. What’s the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make going from commercial growing to the university environment? “Production at Baker’s Acres had a different pace and was a different type of work. Since I started my career in a big production model, I learned the most efficient procedures using the least labor possible while minimizing inputs so I could maximize the benefits you get […]

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