September 2, 2008

Ones To Watch: Charlie Cole

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary celebration, we are profiling industry people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 10th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Charlie Cole of Cole Gardens. Age–26 His Job–Charlie is general manager at Cole Gardens, the retail location. His job in New Hampshire is to take care of day-to-day operations, marketing and advertising and purchasing trees and shrubs, hardgoods and perennials. The most important part of his job, he says, is customer service. “It is exciting to help customers find solutions to their garden problems or find the perfect plant to finish a garden,” Charlie says. Learning Early–Growing up, Charlie and his dad, Doug, had discussions about the business and changes in the industry. Charlie got involved with OFA during college because of his dad, and he learned the notion from […]

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September 2, 2008

ASTA Introduces New Leadership

The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) recently announced a new slate of officers and changes to its board of directors, association divisions and committees. Kelly Keithly was elected chairman of the officers, Jerry Monk was elected vice chairman and John Nelson was elected as second vice chairman. Keithly is founder and president of Keithly-Williams Seeds of Holtville, Calif., and he gives ASTA extensive knowledge of the vegetable seed business. Keithly previously served as president of the California Seed Association, as well as other positions within ASTA. Monk, who is president of Texas-based Kelly Green Seeds and Warner Seeds, is a 35-year veteran of the seed industry. He has served as president of both the Texas Seed Trade Association and the Southern Seed Association and on various ASTA divisions and committees. Nelsen is president and CEO of RiceTec, Inc., in Alvin, Texas. He is a strategic planner and business analyst for […]

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August 20, 2008

Sustainability – Part II

I need to be honest right now–I didn’t think the sustainability trend would last this long. In business, as many of you have told us, the most important thing is sustaining profits, which isn’t always in line with the more expensive up-front costs of the techniques that make greenhouse production sustainable. But you still haven’t given up on it, and I’m glad you haven’t. From the conversations I heard at Short Course, you may be deeper in sustainability than ever. What I like is that so many of you are doing it your own way and taking what you need from sustainability. In the South, you’re looking at water conservation. All over you’re looking at keeping your employees safer with low or no REI products. And if you’re ready, you’re looking at being called “quantifiably sustainable” by several certification organizations out there. At the Short Course Grower Town Hall meeting, […]

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August 20, 2008

BenchPress Profile: Bill McCurry

Bill McCurry is chairman of McCurry Associates, a consulting firm based in Princeton, N.J. He is a regular speaker at industry events like OFA Short Course, where he led discussions on family business this year and divulged strategies to bring older and younger generations together for common goals. Bill has advised many growers through difficult financial situations, helping them buy, sell or restructure their business. One of your Short Course sessions this year was designed to offer parents strategies for advancing their kids in the family business, and another was geared toward kids and how they can become successful CEOs. How did those sessions turn out? “Well actually, a lot of parents were upset that their kids did not get up in time for the 9:30 a.m. session. I said to the parents of these kids that they are naive if they do not take that behavior as an indication […]

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August 18, 2008

Ones To Watch: Chad Underwood

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary celebration, we are profiling industry people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its eighth week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Chad Underwood of Kalamazoo Flower Group.   Age–35   His Job–Before Chad became president and general manager at Kalamazoo Flower Group, he first rose through the ranks as a seasonal customer service representative for the former sales division of the Kalamazoo Valley Plant Growers co-op. He has now been in the industry for 12 years.   Best Advice–”Plan your work and work your plan!” Chad says you have to have a vision for what you want to accomplish, then have the guts to trust your plan. He follows Stephen R. Covey’s messages of taking a principles-based approach to life and prioritizing work that is important. “In our business, it’s hard […]

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August 6, 2008

Ones To Watch: Todd Lighthouse

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary celebration, we are profiling industry people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its sixth week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Todd Lighthouse of Lighthouse Gardens in Honeoye Falls, N.Y. Age - 32 His Job–Todd is the sole proprietor and head grower at Lighthouse Gardens in Honeoye Falls, N.Y. He’s also the company’s founder, and he has bachelor’s degrees in biology and anthropology with a concentration in ethnobotany. Craving Pressure–Whether the ideas Todd implements succeed or fail, he is accountable for everything at Lighthouse Gardens. “It is incredibly empowering to know that you control every aspect of your business and which path your business will take,” he says. A Martial Artist–Todd practices Aikido, a modern martial art defined as the way of harmony. He even transfers the principles of Aikido to […]

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August 6, 2008

Wal-Mart Warns Of Democratic Win

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Wal-Mart is mobilizing its store managers and warning them that a Democratic win in November likely will result in legislation that makes it easier for employees to unionize companies. Wal-Mart stresses the downside for workers if the stores become unionized, but the company insists it has not told employees how to vote in the upcoming election. Wal-Mart managers who attended mandatory meetings say company executives claim employees would have to pay union dues, while receiving nothing in return, and could be forced to strike without pay. They also claim unionization would result in lost jobs because of rising labor costs. “The meeting leader said, ‘I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won’t have a vote on whether you want a union,'” says a Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor from Missouri. “I am not […]

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July 30, 2008

Schaan, Courtright Head Up ANLA

Greg Schaan of Imperial Nurseries assumed the presidency of the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) and Tom Courtright of Orchard Nursery & Florist was elected president-elect of the board of directors at the association’s annual meeting in Columbus. John Bryant of Millican Nurseries and Stan Brown of Alameda Wholesale Nursery join Courtright on the ANLA board of directors. Several other newcomers were elected to ANLA’s division boards: - Matt Sawyer of Bennett’s Creek Wholesale Nursery, Landscape Distribution Division Board–Steve Hutton of The Conard-Pyle Company and Peter Scarff of Scarff’s Nursery, Grower Division Board–Scott Price of Snow’s and Kyle Natorp of Natorp’s, Landscape Division Board Schaan previously served as president-elect, and he brings 12 years experience with Imperial Nurseries plus non-industry, corporate experience to his new role. “I have now served for four years with a board (ANLA’s) that while dealing with the current issues of the day, keeps one […]

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July 30, 2008

Ones To Watch: Abe and Art Van Wingerden

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary celebration, we are profiling industry people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its fifth week, our Ones To Watch series continues with Abe and Art Van Wingerden, the brothers at the helm of Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, N.C. Ages–38 (Abe) and 40 (Art) Their jobs–Younger brother Abe is president of sales, marketing and merchandising while Art is president of greenhouse operations. Both are CEOs. A lot of labor–With 680 full-time employees, Metrolina is constantly forced to develop new programs to train and retain its best employees. Speaking out–Abe speaks about four or five times each year at colleges and universities or trade shows to remind his peers about the value the industry offers. “People outside the industry understand how we are a great industry for growth and a great industry to work in […]

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July 30, 2008

Nursery: Plant Loss A Result Of Wal-Mart Salt

Roemer Nursery in Madison Township, Ohio, has suffered significant plant loss over the last two years. Nursery officials say Wal-Mart’s snow-melting salt is the source, contaminating the water in its supply pond to the point where it’s unusable. The News-Herald in Willoughby, Ohio, first reported the story. The situation at Roemer is so bleak, nursery Vice President Lisa Ungers says, that Roemer might eventually be forced to close. Wal-Mart, on the other hand, argues that the cause of water contamination and consequent plant loss at Roemer could be the result of multiple sources–none of which are caused by Wal-Mart. To read the full News-Herald story, click here.

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July 23, 2008

OFA Elects, Appoints New Officials

Bobby Barnitz of Bob’s Market & Greenhouses in Mason, W.Va., was re-elected as OFA president and Danny Takao of Takao Nursery in Fresno, Calif., was re-elected as vice president at Short Course this year. Five new members were also elected, and three appointments to the OFA board of directors were made. The five directors elected to the board are: - Mark Foertmeyer of Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse in Delaware, Ohio, as Ohio grower.–Joe Moore of Lucas Greenhouse in Monroeville, N.J., as grower at-large.–Jerry Dill of Dill’s Greenhouse in Groveport, Ohio, as Ohio garden center.–Dan Johnson of Tri-State Foliage in Cincinnati, Ohio, as interior plantscape at-large.–David Kuack of Branch-Smith Publishing in Fort Worth, Texas, as allied trade. And the three appointments made were: - Mike McCabe of McCabe’s Greenhouse and Floral in Lawrenceburg, Ind., as board liaison to the executive committee.–Jim Broderick of Plantland Garden Center in Columbus, Ohio as OFA […]

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July 22, 2008

BenchPress Profile: John Orendorff

John Orendorff is general manager and equity partner of GardenReady Solutions, a live goods logistics company in Texas that’s in its third year of operation. Orendorff worked for Wal-Mart for 15 years and became the company’s vice president of horticulture. His experience as a buyer for Wal-Mart sparked a desire to develop a model to streamline the supply chain in the live goods industry. GardenReady Solutions is his answer. What was your take on the live goods industry as a vice president for Wal-Mart? “Over my span of about 15 years at Wal-Mart and in my experience before, I noticed there was a lull in the marketplace about getting product to market. You were always handcuffed as a buyer, or even as a grower, getting certain products to market because you could never meet minimums. The funny thing is that everybody was looking at different ways to do deliveries because […]

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