As the head grower for Al’s Garden Center and Greenhouses, Jill West leads by example, working alongside her team while also staying on the leading edge of growing techniques and new technology.
West has been with Al’s Garden Center and Greenhouses for six years, having relocated from the east coast to take on the role of head grower and production manager, overseeing crop management and production planning.
In the time West has been there, the company has been able to institute a comprehensive cost analysis program that allows it to make more informed decisions about product selection, as well as examine practices, in an effort to reduce expenses and increase labor efficiencies while simultaneously improving crop quality and profit margins.
There has also been a focus on improving communication between the two sides of the business, taking advantage of the grower-retailer status to improve availability of products, improve ordering efficiencies and product delivery and focus on feedback from retail customers.
“Jill has a strong vision of what our operation can achieve, and she motivates employees by sharing her ideas and trying new things, showing them that no matter how comfortable we get as a company, there is always room for improvement,” says David Worth, assistant grower for Al’s Garden Center and Greenhouses.
West says she loves being part of an industry that brings value to people’s lives.
“Plants are an integral part of people’s lives,” West says. “I love when people find out what I do and immediately want to ‘talk shop.’ It’s nice to be a part of something that so many people have a passion for and proves the old adage, if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life.”
West says she believes that one of the best qualities a grower can have is adaptability, and that not being afraid to try new things will keep the industry going.
“Receiving this nomination from my industry peers and colleagues is both humbling and rewarding” says West. “However, it’s not just a reflection on my personal efforts, but also a testament to the fantastic people I get to work with every day, each of whom play a critical role in executing the plan and working together to achieved the desired result. To me it’s a wonderful opportunity to thank and recognize each member of my team because none of it would be possible without them.”