Ron Godden of Wenke Greenhouses enjoys the challenge of growing and has a genuine love for the intensity of the spring season.
Godden started as a general laborer and assistant grower with Wenke Greenhouses 22 years ago. He had previously worked for an herb farm for 10 years, and Wenke’s was interested in starting an herb program.
When the operation started a rooting station for breeders, the opportunity came about to learn how to grow plugs and liners. Godden’s focus has been on young plants for almost 20 years now.
Wenke Greenhouses has since expanded to become one of the top 10 young plant suppliers in the country.
“Our variety list has expanded, and the complexity of what we do continues to increase as we change to meet the needs of our customers,” says Godden.
Godden also enjoys the challenge of learning how to grow all the different varieties offered by the operation.
“When I learn the tiny detail that makes something that only had a 50 percent germination before have 98 percent germination consistently, I have a sense of accomplishment,” he says.
Godden is committed to the overall quality of the greenhouse and personally checks each operation every day and works with assistants to constantly improve overall production. He pays attention to the details that make a difference and possesses a willingness to adapt and a willingness to learn from mistakes.
“I am willing to let the people who work under my direction make their own decisions within certain parameters,” he says. “This helps us both to learn.”
Even today, he takes the time to work on professional development, participating in webinars and attending short courses and meeting with other local growers.
“He is constantly bringing new ideas on ways to improve greenhouse production,” says Deanna Felton of Wenke Greenhouses. “Everyone respects his opinions and ideas.”
Godden is skilled when it comes to communicating with his staff, Felton says.
“He realizes that in order to be great you need to have a team that works toward one common goal,” she says.
“I was shocked and honored (to receive this nomination),” says Godden. “I have respected and asked for advice from the growers who have been nominated in the past.”