When I came to Greenhouse Grower as an entry-level editor at age 23, I had no idea where this garden path would lead. I had been working as a beat reporter for a small daily newspaper near Kent State University. The advertisement I responded to was for Meister Publishing, an agricultural publisher in Willoughby, Ohio. Growing up in Lakewood next to Cleveland, I knew very little about agriculture but thought it would be a good opportunity to gain magazine publishing experience and some sanity from the daily newspaper grind. I thought it would be a nice stepping stone. And the opening was on the flowers magazine – even better.
Eighteen years later, I can say it has been the most amazing journey and my life would have turned out completely differently if I had not “bloomed” on Greenhouse Grower. I fell in love with the floriculture industry and the people who serve it. I also feel so fortunate to have known and worked with legendary visionaries – past, present and future.
Another aspect I’ve liked is putting the bigger picture together as the industry transforms. Floriculture is dramatically different today than when I started. Cut flower grower Kitayama Brothers was No. 1 on our Top 100 Growers ranking and a lot of our coverage was focused on the cut flower trade. Seed annuals dominated Pack Trials and no one was growing osteospermum, nemesia, diascia or calibrachoa. Mega growers have become the big customers, securing regional market dominance as gatekeepers serving large retailers.
But the best part has been the friendships, which provided me with so many opportunities to learn, grow and expand my horizons. Through relationships with the world’s leading flower breeders and cuttings producers, I’ve visited production facilities in Central America, Europe, Asia and Africa. My new career opportunity, which will be working as a marketing consultant for Suntory, came about through an 11-year friendship with Shigeru Sarada.
Another rewarding part of my job has been mentoring young writers who were just getting started in their careers and turning them onto the industry. I’ve taken great pride in their achievements and continue to stay in touch with most of the former junior-level editors who have worked with me. Several are still working in the industry.
The team we have today led by Group Editor Richard Jones includes Managing Editor Kevin Yanik, Senior Online Editor Sara Tambascio and Editor Carol Miller on Today’s Garden Center, and of course our favorite columnist and travel companion, varieties guru extraordinaire Allan Armitage. I continue to be amazed at all we’ve accomplished together the last few years, especially on the digital front – GGTV videos, webinars, weekly FloriCASTS with timely production information, and a heightened focus in general on multiplatform content. Just wait ‘til next year. You ain’t seen nothing yet!
Meister Media Worldwide has been a great place for me to grow up professionally. I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities and friendships here and those who mentored and believed in me. I feel a great sense of accomplishment and completion and look forward to continuing our work together in a new way.
Being editor of Greenhouse Grower is one of the best jobs in the world and I’m excited for my successor. Although this may be my final column as the editor, I don’t consider this to be my “famous last words.” I plan to continue to write and contribute to trade and consumer media and support the industry. I will continue to champion America In Bloom and support efforts that invest in the future of our industry. Now I will close with a challenge to each of you: Choose at least one way to give back and reinvest in the industry. Share your time, treasure and talent.