Eason Horticultural Resources (EHR), a national horticulture broker based in Ft. Wright, KY, has added Roger Kehoe to its national sales team.
Kehoe joins EHR as a Sales and Production Management Expert with vast experience in product development, plant production, strategic planning, and business development. He was most recently the Director of Young Plant Production at the Color Division of Costa Farms. Previously, Kehoe held a number of key positions with the Ecke Ranch.
Kehoe lives in south Florida, and will be serving growers throughout Florida and along the eastern seaboard.
Greenhouse Grower recently caught up with Kehoe and asked him about his new role.
Greenhouse Grower (GG): How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?
Roger Kehoe: I have worked in sales and technical support throughout North America for many years. This has helped me establish some knowledgeable relationships with many customers and also with the young plant producers who supply them. My role at Eason will allow me to connect the different supply chain pieces for my customers in an efficient and supportive way for them.
GG: What are some of the biggest issues or concerns you’ve heard from the growers you work with, and how do you plan to help them deal with these issues?
Kehoe: Growers do not have the time to keep up with all the product and production changes, and that’s where I can help. Also, decades of production experience will permit me to bring some new and old ideas to my customers to help solve their problems and meet their individual needs.
GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing? Conversely, what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?
Kehoe: Labor quantity and quality is increasingly difficult to manage for the industry. Every hour of labor is precious and needs to be optimized. Improved automation and genetics are helping, but there is a long way to go to become both efficient and effective in this area. Industry sales are flat in this growing economy, which does not trend well if it continues. Per capita sales dollars are low and there is a need to better engage the consumer in our products, especially the younger ones. There is huge opportunity to grow via the internet and smart phones, but we need to move faster to take advantage of this growing opportunity.
GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward?
Kehoe: By working with my customers to build better products more efficiently for their customers, and through learning their issues and the needs and wants of consumers, I can strengthen the consumer’s participation in our products, in which case everyone benefits. The Eason team has tremendous depth and experience, and I look forward to building programs and solutions with them for our customer’s benefit.
GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
Kehoe: Having worked in horticulture since high school, it is hard to think of doing something else. I did consider studying and working in Environmental Horticulture Science, but I saw lots of opportunity in ornamentals and have never regretted my decision.