The Five Great Zins of Harold Young

I was sad to hear of the death of Harold Young, who was the editor and publisher of the Pacific Coast Nurseryman magazine from 1973 to 2004. I first met Harold in 1974 when we were planning the 1975 Bedding Plant Conference for Newport Beach, Calif. I soon found out Harold was well connected to the ornamental industry on the West Coast. When he became editor of the magazine, he developed a niche for reporting all of the major events and activities of the nursery industry in that area.

Harold was a "people person." He knew everyone and reported on activities from personal information to facts about their companies, association activities and trade shows. I don’t think there was anyone in that area more familiar with the total industry.

His colleague, Managing Editor John Humes, along with publisher Jan Groot, office manager Rita Kwasnick and staffers Heather Kreiser, Kathy Van Saun and Patricia Sueme wrote a wonderful article in the November 2006 issue of the Pacific Coast Nurseryman magazine.

The article encompasses all the facts and information about Harold’s life. However, I would like to add some of my personal feelings as well.

Harold loved to tell stories. He also loved California wines. In fact, at his funeral, they placed several bottles of California wine on the altar in his memory.

I will try to relay my memories and stories and what Harold taught me. Since I have five points to cover, I thought it would be only fitting to title them "The Five Great Zins (Zinfandels) of Harold Young."

I. Harold loved people.

He started in the business working for his sister, Mary Fisher. She was a senior in high school when Harold was born. After he finished his military service, he enrolled in Cal Poly as an English major. He met his wife, Raiann, a year before, and she also attended Cal Poly as a biological sciences major.

In 1959, Harold entered the field of horticulture. He handled advertising, merchandising and customers’ gardening questions at Flowerland Nursery, which was owned by his sister. He learned the trade, including merchandising concepts and everyday nursery practices from Mary and her husband, Herb. He also learned to work for and with people.

In 1966, Harold became secretary of the California Association of Nurserymen’s Inland Empire Chapter. He worked on many committees and, as a member of the market development and public relations committee, helped create a position of public relations director on the staff.

Harold applied for that position and was chosen from over 50 other applicants. This gave him the opportunity to enhance the image of the association to its members and the general public. 

II. Harold provided information.

With his degree in English and his training in horticulture retailing, Harold became a valued source of information. He created many effective programs including promoting living Christmas trees, Arbor Day kits, fall planting campaigns and a "Be a Pro" program to help nursery industry personnel become more professional.

Harold developed weekly garden news releases that were mailed to 450 daily and weekly newspapers, along with a gardener’s checklist.

He was a great ambassador for the California industry. He developed itineraries for visiting nurseries and welcomed associations that held programs in the area. Harold helped promote the 1975 Bedding Plants Incorporated (BPI) Conference in Newport Beach and the 1981 conference in Seattle. He was a great help in developing BPI in the West. He always publicized its activities to his readers. 

III. Harold was a true champion for the ornamental and nursery industries.

In 1973, along with John Chiapelone and Leo and Marge Dupuich, he purchased the Pacific Coast Nurserymen magazine from Art Cox. He became the managing editor and the publisher. He then traveled the Northwest and reported on all the nursery activities in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, as well as national events held in that area. He expanded the staff to two writers and hired John Humes as associate editor in 1976.

I will always remember Harold as the greatest trade show walker I’ve ever known. In fact, the last time we were together was about four years ago when we met at a trade show in Las Vegas. While most people tire of trade shows, Harold never stopped enjoying them, visiting with all his friends and meeting new people. I bet John Humes that few, if any, have walked as many miles in trade shows and visited with as many people as Harold. 

IV. Harold was down to earth.

He never took himself too seriously. Great people never do! He had a balance among his profession, his family and his friends. He loved to tell stories and relate information, but in a non-threatening way. You can see Harold’s style by reading 30 years of the Pacific Coast Nurserymen magazine. He was the historian that captured what was happening over that period of time. He recorded the events. He reported on the associations. He recapped the trade shows. If you couldn’t be at an event, you could count on Harold and John to let you know what happened.

Harold’s style was a smile. He enjoyed people and the magazine reflected that approach. In fact, when I talked with John Humes in December, he said that many people told Harold, "the only good thing to come out of their deaths would be their obituaries in the Pacific Coast Nurserymen magazine."

Harold not only wrote about the facts and dates of a person’s life, he recounted stories about the good works and deeds that each did.

In 1997, he sold the Pacific Coast Nurserymen magazine to Jan Groot, but he stayed on as managing editor and publisher until 2004. He continued to go to many meetings, conventions and trade shows. While others were tired of being around people at the end of a long convention, Harold thrived on the contacts and was energized by them. As John Humes said, "He forged friendships and built bridges with nurserymen across the country. His kindness, insights, astuteness and friendly ways of doing business won him many admirers and friends." 

V. Harold was one of my mentors.

I’ve read the magazine for 30 years to find out what was happening on the Pacific Coast. He was a great asset to our industry. Since he always enjoyed a glass of California wine, when I finished writing this article, I raised a glass in his memory and said, "Well done, thou true and faithful servant."

Leave a Reply

More From Finance/Operations...

January 15, 2018

Missouri Greenhouse Grower John Tomasovic Dies

The patriarch of Tomasovic Greenhouses & Nursery, Inc. in Des Peres, MO, was a legend in the plant industry, and widely involved in many associations.

Read More

January 15, 2018

Perennials Icon Louis Stacy Dies

The founder of the former Stacy's Greenhouses in York, SC, passed away on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

January 9, 2018

AmericanHort Launches New Video Series on Profit Margin Management

This week, AmericanHort is kicking off a four-part video series that offers perspectives on managing profit margins from AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, Dr. Charlie Hall.

Read More
Latest Stories

January 15, 2018

Missouri Greenhouse Grower John Tomasovic Dies

The patriarch of Tomasovic Greenhouses & Nursery, Inc. in Des Peres, MO, was a legend in the plant industry, and widely involved in many associations.

Read More

January 15, 2018

Perennials Icon Louis Stacy Dies

The founder of the former Stacy's Greenhouses in York, SC, passed away on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

January 9, 2018

AmericanHort Launches New Video Series on Profit Margin…

This week, AmericanHort is kicking off a four-part video series that offers perspectives on managing profit margins from AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, Dr. Charlie Hall.

Read More
Tax-Money

January 9, 2018

What You Need to Know About the New Tax Bill

The United Fresh Produce Association, which represents the needs and interests of fruit and vegetable growers, recently updated its members on how the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might affect their businesses. Many of the insights provided by United Fresh also apply to greenhouse growers and nurseries.

Read More
Doug Cole, Owner of D.S. Cole Growers

January 4, 2018

D.S. Cole Growers Blazes Its Own Path to Growth

Known for its commitment to sustainability and innovation, this grower is one of the pioneering trailblazers changing the way horticulture does business.

Read More

December 31, 2017

Ag Exemption for New Trucking Regulation Still Under Re…

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s trucking electronic logging device mandate, which took effect on December 18, includes an Hours of Service exemption that may or may not apply to greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Tillandsia Air Plants (Plantiflor)

December 15, 2017

Bonsall Nursery Devastated By California Wildfire

Rainforest Flora lost its main greenhouses and outdoor growing property in the Lilac Fire in San Diego.

Read More

December 9, 2017

Southern California Wildfires Narrowly Miss Most Grower…

Here’s an update on horticulture businesses in the areas affected by the California wildfires.

Read More

December 5, 2017

Skagit Horticulture Builds New, Inclusive Business With…

By merging two large-scale producers, Skagit Gardens and Northwest Horticulture, the new company has realized its strengths through focused divisions that emphasize efficiency and success.

Read More

December 4, 2017

Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants Debuts as Roberta’s Finali…

On December 1, Eric Wallien of Roberta’s Inc. in Waldron, IN, officially purchased C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI. The new identity of the company is now Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants, according to a Dec. 1 letter to Raker’s customers, suppliers, and business partners from Vice President Susie Raker-Zimmerman. “There have been minimal changes in management and we will be providing the same products and services on which we have built our reputation in the industry,” Raker-Zimmerman said in the letter, which also announced the name change and new logo. The sale of C. Raker & Sons was announced in September . A series of events affecting Raker’s financial situation caused the need for the operation to find an alternate solution. Roberta’s had been a customer of Raker’s since 2011, and the fourth generation, family owned grower-retailer was a fan of Raker’s commitment to quality. The agreement to purchase C. […]

Read More

October 10, 2017

Sharpen Your Skills in Cost Management and Profitabilit…

The University of Florida is offering a new online course on costing and profitability. The course will take growers through the process of how to accurately evaluate cost of production, labor efficiency, pricing, and equipment investment decisions.

Read More
Willoway Nurseries Team

October 1, 2017

How Willoway Nurseries Gets Its Staff Engaged in The Co…

Willoway Nurseries in Avon, OH, is creating a culture with people who think, act, and feel like owners. Learn how its team is taking the business to the next level.

Read More

September 21, 2017

Horticulture Is All About Connections

The beauty of our industry is that we are more than willing to reach out and help those around us. What connections can you make today to help your business, and what can you offer to help another grower?

Read More
Worker taking cuttings at Vivero Internacional.

September 11, 2017

Vivero Internacional Elevates Clean Cuttings to New Hei…

One of the last independent cutting operations, this fast-growing company raises the standard for delivering clean, high-quality unrooted cuttings.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

September 5, 2017

C. Raker & Sons Acquired By Roberta’s Unique Garden…

Ownership will change hands in December, and Raker will supply young plants for the 2018 season. Beyond that, leadership of the two operations say they are excited to move forward with a partnership that will continue to supply the industry, and gardeners, with top-quality plants.

Read More

August 1, 2017

MPS Honors D.S. Cole Growers for 10 Years of Sustainabi…

At Cultivate’17, a ceremony to mark a 10-year milestone since D.S. Cole Growers became involved with More Profitable Sustainability (MPS), as the first U.S. grower to achieve MPS certification, took owner Doug Cole by surprise. Separate celebrations also recognized Metrolina Greenhouses and Dümmen Orange for achieving MPS certification.

Read More
Nexus greenhouse construction for Knox Cannabis Facility

July 27, 2017

Ornamental Growers Will Revolutionize Cannabis Industry…

Professional growers have much to offer the emerging cannabis market, according to the co-owner of Knox Medical, one of the licensed cannabis producers in Florida.

Read More
Ball ColorLink logo

July 11, 2017

Get Guidance on Running Your Business from Ball ColorLi…

Representatives from Ball ColorLink will be on-hand at Cultivate’17 to answer questions and present business-building tools and industry insights to growers.

Read More