McHutchison Corporation, a North American plant broker company specializing in the nursery and the greenhouse business, recently announced it has hired Nathan Lamkey as the company’s new Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In his new role, Lamkey will be responsible for developing and executing sales strategies to sustain McHutchison’s continuing growth, while also managing all aspects of the company’s marketing and communications program.
Most recently, Lamkey was Director of Sales and Marketing at Terra Nova Nurseries, where he was responsible for substantial sales growth and improved order fulfillment. He comes to McHutchison with a well-rounded background of horticulture and business. He began his career in his family’s landscape and nursery business. After receiving his degree in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin Madison, he became an assistant flower breeder with PanAmerican Seed. From there, Lamkey spent the next 11 years at Ball Horticultural Company in both product development and sales.
“Nathan’s proven leadership abilities and enviable track record of successfully implementing sales and marketing initiatives will assist McHutchison in continually developing to meet the evolving demands of the greenhouse and nursery marketplace,” says Scott Crownover, President of McHutchison.
Greenhouse Grower magazine recently caught up with Lamkey and asked him about the industry’s biggest challenges and opportunities, and how he plans to work with growers in each of these areas.
Greenhouse Grower (GG): How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?
Nathan Lamkey: I am acutely aware of what a broker customer needs, and that is not simply an order taker. Greenhouses need a broker representative that innately understands their unique growing/retailing operation and can consult them by offering multiple solutions to their problems or opportunities. I believe that a broker representative should become an extension of the customer’s business they serve.
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?
Lamkey: A large problem I regularly hear from growers is that they do not have enough time. As a broker, our second main responsibility to growers, next to consulting, is facilitating. A business moves like water — it follows the path of least resistance. Our goal is not to just be a broker, but rather an integrated partner. The more we can help increase the flow of productivity, it creates a win/win for all involved.
GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing?
Lamkey: Many individual companies face their own struggles, but as an industry overall, I’m very excited about where we’re going and the potential that our industry has to make a difference in the lives of consumers.
GG: Conversely, what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?
Lamkey: I love big data and its potential. I feel our industry has barely scratched the surface of understanding how to leverage the information we have been collecting in our CRM and POS software. Hidden in the gigabytes of data are roadmaps for how to increase return on investment marketing efforts, decrease exposure to risk, and create a better customer experience. It just takes time and dedication to delve into the minutiae to better understand the bigger picture.
GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward?
Lamkey: I look forward to being a pragmatic leader that will promote the melding of what our predecessors have built along with new technology to create the best customer experience.
GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
Lamkey: I am exactly where I want to be, and I feel extremely blessed to be able to say that.