Greenhouse Grower reached out to Albert Grimm, the 2016 Head Grower of the Year and Head Grower of Jeffery’s Greenhouse, to ask what he and his company have done in the last 12 months to invest in the industry. It turns out, they’ve been busy. Here is what he had to say.
“I spend significant time with our local community college. Over the last 25 years, intense cooperation between industry and faculty has been able to lift this school from obscurity to being able to deliver what is arguably the best greenhouse-specific horticulture education in the country. I have served with an advisory committee for many years, but more significantly, I teach one course per year. As a teacher, I have the opportunity to get to know all the future horticulturists and recruit some of them to our business. I cannot teach what I don’t know, and the classroom is an excellent motivator to learn and upgrade my own knowledge continuously, to keep up with the demands of my course.
“Our company is funding multiple student scholarships at the same college. We also hire students each year for paid internships during the winter semester. This often leads to full time employment after graduation.
“Apart from the college activities, I have taught night school for greenhouse growers for many years. These are eight- to 12-week evening courses for greenhouse professionals. We organize these courses under the umbrella of our industry association, and we cover a wide variety of topics, from greenhouse climate and plant nutrition to soft-skills and stress management. The courses are well-received, because they are designed not just as a learning opportunity, but also as a networking tool and an opportunity to socialize with other industry members.
“Each member of the management team at Jeffery’s Greenhouses is participating in the activities of our industry association in different roles. I participate in a committee that is dedicated to fund and give direction to research activities related to our industry. My colleagues are members of other committees and work for the board of directors for the organization. This involvement is something of a tradition, as the senior owners of Jeffery’s Greenhouses had been involved in such activities with national and international organizations for many decades.”