Jim Leider, CEO of Leider Horticultural Companies in Buffalo Grove, Ill., was inducted into the Floriculture Hall of Fame during the 125th annual Society of American Florists Convention last week.
According to Bob Luthultz, SAF chairman, Leider saw and seized opportunities where others did not. When Leider first entered his family business, a key goal was to increase the marketing of plants.
“One of the outlets where Leider saw an opportunity was supermarkets,” Luthultz says. “Forty years later, supermarkets sell more than 30 percent of all plants.”
In the 1970s, as the use of indoor plants in businesses and homes grew, Leider and his brother Gerry saw another opportunity–to develop and draw attention to their interior plantscaping business.
“Not only did he market and promote the value of having plants in the home and work environment,” Luthultz says, “[Leider] took it one step further and promoted the concept of plant rentals.”
Leider dedicated his wisdom and vision to a wide range of industry activities, and his leadership on the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative resulted in one of his most important and lasting accomplishments.
“The research funding mechanism gained structure and stature under Jim’s watchful eye,” Luthultz says. “Today, the initiative is a $6.25 million annual investment in the future of the floral industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture views it as a model program for industry, university and federal cooperation.”
Reaching back to his early goal of marketing more plants, Leider was one of the industry’s leading proponents of Floraboard, the industry’s first attempt at a national, mandatory marketing order. “While the program ultimately was defeated Leider seized the opportunity with Floraboard to help the industry grow and prosper, Luthultz says.
Greenhouse Grower also recognized Leider back in 1997, when he was named our Grower of the Year for national industry leadership and dedication to business management and focused, high-quality production.