Philips Lighting has announced the addition of John Burns as a Key Account Manager for western U.S. for the horticulture LED lighting segment. In his new role, Burns will focus on the floriculture and ornamental markets, and on food crops such as lettuce, herbs, and strawberries, as well as other specialty crops.
Raised in a family of florists, Burns has been in the horticulture industry his entire life. He completed his Bachelors of Science degree in Horticulture with a concentration in Floriculture at Colorado State University and has worked for large growers including Tagawa Greenhouses and Van Wingerden Greenhouses. Most recently, Burns held the position of Technical Sales Representative with Syngenta Flowers, in which he supported the company’s sales and marketing efforts to top growers.
“We are fortunate to have someone with John’s knowledge join our team,” says Ron DeKok, Business Development Director for the horticulture LED segment at Philips Lighting. “Because of his hands-on experience, John can relate to the challenges greenhouse growers face day in and day out, and can readily identify and articulate opportunities for growers to use our LED technology to help maximize production.”
Greenhouse Grower recently caught up with Burns and asked him more about his new role.
Greenhouse Grower (GG): What made you make the transition from working with growers to working with a breeder to now working with a lighting company?
John Burns: I have been following the LED technology for several years, and I know that it’s at the tipping point where it will be adopted on a mass commercial scale. This technology brings new solutions to growers that they never had before. As a former grower, I look forward to helping the industry adopt this technology.
GG: How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?
Burns: I have been in floriculture production my whole career. I have been a range grower, head grower, production manager, small business owner, and technical representative. I believe this experience has given me a great platform for servicing the grower’s needs.
GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing? Conversely, what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?
Burns: Producing high-quality crops with less input cost. Adopting this technology on a mass scale, which will ultimately reduce production cycles and bring the grower more profit.
GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward?
Burns: I believe that with my background and experience that I can relate to the grower’s needs and through this technology bring solutions that be game changers for their business. It’s adding a really great tool to the belt.
GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
Burns: Not sure. Anthony Bourdain has a pretty good gig! I like the whole thing of getting paid to travel the world and eat good food.