New Sales VP At Heliospectra Looks Forward To Helping Growers Improve Light Management In The Greenhouse

Caroline Nordahl Wells, Heliospectra
Caroline Nordahl Wells

Heliospectra AB recently announced that it has hired Caroline Nordahl Wells as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Heliospectra’s North American operations.

As a co-founder and former executive of LumiGrow, Nordahl Wells was responsible for recruiting and leading a successful sales organization. She is widely credited with advancing the LED grow light category and accelerating market adoption of LED lighting for commercial horticultural applications.

Nordahl Wells will be responsible for continuing Heliospectra’s sales growth in the medicinal cannabis market, where the company made significant inroads with large commercial installations in 2015. She will also expand Heliospectra’s market share within the traditional commercial greenhouse grower market and emerging urban agriculture and vertical farming market segments. Heliospectra doubled its U.S. sales headcount in 2015 and will add more sales professionals in 2016 to fuel this growth with Nordahl Wells’ proven strong leadership.

Christopher Steele, COO of Heliospectra, says, “Having Caroline join us speaks volumes about Heliospectra’s growth potential and technology advantages over our competition. Her experience and abilities strengthen our position to become the outright industry leader in intelligent LED grow lighting.”

Greenhouse Grower recently caught up with Nordahl Wells and asked her about how her prior experience will be useful in her new role, as well as the most critical issues facing growers today.

Greenhouse Grower (GG): How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?

Caroline Nordahl Wells: My first professional position was that of marketing manager with a highly disciplined Fortune 500 company in the professional services industry. My manager, who became a mentor, drilled me on the importance of listening to what customers need now and anticipating what they’ll need next. These are the keys to selling with integrity: addressing customers’ problems with real solutions and becoming a partner rather than a vendor.

Before I joined Heliospectra, I led the marketing and sales effort for a company I co-founded (LumiGrow), which pioneered LED grow lights. I could clearly see the potential of LED technology and was eager to see it fully realized by a company with the financial and technical resources to continually deliver on this promise to growers. My search led me to Heliospectra, a Sweden-based company that is quickly expanding into North America. The team and the technology are best in class and impress me daily, which is so motivating. Experience taught me to trust my gut, but to verify my gut with data. In reviewing the data, Heliospectra emerges as the company most likely to become the global leader in horticultural LED lighting solutions.

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?

Nordahl Wells: Heliospectra is ushering in a new way of thinking about light, which is about as fundamental as it gets for plants. I’m recalling a meeting I had with a grower this past week. He is a multi-generational grower with decades of experience in his own right. Out of necessity, he has figured out how to use his HPS lights to their best advantage. On a lot of days, he’d like to turn on his lights to supplement less-than-perfect light conditions, but doesn’t do it because of the steep electrical bill he knows he’ll receive. It’s an almost daily dilemma, especially during shoulder (peak and off-peak) seasons.

I’m excited to talk with growers like him about adjusting light intensity and color output as greenhouse light levels and seasons change. In other words, just use the light you need, when you need it. It’s a tremendous breakthrough for growers who’ve had to deal with lights that are either on or off, period. They’re blown away when they see how they can improve productivity, without incurring high electrical bills, even during high-light months. Features like our far-red wavelength really excite growers because they see the bottom-line benefit of increasing annual cycles. It all comes back to listening to growers. When we hear what growers want to achieve with lighting — unbound by the constraints of HPS lights — we can help them achieve big profitability gains.

GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing? Conversely, what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?

Nordahl Wells: Greenhouse growers will take their deserved place among our economy’s heroes in the years to come. This is because they represent the most efficient form of agriculture, making the most of our planet’s straining resources as the world’s population swells.

It’s becoming more widely recognized that greenhouses can yield crops with less energy and water use than is possible with field-based agriculture. But considerably more efficiencies will be required of growers to profitably manage mounting production requirements.

Therefore, we are going to see adoption of energy- and water-efficient technologies take off. But growers are pragmatic. The products that will stick are those that don’t require compromise. To draw an analogy, no one wants a “green” dishwasher detergent that doesn’t get the dishes clean. Growers want win-win products that deliver both energy cost savings and equal-or-better yields. That’s the standard any company hoping to sell technology to growers will need to meet.

GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward?

Nordahl Wells: One of the chief roles I can play is that of myth buster. For example, there’s a historical perception that LED lights are expensive when compared to HPS lights. If you looked only at upfront cost versus total cost of ownership, that would seem to be the case. But when we look more closely at HPS lights’ true cost, we find a trail of red ink in operating expenses. Then contrast this with LED lights, which deliver yield gains that eclipse the significantly lower costs of operating them. In working with growers, I make sure I have a solid understanding of all the metrics, then we look at how much money each light fixture can return to their wallets every month.

One of the best parts of my job is talking candidly with growers about what they want to achieve with lighting. If we can accomplish something meaningful — like accelerating cycles or improving vigor — while we demonstrate a clear payback, then both the grower and I get very excited. It’s exceedingly rewarding.

GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?

Nordahl Wells: That’s tough to answer because I’ve found the right fit. I’m grateful every day for the opportunity I’ve been given.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “New Sales VP At Heliospectra Looks Forward To Helping Growers Improve Light Management In The Greenhouse

  1. This is a great deal for the greenhouse growers. This step from the Heliospectra AB will surely help Growers to increase their benifit.
    Good Knowledge Shared…

More From Technology...

November 15, 2017

Greenhouse Short Course in March 2018 Features Focus on Technology

The Greenhouse Crop Production & Engineering Design Short Course, which takes place at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC), includes three full days of educational sessions, one day of hands-on training workshops at CEAC, and a commercial Arizona greenhouse tour.

Read More
Smart-Magenta-Greenhouse

November 14, 2017

Smart Solar Greenhouses Designed to Generate Energy and Improve Plant Growth

Research at the University of California Santa Cruz has shown that the first crops of tomatoes and cucumbers grown inside electricity-generating solar greenhouses are as healthy as those raised in conventional greenhouses.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Gamechanger: How Artificial Intelligence Works in the Greenhouse

Artificial intelligence may not be taking over the world yet, but it could make a difference in the greenhouse by helping growers do their jobs more efficiently.

Read More
Latest Stories

November 15, 2017

Greenhouse Short Course in March 2018 Features Focus on…

The Greenhouse Crop Production & Engineering Design Short Course, which takes place at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC), includes three full days of educational sessions, one day of hands-on training workshops at CEAC, and a commercial Arizona greenhouse tour.

Read More
Smart-Magenta-Greenhouse

November 14, 2017

Smart Solar Greenhouses Designed to Generate Energy and…

Research at the University of California Santa Cruz has shown that the first crops of tomatoes and cucumbers grown inside electricity-generating solar greenhouses are as healthy as those raised in conventional greenhouses.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Gamechanger: How Artificial Intelligence Works in the G…

Artificial intelligence may not be taking over the world yet, but it could make a difference in the greenhouse by helping growers do their jobs more efficiently.

Read More
Fluence Bioengineering red lettuce trials - feature

October 30, 2017

Solving Greenhouse Lighting Issues With New Research an…

Changing out your lighting system isn’t quite as easy as replacing a light bulb, but you’ll find the process a lot smoother with this advice from lighting manufacturers and researchers.

Read More
Rough Brothers HopsHouse

October 18, 2017

New Greenhouse Aimed at Hydroponic Hops Producers

The new greenhouse model is the first single-solution hydroponic greenhouse for year-round hops growth, and harvests anywhere from two to five times a year.

Read More
Seville Production Line

October 17, 2017

Production Technology Conference Tour Attendees See Tec…

AmericanHort’s Production Technology Conference in Dallas, TX, kicked off on Monday, Oct. 10, with a tour of three local production facilities.

Read More
TTA PackPlanter S-2

October 16, 2017

TTA Introduces New Transplanter Suited for Smaller Grow…

The PackPlanter S has 16 grippers and a capacity of 10,000 to 20,000 plugs per hour in a small frame.

Read More
GVZ Glasshouses

October 12, 2017

How to Deal With Common Greenhouse Maintenance Issues

The most common problems often come from a lack of cleanliness and faulty equipment. Here are a number of tips you can follow in each of these areas.

Read More
1B Filling trays for Transplanting Feature

October 9, 2017

Maximize Your Labor Efficiency When Sticking Plant Cut…

Transplanting unrooted cuttings into trays is one of the most labor-intensive activities in greenhouse production.

Read More
AgriNomix

October 8, 2017

Greenhouse Equipment Supplier AgriNomix is Expanding

In an effort to keep up with demand from growers venturing into automation, the company is adding almost 20,000 square feet of warehouses and offices.

Read More
LX60 Series (Heliospectra) feature

October 5, 2017

Greenhouse Lighting Suppliers Focused on Efficiency and…

Deciding the best lighting system for your greenhouse — whether you’re growing ornamentals, vegetables, herbs, or something else — can be challenging. Here’s a close look at some of the latest lighting options on the market, and how you can determine whether they are a good fit for your operation.

Read More
Shenandoah Growers - feature

September 30, 2017

How an LED Vertical Growing System Can Enhance Producti…

Shenandoah Growers, a Virginia-based organic herbs producer, is finding that its investment in LEDs has increased production and improved plant quality.

Read More

September 29, 2017

Vertical Farming Looks to Go Mainstream

The University of the District of Columbia is the nation’s only urban land-grant university, so it was a particularly appropriate setting for the Association of Vertical Farming (AVF) to host the AVF Summit 2017 on September 22. The summit was a mix of education, advocacy, and policy discussion about urban agriculture — vertical farming in particular — targeted at finding ways to broaden its adoption in cities around the country and around the world. You’ve probably heard quite a bit in recent months about vertical farming — systems for growing food in stacked layers in completely controlled environments, applying inputs such as light, water, and fertilizer in precise amounts. While there’s some use of these systems in greenhouse settings, in many cases, urban farmers are repurposing abandoned buildings or even shipping containers. Match the availability of these facilities in most large urban areas with big cities’ limited access to fresh, […]

Read More
Quantum Sensor

September 28, 2017

Monitor Your Greenhouse Environment With Five Easy-to-U…

A team of leading researchers offers tips on several devices that can help you effectively manage your greenhouse environment.

Read More
Soil Dosage Bunkers at Meyers Greenhouses feature

September 22, 2017

An Up-Close Look at Meyers Greenhouses’ Central Soil De…

Head Grower Aron Hoff was looking for a way to customize soil mixes on multiple planting lines in real time. The system he’s now using makes the process much simpler.

Read More
Valoya Lights

September 18, 2017

3 Steps to Improving the Efficiency of Your LED Systems

Achieving the largest possible optimal light intensity area with the lowest possible number of lights is essential to making an investment in LEDs pay off.

Read More
Tom Ferndandez RFID

September 14, 2017

Production Technology Conference Focused on Education

From tour stops to educational sessions, here are some of the details you need to know about AmericanHort’s Production Technology Conference in Dallas in October.

Read More

September 10, 2017

Supplemental Greenhouse Lighting to Produce Seedlings: …

Researchers at Michigan State University see if the results from producing high-quality seedlings with LEDs justify the high capital outlay for installation.

Read More