On the heels of continuous growth in the past few years, Danziger has announced a new business structure for its North American market. Mike Fernandez has been appointed Market Manager North America for Bedding Plants and Perennials, and Kate Zvara was named as Key Account Manager and Retail Specialist.
Fernandez will continue leading the business activity in North America, developing new businesses and initiatives for further growth. With many years of experience in the industry, Zvara will reinforce Danziger’s relationship with the market, focusing on retailers as well as growers.
Greenhouse Grower recently caught up with both Hernandez and Zvara and asked them about their new roles.
Greenhouse Grower (GG): How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?
Mike Fernandez: Basically, I will be doing the same as I have, but with the help I much needed.
Kate Zvara: I have been very fortunate to start out with a great company in this industry that instilled the passion to grow professionally, learn constantly, and cultivate relationships based on trust and transparency. This foundation has afforded me opportunities to be involved in many aspects of the business and an understanding of what it takes to meet our partners’ needs.
GG: What are the 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?
Fernandez: I believe the biggest issue growers face is the reduced margin for our product at all levels. I will help by bringing products and production methods that will reduce costs: better shelf life, minimal PGR use, no pinching, and so on. Also, I want to help growers minimize shrink by providing sound culture for our products.
Zvara: Connecting breeders, growers, and buyers with product knowledge and high-quality plants that are easy to grow. My desire is to encourage creative collaboration by extensive trialing and together select innovative varieties for the market. Listening to the feedback and needs of our partners is key.
GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing? Conversely, what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?
Fernandez: One of the biggest challenges is labor and attracting young people to our industry. The opportunity I see is to find a new way to the market, through the internet, shipping direct to the consumer and services.
Zvara: Getting the next generation interested and committed to this industry. It is a great industry that provides longevity and opportunities for growth. Using the internet and social media to create excitement and knowledge is extremely important.
GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward?
Fernandez: I think by passing my experience on to others, I can help them be successful.
Zvara: I would like to help bridge the gap between breeder, grower, and end consumer. Breeders and growers have so much knowledge and passion that gets lost to the end consumer. Flowers are powerful; they bring joy and beauty to your home. I hope to help bring this passion and knowledge through to retail and into homes.
GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
Fernandez: Raising cattle.
Zvara: Have my own HGTV home renovation show alongside my husband.