It’s the best-kept secret every year at OFA Short Course — the winners of Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence Awards for Industry and Editor’s Choice. More than 250 attended our event to see winners Selecta and Benary. Previously announced award winners, Paul Ecke Ranch for Industry Achievement and the STEPABLES brand for Excellence in Marketing, were also presented their award statuettes.
Paul Ecke Ranch
For the Industry Achievement award, we recognized Paul Ecke Ranch for its transformation to become the leading cuttings producers serving U.S. growers in both spring annuals and poinsettias. “Those that stand still fall behind,” said Paul Ecke III while accepting the company’s award. “We have had a lot of success growing and selling, but, of course, we couldn’t do it without the breeders, inside and out, especially Sakata and Yoder, our partner in the Flower Fields.” Ecke also thanked the company’s 900 employees, rooting stations, propagation distributors, university researchers and the company’s customers, both brokers and growers.
Frances Hopkins is excited about her STEPABLES product line, and that was evident as she accepted the 2006 Medal of Excellence award for marketing.
“When the line was created, nobody believed I could make it a national brand,” she said. “‘If you don’t have $2 million, just go home,’ they said.” Hopkins proved them wrong, following two sayings that she has prominently displayed in her office: 1. Break all the rules and think outside the box. 2. A good idea, dedicated to perfection, cannot help but succeed. Hopkins is a huge proponent of gardening, denying that it’s a dying hobby, but admits the industry needs to do a better job patting its own back.
“We have soft voices,” she said. “We need to go out and promote what we do. We need to inspire people to garden.”
The winner of our Industry’s Choice Medal of Excellence for Breeding is Selecta First Class’ MiniFamous Double calibrachoa. In accepting the award, Nils Klemm, owner of the German breeding company Selecta Klemm, said the American market is a great opportunity, but a very different market than the European one. The company strives to translate European successes to American ones. In closing, he said, “Plants like MiniFamous Double calibrachoa are only possible when everyone works together.”
Also from Germany is the winner of our Editor’s Choice for breeding, Benary’s Nonstop Mocca begonias. These dark leaved beauties are a fantastic addition to the classic series growers, retailers and consumers love.