We have a new panelist representing big-box retailers on our Medal of Excellence panel, which selects the best new introductions from the California Spring Trials–Michele Radecki of Walmart.
This is the ninth year we’ve had a well-rounded industry panel select the finalists and winner of our Industry’s Choice award for breeding. Most of our big box panelists have been from The Home Depot, starting with Vinny Naab and then followed by Bob Sedlatschek and Brian Parker. In addition to being a live plants buyer for Walmart for four years, Radecki worked as an account sales manager for one of the largest growers for 10 years–Kurt Weiss Greenhouses. She received her horticultural credentials from SUNY Farmingdale, which also happens to be Naab’s alma mater.
Our panelists will be visiting the California Spring Trials stops between March 26 and April 1. When they return, they will each identify their top five new introductions to consider for the Industry’s Choice award, which is one of three breeding awards we present during our Evening of Excellence reception at the OFA Short Course in July. Their top fives will lead to several finalists. The panelists will then select one finalist to win Industry’s Choice. Last year’s winner was Ball FloraPlant’s petunia ‘Black Velvet.’
In addition to Radecki representing large retailers, this year’s veteran Medal of Excellence panel includes:
– C. Raker & Sons representing plug growers
– Mast Young Plants representing liner growers
– Metrolina Greenhouses representing finished plant growers
– Welby Gardens representing diversified grower-retailers
– Vaughn Fletcher of McHutchison LLC representing independent brokers
– Dr. Allan Armitage of the University of Georgia representing academia
Stay tuned for the results in our June issue.