Growers Complete EAGL Executive Leadership Program For Commercial Horticulture

Growers Complete EAGL Executive Leadership Program For Commercial Horticulture

The inaugural Executive Academy For Growth & Leadership (EAGL) class

Inaugural growers’ Executive Academy for Growth & Leadership (EAGL) class receives certifications on January 28 in Atlanta, Ga. From left to right: Dr. Charlie Hall (adviser), Mark Sellew, Tom Demaline, Randy Gilde, Kevin Norris, Dan Batson, Kelly Lewis, Ed Overdevest and Kip Creel (adviser). Not pictured: Bryan Abramowski, Jason Roseman.

Nine industry leaders and talented growers completed the inaugural EAGL Program in Atlanta in late January, and received a continuing education Certificate in Applied Horticultural Business Management from Texas A&M University.


The Executive Academy for Growth & Leadership (EAGL) Program is a one-year executive education program, developed specifically for business leaders in the nursery and greenhouse production industry.

A public-private partnership between Dr. Charlie Hall, the Ellison Chair for International Floriculture at the Texas A&M University and StandPoint, an Atlanta-based market research firm founded in 2002 by Kip Creel, the EAGL program focuses on developing strategic business skills to address the contemporary challenges of commercial horticulture. The curriculum is designed to improve the competitive position and profitability of the participants’ companies.

The Alpha class of the EAGL program includes:
• Bryan Abramowski, Rockwell Farms
• Dan Batson, GreenForest Nursery
• Tom Demaline, Willoway Nursery
• Randy Gilde, Delray Plants
• Kelly Lewis, Ruppert Nurseries
• Kevin Norris, Landmark Nurseries
• Ed Overdevest, Overdevest Nurseries
• Jason Roseman, Rockwell Farms
• Mark Sellew, Prides Corner Farms

“The big question facing the industry currently is ‘How do you transition from a growth industry to a mature one and stay profitable?’ Working with industry experts in a collaborative group environment, the EAGL Program has provided us the tools needed to start this paradign shift,” says Tom Demaline of Willoway Nursery.

EAGL is practical, not theoretical, and built with highly interactive, adult learning principles in mind. Each class meets four times per year, in person, supplemented with webinars, preparation coursework and one-on-one sessions with the faculty.

Now in its second year, 10 participants are enrolled in the Beta EAGL class, and have already begun their coursework, with planned graduation in January 2015. An Alpha class reunion and future-focused cross-pollination program is being planned for October.

Applications for the 2015 Gamma EAGL class will open in June 2014, with a maximum of 15 seats available (note that direct competitors are not accepted in the program in the same year).

To download a free whitepaper and learn more about the curriculum, visit the EAGL program website.