Editor’s Note: Vic Frey had a long history in greenhouse production. He started out at Bryfogle’s just out of college, and when Bryfogle’s was acquired by Hines Growers, he stayed on as production manager. In 2007, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses acquired Bryfogle’s and Frey was once again asked to stay on as general manager. When you add it all up, Frey was part of the industry for almost 40 years.
Tragically, Vic Frey passed away on May 3 during the middle of the Grower of the Year nomination and selection process. The following thoughts come directly from those who nominated Vic for this year’s award.
“Vic has always been willing to trial and experiment with the latest technology available in terms of environmental controls, ebb and flood irrigation, production planning, labor management, IPM, and transplanting equipment. For years, he has worked to recycle water and nutrients, and reduce pesticide use through IPM, correct diagnosis, and biological controls. Vic has also worked closely to adapt for the use of waste heat from a local power plant.” — Kirk Weiss, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses
“Vic started working for Bryfogle’s just out of college as a grower. As the business grew, he went from being a learner to a leader in the techniques of plant growing, and also became an invaluable leader of the staff in the fields of time motion analysis, crop planning, and crop management. He developed computer labor analysis and later integrated that payroll analysis into crop planning and work load planning, making Bryfogle’s a leader in efficiency using the integration of these systems to be one of the most efficient and lowest cost producers in the industry. He developed a method of crop planning using computerized layouts and overlays of the greenhouses that at the time were unheard of. Some of the solutions and innovations he developed are still in use today, and most of the planning tools are ahead of anyone in the industry, even today.” — Ken Bryfogle, owner of Bryfogle’s
“Vic loves the constant change in this industry. He says it’s a job where you are always learning and redeveloping yourself. He turns every opportunity into a teaching moment. Never expect a simple answer when you ask him a question; he will turn it into a lesson, an opportunity to share his experiences, give suggestions, and ultimately guide you to come to your own conclusions and solutions.” — Nikki Burrows, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses
“Vic is our go-to person when we are exploring production alternatives. He has set up trials for our company with media, biological controls, sustainable containers, organic fertilizers, and IPM. The recommendations that he makes not only are implemented at [Kurt Weiss’] Danville location, but at other locations as well.” — Jillanne Johnson, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses