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An AmericanHort Member Benefit


The Next Generation: Growing Strong

One of the concerns voiced loud and clear is the need for young, skilled professionals to carry the industry forward. Those young professionals are alive and well. Meet just a few of them inside.

EVENTS / pg10



CareerUP & Succession Planning

Uncertainty Prevails

Propagation: Not Just for Plants

Career success happens at Cultivate’17.

The decisions that impact business and the bottom line.


#MemberMoment6 Seed Your Future Updates The 2017 HortScholars

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About AmericanHort

Cultivating Careers & Passion A LET TER FROM L AUREN SNYDER I’m so grateful to be part of such a wonder-filled industry. Even though I’m looking out on a typical Midwest April morning (i.e., gray, rainy, and very, very brown), small clumps of daffodils resolutely press on—defying weather and gravity alike.

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” — Alfred Austin (English poet, 1935-1913)

As the busiest time of year descends on and overtakes our lives, it’s easy to be tempted by ideas of other careers— careers that would be perhaps easier, more straightforward, more predictable. The kind of jobs that start at 9 and end at 5 and include a legitimate lunch break. But no other career can provide nourishment like horticulture can. And that’s why I think there are so many of us young professionals who stick it out. We’re reassured by our industry colleagues whom we become intertwined with as friends—much like clematis on a fence post. We’re empowered by the chance for fresh starts—like a clean, weed-free stretch of soil. And we can’t help but fall in love over and over again with the heady emotion of being inspired by the very plants and people that have given us such noble purpose—to be caretakers of earth, plant, field, flower, environment, and community. Plant people are some of the best people, and as the horticulture industry continues to forge its way into the future amidst the soil and toil of our day-to-day jobs, this issue of Connect focuses on the hope, energy, and blazing passion of today’s young professionals. With innovative vision, adamant excitement, and sheer determination to make horticulture be the best place to grow a career, these individuals and organizations are cultivating what will prove to be stunning results.

AmericanHort is the national association of horticulture businesses and professionals across the spectrum of the industry. Without you there is no us, so AmericanHort undertakes the critical task of protecting, preserving, and promoting the national horticulture industry so that people like you can do what you love in an industry that thrives. Plants are what we do, but people are why we’re here. Supporting AmericanHort with your membership creates a healthier industry that’s driven to share the necessity of plants in everyday lives—which means better business for everyone.

Please take especial note of this summer’s opportunity to participate in CareerUP at Cultivate’17 on July 15 in Columbus, Ohio. CareerUP was developed by young professionals for young professionals as an informative, interactive, and inspirational event that provides the soft skills and industry support to have an incredible career. With a high-stakes communication workshop and TED-talks-like inspiration series from industry trailblazers, it promises to be an amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and connect.

All Industry

AmericanHort represents the entire horticulture industry. No matter your specialty, we have the resources you need to cultivate a successful business.

See you there!

Lauren Snyder AmericanHort LaurenS@AmericanHort.org

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Interior Plantscape


Garden Retail

Generation Next




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Professional Development A Stronger Career

CareerUP Hello@AmericanHort.org 2130 Stella Court Columbus, Ohio 43215-1033 USA (614) 487-1117 Main

AmericanHort Connect 2017:May

© 2017 AmericanHort. All rights reserved. This material may contain confidential information and it is for the sole use of AmericanHort members. The information contained herein is for general guidance and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. It cannot be distributed, reprinted, retransmitted, or otherwise made public without prior written permission by AmericanHort. Please contact the editor at (614) 487-1117 for permission with acknowledgment.

Define Your Future A one-day workshop + inspiration series tailored to Emerging Horticulture Professionals to help you expand your skills, define your future, and navigate the career ladder. Connect with other young professionals who are ambitious about growing their careers and passionate about revolutionizing the way we promote horticulture. Join the movement at Cultivate17.org/CareerUP Saturday, July 15

AmericanHort.org 2 | AmericanHort.org

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The Call to be Horticultural Evangelists is Universal

Propagation: Not Just for Plants

The need is great for skilled professionals entering the horticulture industry. While businesses do what they can to recruit these professionals after college or a certification, Professor Jared Barnes, PhD, at Stephen F. Austin University is on the front lines engaging prospective students and cultivating their passion for plants. In this article, Dr. Barnes shares his strategy for fostering the next generation of plant professionals. The following is an excerpt. To read the article in its entirety, please visit AmericanHort.org/May2017.

Jared Barnes, PhD Stephen F. Austin University

Horticulturists are great at propagating plants, but one skill we need to improve is propagating interest in horticulture, especially with the next generation. As a professor of horticulture at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA), I am on the front lines of connecting college students with plants. Teaching people about horticulture is a fun challenge when many of them have never even heard the word. Below I share a few of my approaches that I employ in my cultural guide to help horticulture take root.

the same trend that a handful of plants comprise most of our landscapes. To show students we exist, I decided to overhaul the plantings around our agriculture building and make them more relevant. They now feature foodscapes and sustainable plantings for pollinators. Is it working? I asked one of the last students who transferred into horticulture from another major what attracted him to our program. He said that he had seen our vegetables around the agriculture building. Sure, it’s a sample size of one, but would he have known about our program otherwise?

1. Make Horticulture Visible. As horticulturists, we teach students to cultivate and beautify life, and we grow and sell plants for a better world. But, the plantings that often surround our agriculture and horticulture buildings are subpar and bland. They are monocultures of Ilex, Nandina, and Rosa. It’s nothing new. Decades ago, JC Raulston also observed 4 | AmericanHort.org

During out garden volunteer days, students from across campus come and help us in the garden.

Creating a foodscape at SFA and hosting events provides students the opportunity to engage with people in the community.

2. Engage with Horticulture. We have to create opportunities for people to get their hands dirty. Last fall, I started to do garden volunteer days where students in my classes can come help in the garden as a form of extra credit. They came, but something I didn’t expect happened. They started bringing their friends who also needed volunteer hours! They sow seeds, plant transplants, and help us organize pots for recycling. And, they enjoy it! I had a particularly fun interaction this week with a student who’s not in my classes and who helped plant lettuce transplants a few weeks ago. He wanted to see the lettuce he had planted, and he was astounded when he saw the plants he planted were still alive! These experiences show students they don’t have brown thumbs. 3. Horticulture is Social. Plants can’t talk, and we need to teach every horticulturist that they MUST speak for them; share their stories, their benefits, and their purpose. In doing so, we create community. I provide students the opportunity to share what plants mean to them. For example, my Fruit and Vegetable Production class hosted an event titled “An Edible Evening” where they taught approximately 100 visitors how to sow seeds, plant transplants, cultivate edibles, and harvest food. I’ve found that students enjoy these activities because they

get to apply what they learned in class and because it’s real world. It’s not just sitting in a classroom absorbing knowledge. One student wrote in a reflection,

“I felt a sense of accomplishment and a sense of success in being able to teach members of the public about growing vegetables… [W]hen I saw that these nice people were open and eager for me to teach them what I knew I felt inspired. … [H]opefully I will have more opportunities to repeat [this] experience in the future.” — VB

I hope my ideas inspire you to try new things to bridge the connection with others about horticulture. Just like seeds don’t sow themselves, and cuttings don’t magically appear in substrate, it will take all of us to propagate the next generation. Dr. Jared Barnes is an assistant professor of horticulture at Stephen F Austin State University. Visit his blog at meristemhorticulture.com. Jared Barnes, PhD Stephen F. Austin University barnesj@sfasu.edu

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What would you tell your younger professional self to do differently? Travel more. I have found that a lot of my “aha moments,” inspiration, and growth have come from visiting other greenhouses, gardens, and people. At this point in my life with a family and my current job, it can be difficult to find the time to travel.

Introducing Doug Schuster Greenhouse Manager, Kingwood Center Gardens How’d you get your start in horticulture? What do you do now? I never really had a “start” in horticulture. For me it has always been a part of my life. My family owns and operates a wholesale/ retail greenhouse in Elyria, Ohio. One of my earliest childhood memories is playing with Tonka trucks underneath a greenhouse bench while the transplanting crew was working. Starting at around age 10, I would be at the greenhouse after school and on weekends working. Early on, it felt like “work,” but around age 14 or 15, it started changing. I was excited to get to the greenhouse, and I wanted to be one of the first ones in with my dad and one of the last ones out. I’m grateful to have grown up in the family business. My dad, uncles, and grandpa 6 | AmericanHort.org

demonstrated many great qualities as it relates to family, business, and community— in that order. They also know how to produce some of the highest quality plants I’ve seen. Currently, I am a greenhouse manager for Kingwood Center Gardens, a botanical garden in Mansfield, Ohio. What’s been your “best day” on the job? Not one thing sticks out. But there is nothing better than being the first one in the greenhouse after it’s been sealed all night, trapping the smells and what I imagine is an excessive amount of oxygen. Opening that door and having that wave of aromas hit you right in the face along with the silence before the day begins are my favorite moments.

What are the opportunities you see opening in the industry for young professionals? I think in the next several years our society is going to need persons with trade skills, and that relates directly to our industry. While we need all sorts of people involved in the industry, the backbone of what we do is a “dirty job.” Over the past few decades, I believe there has been an unintentional stigma created about trade jobs. The impact of that is a shortage of people who are willing to do a hands-on and sometimes physical job. This will benefit those who pursue horticulture, but in the meantime, it’s going to become more challenging for organizations to find qualified employees. Have any #PlantNerd confessions? Whenever I visit other greenhouses and gardens, I cannot help but pull the weeds I see. I try to be as sly as possible because I don’t want to be that weirdo visitor who is pulling weeds. One time I got caught by a customer, and she started asking questions as if I worked there.

What’s something on your horticulture bucket list? I want to go to Netherlands. I would love to see and experience the industry there. Favorite plant quote or plant person?

“Beauty is only a byproduct…the main business of gardens is sex and death” — Sam Llewellyn

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Seed Your Future— Surprising Research Insights Lauren Snyder, Featuring Susan E. Yoder, Seed Your Future


Seed Your Future— Cultivating Tomorrow’s Horticulturists Seed Your Future is a national initiative that addresses the need for “a national youth campaign based on the insights of our industry, of students and educators, and of the general public.” With 150 partners, it’s easy to see that the industry is wholeheartedly supportive of this critical venture.

and instigate a perception shift that drives talented young people to view horticulture as a vital, viable, and vibrant career path. AmericanHort was able to catch some time with Seed Your Future’s executive director, Susan E. Yoder, for an update and to learn how industry professionals can support the movement.

The defined goals of Seed Your Future are to change the perception of horticulture

As Seed Your Future ends its research phase, they will be working with FleishmanHillard and Scholastic, to implement the research results in ways that connects middle- and highschool students with the vast opportunities in horticulture. Susan E. Yoder, Seed Your Future executive director, lends some insight into the research and how industry professionals can get involved. As executive director of Seed Your Future, Susan hopes to use her professional experience engaging young people to go outside and combine it with the vast professional opportunities available in horticulture. 8 | AmericanHort.org

What surprised you the most from the research? Susan: The really big “aha” from our final research phase came from within the student group. When these Gen Z kids talked about what they want from a career, it wasn’t just about a paycheck. They want a job where they can be creative, that’s flexible, and where they can impact the world. If we can take what we learned from Phase I—which was insights and data from within the industry—and use how they describe what’s great about their careers (being creative, working outside), we can use it within a PR campaign that connects what Gen Z is looking for with the careers available in horticulture. The second surprising piece was from the parents. Our research told us that they

don’t understand what horticulture is or the variety and diversity of jobs available. Once we shared the kinds and varieties of jobs available, the parents would say, “Oh now I see that my child’s interest could have a connection to the hort world.” It reinforced our belief that there’s a stereotype of horticulture being one type of job. Once parents see the variety of career opportunities and the data on how many jobs, scholarships, and internship dollars are available, they begin seeing that their child could have a really cool job in the world of horticulture. The third surprising piece was reaffirmation. Students said that the word “horticulture” doesn’t resonate. We asked them to give us alternative language and phrases. They gave us a cool list of suggestions—like “plantologist;” everything that’s ‘ologist’ is hot right now.

but it does require financial support from organizations and individuals. This is an important moment in time. We’ve gathered the language, imagery, and things that will be impactful as we move forward with our education and marketing plans. It’s a great time to get involved. Seed Your Future is working with FleishmanHillard to publish a research summary. If anyone wants the full detailed data, please contact Susan E. Yoder.

Susan E. Yoder Seed Your Future syoder@seedyourfuture.org

How can people get involved? Susan: There are so many people who want to help, and now we have specific volunteer jobs to fit whatever their talents and time availability might be. One-time and longer-term volunteer opportunities are available. We need an army of people to step up and fill the roles depending on what their interest and time availability is so that this can be a success. We’ve refreshed our website, SeedYourFuture.org/Get-Involved, to include some of these opportunities.


Read Connect online in the AmericanHort Knowledge Center, along with thousands of other articles and resources. AmericanHort.org/KC

The second way to support is financial support. We have a three-year projection of how many dollars we need. It’s achievable, 2017:May | 9



Presented by AmericanHort. The premier all-industry event in North America.

Professional Development at Cultivate—From Building a Career to Leaving a Legacy


Attend these add-on experiences at Cultivate on Saturday, July 15. CareerUP: A Workshop + Inspiration Series for Young Professionals (Cultivate17.org/CareerUP)

Connect with other young professionals who are ambitious about growing their careers and are passionate about revolutionizing the way we promote horticulture as a career, hobby, and life necessity. This one-day workshop + inspiration series is tailored to emerging horticulture professionals to help you expand your skills, define your future, and navigate the green industry career ladder. Succession Planning in a Family Business: A Workshop for Business Leaders Presented by family business expert Beatrice Wolper Tailored to business leaders, this day-long workshop will help you identify and systematically develop new leaders within your company. Learn the best strategies for developing future company leaders and craft the perfect exit strategy while confident that your legacy will continue successfully.

IMPACT WASHINGTON: Advocacy & Leadership Summit Presented by AmericanHort. The unifying organization representing the voice of the horticulture industry.




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A gathering of industry leaders to meet directly with elected officials, their staff, and issue experts and to discuss key topics that are affecting the horticulture industry. This gathering represents the horticulture industry as a united front and key economic player, while also facilitating valuable face-time between the decisionmakers and the business owners those decisions impact.

Hosted by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association The International Garden Centre Association exists to provide a forum for the mutual exchange of information and benefit of similarly minded independent garden retailers on a world-wide basis. Indulge your sense of adventure and your quest for revolutionary ideas for the modern garden center. AmericanHort represents American garden centers and encourages our members to attend for a week of international networking, touring, and experiencing of the finest Canadian garden centers and culture.




Congre ss CA IG



Featuring: Nancy Fisher, Bridget Behe, PhD, Kelly Norris, Tyler Baras & Steve Black

IGCA Congress 2017 | Canada

Learn more and register at IGCACanada2017.ca


F a ll s




Production Technology CONFERENCE

Production & Technology Conference Presented by AmericanHort to help advance the industry and bring the latest technology to the forefront. This two-day conference is designed to provide information on critical production components that can be enhanced or implemented to control input costs, reduce labor, improve crop quality and turn, and increase operational efficiencies. In addition to featuring educational sessions led by industry experts, academic researchers, and growers, the event will feature trade show exhibitors with products and services that complement the educational program, as well as a Production Technology Tour to showcase technology in action.




2017:May | 11


Meet the Best and the Brightest in the Industry The AmericanHort HortScholars program has been in place for a decade and has resulted in dozens of engaged young professionals who have crafted their passion for horticulture into a meaningful career. While at Cultivate, the HortScholars experience the vastness of the industry, have exclusive meetings with industry leaders, and strengthen their networks. It’s a transformative opportunity that sets the Scholars on a trajectory of success and influence.

Introducing the 2017 HortScholars

In the following paragraphs, we’re pleased to have them introduce themselves. To read their full introductions, please visit AmericanHort.org/May2017.

Eric Tanner, The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute | Greenhouse & Nursery Management

Holly VanKeuren, The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute | Greenhouse & Nursery Management

After working in the distribution industry, I left to pursue my growing passion for plants, which began when we purchased a house that was incredibly overgrown. While cleaning up the 3 acres, I realized that this was personally fulfilling for me. Upon graduation, I plan to work in the retail/wholesale greenhouse industry to gain hands-on experience. I have long-term ideas of being involved in my community and to repurpose vacant properties.

I am currently interning at Kingwood Center Gardens, in Mansfield, OH, and previously worked for over 10 years as a floral designer. When I graduate next spring, I hope to begin a career in the greenhouse industry. I like to spend time outdoors gardening with my beautiful two-year old daughter and know that this opportunity to be a HortScholar is something that I can pass on to her.

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Anthony Soster, Michigan State University | Horticultural Science; minor in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems I have always had an interest in horticulture—in my high school art classes I was only interested in painting landscapes, and in my drafting classes I was designing greenhouses before I had ever set foot in one. At MSU, I have enjoyed every class. I am a teaching assistant for the introductory horticulture class, and I participate in undergraduate research about the role alkalinity plays in the effectiveness of PGRs.

Karen Schneck, Kansas State University | Horticulture, specializing in Greenhouse & Nursery Management; minor in Agribusiness I love working with plants and hope to be a professional greenhouse grower after graduation. I currently serve as the Treasurer for Horticulture Club and Collegiate 4-H. I am also the Bedding Plant Sale Chairperson for Hort Club and just finished my term as President for Alpha of Clovia 4-H Cooperative Leadership House. My days are full of learning about horticulture, being active in clubs, and doing as much as I can with plants!

Melinda Knuth, Texas A&M | PhD Candidate My interest in horticulture started while competing in the FFA Floriculture Career Development Event Competition in high school. I received my BS in Horticulture Entrepreneurship from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I completed an internship with the Walt Disney Company at The Land-Epcot. After graduation, I interned at the Golden Oak Resort managing edible landscapes. My passion for understanding plants has transferred into communicating plant benefits through education and interaction—which is the basis of my PhD.

Daniel Greenwell, Auburn University | Masters Student My horticultural “awakening” came after community college when I worked at a garden center. Since then, my passion has been for digging deeper into plant science and best landscape practices and then presenting that knowledge in engaging ways. Interning at Longwood Gardens and the UGA Cooperative Extension Service has given me great perspectives on how to engage the public with creative education programs. At Auburn University, I’m currently researching how soil surfactants can be used to potentially reduce plant transpiration.

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Uncertainty Prevails Charlie Hall, PhD, Texas A&M

There are very few red flags among current economic indicators to suspect any surprises in economic performance in the first couple of quarters of 2017. Even the projected increases in interest rates by the FOMC will likely have a minimal impact. One of the continuing bright spots in the coming year is the housing market, a prime influencer of derived demand for green industry products and services. Demographics and the rate of household formation suggests that housing starts this year will range from 1.2 to 1.3 million starts, and will gradually increase to around 1.5 million by 2020. This should be a sustainable level of housing going forward. Residential investment and housing starts are two of the best leading indicators for the green industry economy, so this suggests industry growth in 2017. In fact, an econometric forecast of historic personal consumption expenditures on plant sales indicates that, holding all other things constant, the market for ornamental crops will continue to rise through 2019. With the first quarter of 2017 over, we still have an incomplete picture of the economy. First quarter spending was moderately strong but slower than in the 4th quarter 2016. Job and wage growth has been supportive, but while nominal average hourly earnings rose 2.8% year-over-year, they are basically even after adjusting for inflation. Households have also experienced delayed tax refunds, higher rents, and a first-quarter reset of health insurance deductibles. As it is, the first quarter is typically a transitional period for most households. Many elect to

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pay down debt incurred during the holiday shopping season, but weather and seasonal adjustments often distort the picture. Still, the fundamentals remain sound, but I will be paying close attention to job data over the next few months, as they will be an important gauge. The next challenge in Washington will be tax reform, and this has only been made more difficult by the failure of the healthcare bill. The President has promised a reduction in taxes for individuals and corporations, while keeping the process “revenue neutral,” meaning it will require no increase in the budget deficit. If the top brackets for both corporations and individuals were brought down to 20% and 25%, respectively, the loss of revenue would be considerable and some have suggested limiting deductions to offset the loss. But limiting deductions will not solve the “revenue neutral” problem entirely, and funds will have to be found elsewhere. Potential sources include eliminating interest deductibility and creating a border adjustment tax. The real estate industry is among those that would be hurt considerably by the former, and the retail industry would be hurt seriously by the latter. Both groups are making their views heard in Congress. The result is that any tax reduction plan will likely be moving forward very slowly. As I said in my last Charlie’s Angle video, there are few red flags, economicallyspeaking. Legislatively, well that’s another issue. But if the weather cooperates this spring, it should be a good time for the green industry to “make hay” as the saying goes.

Charlie Hall, PhD Texas A&M c-hall@tamu.edu

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Make time to make money. July 15–18, 2017 | Columbus, OH USA AmericanHort.org/Cultivate

2017:May | 15

Professional Development A Better Business

Demaline Family Willoway Nursery Avon, OH

Learn more at Cultivate17.org

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Succession Planning in a Family Business: A Workshop for Business Leaders


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AmericanHort Connect May 2017  

AmericanHort Connect May 2017