“I strive to help young men and women in finding the same passion about the green industry I have been blessed with ... .”
Adrian Muehlstein, TMCNP, chief operating officer of Southwest Wholesale Nursery in Carrollton, is a member of the TNLA Board of Directors. He leads student workforce efforts on TNLA’s Labor Task Force Committee and is committed to recruiting the next generation of green industry professionals. ¶ What is your role on the TNLA Labor Task Force
Committee? One branch of the task force is focused
on H-2B visa labor issues. The other branch I help facilitate deals with stimulating interest in and
educating high school and college students about green industry careers. Not all kids will go to a four-year
university, and they need an avenue to pursue a career. On the task force we’re targeting both angles — those
who want a formal degree and those who want to go to work right out of high school. We educate them about the fantastic opportunities available in our industry. ¶ What have you done to help interest students in green industry careers? I’ve had the privilege of going
to local schools and visiting with students about the green industry’s diverse career opportunities. I’ve
had students and teachers from several universities
and high schools tour the nursery. I explain to them what our operation is all about. On the state level,
TNLA works with the Texas Can Academy, a network of campuses across Texas that educate students who
have struggled in a traditional high school setting to ensure their economic independence. TNLA makes
certification available to these students so they can take tangible credentials with them into the workforce.
¶ Why are you passionate about green industry
workforce issues? I grew up in a farming background.
I always had a passion for growing things. In
high school I started mowing yards and then did landscaping. My passion was taking someone’s
property and elevating it to another level. When I was
a high school senior one of my customers noticed I was good at it and encouraged me to do it as a career. I got a horticulture degree from Tarleton State University.
This has been an extremely rewarding career for me
and my family. I strive to help young men and women in finding the same passion about the green industry I have been blessed with in hopes that they have the
same success in such a rewarding career. I feel that it is an obligation we have as industry leaders to help develop and inspire the future workforce. ¶ How
does the Student Rally at TNLA’s EXPO help the green industry build the future workforce? At the Student
Rally, high school students get to be in the same environment with green industry professionals.
They can walk the tradeshow floor and talk with
representatives from different areas of the industry. It’s a chance for kids to explore all the possible green industry careers and network. ¶ Don’t miss this year’s Student
Rally, Friday, Aug. 9, from 11a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the
Nursery/Landscape EXPO in San Antonio. Students can
register and attend EXPO free of charge and receive VIP seating at Friday’s keynote presentation.
left: Adrian Muehlstein (right) pictured with Flatonia FFA students and teachers
TNLA Green March/April 2019