Meet the Class of the Horticultural Research Institute’s 2024 Leadership Academy

HRI Leadership AcademyThe Horticultural Analysis Institute (HRI), the analysis and scholarship basis of AmericanHort, extends its congratulations to the inaugural HRI Management Academy class for its dedication to non-public {and professional} progress and profitable completion of this system. The category spent the previous yr honing enterprise acumen, constructing a toolbox of management methods, diving deep into advocacy points, studying the artwork of negotiation, and extra. Now, as program graduates, they’re keen to place the abilities discovered into follow of their companies, their communities, and within the trade.

The members of the Class of 2023 embody Susannah Ball, Ball Horticultural Firm, IL; Melanie Bedner, Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse, PA; Sander Brooks, Palms & Pahoke Growers, FL; Hamza Daour, Dan & Jerry’s Greenhouses, IA; Kyle Fessler, Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas, OR; Matthew Foertmeyer, Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse Co, OH; Christine Fortman, Berridge Nurseries Inc., AZ; Jonathan Jasinski, Microplant Nurseries, OR; Andy Klittich, Otto & Sons Nursery, CA; Adam Kobes, Kobes Nurseries Inc, Ontario, Canada; Denise Mullins, Smith Gardens, WA; Tyler Richardson, DeGroot Inc, MI; Jacob Stidman, Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, KY; and Ryan Watkins, Brownswood Nursery Inc, SC.

“We wish to congratulate every member of the inaugural HRI Management Academy class and acknowledge their distinctive achievements this yr,” says Jon Reelhorn, AmericanHort fast previous chairman, a previous president of HRI, and champion of this initiative. “Witnessing the super progress of every member of the category all year long underscores the significance and worth of the HRI Management Academy. Investing in leaders like these graduates is vital to the imaginative and prescient AmericanHort has for the trade.”

On behalf of the complete class, Matt Foertmeyer and Jonathan Jasinski introduced the institution of the HRI Management Endowment Fund. The fund goals to empower much more aspiring leaders. Over time, the fund will guarantee that the HRI Management Academy turns into a everlasting alternative for inexperienced trade leaders, guaranteeing a powerful future for generations to come back. All class members contributed to the fund, which at present has greater than $33,000 in help. You may again future management improvement of the inexperienced trade by making a web based donation to this new endowment by clicking right here.

HRI and AmericanHort now enthusiastically welcome the category of 2024, who met final week in Denver, CO, for his or her first in-person class centered on genuine management and enterprise technique. The category is made up of the next trade members:

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Tabatha Beier, A+ Backyard Middle, MN: Tabatha is the proprietor and president of A+ Landscaping, a licensed woman-owned enterprise. She and her husband began their firm quickly after they married. They began with small panorama and spring clean-up jobs, and labored as much as promoting completed annuals, flooring pots, hanging baskets, and a few timber and shrubs. Right this moment, they’ve 1 acre of greenhouse house, 13,000 sq. ft of backyard retail house, and a 5-acre nursery the place they develop timber and shrubs for his or her panorama enterprise. Tabatha’s exhausting work and entrepreneurial spirit are keys to her success, incomes her nominations for trade awards. Right this moment, she is on the board of the Entrepreneur Fund, the place she serves on each the chief and finance committees.
Jennifer Broersma-Neujahr, Profile Merchandise, IL: Jennifer boasts greater than three a long time of unwavering dedication to the trade. She at present holds the place of Senior Director of New Enterprise Growth at Profile Merchandise. Her wealthy profession spans three continents, the place she honed her experience in decorative horticulture, soil substrates, and the lower flower trade. Acknowledged for her prowess in implementing profitable go-to-market methods, she excels in managing multimillion-dollar accounts, profitable new merchandise, and advising C-level executives. Broersma-Neujahr’s colleagues regard her as a extremely organized and artistic downside solver who’s an skilled at guiding groups by means of difficult tasks.
Mark Daniels, Bonnie Crops, AL: With 18 years within the trade, Mark at present serves as a Regional Operations Supervisor for Bonnie Crops, a nationwide provider of vegetable and herb transplants. Mark grew up on his household’s fifth-generation dairy farm in northern Michigan the place he raised Holstein dairy cattle and grew corn, wheat, oats, hay, and soybeans. Mark participated in FFA and 4-H, the place he competed in contests and management improvement occasions, leading to him serving because the State Vice-President of the Michigan Affiliation of FFA. Throughout faculty at Michigan State College, Mark developed his fascination with all issues greenhouse because of working in a plant pathology lab. This work led him to Bonnie Crops the place he has spent his profession working in gross sales and operations. Right this moment, he leads the Bonnie crew from fifteen rising services and 176 gross sales representatives.
James Hines, Hales & Hines Nursery, TN: James has spent his life working and growing his household farm into the profitable nursery it’s in the present day. He graduated from Tennessee Tech College with a level in Nursery and Panorama Administration. He has labored in all areas of the enterprise earlier than turning into a key supervisor within the giant household operation. Hines has been described as community-oriented, serving to to safe housing for folks experiencing homelessness and is now serving as a County Commissioner. He’s devoted to making sure a vivid future because the fourth era of the household appears to work within the household’s 1,000-acre enterprise.
Jared Hughes, Groovy Crops Ranch, OH: Jared is the proprietor and head grower of Groovy Crops Ranch in Marengo, OH, an organization he began in 2015 along with his spouse Liz. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, his first place within the trade was a seasonal greenhouse place in a small nursery. He later joined Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouses as a seasonal greenhouse technician. Jared has been actively concerned in a number of trade organizations, together with serving on the OFA (AmericanHort’s predecessor group) Retail Committee and main a number of different essential trade tasks. Hughes has been described as inventive, modern, and a breath of contemporary air within the trade.
Joel Kempfer, Specific Seed Firm, OH: Joel, a U.S. Military veteran and a valedictorian each in highschool and at Texas Tech College, boasts a stellar profession in horticulture. His early fascination with gardening in his grandmother’s backyard laid the muse for a journey that started with a job on the Walmart Backyard Middle after highschool. Kempfer has persistently carried out at a excessive degree, contributing to his sturdy efficiency at giant nationwide firms corresponding to Greenleaf Nursery Firm and the Fred C Gloeckner Firm. He at present serves because the Nationwide Gross sales Supervisor at Specific Seed Firm, main a crew of twenty gross sales managers.
Eric McKie, Inexperienced Oak Backyard Middle, MS: Eric is a motivated chief with greater than 10 years of expertise within the inexperienced trade. Two years in the past, he grew to become the proprietor of Inexperienced Oak Backyard Middle, representing the third era within the firm’s 63-year historical past. McKie at present serves on the AmericanHort Inside Plantscape Group Connector group and is a Board Member of the Mississippi Nursery and Panorama Affiliation. He was acknowledged as one of many High 40 below 40 by the Mississippi Enterprise Journal in 2022.
Jennifer Moss, Moss Greenhouses, ID: Jennifer is a fourth-generation co-owner of a wholesale bedding plant grower operation in Jerome, ID. She earned her stripes in each position on the farm. Her journey started with studying the important abilities wanted to tackle a number one position, establishing that benefit is the important thing to success. Moss offers again to the trade by volunteering for the AmericanHort Technology Subsequent and Greenhouse Group Connector teams and the Domesticate decorations crew, in addition to having served in management roles with the Idaho Nursery & Panorama Affiliation. Alongside her brother, she now celebrates 71 years in enterprise after taking up the corporate from their dad and mom, Kevin and Dana Moss. She was awarded the Horticulture Industries Management Award (HILA) earlier this yr.
Alfredo Rios, Loma Vista Nursery, KS: Alfredo has labored in almost each place at Loma Vista Nursery all through his 22 years on the firm. At the moment, as Nursery Basic Supervisor, Rios oversees a bunch of tasks, together with the applying of plant safety merchandise, fertilization, scouting, and irrigation. Moreover, he was integral to creating the metrics and monitoring methods that helped Loma Vista consider success of their Panorama Distribution Middle enterprise. Alfredo is a proud father of a 21-year-old son and is described as somebody who embraces challenges and seeks out methods to establish and clear up enterprise obstacles.
John Terhesh, Goodmark Nurseries, IL: John began within the trade at 16 years previous, working at an impartial backyard heart loading mulch, watering vegetation, and landscaping. His instructional path led him to Southern Illinois College and from there, he gained expertise at numerous nurseries. He finally grew to become a container manufacturing supervisor, propagation supervisor, and head grower. Right this moment, he’s President at Goodmark Nurseries the place he oversees all points of the enterprise. Terhesh has volunteered as a member of the AmericanHort Technology Subsequent Group Connector Group and is now a member of the Nursery Group Connectors. In 2019, he was awarded the “Younger Grower of the 12 months” award recognizing his modern contributions as head grower.

“AmericanHort and HRI created the HRI Management Academy as a result of we knew sturdy leaders and robust ongoing management improvement are mission vital for inexperienced trade companies,” says Ken Fisher, AmericanHort President and CEO. “We’re happy to honor our first alumni class alongside the Class of 2024 members. We look ahead to serving to them develop and watching their optimistic impacts on the trade.”

Purposes for the Class of 2025 can be accepted beginning later this fall. For extra info and to obtain an informational brochure on the HRI Management Academy, go to or contact Jennifer Grey at [email protected] or 614-487-1117.


Meet the Class of the Horticultural Analysis Institute’s 2024 Management Academy

Brian Sparks is senior editor of Greenhouse Grower and editor of Greenhouse Grower Expertise. See all writer tales right here.

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