During Cultivate’17 this past July, Nursery Management editor Kelli Rodda and I had the honor and privilege to welcome six passionate leaders into the Horticultural Industries Leadership Awards Class of 2017 (L-R in photo): Mike Gooder, Plantpeddler; Mark Foertmeyer, Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse Co.; Gary Hennen, Oglesby Plants International; Tom Demaline, Willoway Nurseries; Terry Hines, Hale & Hines Nursery; and Skeetter McCorkle, McCorkle Nurseries.

I got to know the greenhouse growers, Mike, Gary and Mark, fairly well over the course of my interviews with them and their families, friends and colleagues. It was fascinating to learn about their journeys through horticulture and how the pitstops and bumps along the way shaped their outlook and career paths. And I learned quite a bit about what it means to be a leader through our conversations.

One of the leadership lessons that really stuck with me was the importance of looking forward and not being stuck in past mistakes. If you’re constantly preoccupied with past failures, it’s time to learn from them, move forward and prepare yourself for future successes. These folks see the tough times as an opportunity for reflection and improvement, rather than a simple hurdle to overcome.

HILA photo: Kimberly Rottmayer

For each of these growers, passion guides them in their day-to-day and in their long-term plans. These greenhouse operators live and breathe plants, and strive to ensure the future of the horticulture industry.

You can read all six leadership winner profiles, as well as a tribute to nurseryman Jim Zampini, in the digital edition of the July 2017 issue under the section "2017 Horticultural Industries Leadership Awards": bit.ly/2tmjwu3 To view video coverage and photos from the HILAs ceremony at Cultivate’17, visit greenhousemag.com

In the meantime, if you know a horticulture industry leader who deserves recognition, drop me a line and let me know more. Nominations for the Class of 2018 will be open soon.

Karen E. Varga, Editor

kvarga@gie.net

216-393-0290 | Twitter: @Karen_GIE