Back in July, I had the opportunity to visit the new Valent BioSciences Biorational Research Center at Innovation Park in Libertyville, Illinois. In addition to getting a comprehensive tour of the state-of-the-art facilities, enjoying a delicious lunch and networking with professionals from both inside and out of the horticulture industry, my Nursery Management colleague Matt McClellan and I spent time learning about new imaging technology being used to better understand plants. In a presentation by the Danforth Center, a research institute focused on plants, we learned how X-ray and PET technology is utilized as a form of nondestructive plant imaging. In other words, you can examine the plant’s roots without ever having to take it out of the soil or growing media. To fully drive the point home, we were able to try out their virtual reality equipment to “see” inside the plants and even maneuver through the roots (see photo below). It was the nerdiest “video game” I’ve ever played, and it was truly fascinating. Learn more about the technology and its potential implications for the industry in associate editor Patrick Williams’ article.

Exploring plant roots through virtual reality
Photo: Matt McClellan

I’ve told several people about this brief, yet inspiring experience since I’ve been back. It got me thinking about how each time I talk to someone new, sit in on an educational session at a trade show, visit a greenhouse or read an article, I’m enriched in some way. Perhaps it’s understanding an issue from someone else’s perspective, learning that one tip to help me stay organized, or a technique for better managing my staff — or my stress levels. Who I am as an editor and a manager has been shaped by the diverse experiences I’ve had over the course of my professional life, big and small.

With that in mind, we’ve put together the 2018 Business Management Guide, which contains a wide array of grower insights, human resources tips, financial guidance and more. We hope that your management skills will be enhanced by what you read in this section. Turn to page 21 to see which of the tips and advice will change the way that you manage your business.

Karen E. Varga, Editor
216-393-0290 | Twitter: @Karen_GIE