Jul 18, 2017
Cultivate’17 Commences in ColumbusBy Tim Hodson

The team from GPN and Lawn & Garden Retailer has spent the past few days running around the newly-renovated Greater Columbus Convention Center attending Cultivate’17.

We arrived on Friday and hit the ground running. It’s been a bit hectic, but it’s also been great catching up with old friends while meeting a bunch of new friends too, handing out magazines, sitting in on the educational sessions and seeing all of the new products that are being introduced this week.

The team from GPN and Lawn & Garden Retailer

While exhibitors were setting up on the trade show floor, the educational program got started on Saturday morning with the debut of CareerUP, a day-long workshop where nearly 150 young and emerging professionals learned about and discussed the skills, information and inspiration they need to advance their careers and help the industry grow.

Jon Gordon, author of The Energy Bus, kicked off the festivities on Sunday morning with his keynote address on how leadership and positivity can help a team reach success. During his presentation, Gordon focused on the importance of positive energy and having a vision for your team.

During Sunday afternoon’s Town Hall meeting, “Changing the Industry,” a panel representing various areas of horticulture discussed the potential of consumables. Their conversation centered around edibles and the consumers’ interest in the multi-functionality of a plant as a justification for why to spend money.

GPN’s 40 Under 40 Reception

On Sunday evening, we had the opportunity to recognize GPN’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2017.  Approximately 350 people were on hand at a special reception to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s class. We had a lot of fun as the enthusiastic crowd cheered on this year’s honorees. We also had a chance to recognize Gray Simpson, the 2017 GPN/Nexus Intern of the Year.

More than 30 of this year’s class members were able to make it to Columbus this year to receive their honors in person. It was great to see so much passion, knowledge and commitment to the future of the horticulture industry – all in one place! Our industry has an incredibly bright future.

Monday morning’s keynote featured AmericanHort’s Craig Regelbrugge and Ken Fisher, along with Charlie Hall from Texas A&M, who presented the 2017 State of the Industry. Regelbrugge, Fisher and Hall outlined the challenges and changes the horticulture industry currently is facing. Among the top issues affecting the industry are labor, margin structure, understanding consumers and their spending habits, industry infrastructure and generational transfer.

Hall focused on the economics of the industry. “Uncertainty” describes the past year, Hall said. But “uncertainty gives us tremendous opportunity.”

Before jumping into the economic outlook, Hall encouraged audience members to remember that people “don’t mind paying for things that enhance the quality of our life. And what we’re selling is enhanced quality of life.”

Also on Monday, Metrolina Greenhouses and D.S Cole Growers were recognized by MPS for their sustainability efforts.  Metrolina recently received its MPS-A certification, while D.S. Cole Growers was honored for being a participant for MPS ABC in North America for 10 years.

The convention center has been buzzing with a lot of activity over the past few days, but not for much longer because today is the last day of Cultivate’17.

I know our team will be headed home with sore feet, raspy voices and tired … but it’s going to be a good kind of tired.

And before you know it, Cultivate’18 will be here.

— Tim


Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]



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GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.

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