Kyle Fessler is a member of GPN's 2024 Class of Forty Under 40 honorees
40 Under 40, Class of 2024

Kyle Fessler


Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas

Job Title

Greenhouse production manager/IT support


What 3-4 professional and/or personal accomplishments are you most proud of? 

  • Leading advocate for Oregon agriculture at the state legislature on the issues that impact the industry, including ag overtime, water, regulation and taxes 
  • I led Woodburn in the development and implementation of a new ERP system, which has increased our efficiency and capacity to serve our customers. 
  • (Being a) member of the inaugural class of the HRI Leadership Academy, developing the traits and skills to be an effective leader in our industry, company and community
  • I was a leader of the Oregon Association of Nurseries’ Rapid Response Team, which led our local industry through the struggles of the pandemic and succeeded in keeping our shipping channels and local garden retailers open for business. 

What led you to work in the horticulture industry? 

  • I was born and raised in the industry.
  • Some of my fondest memories growing up involved people across the industry, and those relationships really drew me back as an adult. 

What’s the best thing about your job? 

  • Problem solving

Describe to a 6-year-old what you do in life? 

  • I work each day with the goal to help people win.


What are your favorite hobbies? 

  • I’ve been coaching youth sports of all kinds over the past 20 years. Recently, that has led me to my current role as a youth shotgun instructor and coach for my daughter’s team. 
  • I love making things and woodworking, especially creating projects with my CNC router and 3D printer. 

When you’re not working, what are some things we could find you doing? 

  • Coaching my kids’ teams
  • Woodworking
  • Barbecuing
  • Volunteering at our kids’ school

Fun Facts

Do you have any unusual talents, or can you tell us something interesting about yourself that other people may be surprised to find out? 

  • Both of my grandfathers are innovators in their fields. Bob Fessler of Woodburn Nursery and Joe Traeger, inventor of the wood pellet grill. 

One thing you can’t live without? 

  • My wife Mollie and our five children, Elizabeth, Henry, Claire, Susannah and Frankie. 

What are you (un)secretly good at? 

  • Watching a how-to video on YouTube, then successfully putting it into action. 

What’s your favorite plant variety and why? 

  • Any plant that ships! 

What is on your bucket list? 

  • Someday, I want to go on a tour of all of the best BBQ joints around the country. 

You’re buying a vacation package to anywhere in the world without a budget, where are you going? 

  • I’m not much into traveling. I would rather be at home.