A Labor of Gratitude

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here! Ten years in the making, this has truly been a labor of love and, more importantly, gratitude.

Over my 14+ years in the industry, I have witnessed so much hard work and dedication. The past year especially has been a trying time, but it has been incredibly heartwarming to witness the industry come together and build each other up.

And now that we are experiencing a slow but steady return to normalcy, the time has come to unveil GPN’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2021.

GPN 40 Under 40It is hard to believe that this is our 10th year recognizing 40 individuals under the age of 40 that are making incredible contributions to the horticulture industry. These accomplishments add up to 400 deserving young professionals that have paved the way and continue to pave the way for the future of horticulture.

And this milestone couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. So if you’re in need of a little inspiration or just want a nice healthy dose of enthusiasm, turn to page 14. And with this being a very special class — celebrating 10 years — we intend to honor this program properly!

We have already hosted our very first 40 Under 40 Roundtable webcast earlier this spring. Tim Hodson, editorial director, and I were joined by three alumnus for a lively one-hour discussion. Brian Austin (Class of 2018), head grower of Dutch Heritage Gardens; Marta Maria Garcia (Class of 2017), marketing director of Nature’s Way Farms; and Stephanie Whitehouse (Class of 2012), retail general manager of Dickman Farms joined us via Zoom and shared their insights on the 2021 growing season and post-pandemic trends.

If you missed the live webcast, fear not. You can view it on-demand at www.gpnmag.com/edwebinar. And we are already planning additional 40 Under 40 Roundtable discussions, so stay tuned for details.

WILL I SEE YOU IN CALIFORNIA?

You know what else I’m grateful for right now? Travel restrictions being lifted! It’s been over a year now that I haven’t been able to see colleagues and new variety trials up close and personal. And I know I’m not alone when I say I sure do miss it.

That being said, I am so looking forward to traveling west to the 2021 California Summer Trials this June. After taking a hiatus last year, the event is back and is sure to impress with hundreds of new variety introductions.

For more information about participating companies and how to book appointments — and to see a sneak peek of the newest varieties — turn to page 34. I hope to see some of you along the coast. If you see me, don’t be a stranger! I’d love to chat and hear your thoughts on the trials.




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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.
Kait Barry
Susan Judd
Alex Kantor
Liz Hughes
Andrew Konicki
Kit Leider Pierri
Lauren Kirchner
Michelle Opela
Judson LeCompte

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