The Real Deal … and More! By Tim Hodson

Each year for the past eight years, GPN has been recognizing 40 men and women under the age of 40.

From our very first class back in 2012 to the newly named Class of 2019, I have always been fascinated and impressed by the personal and professional accomplishments of all of the nominations that we have received.

Because of their multifaceted achievements, it is always extremely challenging for our selection panel to narrow the field down to the final 40. But it is also very rewarding because all of the nominees are doing great things!

The 320 individuals that we have spotlighted (so far) are really making things happen both on the job as well as when they are off the clock … and they were all nominated by their peers.

Their job responsibilities touch on just about every aspect of the horticulture industry. They are growers, retailers, breeders, marketers, educators, scientists, business owners, salespeople and so much more. And, this year’s class has members from 15 states in the U.S and two Canadian provinces, as well as from France and Israel, and they range in age from 24 to 39.

When it comes to inspiration, innovation, intelligence and imagination, these young superstars are the real deal and will continue to be the real deal for many years to come. Their leadership skills, passion and compassion will help fuel the industry’s future. You definitely will want to learn more about these industry influencers and what they have done, what they are doing and what they will do going forward.

Turn to page 14 and you will see what I am talking about.

I also wanted to let you know that we will be recognizing the Class of 2019 this summer at a special reception during Cultivate’19 in Columbus, Ohio. There also will be a Mix ‘n Mingle session on the trade show floor on July 15, in the AmericanHort Member Center booth.

So stay tuned for more details on how you can meet many members of this year’s class in person.


In July, GPN’s second Cannabis and Hemp Conference will take place in Columbus, Ohio.

This one-day conference is designed to provide attendees with the latest insight, tips and guidelines for growing success in the cannabis market. The conference will meet July 13, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

If you are considering getting into cannabis or just want to expand your knowledge on the topic, this conference will provide you with an opportunity to learn about cannabis cultivation, production guidelines, plant health and greenhouse technology.

To learn more about the program or to sign up to attend, please go to

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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

GPN January 2022 cover
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