Mar 14, 2022
AmericanHort, HRI Create HRI Leadership Academy

AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) plan to launch The HRI Leadership Academy — a one-year leadership program designed to develop the skills to perform better, grow faster, and prepare for the future.

Consisting of in-person training sessions and virtual online classes and meetings, the HRI Leadership Academy addresses the industry’s need for leadership development serving both current and future leaders.

“HRI understands that a healthy and robust industry is one with connected leaders that have a positive impact on their businesses, their industry, and their communities,” said Alan Jones, HRI board president and president of Manor View Farms, Monkton, MD. “The HRI board embraces the opportunity to present a program that serves as a leadership growth platform for all levels of our industry.”

HRI Leadership Academy curriculum is designed specifically for the green industry and is organized in four modules:

  • Strategy,
  • Leadership and People Management,
  • Numbers and Advocacy, and
  • the Value Chain.

“I had the opportunity to participate in a similar program through my company. As someone with years of industry experience, this proved an incredible learning experience. I further honed my business analysis and negotiation skills and I put these learnings into practice on the job immediately, helping me be more effective in my work,” said Cole Mangum, vice president of operations for Bell Nursery in Maryland and AmericanHort board chairman.

The in-person classes will take place Sept. 20-21 in Denver, Colorado; Nov. 8-9 in Atlanta, Georgia; January 17-19 in Washington, D.C., and June 6-7 in Columbus, Ohio.

Course principles are put to practical application through a course-long capstone project which will be presented at Cultivate’23 being held July 16-18, 2023.

“Part of AmericanHort’s mission is to advance the green industry through education,” said Ken Fisher, president and CEO, “We look for this program to help business owners, top performing managers, and our industry’s emerging leaders become better leaders and managers in their company, in their community, and in our industry to ensure a strong future for generations to come.”

The application consists of a two-part online application with the first step due April 15. Following committee review, finalists will be invited to a video interview.

The inaugural class will be introduced at Cultivate’22 in Columbus in July. Online applications may be submitted at

There is no fee to apply and program tuition is covered by AmericanHort. Those selected for the program will invest considerable time in preparing for the in-person and virtual class sessions held over the twelve-month period.

“Strong leaders and strong ongoing leadership development are mission critical for green industry businesses and the industry at-large,” said Fisher. “The HRI Leadership Academy is an important investment in the future of our industry.”

For more information and to download an informational brochure on the HRI Leadership Academy, go to or contact Jennifer Gray at or by calling 614-487-1117.