Greenhouse Product News

GPN's 40 Under 40 Class of 2020

The business magazine for commercial growers

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40 UNDER 40 Ryan Watkins GENERAL MANAGER BROWNSWOOD NURSERY JOHNS ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA Accomplishments: • As a third-generation family member, is helping advance a 42-year-old garden center to the next level, while developing a culture of "Inspiring people to grow." • His design/installation work has been featured on local CBS affiliate, the DIY Network and HGTV. Also was selected to join AmericanHort's Retail Community Connector committee. Kata Kress Walla PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR HOFFMAN NURSERY ROUGEMONT, NORTH CAROLINA Accomplishments: • Along with a coworker, developed a system for employees to be rotated through departments to keep them engaged by varying their daily tasks. This also helps avoid injury, creates greater efficiency and more motivation. • Served on multiple committees for the Perennial Plant Association's conference and worked with association to ensure the conference was a success. A Global Approach: Kata works with a team of 25 from five countries and who use seven different languages. "I am most proud of seeing the results of team building I have implemented … It is great to see the inclusivity across nationalities." Austrian Appetite: Originally from Austria, dining is an event for Kata. "In Austria, we celebrate eating like nothing else. We come together and eat, drink and just talk for hours." Gina Zirkle AREA SALES MANAGER SUN GRO HORTICULTURE AGAWAM, MASSACHUSETTS Accomplishments: • Earned her master's degree while working full time. Upon graduation, converted her thesis work into two peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that were published. • Actively involved in industry associations including being the first woman president of the Ohio Lawn Care Association. A Seasoned Cook: "I like to grill in the summer and make soups in the winter. I often go for comfort foods." Studied at the Hogwarts School? Her favorite books are the Harry Potter series of novels. "I loved reading them and it was fun to see the books turned into movies. I don't have a wand or cape, but I have convinced my children I can place spells on them if they misbehave." Cleared for Takeoff: Ryan loves to fly and has his private pilot's license. It's All About Family: Ryan's favorite film is "The Family Man" starring Nicolas Cage. "It really speaks to the temptation of giving everything you have to your work instead of your family. If you gain the whole world but lose your family, you lose. If you give everything you have to your family, but don't acquire all the wealth and professional prestige, you still win." Celebrating the next generation of horticulture A SPECIAL thank you TO OUR CLASS OF 2020 SPONSORS WWW.GPNMAG.COM gpn

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