A Short Biography
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY and caught the gardening bug at a pretty early age, when my parents decided to landscape our property. I helped them plant trees and shrubs and really enjoyed it. From there I convinced my mom that it would be fun to start a vegetable garden. She encouraged me by ordering topsoil but forgot to tell me that I’d be responsible for moving it and shaping it into a garden! After a lot of grunts, sweat, and tears a garden was formed, and soon we had beans, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and more. I was hooked!
I earned a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture Technology with an emphasis in horticulture from the University of Rhode Island. At my sister’s encouragement I moved out to Los Angeles after graduation, and within a year had moved north to pursue a Masters in Agricultural Education and a teaching credential in Vocational Agriculture at UC Davis.
Six years of living in California was great, but I missed the eastern part of the U.S. and my family, so I moved back to Rochester, NY and went to work at Harris Moran Seed Co. as an Assistant Marketing Manager in the flower seed department. When Harris Moran decided to move their flower seed business out to California in 1988 I opted to work elsewhere, and became employed as a flower seed buyer/marketing manager at Ball Seed Co. (now Ball Horticultural Co.) in West Chicago. It was a great experience; I learned so much about the flower product line and seed industry during my tenure with Ball.
A few years later I became the national sales manager for Sluis & Groot America, the North American arm of a Dutch-based flower seed research and production company. When Sluis & Groot eventually merged with Vaughan’s Seed in Chicago (now all part of Syngenta), I found an opportunity to move back closer to my family in western New York. In 1994 I landed back at Harris Seeds, which by then was the mail order catalog business that had been sold by Harris Moran. I’ve been here ever since as the Ornamentals Manager and also recently became Vice-President of the company. I am also currently serving as President of All-America Selections.
Harris Seeds is a great company to work for, with a diversity of employees both from the old Harris Moran Company and many new faces as well. It’s a solid, close-knit core group of people who enjoy the industry and share the common goal of helping both our professional grower and home garden customers achieve their goals.
My work and personal life have afforded me the opportunity to travel throughout the country and to different parts of the world, which has been a wonderful experience. And although the winters can be somewhat challenging here in Rochester, it’s a great community to live in. I’m a very vocal fan of the Great Lakes area and feel truly fortunate to be able to live and work in such unique geographic area of our country.