Oregon Association of Nurseries members honor the industry's best
The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) honored the achievements and service of several top nursery professionals during the annual President's Award Banquet last Friday, Nov. 11. The awards dinner, held as part of the 2011 OAN Convention, was presided over by outgoing president Kristin VanHoose, as her final duty before handing the gavel over to incoming president Jerry Simnitt.
Presented first was the Chapter or Committee of the Year Award. This year's honors went to the Farwest Show Committee, chaired by Joe Dula of Moana Nursery. The committee has been deeply involved in the many improvements that are being made to the annual trade show, including a brand new expo floor layout for 2012.
The Distinguished Education Award went posthumously to Dulcy Mahar, the gardening columnist for The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.), for her work promoting gardening and inspiring gardeners to get their hands dirty. She wrote her column for 22 years, quitting just a few weeks before she passed away July 2 after an eight-year battle with cancer.
The Pat Richardson Memorial Award was established in memory of Pat Richardson, a nurseryman of great skill and imagination, who passed away in 1995 at the age of 53. The award is sponsored by the Richardson family, and is given to honor an individual or company who has been innovative in implementing new technology into the nursery business. This year's award went to Steven Gold of Midas Nursery Solutions.
The Distinguished Member of the Horticultural Allied Trades Award, given to an outstanding member of the trades supplying or supporting the nursery industry, went to Joe Kupillas, owner of Allied Solutions by Kupillas LLC.
The Outstanding Stewardship Award, given to nurseries that promote and practice outstanding stewardship of natural resources such as water, energy and land, went this year to all 14 of the initial participants in OAN's groundbreaking new Climate Friendly Nurseries Project. They include Alpha Nursery, Bailey Nurseries, Inc., Blooming Nursery Inc., Brooks Tree Farm, Eshraghi Nurseries LLC, Evans Farms Landscape Co., Fisher Farms, Heritage Seedlings Inc., J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., Mahonia Vineyards & Nursery, Monrovia Nursery, Native Grounds Nursery, Northwoods Nursery and Tree Frog Nursery.
The Political Awareness Award this year went to outgoing president Kristin VanHoose and incoming president Jerry Simnitt, both highly involved participants in the OAN Government Relations Committee.
The New Nursery Professional of the Year Award went to Aaron Wilcott, owner of Ryan Creek Nursery, a wholesale operation, and operator of Fir Point Farms, a retail operation.
An Honorary Life Membership, bestowed by the OAN Board of Directors and reserved for those who make outstanding nursery industry contributions over a lifetime, was given to Bob Fessler of Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas.
The Outstanding Service Award is given in recognition of long-term service to the industry and association. This year's recipient is Joe Carli of A&R Spada Farms.
The final awards given were the President's 5 Star Awards, which are personally selected by the outgoing president and given to those who helped her personally in achieving association objectives during the year. Outgoing president Kristin VanHoose selected Pete and Wendy Brentano of Brentano Tree Farm, Joe Kupillas of Allied Solutions by Kupillas LLC, incoming president Jerry Simnitt of Simnitt Nursery, Joe Dula of Moana Nursery, her husband David VanHoose, and her daughters Kaitlyn and Marissa VanHoose.