It’s a New Year! By Tim Hodson

Now that 2008 is the year that was — and what a year it was — it is time to welcome 2009!

I think it is pretty safe to say that there really has never been a year like 2008.

But what lies ahead in 2009? If I knew the answer to that question, I would already have purchased my winning lottery ticket and retired to a warm island somewhere.

The challenges of 2008 should be viewed as learning opportunities. Take a look back at what happened to the industry as a whole and your company specifically in 2008. What business practices worked for your company? What didn’t work? Which varieties sold well? Why did they sell well?

Why did certain things happen? Can you control those things going forward? Have you identified those new prospects that you think will help your company grow this year?

Examine the good, the bad and the ugly of 2008, and consider them lessons learned.

2009 Sustainability Progress Awards

Once again, GPN and OFA — an Association of Floriculture Professionals — are teaming up to find those growers who are making advancements toward a sustainable future The GPN/OFA 2009 Sustainability Progress Awards recognize growers who have implemented sustainable practices and advanced their growing operations (both in the greenhouse and the back office).

As I wrote last year, sustainability is not a destination. It is a journey that all smart businesses are embarking on. GPN and OFA are looking for growers who have been traveling down that road and are already contributing to a better tomorrow.

We want to acknowledge those growers, large and small, who have advanced their efforts toward sustainability in any or all of these areas: environmental sustainability; social and community sustainability; product integrity; and economic sustainability.

We launched this awards program last year and recognized Pork and Plants in Altura, Minn., and Floral Plant Growers in Denmark, Wis., for their sustainability initiatives (“On the Road to a Greener Tomorrow,” September 2008).

This year’s winners will be honored during the opening ceremonies at OFA Short Course, July 11 to 14, 2009, in Columbus, Ohio. We also will feature the winners in the September issue of GPN.

You can find out more about the 2009 Sustainability Awards program by going to our website,

Also this month, I wanted to let you know that Bob Bellew has taken over as vice president and group publisher of the horticulture group (GPN, Lawn & Garden Retailer, Big Grower and Hort TV) at Scranton Gillette Communications. Many of you have already met Bob at

different industry events in the past 18 months; he joined GPN in 2007 as our associate publisher.

He takes over for Diane Pirocanac Vojcanin, who is assuming a new role at SGC in the newly created position of vice president of custom media. You can reach Bob at (847) 391-1056 or

Drop him a line and say, “Hi!”

Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at

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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.

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