Industry Mourns Loss of Pioneer Jack McConkey

September 19, 2008 - 11:56

The industry is mourning the loss of one of its pioneers: McConkey founder and innovator Jack McConkey.

McConkey died Sept. 3, 2008, at the age of 86 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

The Seattle native purchased McLean Bulb Farms in 1964 and changed the name to J.M. McConkey & Co., Inc. Through his vision, innovation and leadership, the company grew to be the largest distributor to the industry in the West. He retired in 1992 and is succeeded by son Ed McConkey, who remains the company’s president today.

Jack McConkey is largely credited for pioneering the development of plastic containers and colored pots and is also hailed as a leader in mechanized soil mixing, container filling, fertilizer dispending and conveyor systems.

Over the years, he received many awards for his leadership and innovation, including a Captains of Industry Award, PPGA Meritorious Service Award and an award from the WaFlora Association.

Since 1992, Ed McConkey has evolved Jack’s original vision to provide the best equipment, supplies and products available for the horticulture industry.

“Working in this industry all of my life, side-by-side with my father for many of those years, has been rewarding and stimulating,” said Ed McConkey. “It’s rewarding to see what my father built and the growers, suppliers, vendors and industry associations that were influenced by him. He was my guide and mentor, and he will be sorely missed. My job now is to continue that legacy and honor his memory by keeping his vision alive.”

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