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News & Press: Press Release

AmericanHort Welcomes New Board Members

Wednesday, May 22, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Terri Brown

For Immediate Release

May 22, 2018

Mary Beth Cowardin
Vice President Marketing & Member Engagement
MaryBethC@AmericanHort.org
614-884-1137

AmericanHort Welcomes New Board Members

Columbus, Ohio - AmericanHort announces the election of three new members to the Board of Directors, along with the installation of a new slate of officers.  These individuals are leaders from across the horticulture industry and encompass various experiences, skills and backgrounds.   

The official welcome will take place at Cultivate’19, July 13-16, in Columbus, Ohio. “It’s important that all segments of our industry are represented on the board and we are excited to welcome this diverse group of new members,” said Ken Fisher, president & CEO of AmericanHort. “We also sincerely appreciate the dedication and commitment of our officers and all board members for their invaluable leadership.”  


The new slate of officers will include the following individuals as new Chairman of the Board and Vice Chairman of the Board:

Susie Raker-Zimmerman, Chairman of the Board, currently serves as vice president at Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants and has been on the AmericanHort Board of Directors since 2015. Susie has experience in purchasing, sales, and as general manager working with management staff to implement KPI’s and structure. She was previously on the board of the Ohio Florist Association (OFA) and a board member of the Michigan Greenhouse Council. 

Tom Hughes, Vice Chairman of the Board, currently serves as President and Co-Owner of Hughes Nursery & Landscaping (HNL) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a family business that started in 1908. A landscape design/build firm, HNL also grows 30 acres of B&B nursery stock. Tom, a fourth-generation nurserymen, graduated from Iowa State University with a Horticulture degree and minors in Business and Landscape Design. Tom and his wife Megan, a freelance writer, have two daughters, 12 and 8, and one son, 5 years old.

Mike Klopmeyer of Ball FloraPlant will become Immediate past Chairman of the Board, and Lisa Graf of Graf Growers serves as treasurer.

New AmericanHort board members, who have been elected to serve a three-year term, include:

Gerry Docksteader has been in the North American Horticultural Industry for 30 years, having started as vendor/supplier from Canada where he was born and raised. After marrying his lovely wife Karen Kemp-Docksteader, also engaged in our industry, Gerry immigrated to the U.S. and ventured into the growing side of the industry working for some of the leading proprietary product growers in the country. The experience Gerry has acquired working in several sales and marketing positions for major proprietary-focused growers provides inherent grower knowledge to contribute measurably to the growth of our industry. Gerry has been VP of Operations for Master Nursery Garden Centers for over six years, where his primary focus has been assisting a select list of vendors with their sales and services. It is the successful experience Gerry has gained through contract negotiations and collaborative sales and marketing interaction with vendors and garden center co-ops that he feels will be a value to AmericanHort.

Joe Hobson currently serves as President and COO of Midwest Trading Horticultural Supplies, Inc., a “Peter Orum Company”, in Virgil, Illinois. He has responsibility for all aspects of the business including their core markets of nursey, greenhouse and landscape products. Additionally, he serves on Midwest Groundcovers Board of Directors. Previously, Joe worked with Brickman and Mariani Landscape overseeing high end residential landscape businesses in Illinois, Wisconsin and commercial properties in Georgia. Joe is a graduate of the University of Missouri, Columbia, with a BSA degree in Horticulture with an emphasis on Landscape Design. After serving over 20 years in the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, including Board of Directors and President, Joe continues to support many industry associations, events and educational institutes and is currently a member of the AmericanHort Advocacy Committee. Joe and his wife Sue reside in Woodstock, IL.

Amy Morris has been rooted in the horticulture industry for more than 30 years and groomed into the industry since childhood, as her father started N.G. Heimos Greenhouses in 1951. Amy has been the head grower at Heimos Greenhouses for 10 years, growing annuals, perennials, blooming crops, holiday crops and foliage. Her responsibilities include understanding the hiring process, facilitating the H2A program, leadership training and supporting employees in all aspects of the business. In 2001 she opened Millstadt Young Plants rooting liners as an effort to keep their year-round workforce. In 2007, she introduced North America’s largest Poinsettia Trial and Educational Workshop for growers, breeders and college horticulture students. Amy is a member of PMA, SFA, WNLG and LuxFlora. She is a contributing writer for GrowerTalks magazine under Growers Talk Business. She received the Industry Leadership award in 2018 from Greenhouse Management and Nursery Management. Amy is a graduate of Southeast Missouri University and remains very active in her community. She and her husband Craig have two children.

AmericanHort and its members also want to thank outgoing board members Tom Demaline of Willoway Nurseries Inc., who is completing a five-year term including helping with the transition to AmericanHort and serving as board chairman; Lisa Minter-Bustin of  Minter Country Garden, Ltd., who is completing a three-year term; and Seth Reed of Grow It!, who has served a three-year term. 

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About AmericanHort


Green industry businesses perform better, grow faster, and prepare for the future as a member of AmericanHort, the green industry’s leading association. With a rich history of serving horticultural professionals, AmericanHort supports nearly 14,000 members and affiliated businesses that include breeders, greenhouse and nursery growers, garden retailers, distributors, interior and exterior landscape professionals, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers, and all of those who are part of the industry market chain. The horticulture industry's production, wholesale, retail, and landscape service components have annual sales of $196 billion, and sustain over 1.6 million full- and part-time jobs. AmericanHort works to impact the growth, performance and successful future for the industry through advocacy, research, education, and advancing industry standards.


Cultivate is the national industry event hosted by AmericanHort every July in Columbus, Ohio. This year Cultivate’19 take place July 13-16, 2019. Cultivate owns the niche for gathering the entire industry supply chain in one place for four days of professional development and robust business opportunities with its 650+ exhibitor trade show, 150+ educational sessions, tours, workshops, and plentiful networking opportunities.