AmericanHort Introduces 2024-2025 Board Members and Executive Officers

AmericanHort is pleased to announce the addition of three new industry leaders to its board of directors, along with a new slate of board officers for the coming year. “We are honored to welcome these respected industry professionals to the AmericanHort board, where their knowledge and experience will greatly benefit our mission,” said Ken Fisher, President & CEO of AmericanHort. “The board plays a pivotal role in shaping our organization’s direction, and we thank those who commit their time to advancing the field of horticulture.”

The new slate of officers for 2024-2025 includes Ed Overdevest of Overdevest Nurseries LP as the incoming board chair and Kent Fullmer of Fullmer’s Landscaping as the incoming board vice chair. Rob Lando of AgriNomix will become the immediate past chair, and J. Harvey Cotten will continue to serve as board treasurer in a non-voting position.

Ed Overdevest is the president and owner of Overdevest Nurseries, one of the leading nurseries in New Jersey, where they sell to independent garden centers and distributors within a 300-mile radius of Bridgeton. With production facilities encompassing 290 acres, the nursery produces over 2,000 varieties of perennials, shrubs, and trees for east coast garden centers. The company has earned a sustainability certification due to their exemplary practices in conservation, and they are known for their strong labor relations and community involvement.

Kent Fullmer is president of Fullmer’s Landscaping, Inc., a residential landscape design and building company. Kent leads the second-generation company with passion and integrity. He brings high energy to the art of landscaping with a goal to provide positive personal experiences to his clients. Kent has considerable experience working across the industry as he has served on the board of directors of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, is currently serving on the AmericanHort Landscape Connector Committee, is a certified arborist as well as a member of the International Society of Arboriculture.

The AmericanHort membership has elected the following new board directors:

Ken Altman is the co-president of Altman Specialty Plants, a leading U.S. breeder and grower of horticultural plants with international reach. The family-owned company operates production nurseries and distribution facilities nationwide, covering over 38 million square feet of greenhouse space and 4,000 acres of outdoor space. Under Ken’s leadership, the company has championed sustainability through water recycling systems, a floating solar array for power generation, and a growing fleet of electric tractors and autonomous pull vehicles. Ken is a past president of the San Diego Farm Bureau and was named its 2022 Farmer of the Year

Tom Fessler, President and Co-owner of Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas Inc., oversees a diverse operation renowned for florist azaleas, annuals, and containerized nursery stock. Founded by his parents in 1968, Tom, along with his four siblings, manages the operation today. The nursery spans 675 acres, including 125 acres of greenhouses and 550 acres of gravel can yards and pot-in-pot operations. He has actively contributed to the Oregon Association of Nurseries, serving from the local chapter board to the state board of directors and as president. He also served on the Oregon State Board of Agriculture for eight years.

Christine Fortman’s corporate, non-profit, and political experience serves her well as a third-generation owner of her family’s Arizona retail nursery, Berridge Nurseries, Inc. Since joining the business over a decade ago, Christine has contributed significantly to the industry. She has served as Past President of the Arizona Nursery Association (ANA) and the Independent Nurseries of Arizona and is currently a board member of ANA’s charitable arm, ANAFund. A University of Colorado at Boulder graduate, Christine participated in the inaugural Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) Leadership Academy class. She actively engages with school garden coordinators and has established two ANAFund scholarships for horticulture students.

These new directors will join current board directors Derek Clark, South Central Growers, TN; Kurt Becker, Dramm Corporation, WI; Matt Edmundson, Arbor Valley Nursery, CO; Brian Lloyd, Olsen’s Greenhouses, UT; Emily Showalter, Willoway Nurseries, OH; and Ann Tosovsky, Home Nursery Inc., IL. 

AmericanHort and its members express appreciation to outgoing board members Steve Mostardi of Mostardi Nurseries, PA, and Lyndsi Oestmann of Loma Vista Nursery, KS, who each served a three-year term from 2021-2024; and Jon Reelhorn of Belmont Nursery, CA, who served on the board from 2018-2024 and was board chairman during his tenure. The new board will be installed during the annual AmericanHort business meeting held at Cultivate’24 on Sunday, July 14, at 8 AM in the Short North Ballroom of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.