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FNGLA announces industry award winners

The Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association Industry Awards Selection Committee announced the “best of the best” for its top six industry awards. The recipients will be celebrated at the FNGLA Convention June 23-24 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

According to a news release, the winners for 2017 are as follows:

Hall of Fame Inductee: Gene Batson, owner at Batson Greenhouses in Mount Dora, FL, retired. Batson’s passion and expertise as a grower not only led to his own nursery success, but also opened a door for he and his wife Barbara to mentor and work with protégées to start and turn over ownership of several central Florida foliage nurseries. Batson’s turnkey business approach gave each new owner a head start to business success.

PARRISHWes and Vickie Parrish, recipients of the 2017 FNGLA Wendell E. Butler Award.Wendell E. Butler Award: Wes and Vickie Parrish, owners at Parrish Nursery in Southwest Ranches, FL, retired. With over 50 industry years under their combined belts, the Parrishes have had their hands on almost every FNGLA chapter activity for at least the last decade and both are also very active in FNGLA state activities.

Outstanding Educator: Susan League, certified horticulture professional at University of Florida/IFAS Sumter County Extension in Bushnell, FL. League came out of retirement to accept the task of educating federal prison inmates, teaching horticulture job skills. The program focus is training for the FNGLA Certified Horticulture Professional exam. League’s teaching skills are evident in the more than 90 percent passing rate.

Outstanding Volunteer Member: Phil Rucks, founder at Phillip Rucks Citrus Nursery in Frostproof, FL. Rucks spearheaded the construction of a citrus research greenhouse at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, the first of its kind solely for citrus nursery research. He has also been a leading influence in planning workshops for FNGLA’s Citrus Nursery Division members, facilitating needed research grants and promoting FNGLA to the greater citrus nursery industry in Florida.

Outstanding Chapter Leader: Christy Savage, director of sales and marketing at Betrock Information Systems Inc. in Hollywood, FL, and current president at the FNGLA Broward Chapter. Savage encourages new people to get involved with the chapter where their talent can make the most difference.

Farm Credit/FNGLA Young Nursery Professional: Mike Tevelonis, vice president at Botanics Wholesale in Homestead, FL. Tevelonis raises funds for the National Horticulture Foundation through the Dick Fuhr Fishing Tournament and teaches and encourages young scouts as an Eagle Scout.