How did you get into the industry? I was fascinated by plants and the processes involved in nurturing them, so I dropped out of college and started to work on a tree nursery in North Yorkshire (Yorkshire Plants). After a few temporary jobs in the UK I heard of a company in Virginia that was looking for a grower. I ended up in the USA managing a 10ha glasshouse, 20ha outdoors and 30 staff. I couldn’t renew my visa without a formal qualification, so after 18 months I returned to the UK and studied international commercial horticulture at Writtle College.
What advice would you give to others starting out? Young people looking to get into horticulture are often told they won’t get paid much. In my experience this is absolutely wrong and it could put off a generation of future company directors and high-level industry professionals. Horticulture is a growing industry with fantastic opportunities and constant innovation.
What is the best aspect of your job? I really enjoy working with commercial growers and retailers, providing innovative solutions they didn’t even know existed to problems that have been ongoing for years.
What has been your biggest professional achievement? Getting my degree. When I dropped out of college getting a degree was the last thing I ever thought I would be able to do, but it turned out all I needed was to be studying something that I’m passionate about.
What does the future hold professionally? I’ll be at the forefront of a revolution in the way we treat plant problems. At Carbon Gold we are so confident in the products we’ve developed that I challenge any horticultural professional who’s having any problems with any kind of plant — from commercial salad growers to arborists to bedding plant growers — to get in contact with me and see what we can do.