With a PhD in block propagation of lettuce, Dr Smith set out on a technical career in horticulture that saw him manage ADAS experimental glasshouses at Stockbridge House and Rosewarne before specialising in the technical aspects of growing media.
After eight years at Bord na Móna he joined ICL (then Scotts) in 1997 where he became a well respected figure in the UK growing media industry.
Eleni Siasou joins ICL with an honours degree in agricultural technology, from Messolonghi in Greece. Since moving to the UK in 2005, she has gained an MSc and PhD from the University of Aberdeen with her thesis focusing on interactions among soil borne pathogens, mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobacteria. Dr Siasou has carried out post-doctoral work at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen University and more recently the University of the West of England, in Bristol.
"When Jim joined the company he brought with him a huge wealth of experience in a wide range of agricultural and horticultural areas," said ICL business director for UK and Ireland Stephen Squires.
"He has been instrumental in the continuing development of our iconic Levington brand including the painstaking development and trials of peat reduced and peat free mixes. Always keeping abreast of the latest growing media trends, most recently he has been involved with the AHDB project CP138 ‘Transition to responsibly sourced growing media use within UK horticulture’ and in developing a web-based database for handling all ICL’s growing media recipes.
"Having joined ICL in March, Eleni has worked closely with Jim these past few months and took over from him at the end of July. She has responsibility for growing media quality, trials and all technical aspects of ICL’s growing media portfolio - including R&D projects and the development of novel growing media for professional horticulture.
"We welcome Eleni and thank Jim for the enormous contribution he has made over the years to the Levington brand and wish him a long and happy retirement."