Horticulture Week Business Award - Horticulture Week Most Admired Business Leader Award

Winner - Steve McCurdy, Majestic Trees

Image: Majestic Trees
Image: Majestic Trees

Steve McCurdy has built Majestic Trees in just 17 years to a business that turns over in excess of £3m per year with a steadily upward growth trajectory. What makes the achievement all the more admirable, say loyal team members, is the integrity with which he has pursued his business ambitions.

A multiple award-winning nursery business — accolades include being voted Ornamentals Grower of the Year by peers three times at ­Horticulture Week’s annual industry awards — Majestic Trees has expanded considerably from its original 12.5 acres to 27.5 acres as production has continued to grow.

Most recently, the business has completed a state-of-the-art visitor advice centre, providing an exceptional customer experience for day-to-day nursery business and an inspiring space for customer and industry events.

National broadcast media attention has followed hard on the heels of the nursery’s industry recognition Last year, for example, Majestic Trees featured in the BBC’s coverage of the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.

As a business leader, McCurdy has always believed that the secret to success is employee welfare. He has followed through on this belief, establishing a company profit-share scheme — unique in the horticulture industry — that sees 25% of the firm’s profits shared equally among employees, irrespective of seniority. He has also promoted apprenticeships and sponsors employee tuition for those interested in pursuing further education. The company holds the Investors in People silver award.

In another industry first, in the past year he has constructed two beautiful oak-frame cottages at the nursery to provide employee accommodation at 60% of current market rental rates. He believes in equality of opportunity in the workplace — six of the eight members of the management team are women.

McCurdy is without doubt one of horticulture’s most effective campaigners on industry matters. He has long championed the notion that growers should value their product and not be afraid to charge accordingly. He regularly speaks at events and attends meetings on issues impacting the industry and is a leading proponent of improved biosecurity practices, taking a proactive role in driving a swift industry response to the threat from Xylella.

One long-term team member says of McCurdy: " I have come to admire him greatly — for his tenacity, his resiliency, his vision and his ambition, but most of all for his integrity, kindness and generosity of spirit."

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