FNGLA’s Industry Awards Program acknowledges both FNGLA and industry service – with varying criteria geared for each award. Nominations are accepted from the industry-at-large and winners are selected by a committee of industry peers.
Outstanding chapter leader: Christy Savage, Betrock Information Systems, Inc. (Hollywood, Florida)
Savage is the current president of the FNGLA Broward Chapter and has brought new energy to the chapter. Her enthusiasm for all things FNGLA and her extensive network helps Savage encourage new people to get involved with the chapter where their talent can make the most difference. Savage is untiring and, while serious about the industry issues, makes sure there’s fun included at each meeting.
Outstanding educator: Susan League, FCHP | UF/IFAS Sumter County Extension (Bushnell, Florida)
League came out of retirement to accept the challenging task of educating federal prison inmates in horticulture job skills. The focus of the program is training for the FNGLA Certified Horticulture Professional exam; Her superior teaching skills are evident in the over 90% passing rate. The program is making a difference in the lives of her students due in large part to League’s dedication and commitment in teaching this unique audience.
Outstanding volunteer member: Phil Rucks, Phillip Rucks Citrus Nursery (Frostproof, Florida)
During a very challenging time for the citrus nursery industry, Rucks has been a key leader within FNGLA’s Citrus Nursery Division. He 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. Rucks has been a significant and 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.
Farm credit/FNGLA young nursery professional: Mike Tevelonis, Botanics Wholesale (Homestead, Florida)
Tevelonis possesses an incredible work ethic. Whether he’s pushing sales at Botanics Wholesale where he serves as vice president, raising funds for the National Horticulture Foundation through the Dick Fuhr Fishing Tournament, or as an Eagle Scout, encouraging and teaching young scouts, Tevelonis shines as a likeable leader, intelligent businessman and committed industry professional.
Hall of Fame inductee: Gene Batson, Batson Greenhouses, retired (Mt. Dora, Florida)
Batson loves growing things. His passion and expertise as a grower not only led to his own nursery success, but opened a door for Batson 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. Not only did Batson encourage his protégées to be involved in the industry as active members of FNGLA. Several are industry leaders today because of Batson’s influence in their early business years. Today, Batson continues to find happiness growing fruits and vegetables in his oversized garden, which has become so abundant he now has it open as a U-pick farm.
Wendell E. Butler Award winner: Wes and Vickie Parrish, Parrish Nursery, retired (Davie, Florida)
With over 50 industry years under their combined belts, you can’t talk about FNGLA’s Broward Chapter without instantly thinking of this duo. While they’ve had their hands on almost every chapter activity for at least the last decade, both are very active in FNGLA state activities too – with Vickie serving on multiple committees, and Wes having been FNGLA president and NHF president. 2017 brought huge change for this couple – retiring from their business and welcoming their first grandchild.
The 2017 FNGLA Industry Award Winners will be celebrated at the FNGLA Convention: June 23-24 at the B Ocean Resort in Ft. Lauderdale.