July 2013. As large parts of Western Europe baked in an unexpected heat wave, Belgium’s leading indoor houseplant grower, Dirk Mermans found a way to put the hot summer weather to good use, by selling the surplus electricity of his CHP plant back to the local electricity supplier. Sizzling heat in summer drives exceptionally high air conditioning use and its accompanying high electricity demand. Apart from growing plants, it offers Mermans the opportunity to make some extra money in these testing economic times. Page 16.
Last year, Mermans was awarded third prize in the 2012 International Grower of the Year Awards and not for just one reason. Mermans is a visionary grower, he shows integrity in how he runs his indoor tropical plant operation, he really loves engineering and therefore demonstrates high levels of innovativeness in his business and in the industry as a whole. A vital part of the business plan was a highly resource-efficient approach to ornamental plant production.
The International Grower of the Year award is an international award that identifies successful and growing companies. The award recognises outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. When Dirk Mermans ended third in the International Grower of the Year award last year, the recognition brought his tropical indoor plant operation into the limelight around the globe for a short time.
“As one of the lucky winners, you have five minutes of fame in front of a large audience. Overall, participating in this contest increases credibility and contributes greatly towards helping to promote the ornamental horticulture and gardening industry around the world,” said Mermans. “Our customers rely on our quality, being awarded the bronze award by an independent jury the bronze award is proof that we are going to be here tomorrow. “
By now it is time to get ready for the 5th anniversary of the International Grower of the Year Awards, which will be celebrated at a Gala Dinner taking place at the AIPH congress in Niagara Falls, Canada, on 11 September 2013. It is going to be a party to remember this year, as there are five outstanding finalists in the run for the gold, silver and bronze awards.
Finalists for the prestigious award have already won competitions in their own country and have been entered by their trade association for this international contest. On page 15 you will find the details of the four candidates and what they say about themselves. The awards are run by AIPH in association with FloraCulture International.
To conclude I would like to announce a management change within our team. Dennis Seriese, formerly Sales Account Manager at FloraCulture International, left the company to pursue other opportunities. We thank Dennis for his commitment and guidance and wish him the greatest success in the future. Dennis is being succeeded by 38-year old Hedd Alwyn Hughes who is originally from Wales, United Kingdom. Hughes began his sales career with BEIC BETWS in 1997, as a sales assistant. Most recently he had been sales manager at the European Networking Group, Wide EU and AES International.