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FNGLA Marches Forward With A Humble and Tenacious Leader

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Article by: Greenline

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I wish to start by thanking Robert Shoelson, Christy Savage-Griffin and the entire FNGLA Broward Chapter crew for a Blast in Fort Lauderdale! It was everything a great convention should be. A first-class venue, topshelf hospitality, fun activities and entertainment, well organized meetings and, oh yeah, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam as keynote speaker. Truly a memorable experience for all who attended!

Rob held the gavel one last time at the FNGLA Annual and Board Meeting. During these meetings, UF/IFAS-SVP Jack Payne reported to us the effects of the Legislature’s budget cuts on IFAS and its programs, as well as his plans to mitigate the damage to faculty, staff and research projects. Dr. Sherry Larkin, UF/IFAS associate dean of research, updated the Board on the $1.3 million FNGLA Endowment Research Fund at the UF Foundation/SHARE. Will Womack presented his final Treasurer’s report and the Budget Committee’s recommended upcoming year’s budget which was duly approved. A new roundtable discussion was held in the Board meeting as a means to directly hear from each FNGLA chapter about its unique needs, concerns and local business conditions. Will likes to call this ‘touching’ the chapters and insisted on additional programs and funding to reach out to our chapters-- especially those who need it the most. Also on the agenda were updates on the legislative trip to D.C.; the new economic impact study; landscape irrigation policy; National Horticulture Foundation; new Fresh from Florida videos; and, Flip My Florida Yard. We all owe a debt of gratitude to each of the volunteer leaders and FNGLA staff who give their time and talents for the benefit of our Association and industry.

Adam Putnam gave the keynote address at the president’s gala. Without any notes, he spoke from the heart on the issues we face and his plans for the future. I am proud and honored to report FNGLA member businesses heading into the convention raised $50,000 for his campaign for governor! Despite any political slant, I believe Adam Putnam is the right man for Florida -- with a keen knowledge of agriculture and the experience to deal with our issues.

I wish to congratulate all of FNGLA’s Industry Award Winners. You are all so deserving and have the industry’s respect and heartfelt gratitude for your leadership and service. I also wish to thank my colleague and friend, Dr. Tom Yeager, UF/IFAS Professor of Environmental Horticulture, for roasting me in front of my family, peers and industry mentors. Tom is the backbone of FNGLA’s Frontrunners Chapter and has served as an advisor to our chapter board for many years. Tom has my respect and admiration and I only wish I had said so in my speech.

In closing, I’d like to tell you a little story from my childhood when I tried out for little league baseball. I showed up each day with my best glove and cap. At the end of the week, the coaches lined up the kids and selected their teams... I was not one of them. I got cut ! For the next year, I practiced with my dad every day, slowly improving. Two years later, I pitched for the all-star team against the city champions. And guess what? We beat them!

I learned early in life to set the bar high and work towards a goal and adjust the plan as needed. Failure is an opportunity to improve and is only permanent if one chooses to stop trying.
I am humbled to represent you, the members of FNGLA, and I pledge to constantly improve and never stop trying and learning!


Ed Bravo
Big Trees Plantation (Gainesville, FL)

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