2021 Agenda

December 6, 2021 

4:00 pm

High Octane Experience VIP Reception at the NASCAR Hall of Fame

We’re kicking off the first ever GROW Executive Summit with a high-octane evening of networking and learning where you can connect with innovative industry leaders from top controlled-environment greenhouse operations.

Day 1  December 7, 2021 

7:00 – 8:00 am

The Shifting Nexus of Retailing

Presenter: Leon Nicholas, Vice President, Retail Insights & Solutions​
WestRock, Inc.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed consumer behavior for the long-term future. What do customers want? Learn the answer to this question and more during this presentation, which will give you the actionable insights you need to drive strategy and ignite growth.

You will learn:

  • Update on key retail trends and consumer behaviors
  • How retailers are rethinking or reimagining merchandising
  • The role of e-commerce in retail
8:00 – 8:30 am

Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45 am

Welcome, Introductions

8:45 – 9:30 am

Leading the Greenhouse Business of Tomorrow… Today

Presenter: Jonathan Webb Founder & CEO, AppHarvest

As the leader of a controlled-environment greenhouse business, you’re constantly watching for trends, looking for opportunities to grow and innovate, and putting plans in place to adapt to a continually evolving business environment. Developing and executing on strategies to keep your business relevant and profitable is a never-ending process.

Webb will kick off the 2021 GROW Executive Summit with his unique perspective on these challenges. A Kentucky native, he is turning his dream of a high-tech farming hub in Appalachia into reality with AppHarvest, combining conventional agricultural techniques with advanced technological tools to grow produce in some of the largest controlled-environment agriculture facilities in the world.

In this dynamic keynote presentation, Webb will share insights on navigating growth during challenging times, and how to build a strategic management plan that not only sets the mood for change and collective responsibility but also communicates the perspective and goals that can help turn your vision into reality. You will learn how he applies these principles at AppHarvest, and how you can apply them in your business, too.

9:30 – 10:00 am

Networking Break

The Immediate: Volatile Economic and Market Outlooks

Before you can ask what happens next, you need to know what is happening now. After the morning keynote, we’ll identify trends shaping the “next normal” and discuss how they will influence the direction of national and global markets. What does this mean for your business? What can you do to adjust? Find out.

End-to-End Supply Chain Risk Management

This is your logistics low-down. Gain insight into upcoming risk trends in supply chain management so you can navigate the uncertain business environment into 2022 and beyond.

10:00 – 10:20 am

Factors That Will Impact the Future Supply Chain

Presenter: Ken Lane, President, Hathaway & Lane Direct

Supply chain leaders need a forward-facing view to be prepared to navigate the networks in which future supply chains will operate. Lane will discuss factors that will converge and impact the future supply chain to help business leaders take necessary action to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead.

10:20 – 10:40 am

Managing Your Supply Chain for Change

Presenter: Craig Reynolds, Operations Manager, Hoffman Nursery

You can’t eliminate uncertainty, but you can prepare for it. Through the lens of global logistics, learn how one nursery is transforming its systems to make them more agile and resilient.

This presentation will:

  • Increase understanding of global logistics and its application to the greenhouse industry
  • Examine how reviewing processes and identifying changes can prepare you better for the future
  • Provide strategies for navigating today’s logistics and supply chain issues
  • Discuss relationships and why they’re even more important in an ever-changing environment
10:40 – 11:00 am

Group Discussion and Q&A Session led by Ken Lane and Craig Reynolds

11:00 am – 11:45 am

Talent Acquisition and Employee Engagement Strategies Post-Pandemic

Presenter: Mark Waschek, VP Agronomy, Ag1Source

Talent is king. The best leaders understand that growth, innovation, and market disruption don’t happen with the wrong people in place—or when the right people aren’t engaged. Your Human Resources department needs support and tools to recruit, onboard, and connect with talent in our post-pandemic environment.

During this presentation, you will learn:

  • Current and future trends influencing talent acquisition and employee engagement
  • New methods for acquiring talent in a post-pandemic world
  • The impact of employee engagement on talent acquisition
  • How senior leadership influences employee engagement
  • New approaches for blending human touchpoints and the benefits of innovative technologies to improve candidate and employee experiences
11:45 am – 1:00 pm


The Intermediate: Five-Year Outlook

What do you want your business to look like five years from now? To prepare for what’s next and what’s on the horizon, think beyond your operation and understand bigger-picture issues. This vibrant discussion in the afternoon will offer forward-looking perspective to inform strategic business planning.

1:00 – 1:30 pm

The Changing Landscape of Capital Management: Financing and Fundraising

Presenter: Allison Kopf, Founder, Artemis

Finding funding or fundraising for an indoor operation can be tough. Many of the funding options available to outdoor farming operations are not currently offered to indoor ag producers. This can be a significant disadvantage when capital is needed to establish an indoor farm or expand it. During this presentation, you’ll have the opportunity to share some of the challenges you are facing with financing and fundraising and get some expert advice.

Additionally, you will learn:

  • General financing and fundraising options available to anyone
  • Newer, innovative financing options offered
  • How to best navigate the lending options available to you
1:30 – 2:00 pm

Strategic Water Management: The Next Ten Years

Al Zylstra, Manager of DRAMMwater, a segment of Dramm Corporation
Jacqueline A. Jarrell, P.E., P.E., Deputy Director, Charlotte Water

Managing your water is mission-critical, and water management practices have garnered more attention from state and federal governments as drought and clean water crises affect communities globally. Water restrictions, new regulations, natural disasters impacting water scarcity and quality, and more are just a few of the things you’ll need to think about as you decide how your business can deploy a climate-resilient water management strategy.

You will learn:

  • The water related business challenges on the 5-10 year horizon, and how climate risk will impact them
  • The importance of strategic water management in increasing resilience
  • Best practices for your operations, including water resiliency and life cycle planning
  • How existing and upcoming legislation and state and federal regulations will impact water management priorities and the way businesses implement water management plans
2:00 – 3:00 pm

Strategic Energy Management for Protected Agriculture

Derek Smith, Executive Director, Resource Innovation Institute

Travis Graham, Global Segment Leader – Horticulture, Schneider Electric
Jennifer Thorne Amann,  Buildings Program Director,American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Protected agriculture is a fast-growing market sector that has the potential to impact energy use in major ways. Dependably meeting the energy needs of both the business and public sectors has become a priority for energy suppliers who want to rethink and redesign their energy systems to respond to emerging challenges and regional climate goals. Protected-ag operations will need to place more importance on engaging energy suppliers and efficiency programs to gain technical support and incentives for sustainable energy infrastructure and achieve continuously more sustainable operations.

Learn about:

  • Energy management models from other energy-critical industries
  • Strategies and accounting methods for achieving carbon-neutral operations
  • The role of lighting and environmental control in driving energy savings, and how to optimize quality, yield and profit through best practices
  • How to work with utilities and efficiency programs to maximize ROI
  • The pros and cons of flexible load management and demand response programs to access dynamic electric rates and financial incentives
  • How consumers and businesses will account for the embodied carbon impact of their food choices, including scope 3
  • Hydrogen and other horizon energy sources, and how you can prepare
3:00 – 3:30 pm

Networking Break

The Ultimate: A New Playbook for Future-Ready Leaders

Where is your company headed, and how will you get there? Vision brings focus—but how will you take action? Learn to lead in a way that drives results. Transform vision into reality by engaging and deploying your team.

3:30 – 4:00 pm

Embrace Your Leadership Role as Chief Change Agent

Presenter: Terri McEnaney, CEO, Bailey Nurseries

If the last year has taught us anything, it is that change either makes or breaks an organization. The success or failure of efforts to make organizational change hinge on the leadership skills of top management, not only for setting the mood for change and generating a need for collective responsibility, but also for communicating the vision and goals that will turn vision into reality.

Learn how to:

  • Objectively set targets and define results to accomplish change
  • Actively listen and work with employees to minimize perceived threats from change and credibly disarm unwarranted fears
  • Maximize efforts by ensuring work processes, performance systems, and training efforts complement organizational change objectives
4:00 – 4:30 pm

Succession Planning: Building value into your business

Presenters: Chris Cimaglio and Todd Downing, Co-Founders & Managing Partners, BEST Human Capital & Advisory Group

You’ve worked had to build wealth and assets, but sustaining them over the long-term requires strategic succession planning. Get ahead of ownership and leadership changes. If you want the value of your business to remain intact for your successors, begin the planning process sooner rather than later.

You will learn:

  • How talent assessment, development, and compensation planning can help you identify and groom the next generation of leadership
  • Why choice valuation methods and financing options impact succession planning
  • What leading practices and strategies to implement to ensure your legacy isn’t left up to chance
4:30 – 5:00 pm

Strategic Planning: If You Can’t Measure It, It Doesn’t Exist

Presenter: Ken Lane, President, Hathaway & Lane Direct

Just because you launch a strategic initiative or project doesn’t guarantee better profitability, market share, or revenue. Learn how to measure and monitor existing systems so you can determine whether your execution was effective. Gain tools for collecting and understanding data so you can make a positive impact on your bottom line.

You will learn:

  • Best practices for building a solid foundation for how data is captured, consumed, and shared within your organization to make informed decisions
  • How to determine if your statistics are useful and moving you in the right direction
  • Methods for aligning your metrics with business objectives, benchmarks/targets, goals, and sales forecasts
  • How and when your metrics impact the bottom line
5:30 pm

Networking Reception

Day 2  December 8, 2021 

8:00 – 8:30 am

Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45 am


The Path From Automation to Autonomy

New forms of automation are transforming the greenhouse space. Are you prepared to move from manual to automated processes? Change is the next normal in the protected ag industry as technology introduces machine vision, AI, deep learning, wireless sensors, and more.

8:45 – 9:15 am

Are You Ready?

Presenter: Rob Lando, CEO, AgriNomix

A conversation with Robert Lando, CEO of AgriNomix, on the factors you need to account for before you take the next steps in automation. How are you calculating return on investment? Are there things in your greenhouse you know you need to change? How are you building the right connection between human and machine? Bring your questions, and your own strategies that have worked!

9:15 – 9:55 am

What’s Next?

Presenter: Kevin Grove, Director, Safety & Technology Policy, American Trucking Associations

Hear from Kevin Grove at the American Trucking Associations on updates in trucking and shipping technology, and how it can apply to horticulture.

Presenter: Erico Mattos, Executive Director, Greenhouse Lighting Systems and Engineering (GLASE)

Supplemental lighting represents roughly 30% of production costs for the roughly 1,300 acres of U.S. greenhouses that produce crops during winter. That accounts for an estimated $150 million in electricity costs per year. Advanced lighting control systems and strategies can reduce energy costs by 20% to 35%, increasing operational profitability by an average $17,000/acre/year. In this presentation, Mattos will present the current state of the industry, the opportunities available to improve lighting controls, and the most common challenges for new technology adoption.

9:55 – 10:30 am

How Do We Get There?

Presenter: Kenneth Tran,  CEO, Koidra Inc.

In a world in which critical resources — water and energy, as well as time, money, and skilled labor — are becoming scarcer while food demand is increasing, it is critically important to explore new technologies to address these barriers. AIoT (AI meets IoT) holds a great promise to disrupt the greenhouse industry, enabling growers to move from intuition to a system of precision agriculture, from manual processes to automated solutions for better yield and resource usage efficiency. During this presentation, learn from Ken Tran at Koidra about how AI & IoT have been used to transform greenhouses and indoor farms, empowering the growers to make informed decisions to do more with less.

10:30 – 11:00 am

Networking Break

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

GROW Conversations LIVE

Moderator: Janeen Wright

Art Van Wingerden,
Co-CEO, Metrolina Greenhouses
Jake Van Wingerden, President, SunMed Growers & Tidal Creek Growers
Scott Crownover, President and CEO, Skagit Horticulture
Bob Jones, CEO, The Chef’s Garden

Experience Greenhouse Grower‘s popular GROW Conversations digital series live and in-person. You’ll hear first-hand from an executive panel of four distinguished leaders in the greenhouse industry as they engage in a frank discussion and offer their perspectives on the topics covered over the past two days. We’ll wrap the Conference program by learning how they will apply lessons learned during the GROW Executive Summit and how you can too. Engage in an open dialogue with these leaders and benefit from their years of experience during an audience participation period following the discussion.

12:00 pm

Summit Adjourns

We consider the health and safety of everyone at GROW Executive Summit a Top Priority.

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