Abe Van Wingerden
Co-CEO, Metrolina Greenhouses
Abe Van Wingerden received his MBA from Emory University in Atlanta, GA in 1993, and his B.A. in Business and Political Science from St. Andrews College in 1991. Before Metrolina Greenhouses, Van Wingerden worked for Procter and Gamble in several marketing and management roles over eight years from 1993 to 2001 including assignments in Troy, MI, Cincinnati, OH, and Bentonville, AK. Van Wingerden rejoined Metrolina Greenhouses in 2001 and became Co-CEO in 2007. He has served on various boards including St. Andrews College, the International Association of Horticultural Producers, and other professional and philanthropic organizations.
Metrolina Greenhouses celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and The International Association of Horticultural Producers and Floraculture International recently presented the operation with the International Grower of the Year title and Gold Rose Award.
Metrolina Greenhouses started as a small one-acre greenhouse in 1972 in Huntersville, NC, when Tom/Vickie/Art/Abe Van Wingerden immigrated to the U.S. and is now one of the largest family-owned live goods business in the country supplying 1,400 retail outlets with multiple divisions including Metrolina Greenhouses where automation and innovation drive the business model.
Metrolina’s team consists of more than 1,500 employees. It has two main locations – 180 acres of heated indoor space in Huntersville, NC, and 220 acres of outdoor space in York, SC as well as an integrated network of 58 other growers to help source product. The greenhouse operation also leads the industry with its sustainable practices including plastic recycling, water reclamation, and bio-mass heating systems.