James Russell 

Vice President / General Manager at Armstrong Growers and Pike Farm 

Southern California and Georgia 

Looking for some easy science credits, James Armstrong signed up for a class in his high school horticulture dept. From there to an after-school job as “water boy” in a local garden center, marked the beginning of his professional journey of interacting with plants and people. 

Retail sales gave way to wholesale growing of trees and shrubs, and in an effort to find something more challenging, Armstrong eventually undertook growing flowering greenhouse crops. This is where he found Armstrong Growers, and he has spent 34 years on the job.  

In those 34 years, Armstrong has been an accomplished grower and trusted leader in a division that grew from 4 acres to a multi-site growing operation on two coasts with more than 1.5 million square feet of greenhouse space. Armstrong has a never lost his passion for the craft of horticulture and the enjoyment of developing skills in people and seeing customers delight in the products his team creates.  

In his nonprofessional pursuits, Armstrong was a United States Forest Service Forest Protection Officer, off-road instructor, and a leader of several U.S. Forest Service volunteer programs, including Adopt a Trail. Nowadays, he looks forward to spending his days off running trails in his Jeep Gladiator or Ram Rebel with his wife Merry of 35 years. His greatest achievement and joy has been raising two successful daughters who now reward him with equally wonderful grandchildren.