Co-owner of Bountiful Farms Nursery Inc.
OAN member since 1999
• OAN Board of Directors Treasurer; previously Member at Large
• Finance committee chair
• Executive committee liaison for Membership Committee, and Retail
and Greenhouse Chapter
Tell us about yourself
I grew up on a hazelnut farm, and I was part of an extremely hard-working family. I can remember my mother waking up at 5 a.m. every day to dive right into work. My father Jay and older brother Brent transitioned the farm into a nursery in the early 1980s. As any kid can be, I was not a fan of all the work and tried to hide from my nursery chores. I went to Utah State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and plant sciences. While I was there, I worked as an arborist on a golf course and started doing some landscaping for one of my professors. I realized how much I actually loved the work I had thought I hated the most. I’ve been working with plants for nearly 22 years now.
What’s your guiding principle?
Working with as many people as I do, I have many different principles, such as “Err or the side of generosity,” “Give people the benefit of the doubt,” and “Be honest.” I also think it’s important to be creative, be innovative, and push your boundaries.
Goal yet to be achieved?
I hope to create a legacy that will carry on into the next generation of my family. I’ve helped create the strong business we have today, and I welcome anyone in our family who is interested in helping us be a better business as we grow.
What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made?
Deciding to work with family was the right choice for me. We have a mantra that goes: “It’s not about you; it’s not about me; it’s about the business.” By keeping the success of Bountiful Farms business at the helm of the decision-making process, I know we can put our personal emotions aside. When we do what’s best for everyone involved, we come out on the other side unscathed.
Greatest missed opportunity?
We all struggle with it, but planting the right crops in the right quantities keeps me up at night. I have a three-pronged process of checking with my top customers, meeting with sales individuals, and looking at past sales records to make every order I can. I’ll have my customers get involved in crop and quantity decisions.
Who is your most significant mentor?
I have two mentors — first, Lisa Nelson, who is my wife and the mother of our six children. Second, my nephew and business partner, Blake Nelson. In both cases, our strengths complement each other. With Blake, I love growing and sales, and he is great at finances and production.
Best business advice:
My father, who is now 88, still tells me, “Don’t focus on what’s happening on the other side of the fence. Focus on what we do best. Travel the world to find the best.” It’s been incredibly helpful. Every couple of years, I will travel to Europe to attend international trade shows like the Essen Show, see equipment shows, and tour other nurseries. I’ve visited everywhere from Canada to Italy to Germany and the Netherlands. It’s where I find innovative robotics and products.
What do you love most about the nursery industry?
I love the great people — the friends, customers, my team — but there’s also a lot to be said about how there’s always something new and challenging. Whether it’s politics, regulations, products, sales … I don’t know of anything that’s not constantly pivoting.
What’s your greatest challenge?
Labor and working with ever-changing regulations are both challenges. We stay true to around 100 employees.
What motivates you to go to work every day?
I love what I do. It’s important to me to make my family proud and provide an opportunity for any Bountiful Farms families to keep the business going. With three of my kids in college, one in high school and two in middle school, that is still to be determined. But if they have a passion for the work, I have the pathway for them.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of how innovative and different our business has become. It’s not about being better than others, but more about how we’re anxiously engaged in improving ourselves. When looking at a production process or new fertilizers, I won’t sit back and think we have it all under control. I also take pride in the fact that I’m part of a happy work environment. One of our family’s principles is “Work hard, play hard.” If you come to work with a smile, you’ll leave with a smile. I enjoy being around happy people.
In your opinion, what are the most critical challenges facing the nursery industry today?
Ever-changing regulations and limited labor supplies are huge concerns, but also staying ahead of the curve to predict trends in the industry. Being in the OAN helps me see what we’re facing and what’s coming down the pipeline. I’ve honestly been blown away at how much the OAN makes a difference.