Tell us about yourself.
I graduated from Clackamas Community College and Mount Hood Community College with degrees in horticulture and Spanish, which I used to develop my nursery skills. I was able to prove to myself that I could see and accomplish a goal, regardless how small or large. Today, I work to move Ekstrom Nursery forward as a business. I can handle anything, from crew management, propagation, watering, forecasting, taking orders. I’m even the occasional grease monkey. Any task that needs to be done on the farm, I can do it.
What’s your guiding principle?
I hope to follow the example of Godly men like Grandpa Carl, my father Don. I will givie my best effort to respect and encourage people and leave a good legacy as they did.
Goal Yet to Be Achieved?
If I’m as moveable and active as my patriarchs in their well-seasoned years, I will be a happy man.
What’s the best business
decision you’ve ever made?
After I graduated, I developed the first container yard for Ekstrom Nursery. It was a struggle, but I broke even on the investment. I learned to be more successful from that undertaking, and now we have a full in-house soil mixer and potting machine that we put together from scratch.
hardest business decision?
Getting a human resources department — enough said!
Who is your most
Best business advice:
I have two pieces of advice: “Slow and steady wins the race,” and in the words of Greg Pilcher, “Be you because if you try and be everything for everyone you will be nothing for anyone.”
What do you love most about the nursery industry?
The people are so nice and helpful. Also, I love the time we get to spend outside where I thrive — instead of sitting behind a computer.
What is your greatest challenge?
I need to be ever vigilant about my health, as I have been living with Lyme’s Disease for the past 21 years. I make an effort every morning to be thankful for every day God has given me, and to count my blessings to have a beautiful wife and two boys of our own.
What motivates you to go to work every day?
I love my job — I love playing in the mud, implementing changes for the future. And, I love seeing my family.
What are you most proud of?
My family is my greatest accomplishment. It is thrilling to see my adopted boys have a chance to flourish on my great grandfather’s original homestead. It’s great to be an apple that doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
In your opinion, what are the most critical challenges facing the nursery industry today?
The older generation of growers is aging in our industry. There is an opportunity for the younger generation to fill the voids — from owners to the field labors — if some new blood is willing to do the hard work. This summer, my children learned to the meaning of a hard day’s work, along with the personal reward that accompanies accomplishment.