ben-matthewsName:  Ben Matthews

Title and Company:  Lead Propagation Grower, Heartland Growers, Westfield, Indiana.

Hometown:  Aviston, Illinois

Major and Graduation Date:  Horticulture, Greenhouse Management, 2010.

Major Job/Position Responsibilities:  I specialize in propagating the plants we grow here at Heartland Growers.  We grow, for wholesale, annuals, fall mums, poinsettias, and herbs.  My responsibilities include all aspects associated with propagation growing including moisture management, chemical applications, monitoring growth, taking notes, trialing new techniques, scouting for pests, improvising when necessary, and prioritizing tasks during the busier times.  Other duties of mine include:  programming propagation zones and mist intervals, logistics of planning the movement of young plants on rolling tables through the different environment zones based on stage growth, and co-managing a crew of assistant growers who help with the daily tasks associated with growing.

What you like most about your job/position:  I like that my job is hands-on and that no two days are the same.  I knew I did not want a job where I was stuck in an office all day.  I have been interested in growing plants since I was young, so it is nice to be doing something I enjoy.

What advice would you give to current students:

1)  There is so much you can do in horticulture; find something you enjoy.  I highly recommend doing at least two internships during your college career.  Being placed in a working environment will help you decide if that is something you really want to do or not.

2)  Be active in at least one club or organization.  I was very active in the Horticulture Club and I learned a lot and had some great times!

3)  Study or travel abroad at least once.  It is a great experience to be immersed into a different culture and see another part of the world-especially when it a a horticulture-related trip!  I waited until I was a senior, and then found myself wishing I had done it sooner.