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Propagating A Career

Ron Amos?s career advice to undergraduates is to get the most out of their classes and work experiences. That?s what Amos, who earned both his bachelor?s and master?s degrees in horticulture at the UW-Madison, did. Today, the Madison native is the new owner of Evergreen Nursery, Inc., in Sturgeon Bay. Evergreen supplies other nurseries in 37 states and Canada with woody ornamental seedlings and plugs.

Amos credits two College horticulture professors, Edward Hasselkus and Brent McCown, for supporting his interest in plant physiology and propagation, and for guiding his course work including his masters in micropropagation. They also encouraged his summer work at a Madison-area garden center where he “did a little bit of everything,” including plant culture and sales.

Between his junior and senior years, Amos spent a summer working at Evergreen Nursery. After receiving his master?s in 1982, the nursery welcomed him back as manager of the propagation department. He worked on seedlings and plugs (including evergreens, birches and deciduous shrubs) and in 1989, became a part owner of the company.

When Evergreen Nursery was restructured in 1995, Amos assumed general management of the nursery and had responsibilities for all of its greenhouses and fields. IN 2001, he became sole owner of Evergreen Nursery.

Amos says the best things about his job are growing plants, getting more involved in micropropagation activities and working with Evergreen?s staff of about 40 employees. He also enjoys his industry colleagues, and is a board member of the Wisconsin Nurserymen?s Association. His company hosted the association?s summer field days in 2001, which included tours and a trade show. Amos, who values continuing education, also invited two UW-Madison entomologists to make presentations on insect management at the event.

In addition to his work at Evergreen, Amos taught courses on landscape plants and propagation at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay for about 10 years. He believes it is important to share one?s knowledge with others, and give back to the community whenever possible.

Amos encourages interested students to pursue careers in horticulture, adding they will get an excellent education at UW-Madison. “The industry is experiencing a shortage of trained horticulturists and the job market is very good right now.”