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     Serving the Horticulture Industry Since 1899

Southern Nursery Association Elects New Officers

27 Aug 2014 10:20 AM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

Atlanta, Ga., August 27, 2014 – Officers of the Southern Nursery Association (SNA) who will serve for the 2014 - 2015 term were elected during the 115th annual meeting held at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, Ga., during SNA 2014. The election, open to all active SNA members, determines representation from the four geographic regions of the association:

Chapter 1 – Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia

Chapter 2 – Florida, Georgia and South Carolina

Chapter 3 – Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee

Chapter 4 – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas

Richard May, May Nursery, Havana, FL, was elected president succeeding Jeff Howell, Rocky Creek Nurseries, Lucedale, AL.

The complete slate of 2014-2015 officers is as follows:

Richard May, President, May Nursery, Havana, FL 

Michael Hobbs, VP/Treasurer/Director Chapter 3, Warren County Nursery, McMinnville, TN

Norman Cole, III, Director Chapter 1, Cole Nurseries, Pipestem, WV

Joseph Napoli, Director Chapter 2, Athens Wholesale Nursery, Athens, GA

Dusty Knight, Director Chapter 4, Plantation Tree Company, Selma, AL

Jeff Howell, Immediate President, Rocky Creek Nursery, Lucedale, MS

Newly-elected SNA President Richard May, Sales, Research and Development, May Nursery, Havana, FL, began working at the family nursery in 1990 at age 13 as a summer job spacing plants. He has done virtually every job at the nursery working summers from Middle school up through College until he began full-time employment in 2002. Since working at May Nursery in a permanent capacity he has managed Weed control, Pruning, Sales, and Research and Development.  Richard now splits his time between Sales, Production scheduling, Purchasing, Quality Control and Pruning for the entire nursery.

Richard holds two B.S. degrees from Auburn University:  B.S. Agriculture Economics and B.S. Horticulture – Ornamental Production. He is a graduate of the Wedgeworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Class VII (2007-2009). He is an active member of the International Plant Propagators Society (2003 – present), chairman for the Gadsden County, FL Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a member of the board of trustees for Robert F. Munroe School, and a youth leader and elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Quincy, FL. 

Richard’s grandfather Fount May, Sr. was an SNA board member and President of SNA in 1987. Richard was raised attending every SNA show as a child from the early 1980’s to the present. He Richard is an avid plant collector and has extensive collections of hydrangeas, azaleas, daylilies, rhododendrons, perennials, and native plants.

Richard and his wife Melissa have three children (Lawre Bradley (8), Lucy (6), and Fountain (4).

Two new industry leaders joining the SNA Board this year are Joseph Napoli and Norman Cole, III. Joseph Napoli, Owner, Athens Wholesale Nursery, Athens, GA, will serve as Director, Chapter 2 (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina) and Norman Cole will serve as Director, Chapter 1 (Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia).

Joseph Napoli, founder and conductor of The Athens Master Chorale (1989 to present), holds music degrees from Florida State University and The University of South Florida. Napoli performed throughout North America with the Metropolitan Opera National Company during its inaugural 1965 season. He later taught public school for fourteen years in Tampa, Florida before moving to Athens and establishing Athens Wholesale Nursery (1984). Joe served as chairman of the Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA) (2003) and was awarded the GGIA Jake Tinga Distinguished Professional of the Year Award (2004). He is a founding member of the Athens Georgia Nursery Growers Association and served as chairman (2004). He has served as the chairman for the Classic Center Authority (2012). Napoli has been a strong supporter of the SNA and an exhibitor since 1985. Joe says that blending gardening and music gives him balance and perspective in life.

Norman Cole, III, Cole Nurseries, Pipestem, WV, is recognized as an industry leader in cutting-edge plant development, including his Highlander and Little Missy boxwoods. Founded in 1937, Cole Nurseries is a 200-acre farm consisting primarily of woody ornamentals and trees that are unique to the area. Boxwoods are Cole Nurseries’ top sellers. Norman holds a B.S. Horticulture from Virginia Tech. He contributes much of his success to an internship at Shadow Nursery after he graduated from college where Don Shadow provided him with many contacts he still uses today to help bring in new products. Norman has served on the West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association board and currently serves as Vice President. He as served as president of the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS (2012) and remains on the board as a director. 

Norman and his wife Missy have two children (Norman IV and Calvin).

“Continuing the tradition of strong industry leaders on the board of the SNA, the membership recently voted on the 2014-2015 SNA board of directors during the 115th annual business meeting, said Karen Summers, SNA Executive Vice President. “This board represents a group of industry leaders with a broad variety of ideas and perspectives that will be extremely valuable in the coming year as we work to rebuild our membership and marketplace. I am very optimistic about the future of SNA and our industry, and with the guidance of these knowledgeable leaders I am even more confident we will emerge stronger and better. We are so fortunate to have board members with the depth of expertise and leadership who are committed to this association and the industry,” she added.

Founded in 1899, the Southern Nursery Association is a non-profit trade association representing the horticultural industry in the southeastern U.S. SNA provides member services to wholesale growers, brokers, retailers, landscape contractors, landscape architects, grounds maintenance contractors, interiorscapers and allied suppliers. The SNA strives to unite and advance the horticulture industry through educational, research and marketing efforts.

For more information on SNA, contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, 678.809.9992,, or visit the SNA website at


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