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2012 SNA Award Winners Announced

25 Jan 2012 11:48 AM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

ACWORTH, GA  – January 20, 2012 – The SNA (Southern Nursery Association), a non-profit, professional trade association representing the horticultural industry in the southern U.S., announced today its 2012 award winners. SNA recognize professionals who have demonstrated their commitment to the Southern Nursery Association and the industry through these annual awards. The 2012 SNA awards were presented to the following individuals.

Honorary Memberships:

The SNA Board of Directors honors individuals that have served the association and the nursery industry in various capacities throughout the years and have made outstanding contributions during their active participation in the Southern Nursery Association. This year, the following members were awarded honorary membership for their dedication to SNA and the field of horticulture:

Thomas E.“Buddy” Martin, Martin's Nursery, Semmes, AL

Charles H. “Charlie” Parkerson, Lancaster Farms, Suffolk, VA

Dr. Sandra M. Reed, Retired Research Geneticist, U.S. National Arboretum, Atlanta, GA

William D. “Bill” Reese, Greenbriar Nurseries, Ocala, FL

Bryson L. James Student Research Competition Awards:

Seven students from five universities were presented cash awards during the Bryson L. James Student Research Competition that took place at the 114th Annual SNA Research Conference in Mobile, AL, on January 18, 2012. Bennett’s Creek Wholesale Nursery, Suffolk, VA and Lancaster Farms, Suffolk, VA, sponsors of the student competition, made these awards possible.

Awards were presented by M.S., B.S., and PhD categories as follows:

B.S. First Place - $500

S. Evan Wilson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Development of an Elevated Dissolved Oxygen Treatment System

M.S. First Place - $500

Irene E. Palmer, North Carolina State University

Biomass Yield and Nitrogen Response of Perennial Bioenergy Grasses in North Carolina

M.S. Second Place - $300

Jason B. Lattier, North Carolina State University

In Vitro Regenration and Polyploid Induction of Acer platanoides L. 'Cromson Sentry'

M.S. Third Place - $200

Rebecca L. Pledger, North Carolina State University

In Bed with Rain Gardens

PhD First Place - $500

Matthew S. Wilson, Kansas State University

Feeding Preference of Southern Pine Sawyer Beetle for Four Species of Pine

PhD Second Place - $300

Anthony L. Witcher, University of Southern Mississippi

Factors Affecting Early Seedling Development in Whole Pine Tree Substrates

PhD Third Place - $200

Adam F. Newby, Ohio State University

Effects of Managed Substrate Moisture Content on Zinnia Growth Under Zero and Near-Zero Leachate Treatments

In addition to the cash awards for excellence in written and oral presentations for their respective research projects, each student was presented with a plaque.

Student involvement in the SNA Research Conference is vital to the future of horticulture. SNA acknowledges the efforts of these students and looks forward to their horticultural research contributions in the future. SNA supports horticultural research through various industry programs and services.

Porter Henegar Memorial Award:

In 1969, an Award of Merit was created to honor those individuals who has made outstanding contributions to ornamental horticultural reasearch and, more specifically, to SNA. In 1972, the SNA Board of Directors resolved that the Award of Merit would be renamed the Porter Henegar Memorial Award for Horticultural Research in memory of the late Porter Henegar, Past Executive Secretary of SNA (1959 - 1972), to commemorate his years of tireless effort and service to this association. The recipient is selected annually by fellow research workers for his/her concern and work toward improving the nursery industry. This year's Porter Henegar Memorial Award winner is Dr. Charles R. Hall.

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Hall received his B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Tennessee in 1984 and his Master’s Degree in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design from the University of Tennessee in 1986. He then obtained his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University in 1988 and began his academic career at Texas A&M University in 1988, where he spent 13 years on the faculty before joining the faculty at the University of Tennessee in 2002. In August 2007, Dr. Hall returned to Texas A&M University as Professor and Ellison Chair in International Floriculture.

Dr. Hall’s expertise in the production and marketing of Green Industry crops is nationally recognized in academia and among the horticultural clientele he serves. His major research, teaching, & extension areas of specialization include strategic management, market situation/outlook, cost accounting, and financial analysis for Green Industry firms. He is an invited speaker at numerous regional, national, and international meetings of various industry-related associations and organizations. He is particularly known for the enthusiasm, passion, and intensity he exhibits when speaking.

Dr. Hall is an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association and has received TNLA’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Nursery Industry. He is also a member of the Hall of Fame and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association. In academia, Dr. Hall has received Texas A&M University’s Association of Former Students’ Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching and the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Student Counseling and Relations. Various Extension awards include the Outstanding Extension Publication Award from the American Society of Horticultural Science; and the Certificate of Meritorious Service and the State Early Career Award, both presented by Epsilon Sigma Phi, the professional society of the National Extension Service. He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho agricultural fraternity and has received their Grand Presidents Award and Brother of the Century designation.

David E. Laird, Sr. Memorial Award:

Established in 1974 by David E. Laird, Jr., in memory of his father, SNA Past President David E. Laird, Sr., this award is presented each year to recognize qualified young men and women for outstanding service in the field of environmental horticulture and to offer inspiration for others starting out in the field. The recipient must be 39 years of age or younger and must be a member of his/her state nursery association. Nominations are made by the SNA Participating State Association with final selection by the SNA Board of Directors.

Halsey W. Beshears was born on November 27, 1971 in Winter Park, Florida. His family moved to Monticello, Florida in 1973, when he was two. He attended Aucilla Christian Academy in Monticello and graduated from Brookwood School in Thomasville, GA in 1989. He received his B.S. in Social Science from Florida State University and his M.S. in Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida. Halsey began his career in the nursery industry in 1997 at his family business, Simpson Nurseries, a wholesale container growing operation servicing the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions, and today is Vice President.

Halsey’s has participated in and received the following awards: Wedgeworth Leadership Institute Graduate Class V (2002- 2008), Wedgeworth Leadership Board of Directors (2002- 2008), President, FNGLA Big Bend Chapter (2002-2004), FNGLA Board of Directors (2003-2008), President of Tallahassee Young Entrepreneurs Organization (2008), Farm Bureau Family of Jefferson County (2009), FNGLA Young Nursery Professional of the Year (2009), Board of Advisors Farmers & Merchants Bank (2007-2011), FNGLA President (2011-Present), Jefferson County Farm Bureau Board of Advi- sors (2009-Present). He is an active member of Presbyterian Church of Monticello and the Tallahassee Young Entrepreneurs Organization. He has been a Private Instrument Rated Pilot since 2000 with over 1000 hours as PIC.

Halsey and his wife Cristin have three daughters: Grace Hamilton – 10, Caroline Turner - 8 and Suzanne Whitelaw – 4.

Slater Wight Memorial Award:

In 1956, the late John B. Wight, Sr., suggested to the officers of the Southern Nursery Association that an award be offered annually to the person of their selection who, in their opinion, had contributed most to the advancement of the industry in the South and to the welfare of the Southern Nursery Association. The award was named the Slater Wight Memorial Award in memory of the late J. Slater Wight, brother of the late John B. Wight, Sr. Nomination and selection is made by the SNA Board of Directors.

Joseph Claude Kinney was born on April 23, 1946, in Gaines- ville, GA. After graduating from Gainesville High School he attended the University of Georgia (1964-1965) and Gainesville State College (1968-1970). He served in the U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne Division from 1965-1968. In 1972, Joe began his career in the nursery industry at Gro-Plant (known as Simpson Nursery) as an “on the road” salesman. He worked for Baucom’s Nursery (1973-1975) and later became sales manager of Flow- erwood Nursery. In July 1988, he founded Kinney Nursery (65 acres) and today produces a general line of container-grown nursery stock with emphasis on camellia, fruit and nut trees, fruiting vines and bushes, and stock not common to the trade. Joe’s business goal remains the same after 24 years – to produce high quality nursery stock, provide excellent customer service and treat employees, customers, and suppliers with respect.

Joe received the Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. He was the found- ing President of the GSHE (1998-1999). He is a member of Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association and served as President (1999-2000), a member of the American Nursery & Landscape Association and served as Senator (2006-2010), a member of the Georgia Green Industry Association, the Mississippi Nursery & Landscape Association, the Southern Nursery Association, the South Alabama Nursery Associa- tion, the Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association, and the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association. He is also member of American Azalea Society, the American Camellia Society, and the International Plant Propagators Society. 

Joe and his wife Cherry live in Mobile, AL. They have one son, Chad, and two grandsons, Brandon and Alex.

The Southern Nursery Association is a non-profit, professional trade association representing the horticultural industry in the southern U.S. SNA provides member services to wholesale growers, brokers, retailers, landscape contractors, landscape architects, grounds maintenance contractors, interiorscapers and allied suppliers. Established in 1899, the SNA strives to provide educational, marketing and networking opportunities essential to the survival of the horticultural industry.

For more information, contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, Tel:  678-809-9992, Fax:  678-809-9993,, or visit the SNA Website at


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