Al Gerace Welby Gardens Co.
Al has served 43 years at Welby Gardens Co., a commercial greenhouse operation. Prior to his role as CEO, he has been the greenhouse manager, grower, sales manager, and advertising and promotions director. Al directed the 80-acre fresh produce operation until 1982. He studied economics at the University of Colorado before he spent three years in Italy doing service as a conscientious objector working on Economic Development in Central Sicily. Gerace returned with an Italian bride in 1973. His tenure is long and highly successful. He became head sales person and business administrator for the family business, developed the company logo, “Hardy Boy,” and developed the bedding plant export business to the southwestern US. Gross sales for Welby Gardens has grown from $140,000 in 1973 to $21,000,000 in 2016. Al lead the development of the winter pansies business to a 14-state enterprise, both in southern and northern states. The greenhouse operation grew to 1,000,000 Sq ft in 2004. Family members in the business grew from 5 members to today’s 13. Al has been instrumental in the formation of many local industry trade associations: Colorado Bedding & Pot Assn., Colorado Greenhouse Growers Assn., Garden Centers of Colorado, GreenCo. He played a major role in launching Plant Select on a local, regional, and national level. During the regional drought of 2002-2004, Al played a major role in making the green industry’s case to the local water boards and established a ‘Can Do” Campaign for the regional public. Al has served on Denver Botanic Gardens Board of Trustee from 1996-1998 and from 2010-2016, and currently serving as Trustee Emeritus. Al also served on Colorado Agriculture Commission from 2008-2017 and as chair 2014-2016. Al has traveled extensively in North, Central and South America, Europe, Japan and South Africa evaluating new varieties of annuals and perennials for introduction to the US market. He participated in drought Studies at Welby Gardens Field Trial Site. He has aided Colorado State University in Fort Collins and Grand Junctions -Extension Office, has been on the Advisory Committee for Annual Trial Grounds at Fort Collins – 1991-2006, and lead fundraising for new trial grounds at CSU/Fort Collins High School Site.
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