Willoway Nurseries, Inc.

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Former Interns… What are they doing now?

The goal of the internship program at Willoway Nurseries, Inc. is to prepare students for their future careers in the horticulture industry. If positions are available and interns meet qualifications, they usually are the first choice for employment at Willoway Nurseries, Inc. We are in the process of “molding our next generation of employees,” says President, Tom Demaline. Interns from previous years have become a part of the Willoway staff as nursery specialists.

2010 Internships

Willoway Nurseries employed 3 college interns for the spring/summer 2010. Our first two interns from OSU ATI joined us late March-June. Our third intern from Owens Community College joined Willoway in May-August.

Our first intern was Rob Hiler, a senior in Greenhouse and Nursery Management at OSU ATI. Rob had completed all of his coursework prior to completing the internship with Willoway. Upon completion of his internship, Rob was hired full time as a Production Supervisor on the Main Container nursery. Quote from Rob regarding his internship experience:

Q: What was your favorite department you worked in during your internship?

A: "IPM (Integrated Pest Management). Jim Merrick (a Horticulturalist at Willoway) covered all aspects of insect, disease, and pest management. He taught me about plant quality and I was involved in meetings with Chemical Sales Representatives and worked with Bill Bauerle (OARDC). I learned that obtaining accurate data is the only way the pest management program will be efficient. I liked this department because it was very science-related and overall, I learned A LOT in my time there."

2010 Intern

Our next intern was Josh Garbinsky, a junior in Nursery Management at OSU ATI. At the end of Josh's internship, he returned to ATI to finish his degree. Quote from Josh about one of his days spent at the Pot-in-Pot nursery:

"I really enjoyed today. The first half of the day I went with Andy, one of the managers on the nursery, and helped him coordinate his crews that were pulling plants for orders. After lunch I was put on the loading dock where we were loading 15-25 gallon trees off of full pallets aligned everywhere on the dock onto empty pallets for customer orders. I was soon put in charge of about 10 workers to use to load up the trees for the different orders. This was 'mucho' difficult when I speak very little Spanish, but I figured it out and it was a great experience. I decided to put small crews of 2 people in different spots loading for different orders and finally got a flow to it. I really enjoyed this experience. We got to experience being the manager at the small garden center at our school, which gave me an overview on how to run a crew. This was similar to my experience running the crew on the dock. It was difficult, but fun at the same time."

2010 Intern

Our third intern was Joshua Barnett, a senior from Owens Community College. Joshua completed his coursework in May and did the internship with Willoway to gain even more experience in the field. Joshua decided to go back to college for his Bachelor's degree in Business after completing his internship.

Q: Summarize your internship in a few sentences… what did you learn and was this internship worth while?

A: "This experience was one of the most adventurous and educational things I've ever done. I stepped outside my comfort zone and did something I've never done before. It was definitely worth it. My most memorable moment from the internship was working in the shipping department. Trying to keep up was very intense! I specifically remember loading an entire truck of 3-7 gallon hydrangeas. It was a great experience to see the workers come together to get the job done."

2010 Intern

2009 Internships

In 2009 we were pleased to have 4 college interns at Willoway throughout the summer. Our first intern was Tim Sauner, from Ohio State ATI. Tim was a senior in Nursery and Greenhouse Management. He interned from March through June 2009.

Tim during his time in the Sales/Marketing department setting up a display at a local customer's business.

Quotes from Tim regarding his experience:

Q: When thinking about your entire internship, which department do you feel was the most educational?

A: “The Shop. I did a lot of things I have never done before and learned a lot during my time there; for example working on transmissions and radiators and welding. Also the Shipping department. The Shipping manager, Keith, was very helpful and involved with teaching me about his department. This department was much more in depth than I expected. I was included in the day to day process and felt very productive.”

Q: What did you like best about the internship?

A: “The quality of people I worked with everyday.”


Our second intern, Aaron Burd, was from Kent State University- Salem Campus. Aaron was a sophomore in Horticulture Technology and interned with Willoway from May through August 2009.

Aaron loading Willoway plants into a semi truck during his time in the Shipping

Quotes from Aaron regarding his experience:

Q: Summarize your internship in just a few words.

A: “I saw what people do in this industry everyday on the growing side as opposed to landscaping. This would be beneficial to other landscape students also.”

Q: How have you increased your knowledge about the “green” industry over the last 13 weeks?

A: “I have learned a lot in the classrooms at school, but this internship was very educational because actually working with employees opens your eyes and makes you more connected with the industry as a whole.”


Our third intern, Mark Hoover, from Ohio State University interned with Willoway from June through September. Mark was a junior at OSU and had already completed 2 years at OSU ATI’s campus. He was a student in the Landscape Horticulture program.

Mark at the greenhouse transplanting

Quotes from Mark regarding his experience:

Q: Which department you worked in do you think will be the most beneficial to you in your future?

A: “IPM (Integrated Pest Management) because it was the most educational. I worked on research projects with inspectors from ODA and USDA, and learned a lot of things I did not know about pests and diseases. Also working at the Distribution Center one-on-one with customers was a good experience.”

Q: Would you recommend this internship to one of your classmates?

A: “Definitely to any student who is looking for more experience in the industry.”

Q: What did you like best about this internship?

A: “Being able to spend time in all of the departments at the nursery.”

Q: Least?

A: “Weeding and canning because it was repetitive. But I didn’t mind the work because I realize it is an important task that needs to be done to make the nursery run each day.”

Our last, but not least, intern for 2009 was Amber Hoffstetter from Ohio State University. Amber was a sophomore in Plant Pathology at the time of her internship. She interned from June through September.

2009 interns out at the Lake Erie Crushers game on a summer
night after work.

Quotes from Amber regarding her experience:

Q: Which department do you feel was the most educational and why?

A: “Pot in Pot and Containers. In pot in pot I learned a lot about trimming, spacing, and proper tree care procedures. In Containers I learned growing techniques for many different types of plants.”

Q: Concluding comments about your internship:

A: “I had a blast this summer. Everyone was really nice here and it was very easy to ask questions.”

2008 Internships

Interns, John Terhesh and Alex Greene, learn mum-pinching techniques from Vicki Morris, one of our head growers at the Willoway greenhouses.

Quotes from Alex Greene, OSU ATI senior in Greenhouse Management and Nursery Management/ 2008 Willoway Summer Intern:

"Before I came to college, I had no experience in the Nursery industry at all. There, I learned the basics of the business: terminology, general operations, growing practices, and other such things. During my internship at Willoway, I got to learn how a functional business actually runs. I learned the nursery industry in the theoretical sense at school, but I learned it in the practical sense at Willoway.

"I was surprised by the level of guidance that I received from my supervisors at Willoway. They really took a lot of time out of their days to show me their roles in the business, general operations, and the like. When put to work, the managers made sure that I knew what to do, but they didn't hover over me, either -- I never felt stifled, and they were always ready to answer questions.

"Overall, my experience was the best I could hope for in an internship -- and not just because I'm going to work there full-time this coming spring! I would recommend an internship at Willoway to anyone. Oh, and the free housing doesn't hurt, either."

Intern, Tom Brady, from OSU ATI prepares a recent order of Hydrangeas for shipment

Quotes from John Terhesh, Southern Illinois University- Carbondale senior in Plant and Soil Science/ 2008 Willoway Summer Intern:

"Willoway Nurseries has allowed me to gain experience in areas I was previously not exposed to in a classroom. The managers were happy to take the time to teach me about their jobs and answer any questions I had. Willoway likes to experiment with new programs and practices that are still only ideas to the green industry. The internship was an exciting experience for me to work with numerous leaders in the nursery field. This program has exceeded my expectations, and is a great opportunity to see all the different components that make up a successful nursery."


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