12 December 2011
ODS E-News Profile on new NGIA President, and Managing Director and Owner of Wholesale Plants and Products, Craig Norman.
Over the last 30 years, Craig Norman has had a long and varied background in the nursery and garden industry. He has represented his state association, NGISA, for almost 20 years in varied positions, including a term as State President.
His horticultural career began with work in both Production and Retail nurseries and moved to a marketing and management role for a large hardware chain. Craig has also managed his own landscape business. Since 1999 Craig has been Managing Director and Owner of South Australia’s leading accredited horticultural market, Wholesale Plant and Products Pty Ltd.
Craig Norman started his career in horticulture at the age of 15 in one of Adelaide’s premier retail garden centre and production nursery. “I can remember the first year working in the production area of the retail nursery. My role was to fill the tubes ready for cuttings with soil; making the soil in a manual concrete mixer; and I was also the toilet cleaner.
I can remember thinking back then, well if this is what working in horticulture is all about I hope it gets better! As time passed my role moved to working in the production of tube cutting material and seed raising, to working in the retail part of the business on the weekends. It wasn't long before I could say goodbye to the toilet cleaning duties and was put in charge of production, and was still working on weekends in the retail area.
At age 24 and having enough of working for someone else, I left my employment and developed my own business in landscaping and home maintenance. This was successful, but after some years I realised that I missed the buzz of a retail garden centre and its customers, and so I sold my business and went to work for another long established retail garden centre and stayed there for five years before the owner decided to change direction and sell the business.
I decided I wanted a challenge and was employed as Garden Manager which led me to assist in the development of a brand new hardware store for one of our leading chains. This role soon developed to see me become the Store Manager. This role enabled me to enhance more of my business skills and this saw me change direction again and I became employed as Area Manager and Marketing Officer for Horticulture of a national hardware giant. After seven years in this role I wanted to do more and that is when I purchased Wholesale Plants and Products in 1999.”
Craig Norman has an Advanced Diploma in Horticulture, Diploma in Design and Business Certificate.
Wholesale Plants and Products is South Australia's leading horticulture market suppling retail garden centres, the landscape industry, and local and state government departments with a full range of horticulture products. Since purchasing the business in 1999, Craig and his great team have increased their sales by over 400 per cent.
Craig Norman is married to Sharon, a Director in Wholesale Plants and Products, and they have two children, Hugh and Emily.
At the recent board meeting held in Hobart on November 15 and 16, Craig Norman was elected unopposed as President of the NGIA board. Craig expressed his thanks for the Board’s confidence and accepted the nomination.
“The new NGIA Board’s direction for the coming years is to be committed to meeting the aims and objectives of our Industry Strategic Plan and must ensure that it is aligned with the industry’s strategic Investment Plan. This alignment will ensure our industry is productive, profitable and sustainable,” said Craig.
“Our new Board is focussed on ensuring the industry is recognised for the products it grows and sells. We should also be recognised for our contribution to the Australian environment and lifestyle,” added Craig.
“The landscape of our industry has changed direction and we as our peak industry body must change, develop and meet our objectives that assist all stakeholders. We have to move pass tradition and embrace these exciting challenges ahead, as any one of us would do in our own businesses.”
Craig believes the Nursery and Garden Industry can grow further and become an even stronger voice within the wider Horticultural industry.