Hall Of Fame Inductees
The individuals nominated should have made a significant impact or positive influence that assures the future of our industry in the lives of generations to come.
Once nominated, an individual’s biography and photo are updated on the site, and he or she is placed in the polls for voting. At the end of the year the committee takes into consideration the votes and decides which candidates are inducted.
Those with a star (*) next to their name below were either inducted posthumously or have passed away since being inducted.
- Person with integrity and passion
- Minimum 20 years in industry
- Someone who has developed or invented new technology
- Has made contributions that resulted in change
- Contributed to mankind’s needs in his field
- Provided education and encouragement with self-sacrifice
- Changed the industry
Dave Cox's interest in the Green Industry came naturally from a young age as he grew up in an agricultural family. His grandfather farmed row crops, and his family owned a farm supply store in Visalia, California. Dave learned to set syphon pipes from this grandfather at age six and to drive a tractor straight by age 10. As a teenager and during college, he worked at Sequoia Feed, delivering products to customers and inspecting crops for insects and pests. Dave worked with his father in the farm supply business during these years, learning many life lessons, including the dedication and hard work it took to grow farm crops and how to know customers and provide valuable service to meet their various needs.
Dave graduated from UC Santa Barbara with an economics degree and considered pursuing a banking career. However, everything changed in May 1976, when he sat for an interview at L.E. Cooke Company Nursery and was offered the opportunity to join the family-owned business. He started in inventory control, literally counting all the trees by variety and size. Soon, Dave moved into sales for several years, serving the retail and wholesale nurseries and meeting the needs of California and out-of-state customers. From here, he was promoted to running the office for the Nursery requiring lots of detail work to ensure orders were right. From there, Dave became General Manager and took on the responsibility for managing the Company's finances, banking relationships, and regulatory compliance for the Nursery. Later, he became the Nursery's CEO and stepped into production, starting from a seed or a cutting to a finished tree, ready for the trade. Dave describes this as the most fulfilling and best part of the business.
Over these years, Dave became very involved in the California Nursery Industry, beginning with the local chapter, helping to make nurseries in our area more successful. Then his services broadened to the State leadership, which included moving through the Organization's Officer chairs, from Grower Member Director to President. Dave's leadership and service continued involving several statewide committees providing valuable services to the agriculture and green industry. Past service includes:
* Served as a Core Team member for the Pacific Area Wide Methyl Bromide Alternatives
* Appointment to the California Fruit, Nut, and Grapevine Industry Advisory Board (IAB) which distributed the 1% assessment collected annually
* Served on various hiring panels for UDSA ARS in Nematology and weed science for scientists at the USDA-ARS field station in Parlier
* Served many years on various research advisory committees, including the CANGC Research Committee (serving as a current member and past Chair) and various state and federal grant committees. As a member of these Committees, he yearly reviews grant proposals at the state and federal levels to ensure they don't forget that Nursery is a part of agriculture.
Dave's leadership continuum grew out of the concern and the ever-changing regulatory landscape facing our industry. He has been involved in a multitude of regulatory activities on behalf of the green industry. As the CANGC Grower Member Director, he was on the front end of addressing the issues presented by the pathogen P. ramorum (also called Sudden Oak Death) and Light Brown Apple Moth, where Best Management Practices (BMP)'s were incorporated into the compliance agreement for the first time. He also met with the National Plant Board (NPB) and APHIS PPQ regarding nursery industry practices and plant disease issues. His continued collaboration with APHIS PPQ and other nursery leaders coordinated by American Hort led to a new systems approach for Best Management Practices which became SANC. Dave continued his involvement by identifying nurseries to test and implement the SANC systems approach Nursery Certification (SANC), by which nurseries may be certified for nationwide shipping.
Dave provided leadership within the Nursery Association and the larger green industry; however, in the past seven years, difficult decisions were required to meet new challenges became very personal for Dave and L.E. Cooke Company. In Spring 2018, after more than 73 years, the difficult decision to cease the Bare Root Nursery Division was necessary due to California changing labor laws. These challenges and the state's ever-increasing regulatory climate presented difficult personal and professional decisions for the Nursery. Through Dave's leadership, he guided the reinvention of the Nursery division from a large 1,000-acre bareroot operation with 130 year-round employees and over 300 seasonal employees into a smaller nursery focused on grafted liner production to the Nursery and commercial trade with 20 employees. With a smaller nursery, instead of working 60 to 70 hours a week, Dave is now working fewer hours and is looking forward to taking more walks on the South Fork of the Kaweah River.
Dave is still serving! He is appointed to the Nursery Advisory Board, reporting to the California Secretary of Agriculture and representing the nursery industry to CA Urban Forestry Advisory Committee to Cal Fire.
At home, Dave has been active in his church. He has served multiple leadership roles as Treasurer and Moderator over several terms when requested. He also served as a member of the relocation committee and co-chair of the building committee during the planning and relocation of the church from one acre in town to an area of future home developments. The results were a larger facility on twenty acres that provided multiple soccer fields focused on youth activities and outreach into the community.
As Dave looks at his 46 years of hands-on experience in the Nursery industry, Dave is amazed as time seems to move so quickly. He looks forward to serving the Nursery and green industry for many years to come. When you enjoy what you are doing, it isn't work.