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
M. Gottlieb & Assoc., Inc.
Marty Gottlieb’s consulting business, M.Gottlieb & Associates, Inc., is a marketing/business development firm specializing in the lawn and garden industry. Gottlieb started this company 35 years ago because he had an idea that a demand existed within the industry for a service that offered both horticultural expertise and lawn and garden product marketing experience.
Before starting M. Gottlieb & Associates, Gottlieb had a strong background in the North American marketplace. Following graduation from Cornell University with a horticultural degree, Gottlieb started his career in 1968 when he went to work for Shemin Nurseries (now SiteOne) that had just opened. Gottlieb was Mr. Shemin’s first assistant, but this position was short lived since the United States Army decided Gottlieb should work for them.
Upon completing his military obligation, Gottlieb went to work as a Cornell Cooperative Extension Agent in New York State. After spending three years with the Extension Service, he left to join the B.G. Pratt Company, a formulator of lawn and garden chemicals, as consumer products sales manager where he stayed for three years.
Over the next eleven years, Gottlieb handled various sales and marketing responsibilities for several companies in the Canadian peat moss industry, rising from national sales manager (Premier Tech) to vice-president of marketing (Lambert Peat). During this time, Gottlieb had two accomplishments that would have a long-standing effect within the industry.
Gottlieb was hired by Western Peat Moss (now Sun Gro), the largest harvester of Canadian peat moss at that time, to develop and lead them into the marketplace with a soilless growing media for commercial greenhouse growers. At that time, the available commercial potting mixes were often inconsistent and difficult to wet. Gottlieb thought he knew how to correct this and hired a team to focus on quality control. He named the product, “Sunshine Mix.” Three years after production began, Sunshine Mix became the number one selling potting mix in North America. Today, forty-one years later, it’s still one of the top-selling, professional growers’ mixes.
A few years later, as Vice President of Marketing for Lambert Peat Moss, Gottlieb argued with, and finally convinced the Lambert brothers to experiment with palletizing bales of peat moss and growing media, making it easier and faster for customers to unload trucks. The Lamberts believed their customers would not pay the additional cost of palletization. The standard method at the time was to load and unload trucks by hand, bale by bale. This traditional method was labor intensive, time-consuming, and hard, dirty work for the employees. Lambert first introduced palletized bales at the National Hardware Show in 1985, and K-Mart quickly became their first customer to order this option. Within a very short time, palletized peat moss and growing media bales became an industry standard and available from every peat moss producer in North America.
In 1991, Gottlieb partnered with George Hamilton, Jr., Penn State University faculty member, to develop a mulch for turfgrass establishment utilizing various recyclable cellulose sources. The intent was to divert and recycle a waste stream into a profitable product that was an improvement over those currently in use. Various waste streams were evaluated including Proctor and Gamble’s off-spec Pampers. Gottlieb named the product “Penn Mulch” in honor of Penn State. Penn State University owned the intellectual property and licensed Lesco to market the product. Today, LebanonTurf owns Penn Mulch and it’s still considered an important component for germinating grass seed on golf courses and large landscape projects.
In 2003, the Root Control Company brought Gottlieb on board to help increase their business. At that time, the company manufactured fabric Root Control Bags, which were sold exclusively to tree growers. Shortly after joining RootControl, Gottlieb had an idea and started growing herbaceous plants in these containers. He started with strawberries before growing potatoes as well as various other vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The results were impressive, and Gottlieb convinced the company’s owner to allow him to develop a retail product line for the company. Now, “Smart Pots” are known around the world and “grow bag” gardening is an accepted practice. Gottlieb also spoke to the company’s owner about renaming the company with a more suitable name and came up with “High Caliper Growing.”
Gottlieb has spent his last 55 years in the horticultural industry; an industry he considers home. It’s been a great ride and he enjoys sharing his passion and love for the industry with younger people, new to the industry. Several years ago, he mentored a high school student through her junior and senior year. He advised her on a microbiology project that included evaluating plant growth in various media. She is now in her junior year at Cornell University and interns for a faculty member studying the microbiology of various composts. Gottlieb has also served as a guest speaker at Colorado State University, sharing his industry experiences with the students and reassuring them that they had made the right decision and had so much to look forward to.
Most recently, he submitted a nomination for Jessica Crabtree, Wegman’s Organic Farm Manager, into the “Greenhouse Product News” in their “40 Under 40” program – a program that recognizes young men and women who are setting the direction for the horticulture industry’s future. The nomination was accepted and she is now a member of the “Class of 2021.”