Ashley Howard, Lee Harding, and Mary Lewis Named in GPN’s Forty Under 40 Class of 2024

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Every year GPN recognizes 40 individuals in the horticulture industry who are setting the pace for the future. These individuals demonstrate superior leadership, creativity, compassion, and innovative thinking. Ashley Howard, Lee Harding, and Mary Lewis are named in this year’s 40 Under 40 class.

Ashley Howard began her professional journey in horticulture with Floranova in 2011 and joined Syngenta Flowers in 2019. Her first project was to make an empty facility in Indiana suitable for customer service operations, order fulfillment, shipping, packing, and seed storage. In her new role as Head Planner for Seeds Americas, she is concerned with improving processes and implementing new ones, with the goal of making Syngenta Flowers the easiest to work within the industry. ” What really drives Ashley is making her customers successful and doing whatever is necessary to accomplish that. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, creating art, and watching musical theater. Her favorite plants are sunflowers,” the Syngenta team says.

Lee Harding works as a Research and Process Improvement Manager for Syngenta Flowers. ” Over the past three years, she has led a continuous improvement (CI) program at her site, through which the production team has delivered $1.1M in cost efficiencies and quality improvements. As a team advocate, Lee has also been a catalyst for positive change management and promotes site participation within the company’s regional and global CI platforms. In her free time, Lee enjoys gardening with colorful varieties of common veggies, and home cooking projects to convert favorite recipes into healthy versions. She’s also ridden every roller coaster in Florida. Her favorite plants are Garden Mums for their perfect globe shape,” the team adds.

Mary joined Syngenta Flowers in January 2022 as Technical Scientist in Gilroy, CA. In mid-2022, Mary was promoted to Associate Breeder and worked on a succession plan with renowned Senior Breeder Todd Perkins. “Mary has dramatically impacted Syngenta Flowers’ breeding by leveraging her ability to problem-solve and communicate, her experience in perennial breeding, and her endless creativity. In a short time, Mary has learned the business of commercial flower breeding and the specifics of Pansy/Viola and Zinnia breeding. She also serves as the primary breeder for our trailing Lobelia program and has successfully started to present pre-commercial varieties to the organization. In her free time, Mary enjoys reading, sewing, and hiking. Her favorite plant at the moment is the Princess Flower (Pleroma urvilleanum),” they conclude.

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