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Nikki Melin

Board Member Spotlight

Nikki Melin
Midwest Groundcovers

Nikki Melin is one of IGIA's newest Board Directors, beginning her term of service July 1, 2021. She has also served on the IGIA Garden Center committee in the past, in addition to serving the industry as a member of the iLandscape Experience committee.  Nikki began her career with Midwest Groundcovers in 2008 after an internship at Chicago's Millennium Park garden.

Q: What motivates you on a Monday morning?
Nikki: Getting to work somewhere that produces and sells plants. I love the beauty and benefit they bring to the world around us and I love sharing that passion with people on a daily basis! Plant nerding with people is the best.Nikki and MWG Team

Q: What has been your proudest moment in business?
Nikki: Getting recognized by GPN (Greenhouse Product News) as one of the Green Industry's 40 Under 40 in 2020. I am also very proud to have lived through the Great Recession with Midwest Groundcovers and being part of the recovery and growth.

Q: What has been your biggest business challenge?
Nikki: Labor across the board is one of the largest challenges many face in the Green Industry, across all levels of the business - not just skilled labor. Finding the "next generation" of green industry employees & leaders is a challenge as well so we continue to look for creative ways to attract people to the industry and help them visualize a fruitful, lifelong career.

Q: Share a fun fact about you that many people don't know.
Nikki: I was a javelin thrower in college at the University of Illinois.

Do you have a horticulture or business mentor? Is there any wisdom they have given you that you'd like to share?
Nikki: I have been lucky to have many mentors so far in my career. The leadership team at Midwest Groundcovers (Gary Knosher, Peter Orum, Christa Orum-Keller) have all been extremely supportive in helping me grow my career and providing me with the opportunities to learn and expand my industry knowledge. Mike Braun of Pivotal Advisors has also been an incredible business & leadership mentor for me. He has helped me refine my management skills and taught me how to drive sales forward. Dr. Gary Kling from U of I was an early mentor, really leading me to work for a grower in the green industry. 

Q: What's your favorite plant?
Nikki: I am a big shade garden enthusiast so I love Heucheras and Hostas. I am also a Native plant enthusiast, with Asclepias tuberosa being one of my favorite plants.Nikki Melin

Q: What made you decide to become involved in a leadership role in the association?
Nikki: I really enjoy being a part of our state organizations - they do so much to support our industry in so many ways. And the Midwest Groundcovers philosophy has always been about giving back to our industry organizations and I was inspired by that. Plus, I thought it was an excellent way to form deeper relationships with my industry peers and learn about their successes and challenges and try to find solutions to help them.

Q: What would you say to your peers who may be hesitant to get involved with the association or not understand the importance of belonging to an industry group?
Nikki: I would say just try getting involved in a smaller way at first - a committee or even volunteering at an event. I think you quickly come to find all the value there is - from building relationships, learning, and the great feeling that comes with giving back to organizations that are supporting us day in and day out.

About Midwest Groundcovers

Midwest Groundcovers, LLC, is an industry leader in the propagation, growing and wholesale distribution of quality container nursery stock. They operate over 700 acres of state-of-the-art nursery production facilities at five locations in St. Charles, IL; Virgil, IL; and Glenn, MI.

Each year, these nurseries produce millions of container plants, including more than 130 different groundcover varieties; over 240 species of local ecotype native plants identified as Natural Garden Natives®; 140 regional Midwest native species of which some are naturally occurring selections; more than 500 varieties of perennials and ornamental grasses; and over 275 varieties of deciduous shrubs, native shrubs, broadleaf evergreens, hardy shrub roses, conifers, and vines. LEARN MORE