From The Executive Director
It's just amazing to think that three ARS presidents have now had the interesting experience of working with me as their Executive Director - and they are all still living! Saying good-bye as president at the Olympia Convention was H. Edward Reiley. Ed's mission while president was to get the Public Education and Plant Awards Program moving. The Proven Performers project is off and running, and anyone living where we have chapters can log on to rhododendron.org and find the best rhododendrons, azaleas, or vireyas for their part of the world. It's been a pleasure working for Ed, as it was with other survivors, Lynn Watts and Bud Gehnrich.
Probably appearing somewhere on this same page, you will find a message from our new president, Mike Stewart (drum roll please). You and I may be reading together what Mike has planned for us for the next two years, but I do know that he has a great dedication to the Society's growth and continued success of our mission. Mike probably won't tell you much about himself, so I'll tell you all I know (which I rarely get a chance to do).
Mike graduated with a B.S. from Portland State University and then took a Masters of Arts in teaching from Lewis and Clark College. While attending college he worked as a fire fighter and timber cruiser, piloting helicopters for the U.S. Forest Service. Yes, Mike is a pilot, and one of his favorite hobbies is flying. From 1972 through 1979 Mike was a high school music instructor.
Mike is a second generation ARS member. His parents, Roger and Margaret Stewart, joined the Society in the 1960s, and he has said that their love of rhododendrons and for the American Rhododendron Society has had a profound affect on him. Mike is now following those footsteps in which he was raised. Since 1979 he has been the owner of Dover Nursery, producing over 500 varieties of rhododendron hybrids and species. Maria, Mike's very dear wife, also shares in ARS activities and is an important part of their nursery business. We'll be seeing more of Maria now that she is about one- month retired after 30 years of teaching.
Our new president has held most of the jobs in his home chapter, Portland, and chaired the 50th Anniversary ARS Annual Convention. He is also a frequent speaker at chapter and regional meetings and annual conventions. Mike is also active in the Oregon Association of Nurserymen.
With all of his activities, Mike still finds time to ski with sons Aaron and Logan at beautiful Mt. Hood.