You could say the event business is in Terry O’Loughlin’s blood. As a third generation show producer and co-owner of the Portland based O’Loughlin Trade Shows, Terry has been working in trade shows for over 25 years. With his two brothers, Bill and Peter, the company’s staff produces twelve shows each year. When Terry discovered that the Northwest Flower & Garden Show was up for sale, he jumped at the opportunity to produce the renowned show, the second largest garden show in the country. By all accounts, the 2010 show was a huge success for both the gardening community and the company.
Terry grew up in Portland, Oregon, and is an Oregon State University graduate. He and his wife, Karin (who serves as the Sponsor Manager for the show) have two active school-age children, Garrett and Ceanna, as well as one big bruiser of a hunting dog, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The family spends most weekends outdoors enjoying the duck lake, boy scouts or some other activity, along with lots and lots of extended family. Terry has always been a “people person,” and that is his favorite thing about the event business – the people. He loves all the different creative people that come together to make it all happen. For Terry, it’s all positive energy; something new and exciting every year. The people who work on the shows become family too. During move-in you can sometimes find him deftly maneuvering two push brooms at once, pitching in along with everyone else to get the show ready in a mere 72 hours.
Terry is proud of his own garden, with its raised beds overflowing with vegetables. Most trees and shrubs have to be “dog proof” and his hydrangeas have done especially well. He enjoyed walking around the 2010 garden show – his first as the new owner – to get ideas, marveling at how much information and education you can get at the show, whether ogling the show gardens, browsing the exhibitors or sitting in on a seminar. Terry credits his mother’s love of gardening for giving him a passion for the garden show. He understands that with its 26-year history, the gardening community has a strong feeling of ownership of the show. He respects its rich traditions while also working on making the show better and better every year, for both well-seasoned attendees and people experiencing the marvels of the show for the first time.