Terry O’Loughlin – Show Producer
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 22 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 show continues to be 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, have two active school-age children, Garrett and Ceanna, as well as one big bruiser of a dog, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The family spends most weekends outdoors enjoying the duck lake 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.
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 enjoys walking around shows 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 24-year history, the gardening community has a strong feeling of ownership of the show, and he wants to respect its rich traditions while also making it better and better every year, for novice gardeners and seasoned pros alike.
Jeff Swenson – Show Manager
Jeff Swenson, Show Manager Jeff Swenson is one busy guy in his eighth year with O’Loughlin Trade Shows, where he manages the Tacoma branch and its eight employees, producing five OTS shows held at the Tacoma Dome. In 2009 he was thrilled when OTS added the Northwest Flower & Garden Show to their family of shows, since for many years he attended the show and marveled at the stunning show gardens and all the great exhibitors. Little did he know that someday he’d be leading the team that produced the garden show. Born and raised in the Tri-Cities area and a graduate of Washington State University, he is an avid sports nut and follows all college sports very closely. His office in Tacoma is full of Cougar memorabilia from his travels to watch his favorite team play.
Jeff loves managing the garden show, since no two days are the same. In the event business, every day presents a new challenge and opportunity, and he feels he has gotten back even more than he has put in as he gets to know the great people of the Northwest gardening community. And he’s been learning more about gardening himself, experimenting with new plants and edible landscaping, picking up ideas from the professionals at the show. Right now his favorite plant is a ‘Rhode Island Red’ Japanese maple, probably because its brilliant crimson red in the fall reminds him of his favorite team’s colors. When Jeff is not at the office he also enjoys golf, traveling and spending time at his family’s beach house on Camano Island.
Linda Knudsen – Garden Show Exhibits Manager
Linda was born in Eastern Washington and grew up in Arlington, studying business at ITT Business School and Edmonds Community College. She has a daughter living in Seattle who is a top hair stylist, and a son in San Diego who runs his own electrical business. Linda first started at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in 2001. In 2005 she took on the challenging job of Exhibits Manager, and joined the O’Loughlin Trade Show staff in 2009. Like her colleagues, she loves how each day brings something new and exciting, as she juggles the countless details and requirements of over 350 exhibitors. Linda loves working with so many friendly nursery owners, artists, craftsmen and business people, and it shows in the great customer service she provides – and how much all the exhibitors love her! The show’s move-in days are absolutely crazy and Linda loves the energy and excitement in the behind-the-scenes chaos, with everyone pulling together to produce a great show.
Linda’s gardening has run the gamut from having a huge garden with a greenhouse where she started many plants from seed, to her cozy garden now – three dozen containers brimming with flowers, edibles and evergreens on her patio and front entry. She has a passion for rare conifers and brilliant tuberous begonias. Her newest plant acquisition is an Acer Palmatum “Shishi Gashira,” or Lion’s Head Maple. An avid sports nut, Linda loves to play golf and watch the Seahawks and Mariners. She likes to try out new recipes for family and friends, so she’s looking forward to having cooking demonstrations at the show next year.
Kyle Aronson – Webmaster / Graphic Designer
A native of Spokane, Kyle Aronson saw a career in landscape design in his future, receiving his bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and Horticulture from Washington State University. But that all changed when he relocated to the Seattle region to work for O’Loughlin Trade Shows. After five years at OTS he was excited when last year the garden show became a part of the O’Loughlin Trade Shows family of events. Kyle and his wife, Ellen, welcomed their first child in February 2010, who made her surprise early appearance during the 2010 Northwest Flower & Garden Show. Fittingly, they named her Linnea, after a small pink flower grown in Sweden named for the famed botanist Carl Linnaeus.
Kyle enjoys working with everyone in the Tacoma and Portland offices of OTS as he manages the websites and graphic design for all the shows. Every year and every show is different and unique; there’s always something new. The fact that he works with his college roommates – Jeff and Nick – whom he met on his first day at WSU over twelve years ago, is just icing on the cake. You can imagine that the lunch break means spirited Cougar football talk. Like any true gardener, Kyle’s garden is only half complete. He designed and planted it all, and right now his favorite plant is his Star Magnolia. When he’s not working on the show or his garden, Kyle listens to rock and metal music (anything from Tool to the classic Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’) and loves to grab a burger at the Red Mill. He also enjoys golfing, waterskiing and going to concerts.
Cyle Eldred – Show Designer
Cyle has worked almost every job in the garden show, since it was founded by his parents, Duane and Alice Kelly. He has been with the show since it opened in 1989, and is now the Show Designer for O’Loughlin Trade Shows, responsible for the show gardens and other special features of the show, such as the container gardens and floral display. Cyle enjoys working with the garden designers and all the talented people involved with the show. As the show designer, he recruits the garden creators and then shepherds their progress, from the initial design stages to the final chaotic moments just before the judging begins. It is a year-long process to bring over twenty unique show gardens to life for the show’s five day run, and the two words that Cyle never, ever wants to hear during the show garden move in are “water leak.”
Born in Oregon, raised in the Northwest and an on-again, off-again Seattle resident since 1970, Cyle now lives in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood with his wife, with his two children now in college. On those rare moments when he’s not planning a garden show, he’s planning a church function, snowboarding adventure or camping trip. During the show’s hiatus in 2009 he took the plunge and renovated his own garden, doing much of the work himself. Now, like most gardeners, he can’t wait for the plants to grow and fill in. His favorite plants at the moment (there are so many to choose from) are Solanum quitoense, Zea mays and Phyllostachys nigra. With his optimistic attitude he thinks that any day he’s still breathing is going to be a great day.
Nick Carroll – Sales Associate
Nick is another member of the O’Loughlin Trade Show staff who hangs the crimson colors in his office. A graduate of Washington State University, he was born and raised in Seattle and his family also live in the area. He loves the Northwest for its great skiing and hiking. He started with OTS six years ago and welcomed the chance to work on the Northwest Flower & Garden Show last year. Nick already knew many of the show’s exhibitors from other OTS shows at the Tacoma Dome, and enjoys meeting the new exhibitors as well. Nick loves the challenge of all the advance planning and work that goes into putting on the show and then seeing it all come together to become a great show.
Nick doesn’t have a garden yet, but relishes the local forests and the Cascade mountains and, like a true Northwest native, he tries to get back to nature as often as possible, which is sometimes not often enough as garden show deadlines loom. His favorite plant is the giant of the plant kingdom – Sequoia sempervirens, or the Pacific Coast Redwood. When he’s not at the office or on the phone with a garden show exhibitor, Nick likes to go to movies or just hang out with friends, or travel, ski and hike, just enjoying the peaceful outdoors and being nowhere near his cell phone.
Eric McMurry – Sales Associate
Eric is another hardworking sales associate at O’Loughlin Trade Shows, and has worked with the exhibitors of all the shows produced by the Tacoma office team for the past five years. Last year he added the Northwest Flower & Garden Show exhibitors to his list. Like his fellow sales associates, Eric likes the diversity of people he works with, from nursery growers to artists, home remodelers to the landscapers. Being able to get to know such a wide array of people with different backgrounds makes the show more exciting, and no two days are alike. Eric grew up in Olympia and loves the area. He and his wife, Kim, have four children, Zach, Jake, Tyler and Mackenzie, who keep the family on the go.
Eric hasn’t exactly adopted the Northwest gardening style – yet – since he describes his own garden as “redneck,” claiming if he were to mow the lawn, he’d find cars, trucks, boats and maybe even the dog hidden there. (We hope he’s kidding.) His favorite plant is the Monkey Puzzle Tree, just because it’s so weird, but don’t ask him the botanical Latin name. When he’s not on the phone or calling on exhibitors, Eric and his family enjoy drag racing every chance they get, or camping and fishing, or just grabbing a pizza at their favorite hangout, Papa Pete’s Pizza in Castle Rock. Plus he grills a mean steak or burger, so summer is probably his favorite time of year.
Janet Endsley – Seminar Manager
Janet was born and raised in California, moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1978. After working as a respiratory therapist she returned to school at the University of Washington for a degree in Public Communication, and then had a career in healthcare marketing and PR management for many years. She left work when her daughter was born, soon becoming a volunteer leader in local horticulture organizations. Her gardening addiction blossomed. In 2005 she joined the garden show as the Seminar Manager, continuing in that role with the O’Loughlin Trade Show team in 2009. She loves to work with leading garden writers, horticulturists, educators, designers and nursery owners to manage the largest slate of horticulture seminars anywhere in the world. She only wishes she could actually sit through an entire seminar, but running the seminars means constantly being on the go. From June, 2010 through June 2013 she served as the first Social Media Manager for the show, inaugurating The Garden Show Blog as well as the show’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.
Janet’s Mill Creek garden was featured by Val Easton in the Seattle Times in 1994 but now, spending so much time at the computer, she’s renovating her garden for lower maintenance. If she had to choose a favorite plant it would be the magnificent Kousa dogwood in her rear garden, which looks like a white cloud of blossoms for over six weeks in early summer, since she can enjoy it from her second story home office window. She lives with her husband, Mike (whose favorite garden tool is a 7-iron) and her daughter, a WWU student. She’s an avid reader, loves to bake, and her energetic Australian shepherd and Golden Retriever both make sure she takes a long walk through the nearby nature preserve every day.
Lois Garcia – Office Manager
Lois Garcia must enjoy being surrounded by a bunch of sports fans as the Tacoma office manager for O’Loughlin Trade Shows, otherwise she wouldn’t still be there after eight years. A Tacoma native, she graduated from Spanaway Lake High School and went on to attend Bates Technical College, earning her certificate as a Legal Secretary. She has one grown son, DeVonte’, who resides in Cottonwood AZ. He currently works full time at Valley Verde Hospital, and is hoping to begin college soon.
Lois hasn’t been bitten by the gardening bug yet, but she does love fresh flowers, with roses and carnations being her favorite. She is actively involved in the community and enjoys her volunteer work, strongly feeling that it’s important “to pay it forward” and to bring a smile to someone’s face every chance she gets. She often enjoys listening to country or jazz music, or going to Harbor Lights Restaurant for a relaxing time. When she gets a chance to take a break from the office, she heads to the ocean to enjoy some cool breezes and marvel at the view.
Michelle Derbes, Show Assistant
Michelle Derbes knows all about trying to garden with wildlife. Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, her parents grew vegetables every summer, only to have them eaten just before harvest by marauding moose. After attending the University of Alaska for a year, she moved down to the ‘lower 48’ to attend Southern Oregon University, where she received a bachelor’s in business and marketing. Michelle now lives in Gig Harbor with her husband and two school-age daughters – but no moose. She really must love working for O’Loughlin Trade Shows, since she keeps coming back! After serving as the office manager for almost ten years, she left to start her family. She returned for two more show seasons before her second daughter was born. Now she’s back once again, and thrilled to be working on the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
Michelle loves coordinating the many parts of the show, such as the container exhibits, floral displays, Ikebana and Children’s area, as well as the show gardens. During the days the show is open to the public, you will find her managing the Show Office. She works hard all year for those two adrenalin-producing weeks of the show, from the very start of move-in, to the final farewell when the gardens are cleared out. She loves being a part of the whole process, and helping it come together. Michelle’s also hoping some of the skills of the gardening experts rub off on her, since she confesses that “plants are not safe around me – they have a very short life expectancy.” Her favorite plant is one she’s managed not to kill. When she’s not working or playing taxi driver for her girls, she likes to read, scrapbook, or go out to eat (especially Mexican or Italian) and dream about someday having a garden like the ones she sees at the show.