Below you’ll find pictures, email addresses, and bio’s on your favorite show employees. Contact one of us today, we’d love to hear from you.
Be sure to scroll down and read staff biographies from of all of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show staff.
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.
Jeff Swenson is one busy guy in his 13th year with O’Loughlin Trade Shows, where he manages the Tacoma branch and its nine employees, producing four other 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. The garden show also brought Jeff something he never expected – love. He met his fiancé, Linsley Grow, when she began serving as the show’s Event Manager for the Washington State Convention Center. They were wed in July, 2014 in the midst of planning the 2015 show.
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 and Linsley also enjoy golf, traveling and spending time at his family’s beach house on Camano Island and Linsley’s parents’ farm in Eastern Washington.
Lloyd Glasscock is well-known to people in the gardening industry, having been involved in the landscaping and nursery industry in Washington State for over 35 years. He has worked in retail, wholesale, and nursery and horticultural supplies, and he has also served in a number of leadership roles in industry associations. The past 20 years he’s been a retailer of stone, water features, paving brick and building block to both the public and contractors, and he has had his own landscape design business for the past four years. This makes Lloyd a natural to be the newest Garden Coordinator at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, since the fully-built display gardens contain over 200,000 pounds of rock and boulders, countless pallets of brick and pavers, and many different kinds of water features. The three words Lloyd will make sure he never hears in the tense hours before the show opens: “There’s a leak.” But even better, Lloyd has created over 20 display gardens at the show. He’s well versed on what it takes to design and build a garden, the complexity and the stress, and has always been interested in the whole planning process.
Lloyd has lived in the Stanwood area for nearly 30 years with his wife Denise, joined by Brodie the Wonder Cat. They have a ‘turf free’ house landscaped with a wide variety of plants (Lloyd would much rather be hiking than mowing the lawn), some choice specimens even dating back to their earliest years on the property. A Styrax obassia (Fragrant Snowbell) and Enkianthus in the front garden are both over 25 years old and are beloved for their flowers and fall color. When they’re not out in the garden, Lloyd and Denise like to travel (Scotland being a favorite destination, which explains Lloyd’s occasionally donning his kilt) and they also enjoy wine tasting. Lloyd is an avid hiker and when he can get away from meetings with garden creators or show planning, he hits the trail, most recently in the Grand Canyon.
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 300+ 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. And her home is filled with botanical art from the garden show, since it’s a great place where nature lovers can find things they love for their home décor. An avid sports nut, Linda loves to play golf and watch the Seahawks and Mariners, as well as try her hand in the kitchen trying out new recipes for family and friends.
Janet was born and raised in California, moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1978. After working for a decade as a respiratory therapist she returned to school at the University of Washington for a degree in Public Communication, which launched a career in healthcare marketing and PR management for many years. She left work when her daughter was born, and her gardening addiction blossomed. Soon she became a volunteer leader in horticulture organizations, chairing the Pacific Northwest Gardens Competition for ten years, and serving as president of the Northwest Perennial Alliance and on the board of the Arboretum Foundation. 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 working with leading garden writers, horticulturists, designers and nursery owners across the nation, bringing so many ‘must-see’ speakers to our avid seminar attendees. She only wishes she could actually sit through an entire seminar, but running the seminars means constantly being on the go. In 2010 she took on the added job as the show’s first Social Media Manager, which she held for three years.
Janet’s Mill Creek garden was featured by Val Easton in the Seattle Times in 1994 but as her time at the computer cut into her gardening time, she’s slowly renovated her garden for lower maintenance with easier-care plants loved by birds and bees. 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 June, 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 Peyton is a Western Washington University junior. She loves yoga, reading, and baking, and taking a daily sanity break walking through the nearby nature preserve with her young Golden Retriever. She also (secretly) loves Husky football, despite being surrounded by a sea of Cougars.
Courtney J. Goetz
Courtney Goetz started at the garden show in 2004, assisting her mother, designer Sue Goetz of Creative Gardener, install gardens at the show. What was a youthful “chore” became a lifelong love. In 2011 she was ready to tackle the challenge of designing her own garden – as a high school senior project. Her garden, “Paradise (to be) Regained,” received great acclaim, winning a Gold Medal and the Sunset Western Living Award. (Of course she also got an “A” on her senior paper.) Courtney returned again in 2014 as a co-designer with her mom for another Gold Medal garden, “The Art of Retreat: Two Generations Define Their Own Garden Studios,” which won the Fine Gardening Award, the Sunset Western Living Award and the American Horticultural Society Award. Together they own Urban Garden Company, a retail shop in Tacoma. Courtney fills her Tacoma apartment with “crazy scented” plants such as Melianthus, scented geraniums, lilies, lavender and pineapple sage. Her hobbies (when she is not involved with garden design or at the shop) include photography, video gaming, reading (especially comics) and painting.
Courtney is thrilled to be working with the people she literally grew up with and will be giving the show’s social media followers a fresh insider’s perspective. She likens every show to a new journey, and she loves drawing on the worldwide resources the show offers, learning the latest trends, as well as discovering new businesses and making new friends. As the new Social Media Manager she’s keen to be sharing all things #NWFGS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and The Garden Show Blog. Follow Courtney and have fun stay connected in the coming months as we plan a great 2015 show!
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 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 appearance five weeks early – during the 2010 Show! Fittingly, they named her Linnea, after a small pink flower grown in Sweden named for the famed botanist Carl Linnaeus. With far better timing (just before show season hits) they welcomed their son Connor in November, 2013. Big sister Linnea is eager to teach him the ways of Cougar and Seahawks football.
Kyle enjoys working with everyone in the Tacoma and Portland offices of O’Loughlin Trade Show as he manages the websites and graphic design for all twelve OTS shows. Every year and every show is different and unique; there’s always something new and Kyle stays on top of the latest technology, like getting iPads for all the new indoor NWFGS ticket booths to make ticket purchases faster and easier for attendees. The fact that he works with his college roommates – Jeff and Nick – whom he met on his first day at WSU over fifteen 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, going to concerts and, of course, sharing all things Cougar with his young children.
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 ten years ago and welcomed the chance to work on the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. 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 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 ten 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.
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 Puget Sound with her family – 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 raise her children. She returned for two more show seasons before her second child was born. Now she’s back once again, and thrilled to be working on the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
Michelle loves coordinating many other show features parts as well as the display gardens. 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 it all, helping it come together. You can find Michelle during the show as she greets people coming to the show office, so stop by and say hello. 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 kids, she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, or going out to eat (especially Mexican or Italian) and dreaming about someday having a garden like the ones she sees at the show.
Lois Garcia must enjoy being surrounded by a bunch of sports fans even though she admits she is not a big sports fan herself. Otherwise, why would she still be working for the Tacoma Branch of O’Loughlin Trade Shows after 12 years of service? She loves her job, plain and simple. There’s never a dull moment, and no two shows are ever the same. It’s all about change from one show season to the next, and you never know quite what to expect. She says the job definitely keeps her on my toes at all times, which keeps things interesting.
A Tacoma native, Lois graduated from Spanaway Lake High School, majoring in Business. From there, she went onto attend Bates Technical College, where she earned her certificate as a Legal Secretary. Anxious to put her skills to good use, she interned for a Family Law Office, later going to work at Piper Jaffray as their receptionist before advancing to a Sales Assistant. Lois then went on to work for U.S. Bank as an International Document Specialist for three years before calling O’Loughlin Trade Shows “home” in April 2002. Lois has one grown son, DeVonte’, who is currently attending Tacoma Community College, and working for State Farm as a Customer Service Representative. When Lois isn’t at work, you can find her spending time either with her family and friends; giving back to her community; reading a good book; or relaxing at Ocean Shores, her favorite getaway spot.