Charles R. Hall, Ph.D., Professor & Ellison Chair in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University, received the 2018 SAF Paul Ecke, Jr. Award Saturday, Sept. 15, during SAF Palm Springs 2018, the Society of American Florists’ 134th annual convention at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California.
Established in 1984, SAF’s Paul Ecke, Jr. Award recognizes exemplary devotion to profession, industry and community. Previously known as the SAF Golden Bouquet Award, it was renamed in 2002 in memory of Paul Ecke, Jr., AAF.
“Charlie has been a highly productive and successful academic who has excelled in research, teaching and extension,” said former SAF Chairman Terril Nell, Ph.D., AAF. “He has freely shared his time and knowledge with the industry through publications and professional presentations at industry programs throughout the United States and internationally.”
Marvin Miller, Ph.D., AAF, a statistician for Ball Horticultural and a past recipient of the award, introduced Hall.
“Say the name ‘Dr. Charlie Hall,’ and experienced industry members know what to expect,” he said. “Deeply researched information on floral industry crops and trends in production and marketing. Thoughtful analysis of wide-ranging economic data. Humor, high energy — and a notable dash of passion for a subject, the green industry, Hall has spent his life improving.”
An internationally recognized expert in the production and marketing of floral industry crops, Hall is well-regarded across academia for his research and teaching. Additionally, his presentations on strategic management, market situations, cost accounting and financial analysis have become “must-attend” events for floral industry members. “A respected researcher, Hall is also an engaging speaker, known for clarifying complicated topics with enthusiasm and candor,” Miller said.
Through his research, Hall has provided the floral industry with practical, applicable information on the economic status and opportunities in horticulture. During presentations at high-profile industry events, including SAF Maui 2016 and SAF Palm Springs 2018, he’s distilled data to pinpoint economic indicators every floral business owner needs to follow to make informed, strategic decisions and explained how big-picture economic trends impact consumer behavior and industry businesses.
“I feel blessed and honored to receive this prestigious award,” Hall said, praising past winners as “leaders who have tirelessly and unselfishly given of their time, talent and service” on behalf of the industry. “I’d be remiss not to point out that no man is an island, right? Throughout my 30-year-career, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of people both in academia and the floral industry. Had it not been for their brains and my good looks, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere,” he said to a roar of laughter and applause.
A native of North Carolina, Hall received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee in 1984 and his master’s degree in ornamental horticulture and landscape design from the University of Tennessee in 1986. He earned his doctorate from Mississippi State University in 1988 and began his academic career at Texas A&M University later that year, spending 13 years on the faculty before joining the faculty at the University of Tennessee in 2002. In August 2007, Hall returned to Texas A&M University as professor and Ellison Chair in international floriculture. There, he has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Collegiate Plant Initiative, an organization of college students keen on introducing their peers to the joys of plant ownership and the career opportunities in the horticulture field.
Hall serves as chief economist for AmericanHort and is an honorary lifetime member of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association. In addition, he has received TNLA’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Nursery Industry. He is also an honorary lifetime member of the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association and a member of the organization’s Hall of Fame.
In academia, Hall has received Texas A&M University’s Association of Former Students’ Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching and the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Student Counseling and Relations. Other awards include the Outstanding Extension Publication Award from the American Society of Horticultural Science, and the Certificate of Meritorious Service and the State Early Career Award, both presented by Epsilon Sigma Phi, the professional society of the National Extension Service.
Hall is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho, an agricultural fraternity, and has received its Grand Presidents Award and Brother of the Century designation.
Katie Hendrick Vincent is the senior contributing editor for the Society of American Florists.