Steve began his career working for father in law, Martin Holmason, at Pacific Coast Nursery, on February 1, 1957 at the Portland, Oregon location. During this time, he served on the board of the Rose City chapter for Oregon Association of Nurseries. In 1966, Steve took over management of the Sunnyside branch of the nursery. The nursery was involved with the South Central Chapter of WSNLA, which was named WSNA at the time. Steve served on the board with Windsor Bond and Stan Lochrie Sr, who had great influence on him in serving in the nursery industry.
During his involvement, Steve provided leadership for many joint meetings and worked with his peers on projects for the betterment of nursery industry. These efforts include:
- A virus certification of stone fruit and pome fruit viruses; and being instrumental on having a 1% tax levied on these products to support the program.
- Pacific Coast Nursery, along with C&O Nursery, Van Well Nursery and Columbia Basin Nursery worked with Dr. Camron from OSU on a cure for the root disease, Crown Gall.
Steve served on the WSNLA state board many times through the years and in 1985 became president of the WSNLA. During his presidency, he spent much of his year traveling to the Seattle area in an effort to keep the landscape industry from leaving our Association. Ultimately, this endeavor was not successful as a segment of the landscape trade fractured off to form a new organization. Looking back on this divide today, Steve feels exonerated knowing the landscape segment is an active ad valued part of the WSNLA membership. His hard work and efforts contributed to the groundwork of WSNLA representing the entire industry.
In 1986, Steve sod their nursery, which is now a part of Bailey Nursery company. He want on to do consulting work for a few years before retiring from the nursery business over 25 years ago.
Steve enjoyed his years working in the Association and the wonderful people that he encountered while developing lasting friendships. In fact, he continued to serve his industry on the Pioneer Award Selection Committee, which reviewed Honoring individuals for laying the groundwork for the industry today. Officially retiring from this committee this year, he said, “The nursery industry will always have a special place in my heart and life.”
Dad, Daughters & Dirt!
Really? Do we have to go for another Sunday, after church drive, to look at rows upon rows of dirt??? (These were some of the thoughts that would go through my mind as Dad would drive our family out to the fields, so he could check on his seedlings and, at the same time, show his family with pride, all of his “ field babies”. Sadly, being an impatient daughter, I did not exactly understand the importance of these family drives, until many years later.
When I look back on my life, as one of four kids, of a man who owned and operated a fruit tree nursery. I have many things to be grateful for, and more than a few regrets.
I am grateful for the incredible work ethic that my father instilled in me at a very young age. I am grateful for my love of growing things, whether it is a tree, a houseplant, or my annual garden. I am grateful for my love and appreciation for fresh fruit. Growing up with orchards, I never realized, until I was on my own, what a treat it was to always have fresh pears, peaches, apples, plums, and cherries! Oh, how spoiled we were!
I am also grateful for my passion for supporting family-owned businesses. So much so, that I started my own business, which supports local, family-owned and operated businesses.
Growing up, I witnessed firsthand the sacrifices that come with owning a business. The endless worry and sleepless nights. Missed time with your wife, family, and friends. Missed events, family gatherings and birthdays. When you own a business, emergencies always arise and as the owner, it is your responsibility to take care of them.
You become so much wiser with age. I did not understand the constant, incredible burden of running a business. The worry overwhelming worry about irrigation, unexpected freezing temperatures, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, earwigs, aphids too much sun, not enough sun, fertilizer, pesticides, and birds. And all this worry is not just over a couple of seedlings or a few trees Your worry encompasses thousands upon thousands of seedlings and trees, so the worry is magnified to an almost unbearable level.
There are many other issues to worry about as well. Do you have enough employees, do you have too many employees? Will the trucks arrive on time, will the orders ship on time? Is there enough seed or do we have too much? Do we have enough bud wood? What happens if the tractor breaks down? What do we do with a large order that got cancelled? The list is daunting and endless!
Owning and operating a nursery or landscaping business or any business for that matter, is not for the faint of heart. It takes strength and dedication, beyond anything you ever thought you had. It takes learning to balance your business and your family, so you can spend critical time with both. It takes dedication 24/7. It takes patience and humor and fearlessness. It takes a man like my Dad, Steven Bolin Crick.
Dad, I am so incredibly proud of you and I am so grateful for all you have taught me over the years. I wish I had listened more, asked more questions and, that I had understood what a privilege it was to take those Sunday family drives with you. Precious time with you, a time to show us all your “field babies”, you so lovingly nurtured and cared for, just like you did with us. I wish I had appreciated our kitchen counter always being covered with fresh fruit and not having to worry about having a summer job.
Thank you for setting such a great example of what a dad and husband should be and for your constant, steadfast faith. I can only hope you are as proud of me as I am of you!
Much love from your “middle” daughter,
Connie Sue Berg