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Instructors

Jim Brown, Horticulturist

Jim is a graduate of Cornell University with a master’s degree in horticulture with a minor in plant physiology, and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Macdonald College of McGill University. Jim has over 30 years of experience as a horticulturist, educator, and consultant. He is the author of the CropKing Grower's Manual, contributor to the S/CEA Newsletter, and is a requested speaker at hydroponic seminars and conferences. He works with hundreds of growers throughout the country and is widely respected as a knowledgeable and talented professional in the hydroponics industry.

 

Jake Emling, Horticulturist

Jake Emling grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where his love of the outdoors and nature started. To pursue this passion, he attended Michigan State University and received both a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Horticulture. While at MSU, Jake conducted research on various fruit crops in intensive growing systems. Additionally, he has experience working in the fertilizer industry, and with grower education, entomology and greenhouses. Having worked throughout the United States with various crops and growers, Jake is excited to bring his diverse knowledge and experience to help CropKing customers, whether they are novice or experienced growers. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and newborn girl, and also finding time to work in his 1/3 acre vineyard.

 

Jeff Balduff, Technical Sales & Service

Jeff was raised on a diversified vegetable and grain farm in Huron County, Ohio. He has assisted countless growers with achieving success in field and greenhouse agriculture during his entire adult life. He has accumulated and shares his wealth of knowledge in greenhouse design, construction, hydroponic growing systems, plant health, managing nutrients, and integrated pest management, which has shaped him into an invaluable member of our team during his 20+ years working at CropKing. He has also shared his expertise as a consultant for active growers and construction projects in the U.S. and in countries abroad.

 

Dante D'Avello, Technical Service

Dante grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. His parents are chefs and owners of a catering company, so food crops and produce diversity were often the topic of nightly dinner discussion. Dante earned a B.S. in Biology from Bowling Green State University with a specialization in aquatic biology and more specifically, recirculating aquaculture. After college, he worked to develop new aquaculture techniques for Ripley’s Aquariums, focusing heavily on photosynthetically active organisms and food chain ecology. Along the way, he has designed, maintained and operated many different aquaponic and hydroponic systems for public zoos and aquariums, garden centers, and backyard enthusiasts, proudly earning the title of CropKing’s dubbed “aquaponics guru” and more frequently, field technician. He often travels to our customers to assist and oversee the construction and set up of greenhouses and growing systems. Dante is an important part of our grower workshop program, educating future growers on best practices, troubleshooting and greenhouse maintenance.

 

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