Internationally experienced plant production expert Erick Westerman is FitzGerald Nurseries’ new General Manager and his wealth of knowledge and experience in the optimal production of young plants for international markets is a huge boost to the expanding, export-led, family owned enterprise.
The Dutch-born specialist joins the company having spent the last five years as General Manager of multinational plant company Florensis, in Ethiopia. Welcoming Erick into the Beotanics group, founder and Group CEO, Pat FitzGerald, highlighted the need in these challenging times to remain positive, upskill the team and keep a firm focus on its critical export market which accounts for 95% of FitzGerald Nurseries’ sales across more than 30 countries.
“While we are going through a very difficult period with lots of uncertainties, we are continuing with our plan to expand and invest,” Pat FitzGerald said. “Now is not the time to lose commitment. With Erick to the fore, our company will be more prepared to reverse the negative, medium-term market insecurities that prevail and to introduce efficiencies and cost savings – while guiding our staff towards maximising their own efforts,” Mr FitzGerald added.
In April of last year, the Beotanics group announced significant investment into its focus on plant-based foods and this move strengthens this ambition further. Later in 2020 the company was a successful participant in a major EU Horizon 2020 award for the SmartProtein research project on new plant based protein crops and processing of these crops.
Pat and Noirin FitzGerald and staff have welcomed Erick and his wife Marijke to Ireland and specifically to rural Kilkenny and all the FitzGerald team look forward to learning from Erick’s immense knowledge in their specialist field.
Erick is an experienced Operations and General Manager. He served in several key horticultural companies in The Netherlands, Israel and Ethiopia. He knew of the ground-breaking work being done by FitzGerald Nurseries and Beotanics through his work in Ethiopia and from his many visits to Ireland where he and his family took a keen interest in the company as well as the Irish people, culture and nature, Mr FitzGerald explained. The new role offers him and his family the ideal opportunity to live in Ireland and experience its open spaces.
Speaking about his appointment, Erick described FitzGerald Nurseries and its sister company, Beotanics, as “very innovative in terms of their product development”.
“Besides ornamentals, the group has a strong specialist focus on plants for the food industry. This suits my skills set. I look forward to further organising and developing the company in order to accomplish FitzGerald Nurseries’ specific ambitions and contribution to the plant-based food product development ambitions across the globe.”