GPN Plant Health Management Conference
Roger Styer
Dr. Roger C. Styer earned his PhD degree in Horticultural Sciences from the University of Florida. After graduation, he worked for 12 years at George J. Ball, Ball Seed Company, and Pan American Seed Company, all in West Chicago, IL, conducting research on flower seed production and quality, and transplant (plug) production and technology. Dr. Styer also provided technical services for the ornamental industry, both domestically and internationally. He has worked with companies in Asia, Central and South America, and Europe, as well as traveled extensively in North America. After working for Ball, Dr. Styer operated his own independent consulting company for 15 years. He has published numerous papers in trade journals, helped organize the International Plug and Cutting Conferences since 1992, and has given many talks and training sessions for ornamental growers. Until recently, Dr. Styer worked for Fides-Oro as Technical Rep for all of North America, helping growers be more successful with all aspects of growing ornamentals.
Erik Runkle
Professor and Floriculture Extension Specialist
Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University
Dr. Runkle is a Professor and Floriculture Extension Specialist in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University. Since he joined the faculty in 2001, he and his graduate research team have performed numerous studies on ornamental crops to determine the effects of light, temperature, and plant growth regulators on plant growth and development. Experiments have been performed on a wide range of greenhouse crops including annual garden plants, flowering potted plants, and herbaceous perennials. Most recently, Dr Runkle has been determining how to minimize greenhouse energy inputs using cultural practices, management of temperature and light, and energy-saving technologies including use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Paul Pilon
Horticultural Consultant , Contract Researcher
Perennial Solutions Consulting
Paul received a Bachelor's degree in Horticulture from Michigan State University and has over 20 years of greenhouse experience. Throughout his career, Paul focused on researching and improving various aspects of production to improve crop quality, decrease production losses, and simplify cultural practices. For the last 12 years he has authored and continues to write a monthly column called 'Perennial Solutions' in Greenhouse Product News (GPN) and has also published numerous articles in several trade publications. Paul also authored the book Perennial Solutions: A Growers Guide to Perennial Production. Currently, he works exclusively as a horticultural consultant and contract researcher for Perennial Solutions Consulting which he founded over 8 years ago.
Dr Sally A Miller
Professor of Plant Pathology
Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
Dr. Sally Miller is a Professor of Plant Pathology in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Her research has been centered on plant disease diagnostics, sustainable disease management, food safety and international development. Dr. Miller developed and teaches graduate level, laboratory-intensive courses in diagnostic field plant pathology and vegetable disease management, and a short course “Pest and Disease Diagnostics for International Trade and Food Security”. She also serves as Ohio State Extension Specialist for vegetable disease management, focusing on integrated disease management in conventional, organic and greenhouse systems. She currently manages a multi-institutional USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative program on disease management in greenhouse tomatoes.
Jamie Gibson
Production and Processing Technology Specialist
Dr. James L. “Jamie” Gibson James Gibson received his B.S. in plant and soil sciences in 1996 from West Virginia University, Morgantown. He later earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in 2000 and 2003, respectively, from North Carolina State University. After graduate school he worked as an assistant professor at the University of Florida. In 2007 he became Corporate Manager of Quality Control for Conrad Fafard, Inc., followed by Fafard’s R&D Director and Technical Services Manager for Syngenta Flowers. His current position is Production and Processing Technology Specialist for Syngenta.
Veronica Cervantes

Passionate for Biological Control, Veronica Cervantes has been involved in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) since 1996.  She started in Argentina, helping in the mass rearing and greenhouse releases of Orius insidiosus at INTA-IMYZA Castelar as part of the completion of her Bachelor´s degree. In 1997 she joined Magan Argentina, a subsidiary of the Makhteshim Agan Group, where she worked in the development, marketing and registration of pesticides. In 2001 she moved to Canada and completed her MSc degree at the University of British Columbia on the biological control of cabbage loopers using a baculovirus (AcMNPV).  In 2005 she joined The Bug Factory Ltd., a distributor of Biobest in western Canada, helping greenhouse and field crop growers in British Columbia, Alberta and western USA with their biological control needs. Veronica and her family moved to Michigan in 2012, where she joined Biobest USA Inc.  She is delighted to continue to share her enthusiasm on the use of beneficial insects and other sustainable practices with growers throughout the Midwest and Central America.

Janna L Beckerman
Associate Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist
Purdue University
Janna Beckerman is an associate professor and extension plant pathologist specializing in diseases of horticultural crops at Purdue University. She obtained her Ph.D. in plant pathology from Texas A&M University, and her M.S. and B.S. in Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. In addition to her extension plant pathology programs on landscape plants, greenhouse and nursery management, and fruit diseases, she teaches a graduate level course on “Plant Disease Diagnosis” and team-teaches an undergraduate course, “Integrated Plant Health Management for Ornamentals.” She has developed four apps on plant pest diagnosis, that are available in the iTunes store and Google Play ( Her research focuses on Phytophthora diseases and their management, apple scab management in both apples and crabapples and morel production. Janna went into plant pathology due to her natural gifts, namely a very black thumb, and although she tries not to take her work home with her, her yard and garden indicate that this is not the case. This is actually where she gets the best photos for her apps.
Jim Barrett
Emeritus Professor, Environmental Horticulture Department
University of Florida
Jim earned his B.S. and M.S. at Auburn University and received a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Horticultural Science. His research involves two main areas: 1) The evaluation of plant growth regulator chemicals and development of application methods used on floriculture crops. 2) Studies on environmental and cultural factors affecting production of floriculture crops. He has authored more than 250 articles and book chapters on research and production recommendations in trade magazines and scientific journals. Jim has worked with more than 35 different companies to develop and evaluate plant cultivars, chemical growth regulators and other products for use in the greenhouse/nursery industry.