Ryan McEnaney
Public Relations & Communications Specialist
Bailey Nurseries

We are a fifth-generation, family-owned nursery serving customers worldwide. Headquartered in St. Paul, along with growing operations in Oregon, Washington and Illinois, and woody ornamental breeding in Georgia, our mission is to produce and distribute top-quality horticultural products and services to retail garden centers, growers and landscapers.

What makes a good business leader?
The key to a successful business leader is understanding people. It’s all about being able to communicate and recognizing what people’s needs are because at the end of the day, that’s what a business relationship is all about – taking care of each other and fulfilling needs. That’s true not only internally, but also externally. Businesses are successful when you take care of your employees. If you listen and respond to your employees’ needs, they will support and grow your business, taking care of your customers just as you take care of them.

What’s your favorite recent movie and/or what book are you reading right now?
I haven’t watched many movies over summer (it’s our peak season), but I recently caught up on “Veep” during my last few flights. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is beyond fantastic, and everyone in the supporting cast only adds to it. On my last flight, I literally laughed out loud sitting next to a stranger on an airplane. It’s just that good. 

Who inspires you the most? Why?
My mom, Terri McEnaney. Both on a personal and professional level. She’s taught me how to be resilient, live with integrity, and the importance of working hard. One of the reasons that I came back to work for the family business (me and my brother Dan are the fifth-generation family currently at the company) was to work with and learn from my family, specifically my mom who is our current president and CEO. I’m lucky enough to sit next to her so I can learn from her every day. Family business brings a unique set of challenges, but it’s an honor and treat to work with my mom, along with my 10 other family members still involved on a daily basis. Since my mom was promoted to president, I’ve seen her develop international brands and grow the company globally, all without losing touch of the family piece of the business by creating a special relationship with every employee. To be able to hear about and watch her interactions at the company continue to inspire me.

The marketplace is fiercely competitive today with competing messages for products and services. What are some of your most successful initiatives in growing awareness for Bailey Nurseries?
In recent years, the most exciting part of being at the nursery has been the promotion and expansion of our consumer brands – Endless Summer® Hydrangeas, First Editions® Plants and Easy Elegance® Roses. We’re 100% a wholesale company, so these brands increase our exposure to homeowners across the United States and globally. On the trade side, it’s really elevated Bailey Nurseries as the go-to for high-quality, new plant introductions and genetics in the United States and Europe.

You are responsible for Bailey Nurseries providing the official Super Bowl flower for next February. Briefly describe your efforts and success.
I began working with Maureen Bausch at the Super Bowl Host Committee over two years ago when she was the only person on staff. I came to her with an idea to incorporate live plant material in a situation where most people were going to expect a frozen tundra. We’re a Minnesota company (Go Vikings!), but also have an international reach so fans can buy these plants anywhere. Furthermore, the color scheme for the Super Bowl is Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) and our Endless Summer® Hydrangeas provide a similar color palate. Since our initial efforts, we’ve continued our conversations and were recently named, to our knowledge, the first ever Official Flower of the Super Bowl by the Host Committee. Our plants will also be used at multiple other events leading up the Super Bowl including the NFL Experience.

The Minnesota Chamber spearheads Minnesota business efforts on federal immigration reform. Why is our work so important to your company?
Immigration reform is not only an important issue for our company, but the entire horticulture and agriculture industries. We’ve had a longstanding relationship with the Minnesota Chamber and appreciate that we can work alongside them on these issues. We believe, along with the Chamber, that it’s a national issue that is a necessary conversation to allow for the growth and future of our industry and business.