The Legislative Advocate of the Year Award, previously known as the Grassroots Volunteer Award, is presented annually to a deserving individual in the green industry who has shown outstanding leadership in legislative affairs.
Gilson is a third-generation owner and operator of Gilson Gardens in Perry Ohio. He has lectured on nursery topics in New York, Ohio and Indiana and has written numerous articles for trade publications. As an officer with Ohio Invasive Plants Council, he helped draft the new “Assessment Protocol” for Ohio representing nursery as well as environmental interests. He served on the board of Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association and is a past president of Nursery Growers of Lake County Ohio. He holds various industry achievement awards and remains active in legislative activities.
Mark Gilson and his wife believe in community engagement, industry leadership and conscientious environmental stewardship. In 2012, they received a commendation from Lake County Commissioners for placing a conservation easement on an 18-acre farm and also for constructive involvement in county activities over the years. Mark has received the ‘Outstanding Service Award’, a ‘Service Honorarium’ and a ‘Political Outreach Award’ from Nursery Growers of Lake County Ohio, an 8-county association founded in 1927.
Mark graduated from The Ohio State University in 1973 with a BA in English, where he met his wife Kristine. After working at Schmidt Nursery Co. in Bexley, Ohio and Veldkamps Wholesale Greenhouses in Colorado, Mark returned to school and in 1980 received a BS in Accounting from Lake Erie College. From there he became a Certified Public Accountant, and worked as an auditor with Grant-Thornton for several years. Later he returned to the family business and has managed it for over 25 years.
In 2007, Mark served as President of Nursery Growers of Lake County Ohio and subsequently as co-chair of the NGLCO Summer Field Day committee. Since then, he has served terms on the ONLA Board of Directors, Lake Extension Advisory Committee, Chairperson of the ONLA Nursery Grower Committee and the ONLA Short Course Committee. He currently serves on the Perry JEDD board, the Arcola Creek Watershed Workgroup and has been active in Farmland Preservation efforts as well as local Hispanic community advocacy. Mark also co-founded the Lake County Ag Water Coalition. The ONLA is pleased to present the 2014 Legislative Advocate of the Year Award to Mark Gilson.
The ONLA’s annual convention, the Central Environmental Nursery Trade Show (CENTS), is scheduled January 7-9, 2015, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Hotel, Columbus. The trade show is open to persons in the nursery and landscape industry.