FNGLA member Autumn Schwab White is the 2020 recipient of the Southern Nursery Association's David E. Laird, Sr. Memorial Award. Established in 1974 by David E. Laird, Jr., in memory of his father, SNA Past President David E. Laird, Sr., the David E. Laird, Sr. Memorial Award is presented each year to recognize qualified young men and women for outstanding service in the field of environmental horticulture and to offer inspiration for others starting out in the field. The recipient must be 39 years of age or younger and must be a member of his/her state nursery association. Nominations are made by the State Associations within the SNA region with final selection by the SNA Board of Directors.
Autumn serves as Principal and Owner of Dragonfly Landscape and Water Gardens, Tampa, FL. With her infectious spirit, she is a passionate springboard for the green industry. As president of Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association’s Tampa Bay Chapter, Autumn has infused new and vibrant energy into a host of local events and FNGLA projects. Autumn also serves FNGLA as Tampa Bay Chapter’s state board representative and served as this year’s Convention Committee Chair, helping to organize events at FNGLA’s Annual Convention. She received the 2019 FNGLA/Farm Credit Young Nursery Professional Award.
When notified she had been selected to receive the FNGLA/Farm Credit Young Nursery Professional Award, Autumn said, “I wasn’t sure they had called the right person. Not being in the industry long, it means a lot that a group of people who have deep roots and generational commitments to the industry look at me as worthy of the award. It’s surprising and it means a lot. I don’t feel like I do enough, and I don’t think I ever will.” In this same humble spirit, she added, “But I hope to contribute even more in the future.”
Autumn holds degrees in geography and environmental science. A lover of the outdoors from a very young age, Autumn spent most of her childhood either at the base of the St. John’s River or camping and hiking in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains. After initially forging a career in IT, horticulture and love found Autumn through her husband Chuck who convinced her to partner with him in his business, Dragonfly Landscape and Water Gardens. The pair and the business have been going strong ever since.
You may remember Autumn from an episode of “Flip My Florida Yard,” where, as project supervisor, she commanded a pack of more than 40 as they sought to bring a brand-new landscape to the backyard of a wheelchair-bound veteran. Keeping the crew on task, they delivered in less than one day. Locally, she serves on the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association’s Greenspace Committee.
A Central Florida native, Autumn enjoys tending to her vegetable and herb garden, cooking and exploring international cuisine in her spare time. A lover of old things, she and Chuck enjoy visiting antique shops.
In June, Autumn was also recognized as Farm Credit/FNGLA's Young Nursery Professional of the Year for 2019.