Daniel Hutton, a longtime sales representative for McHutchison, has officially retired after 34 years of servicing customers throughout the southeastern U.S. As a consistent, top sales performer during more than three decades at the company, Hutton was well-known for his high level of professional service and mentoring other sales representatives from both McHutchison and Vaughan’s Horticulture.
A true plantsman with a deep passion for horticulture, he helped shape the careers of many colleagues and industry peers. Hutton has been working with Danny Brooks, his successor, over the past year in his sales territory to ensure a seamless transition for all of McHutchison’s valued customers.
Hutton was originally hired at McHutchison by then sales manager Steve Huber and late president Paul Haffey as the company’s 15th sales representative in the, uncharted at the time, southeast region of the U.S. Upon joining McHutchison, Hutton was influenced by the old school approach to sales that emphasized making long-term commitments with loyalty and integrity while quickly adopting the “sell to sell again” motto. In addition to cultivating relationships with small growers and some of the largest growers in the southeast, he emphasized order fulfillment and taking great care of customers.
One of the first representatives to embrace seedling plugs, Hutton advised suppliers how to box, package and ship products that customers would buy. By accepting the new vegetative annual trend in the early 1990s, he became the top plant salesperson at McHutchison and Vaughan’s Horticulture for many years. In fact, he earned the prestigious Steve Coble Award for being the top sales representative during that time. Hutton influenced suppliers to reduce the minimum from 500 plants per variety to the current industry standard of 100 plants. This advancement in plant marketing kick-started sales for unrooted cuttings. He was also a confidant and advisor to Proven Winners for shipping to the southeast.
When perennials boomed in the late 1990s, Hutton became known industry-wide as a specialist in the southeast. His close relationship with perennial breeders like the Saul Brothers allowed him to help introduce echinacea and other new cultivars. He was an outspoken advocate for sales representatives when it came to the flow of information and customer service. Numerous aspects that are taken for granted today as part of the plant sales process were promoted and put into practice by Hutton. These steps include acknowledging and confirming orders, communicating revisions, checking and re-sending orders that have not been confirmed.
Hutton made his mark as an influential person in plant sales and the horticulture industry. He firmly believed in his customers and suppliers. His career began with strong post-World War II influences and spanned all the way through the modern best practices that are widely followed today.
Excited for retirement, Hutton looks forward to spending more time with his wife, family and friends. He even bought a fishing boat to get him started on the next phase of his life
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