Greenhouse Canada

Driving change and inspiring others

Top 4 under 40: Honouring the innovators and passionate professionals in the greenhouse industry

June 26, 2023  By Greenhouse Canada Staff

Trevor Golding Photo: Gold Leaf Technologies Inc.

Trevor Golding
CEO and founder of Gold LeaF Technologies Inc. Ottawa, ON
Nominated by Sarah Pardy, Johanna Golding and Janine Moir

Why should this person be considered?
Trevor Golding founded Gold Leaf Technologies Inc. in 2017 out of an unwavering belief that we can use technology to solve many of our problems. This naturally led to a focus on the agriculture industry given food scarcity, supply chain issues, and the ever-looming threat of climate change. 

As the company has grown, Trevor has remained steadfast in ensuring customers are provided with the best solutions that fit their particular needs and goals, while keeping ROI at top of mind. An active member with the Association for Vertical Farming, Trevor has continued to lead Gold Leaf into success and contribute to the future of farming in Canada.


Trevor’s professionalism, honesty and transparency is quite refreshing to witness. He firmly believes that any solution presented should not only align with the grower’s business objectives but also ensure their seamless adoption of the latest technology at a cost-effective price. He simplifies the sales process, breaking it down to identify and implement real solutions backed by incredible support.

He has partnered with innovative companies across lighting, automation, and vertical farm suppliers to bring the latest and greatest technology to Canadian growers. Trevor has been instrumental in navigating the complexities of CEA growing, making it easier for our customers, and recently forging partnerships with Artechno and Sananbio to help growers realize the most profitable and highest yielding crops, while shining a light on the best technology available to a whole new generation of growers in Canada.

In his own words:

How did you get started in this Industry?
I first became interested in the industry in 2016, and initially considered starting a commercial greenhouse. I’ve always had a love for growing vegetable crops and have had an interest in plants. Through that research, I learned about the different types of equipment that greenhouse growers were using in their operations. In 2018, we partnered with our first Horticultural LED manufacturer, and I was hooked. I love being able to go into greenhouses, learn more about their business and help them find the right lighting solutions and products for their operation.  

What motivates you to do what you do today?
I’m excited to be a part of this industry – it keeps me energized! It’s the people that I meet each day that motivate me to continue to learn more about the industry technology, and the latest solutions to increase crop yields. 

Building an incredible team and long-term relationships with greenhouse growers across the country has been rewarding. I’ve learned a lot about how the facilities work and I’m still learning something new every day. Each operation that we work with has unique aspects and challenges that they face which makes the work interesting and different. The technology is changing quickly, and I enjoy travelling to various trade shows around world on the lookout for new and innovative solutions for growers in Canada. 

Britney Hawkins
Senior Manager, Sales Planning at Mastronardi Produce Ltd. In Kingsville, ON
Nominated by Peppe Bonfiglio

Britney Hawkins Photo: Mastronardi Produce Ltd.

Why should this person be considered?
Britney is one of the hardest workers in the company. Nothing stops her from working towards her goals, and she is also a supportive colleague to her team. Britney is crucial to our sales planning strategy; her drive has resulted in an increase of 13 per cent in accuracy of sales forecasting and budgeting.

She is constantly working towards her continued education, and she is clearly passionate about her professional development. Britney was President of her MBA Association and class valedictorian, two achievements which speak not only to her academic success but to her history as an effective and trusted leader among her peers. Just this year, Britney completed three more college-level certificates: Business Sustainability in the Circular Economy Certificate (University of London); ESG Risks and Opportunities Certificate (University of Pennsylvania, Wharton); and Leading Diverse Teams & Organizations Certificate (University of Michigan). Within the produce industry, Britney has attended the IFPA’s Women’s Fresh Perspectives conference twice, and she participated in the Emerging Leaders Program where she was named Innovation Superstar of her class in 2021.

Apart from her strong dedication to lifelong learning and the produce industry, Britney shows heart in the community too. She has been a coach for Special Olympics Ontario in swimming and track & field, Vice President of Charity Development and Business Sponsorships during her undergraduate degree, Vice President of Public Relations for Best Buddies Canada — a non-profit organization encouraging lifelong friendships between individuals with and without disabilities — and the recipient of a National Human Resources Volunteer Award.

Britney represents everything we value about this dynamic industry: hard work, drive, passion, and compassion.

In her own words: 

How did you get started in the industry?
I grew up in Windsor-Essex County where you could find the tomato capital of North America just 30 minutes up the road. My passion for healthy eating, sustainability, and my drive to innovate drew me to this industry along with the proximity to big players in greenhouse grown produce. When I was looking for an internship during my MBA, I reached out to a connection who stressed the importance of getting young people into the produce industry and hired me on to help develop the planning and strategy team.

What motivates you to do what you do today?
I am motivated to do what I do, to work in produce, by my investment in fuelling the population with healthy and flavourful food while maintaining the planet we live on. Greenhouse grown produce is better for the environment and it provides Canadians with healthy food that tastes great!

Rob Wein Jr.
Co-owner Clearview Horticultural Products Inc. in Langely, BC
Nominated by B.C. Landscape and Nursery Association 

Rob Wein Jr.
Photo: Clearview Horticultural Products

Why should this person be considered?
Robbie embraces his job like a way of life, a passion, and a craft. He is always learning. In his spare time, he would scour the literature to learn every tidbit of information he could find to become a leading expert in whatever it was at the time he would obsess over. He has a passion for innovation and has been described as a mad scientist for he loves to experiment with out-of-the-box thinking.

A good example of this is one of his first passions in the business, about 10 years ago, he focused on biocontrol, chemical controls and pathology. True to his character, in his free time Rob explored the natural environments to find new predators and parasitoids, investigating fecundity, agility, predation and other characteristics to evaluate potential new candidates for the biocontrol market

Robbie borrowed university equipment, mass rearing them in his room before taking over a closet, a spare bedroom and finally moving his big operation to the greenhouses. 

As a business leader, Rob has been instrumental in providing direction to the business and managing the staff. He is a 4th generation farmer and has worked hard to turn his family farm from a place that didn’t have anything more advanced than a potting machine into an industry leader in growing technology.

Another area of innovation and initiative is in the breeding program. Clearview successfully propagates several hundred varieties, including many of the most difficult varieties to grow. Rob has headed the propagation through trial and error, improving upon past practices and expanding into new varieties, while learning as much as he can from others in the industry.

In his own words: 

How did you get started in this industry?
I am fifth generation grower. I worked at the nursery since a was a young kid. Throughout high school, and for a few years after, I worked several different jobs hoping to find what I liked and always with the intention of going back to school. After that, I went back to school but still I didn’t know what to study. So, I took a bit of everything. I loved learning, but I became attracted to natural sciences. It dawned on me at that time that I really liked plants. I immediately grew a passion plants, bugs, fungi, and all things biology. I started working back at the nursery with a new level of interest while completing my degree in Horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

What motivates you to do what you do today?
There are so many aspects of the industry that motivate me to continue to pursue this career. Foremost among them is legacy. As a fifth generation Clematis grower, I take great pride in trying to perfect the skill. To breed new plants, and to improve upon age-old growing practices.

Horticulture makes up such a vast field of information and it requires a lifetime of learning. There is an infinite amount to learn about plants themselves, and often being a grower requires you know a lot more than just plants. The world is always changing and if you don’t keep up you get left behind. Nowadays things are getting more and more dynamic. Not only are growing practices advancing but the equipment and computer systems are becoming even more integral part of what a grower does.

Additionally, as a grower, every day can present a new challenge. Your crops always have some new problem you’ve never dealt with. You never run out of challenges, and so when you are overcoming them, it’s rewarding. 

Most importantly, the people around me motivate me. A greenhouse business is a team sport. You can’t do it all by yourself. It requires a comradery. You work together, you challenge each other, and you depend on each other. It’s great for your character and your soul.

Isaak Fast
Head grower for Pure Flavor Farms in Staples, ON.
Nominated by John Secker

Isaak Fast
PHOTO: Pure Flavor

Why should this person be considered?
Isaak has been valuable member of the greenhouse industry in Leamington since 2007 where he showed his skill as a Maintenance Technician for Orangeline Farms. Wanting to expand his skill set, he took a position at Mor Gro Farms as a Greenhouse Manager and Assistant Grower. Always seeking more knowledge and newer challenges, Isaak took a position at Pure Flavor Farms in 2016.

He started at Pure as a Labour manager in the first greenhouse Pure Flavor built. Right from the get-go he established himself as an effective manager quickly managing the staff into an effective team. While managing the staff he learned and honed his skill as a grower. In 2018 he was able to demonstrate his skill as a grower and became the company’s head grower. With the aggressive expansion of Pure, Isaak is invaluable. He has been integral in the expansion, managing 24 acres of greenhouse at the beginning and with expansion now is the head grower for more than 150 acres of greenhouse.

In his own words:

How did you get into the industry?
I think it all started when I was young, and my grandpa had a small two-acre farm where I spent a lot of time. I will never forget the times jumping in the truck and delivering the produce to the local marketer and the time to plant when the whole family came together. I remember I was only allowed to eat the small cripples because the No. 1 needed to be sold (I still prefer the small cucumbers to this day). These are my roots. My first full-time job was actually at a local greenhouse, and I started off there as a pepper harvester.

What motivates you to do what you do today?
I’m very passionate about what I do. For me, it’s never been about what I’ve done; it’s more about what more can I do. There is always more that can be done. So, naturally, I just want to work towards what needs to be done. I was raised to work hard, and I believe hard work has high rewards.

I’m not a perfectionist, by any means, but when it comes to my job, I strive for perfection. What motivates me is seeing these 1.2m plants that I’m responsible for grow and succeed. My favourite part of what I do is the time when no one is around, and the greenhouse is peaceful I look at the plants and I feel at peace. I love young plants I love the opportunity to make plants what they are. Some people look at a plant and say it needs light, water and temperature, but that’s not all a plant needs. I know I don’t know everything but If I pay attention every day I can learn something new every day and that is awesome.

Has someone ever told you your tomatoes taste better then someone else’s? Well, that ‘better’ taste is not by chance it took effort and how can that not motivate you? I’m responsible for 11 different types of products. It’s a ton of work but it’s also a ton of fun learning the difference between all of them.

So, long story short, I have a hard time explaining what drives my motivation but I love the effort it takes to produce, I love the attention to detail it takes, and I love seeing the first fruit come off a fresh crop. 

Thank you to Paul Boers Manufacturing and Prins Greenhouses for their continued support and sponsorship of our Top 4 Under 40 program. 

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