The Westonka Horticultural Society Board of Directors consist of industry professionals who will work for the development of the Society.
Barbara Voorhees Blaha - Founder, Executive Director Westonka Horticultural Society
Born and raised in the Minnetrista, Barb is an entrepreneur with experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors and volunteers as a Hennepin County Master Gardener. With a degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of St. Thomas, Barb is also a certified fund-raising and fund development specialist, and has a MiniMBA in Nonprofit Management and MiniMBA in Organizational Management. She also was instrumental in several start-up businesses including a floral design studio. Barb’s experience is in leadership, organizational management, logistics, volunteer management and strategic planning. She has served on several chambers of commerce, church community, community programs and events/conferences.
Dr. Harold Pellet, Plant Landscape Development Center
Harold serves as the vice-chair of the Westonka Horticultural Society and is the founder and executive director of the Landscape Plant Development Center. He served as a professor of Horticultural Science for over 36 years at the University of Minnesota. His plant research and breeding at the Uof M produced over 25 shrub and tree varieties and earned him numerous awards for his contributions to the field of landscape horticulture. The focus of the plants developed at the center is for cold hardiness - what we all want in Minnesota!
John O’Reilly, Vice President, Operations, Otten Bros. Nursery and Landscaping
John serves as a director of the Westonka Horticultural Society. A native of Central Illinois, John has been a Twin Cities resident for nearly 15 years. He moved north after earning his BA in Sociology from Western Illinois University and happened into a job as seasonal employee at Otten Bros Nursery & Landscape; quickly falling in love with both the garden center business and Minnesota. Now Vice President of Operations, he oversees daily operations for Otten Bros’ retail and landscape companies. John is also a board member of Harvest Moon Co-op.
Julie Weisenhorn, Director, State Master Gardener Program
Julie serves as a director of the Westonka Horticultural Society and is the director of the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Program. She holds two master’s degrees from the U of M in visual communications and in horticulture with an emphasis on landscape design and public education. Julie has taught multiple university courses in landscape design, coordinates the Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series (SULIS) website, and is developing a new plant database.