Socially-Distanced Send-off for Sim

Chris Beytes

Retiring Sim McMurry gets the thumbs up from his colleagues at Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, North Carolina. Pictured (left to right): Art VanWingerden, John Paul Burke, Clint Dobbins, Nathan Wells, Abe VanWingerden, Juan Ponce, Sim, and Ivan Tchakarov. Sim emailed us back in December to say that he would be retiring January 4 and he wanted to let his industry friends know. Wrote Sim, “I would like to put some type of industry announcement in GrowerTalks, but I’m not sure how to go about it.”

Knowing Sim is highly regarded within the industry, I touched base with his boss, Abe VanWingerden, and asked if he could arrange this photo.

“Keep it quiet,” I said. “I think I can give Sim a retirement announcement he’ll never forget.”

Here’s the note Sim sent me:

Dear industry friends,

I am extremely happy to inform you of my retirement from Metrolina Greenhouses, effective January 4, 2021. I have worked for Metrolina for more than 30 years now and enjoyed my friendships acquired along the way. Many of you—too many to name—have been instrumental in my personal success and also, in my opinion, the success of Metrolina. After 45 years in the industry, I look forward to spending time with my wife, Debbie, our four children, their spouses and my grandchildren—and, of course, fishing.

While I do have every intention of reducing my involvement significantly in the industry, horticulture is in my blood; and still being in decent health, I do want to leave the door open to the opportunities of consulting for those who feel I could be of some benefit, whether it be production, (growing cultures and protocols), greenhouse management (lean flow, greenhouse equipment and systems), or marketing (genetic selections thru to sales and marketing). My new venture will be known as McMurry Horticulture. Feel free to contact me at

Please don’t hesitate to call if I can help in anyway. Phone number will remain the same.

Thanks again for everyone’s help and support over the years.

Sim, congratulations on your long and productive career, and we hope to still see your smiling face at CAST and Cultivate! Good luck from all of us at GrowerTalks! GT