King of plants: Hastings resident inducted into MNLA Hall of Fame
With an avid gardener for a father and a botanist for a mother, Paul Morlock was born into the world of plants.
On Jan. 15, the long-time Hastings resident and business owner was inducted into the Minnesota Nurseries and Landscaping Association Hall of Fame.
Morlock has been involved with MNLA since the 1970s, volunteering his time as a board member and serving as the organization's president for two years.
During his time serving MNLA, Morlock advocated for continuing education for all nurseries, new and old.
"One of the main goals of the association while I was president was to give continuing education to new nurseries that didn't have the background or financial resources to do that," Morlock said.
In his time as president, Morlock pushed to make these classes and conventions affordable so that everyone could participate.
Another hallmark of Morlock's time with the MNLA, was his push to secure scholarship funding for university and technical school students who were interested in programs involving nursery work and management. Not only does it help get students more interested in the subject, Morlock said, but it also allows the industry to continue having access to qualified workers.
"I think now the association has grown to give 50 scholarships. It's neat that it has expanded so much since I was there," Morlock added.
Before his heavy involvement with MNLA, Morlock got his first gig at Law's Valley View Nursery, owned by his uncle Keith Law, when he was 15 years old. He performed many different jobs from helping with inventory to field work.
"We didn't have the machinery that we do now. A lot of stuff was done with our hands back then," Morlock said. "I would spend 44 hours a week pulling weeds."
Morlock continued to work with Law's Valley View Nursery while going to school at the University of Minnesota. Morlock originally went to study forestry, but with limited job prospects he switched his studies to horticulture.
After college, he worked full-time at the nursery, became an officer for the company and then became a part-owner with Tim Power in 1984. The business name was changed to Law's Nurseries, Inc.
Other than a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy, Morlock spent his entire career with Law's. Morlock closed down Law's last year. Although it was hard to close the business he had spent most of his life working at, it was time to retire, Morlock, who is now 73, said.
To be inducted into the MNLA Hall of Fame is a big honor, Morlock said. "I knew most of the former inductees and I had a lot of respect for most of them. I am very grateful to be recognized."