President and Chief Executive Officer
Michael Christian is the President and Chief Executive Officer. As a Co-Founder, he has led the company since its inception in 1984.
Michael co-founded American Hydroponics after discovering a need to further develop soilless horticulture in the hobby marketplace. The company soon introduced products and technologies that set the standards for years to come. More than a decade after establishing the company as an industry leader, Michael traveled to Australia and New Zealand to learn about the Nutrient Film Technique of soilless growing for large-scale commercial applications. He learned under the tutelage of Grenville Stocker, who is one of New Zealand's top agricultural chemists/horticulturists. Michael then became one of the key players responsible for bringing NFT to North America and establishing it as one of the foremost techniques-of-choice in the commercial horticulture industry.
Michael has written numerous articles for trade journals to promote the use of hydroponic technology, as well as documenting his travels abroad, including Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses, Growing Edge, Urban Garden, among others. He was featured in a 2007 episode of the television show California Heartland, a program that chronicles interesting and newsworthy stories in the state's agricultural arenas. In 2004, Michael was awarded the prestigious Green Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, recognizing his significant contributions to the industry and their positive effect on our ecology.
Michael studied plant physiology, biology and botany at Humboldt State University in California, and has continuously attended many symposiums and industry seminars worldwide.
He is a member of numerous ecological and horticultural organizations, including the Progressive Gardening Trade Association, Hydroponic Society of America, Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resource Defense Council, NorthCoast Environmental Center, as well as Cal Trout and Trout Unlimited. Additionally, Michael serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Sky Vegetables. Michael was also a founding director of the Hydroponic Merchants Association.
Outside of work, Michael's passions include fly-fishing with his sons and friends, adventures with his grandchildren, practicing yoga, traveling with his wife, skiing, dahlias, writing, and growing food.
Co-Founders Donvieve & Michael Christian
Chief Technology Officer
Scott Kornberg is Chief Technology Officer, primarily responsible for all Commercial operations. He brings more than 30 years of horticultural management experience to Amhydro, growing and scaling greenhouse and warehouse operations, both large and small.
At Amhydro, Scott is responsible for engineering, product development, manufacturing, distribution, sales channels and technical services to effectively manage and grow business on a global basis, as well as nurturing the relationships with our growers.
Kornberg joined Amhydro from Sun Valley Floral Farms where he had two distinct stints, most recently serving as Director of Operations. His prior role at Sun Valley was Greenhouse Manager, where he managed several hundred thousand square feet of greenhouses and warehouses. Kornberg was then recruited to launch B&H Flowers, a new hydroponic flower facility with over 600,000 square feet of greenhouses. There, he was responsible for new construction, staff management and overall operations. After seven years, he then returned to Sun Valley Floral Farms as Director of Operations, where he was responsible for intensive growth and the implementation of a continuous improvement program. This led Sun Valley to unprecedented efficiency and savings, all while blossoming greenhouse operations to over one million square feet.
A graduate of the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Scott earned his degree in Horticultural and Agricultural Science. He also studied botany and agriculture at Humboldt State University.
Full Charge Bookkeeper
Jenny recently joined the AmHydro team bringing with her a vast field of experience within the accounting and finance field. Over the past 25 years, she has worked in many industries from a division of the largest company in the world, General Electric, to start-up companies with rapid growth and constant innovation. While at GE Financial Assurance (a division of G.E.), Jenny earned a "Black Belt" in Six Sigma business management strategy. This broad base of experience has given her the ability to bring best practices from many different industries.
While living here in Humboldt County for the past 10 years, Jenny has worked with and consulted to local businesses to setup accurate and efficient accounting processes, procedures and systems to suit each client's individual needs. She has also taught classes at the Small Business Development Center, helping entrepreneurs develop business plans and put procedures in place to optimize the strengths of the owners while providing advice to manage other areas of the business.
As a native of Northern California, Jenny received her degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and has completed several courses toward her Master's degree. After graduating from the university, she lived and worked in Frankfurt, Germany before returning to California to work in the San Francisco financial district.
She is active in many community interests and loves being involved with her community. This, along with her work with teens and young adults, is how she fills her time outside of working with the Team at AmHydro.
System Design Specialist
Eric Christian began working for the company in the mid-90's, even before graduating from high school.
In his role as System Design Specialist, Eric is responsible for configuring custom, commercial growing systems, and supporting the needs of growers and systems that have been installed. He continues to design systems, drawing from his years of working at virtually every position within the company, rightfully giving him the title "jack of all trades".
In 1996, Eric constructed, operated and managed the first NFT lettuce farm of its kind in the United States, learning first-hand the skills and practices necessary in a successful farming business.
Eric is a true Humboldt County local and graduated from Arcata High School. He is an accomplished pianist, and attended Falconers School of Piano Technology in Lakeport, California.
Eric and his wife Emily love to salsa dance and they teach classes locally. He enjoys fly-fishing with his father and brothers, learning new technologies, and playing music. More than anything else, being married to Emily and enjoying their daughter is what Eric relishes the most.
Director of Wholesale Sales
Kelley Nicholson is the Director of Wholesale Sales and has been with the company for over twelve years.
In her role as Director of Wholesale Sales, Kelley is responsible for bringing together and servicing all aspects of the dealer network. She travels frequently to support the dealers' needs and appears at most industry trade shows and conferences. Kelley is also responsible for directing the fulfillment of automation-related electronics within the Hobby product line. In order to become an expert in their operations and further solidify their foundation among the top grower automation tools in the U.S., Kelley trained directly under the creators of IntelliDose and IntelliClimate in New Zealand.
Kelley studied Communications at Humboldt State University in California, and graduated Cum Laude in 1999. She has attended many symposiums and industry seminars related to business and horticulture. She frequently works with schools and students to introduce hydroponics into the classroom and has become known as the "Strawberry Lady", as well as working with senior centers and juvenile halls. Working with Science Alive, Kelley conducts classes for junior and senior high school students.
Kelley is a member of the Progressive Gardening Trade Association and Hydroponic Society of America. Additionally, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Hydroponic Merchants Association. During her role with the HMA, she served as s key representative of west coast retail stores, helping to organize and plan the annual board meeting and trade show.
Kelley is enjoying her role as aunt for the first time and is devoted to her two dogs, Bacchus and Eros.
Vice President, Greenhouse Manager, Artist Educator
Donvieve Udell is Vice President and has sat continuously on the Board of Directors as a founding member since the company's inception in 1984.
Donvieve is responsible for greenhouse operations in our experimental greenhouses. In 1995, she trained alongside her husband Michael Christian in Australia and New Zealand to learn the Nutrient Film Technique. Her need to express her artistic side is unquenchable, as she continues to teach others and travel worldwide. Concurrent with her work at Amhydro, Donvieve also enjoyed nine years as Education Director for the Ink People Center for the Arts in Eureka, California.
Donvieve studied Sculpture & Fibers while earning her Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the University of Idaho, as well as studying Design at the New York School of Design in New York City. She earned a Master's of Fine Arts degree in Theater Arts from Humboldt State University, California, where she continues to serve as an Instructor and Guest Artist. She also instructs art students in several other schools in California and Oregon.
She writes, "Art is the breath that keeps me inspired and excited about life. Growing up on the eastern beaches, I developed an intense relationship with nature. As I grew and traveled, so did my curiosity about faraway places and different people. I formed a great appreciation for the art of primitive and exotic cultures.
Art is an expression of many cultures and their connection to nature, from which our world is now being disconnected in many ways. Disassociation from our primordial being, and attempted dominance over nature, are global challenges. Yet beyond the sadness of this thought, there is hope through nature's constant beauty and mystical environments.
In honoring our environment, my utmost concern is to be committed and conscious of how I impact it by what I create. I have taken the opportunity to work in the Amhydro greenhouses to fulfill my commitment to nature by growing food that is healthy and nourishing."