Suntory Flowers Names Higgins North America General Manager
Suntory Flowers has named business partner T. Jay Higgins general manager for North America. Higgins is president and owner of Sun-Fire Nurseries in Sarasota, Florida. In addition to being the top producer of Sun Parasol mandevillas, Sun-Fire’s offering has expanded to include Brindabella and Sunrosa roses, a newer category for Suntory.
“I am very excited for the new opportunity with Suntory, but it would not be an option without having great people at Sun-Fire,” Higgins says. “Terri Kelley, my general manager, and Paul Cummiskey, head grower, and others make it possible for me to pursue other goals. I will always have an eye on the big picture at Sun-Fire, but I am really looking forward to working with the full Suntory line and continuing to grow the North American market. I have a lot to learn and will be leaning on the great team already in place as we look to strengthen current relationships and build new ones.”
For 16 years, Sun-Fire and Suntory have worked closely on product development and industry promotions and exhibitions.
“Owning my own business, I would have never imagined working for someone,” Higgins says. “That alone speaks volumes on what I think of Suntory as a company and the people there. I have known Taizo (Suntory Flowers president) and Masa for over 15 years and feel like we are much more than just business partners. Fortunately, I already have a great working relationship with Delilah and Lorentina, so it will be an easy transition.”