Charlie Perington


For Charlie Perington, an interest in plants and trees started early. When his high school eliminated elective science classes, he designed his own independent study course in botany. That curiosity about the seed propagation of plants and the growth of bonsai trees helped Perington decide on career training that would keep him close to nature.

“I knew I didn’t want to be at a four-year college with classes of 100 students,” Perington explains.  “I’m more of a hands-on, rural guy, so I thought I would like something involving agriculture.” When he started looking at greenhouse programs, he compared possibilities and found HTC was at the top when it came to job placement.

Graduating from HTC in May 2013 with an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Greenhouse Management, Perington says, “I wanted to be able to transition right from graduating to supporting myself, and HTC makes that possible.” He credits instructors with providing a well-rounded program that prepared him to succeed even before graduating. When a green industry head hunter visited the program, Perington made a connection that helped him land a job with St. Croix Tree Service, a locally owned company.

“I got the job because I had a license in pesticide application, which is part of the HTC program,” Perington explains. “It raised my pay by $4 per hour.” According to him, the program helps students build a wide base of knowledge that includes all aspects of the industry – from nursery and greenhouse to city parks and arboriculture. He had an opportunity to manage and maintain the HTC greenhouses and landscape one summer. “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I can’t thank HTC enough,” Perington says enthusiastically. He describes the job as invaluable in building his confidence and his work ethic.

“At HTC, you apply what you learn – there’s a mix of lecture, ‘book learning,’ and actual hands-on experience,” says Perington, adding that he was impressed by the variety of tree species on the Brooklyn Park campus, which really helps students learn how to identify different types of trees. When it comes to tree care, Perington says that students learn about climbing safety, arboriculture, species identification, and more. In short, everything needed to succeed on the job.

“With more pests such as the emerald ash borer and the long-horned beetle threatening trees, professionals need to be educated and they need to educate the public,” Perington concludes. He sees a growing opportunity in helping protect the natural world. Thanks to training at HTC, that’s what he’s prepared to do.

Last updated by jhanson : 2016-07-27 11:19:08