While on a Hawaiian vacation with his wife Loretta in 1980, Chris purchased three orchid plants and the mania began. Once back in southern New Jersey, he found Waldor Orchids and George Off, the long-time owner and one of the early pioneers in the cut-flower orchid business. Chris was fascinated by the stories of early orchid growing in the United States as told by Mr. Off. He also listened for hours to Mr. Off as he potted orchid plants and discussed cultural information about growing orchids.
Chris was born and raised in southern New Jersey and resides there with his wife Loretta. After graduating from Drexel University with a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS in Environmental Engineering, he spent two years in the U.S. Public Health Service before returning to a family engineering firm in New Jersey. Chris and Loretta have two sons and four grandchildren. Chris Jr. is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Iowa State University. Richard heads the Information Management Division of Adams, Rehmann & Heggan Associates.
Chris has balanced the management of his Civil-Environmental engineering firm of 100 professionals and staff with his passion for orchids. As a member of the Sandpiper Orchid Society, he has served in many offices, including President of the Society. "Meeting orchid hobbyists has always been a rewarding experience. They are just nice people," said Chris.
Chris and Loretta have traveled to Ecuador, Costa Rica and Belize to meet orchid people and view orchids in their natural habitat. "I was thrilled seeing Cattleya maxima in full bloom or the single Sobralia flower by the roadside. Seeing Costa Ricans cataloging the orchids of Montverde Forest Reserve with the same passion we see in our hobbyists was exciting," says Chris.
Chris entered the AOS student judging program in 1990, and became an Accredited Judge in 1996 with the assistance of Accredited Judges Bill Smith, Rainforest Orchids; Mark Werther, Sentinel Orchids; and mentor Walter Off, Waldor Orchids. "These people shared their passion for orchids, their knowledge of orchid judging and the obligation for judges to service the orchid hobbyist and exhibitor. The thrill of participating in ribbon judging was to listen to icons of orchid knowledge such as Dr. William Wilson, Dr. Ben Berliner, George Vazquez and many others who were willing to share their knowledge." Chris has served as the Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Judging Center for five years, and has judged throughout the United States. Chris had the pleasure to judge the first Quito, Ecuador orchid show, as well as the World Orchid Conference in Vancouver, Canada.
Chris is a Vice President of the AOS, served on the Judging Committee and is a member of the Library Committee of the AOS. "It is my obligation to give back to the members of the AOS for all of the good times shared, satisfying experiences given, and friendships graciously extended to me in all the orchid venues I have attended," says Chris.