Greg first heard about Metro Blooms when he met Bob Wolk and his wife Debby at a High Tea hosted by Adam Majewski. When Bob learned that Greg was interested in native gardening, he convinced Greg to join the Metro Blooms board. In March 2012, Becky Rice suggested that Greg instead utilize his technical skills and help build a mobile app to be used for the Minneapolis Garden Evaluation program, which he has been working on since. Greg enjoys being a volunteer for Metro Blooms because of their environmental mission. His passion for clean water has grown with the work he has done with Metro Blooms and he was able to seamlessly blend this with the work he is currently doing as a Master Water Steward candidate.
He says that working on the app project has sharpened his technical skills, which has made him more marketable. Greg obtained his current job as a Senior Developer, in part, as a result of the mobile app project. In Greg’s professional work for the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Minnesota, he defines the business requirements for projects requiring computer based solutions. He then implements these requirements into a final “product” using whatever computer programming methods are needed. Previously, Greg worked for the School of Public Health for 12 years. Greg is very happy with his current job because he enjoys the freedom of the research environment at the University and is glad that the work he does will ultimately help others.
When Greg was a child, he earned money by working in his grandmother’s and aunt’s garden, but it wasn’t until 15 years ago that he became seriously interested in gardening and started experimenting with his own property in Saint Louis Park. Not yet introduced to the handy sod buster, Greg took on the monumental task of ripping out all of the sod in his and mom’s yards by hand and replaced everything with native prairie. One of Greg’s favorite plants is the Big Blue Stem grass because it is iconic of the Great Plains prairie. His other favorite is the Sideoats Grama grass because, he says, “the blooms are cool.” One of Greg’s new hobbies is seed propagation, which began to interest him while he was working towards his certificate in horticultural science. Greg and his wife Jenzi have a managed beehive on their property, which they believe symbiotically compliments the prairie ecosystem on their property. Greg would like to try beekeeping himself one day if he can find the time. He would also like to travel the world to observe important ecosystems and also learn how to scuba dive. Greg loves music: both listening and also playing his 7-string guitar.
Greg and Jenzi are avid distance runners, running an average of 60-80 miles a week (which he describes as “obsessive!”).Greg loves food, especially spicy food. Once 40 pounds overweight, Greg lost weight by running and moderating the amount of food he ate, and as a result, developed an interest in exercise physiology and nutrition science.
Aaron Timbo has been lending a hand on the Garden Evaluation App project for the past two years. Aaron and Greg worked together in the School of Public Health and have continued their previous friendship and collaborations with this project. Aaron, like Greg, was drawn to the environmental aspect of this project. He, like Greg, also loves to learn new technologies. Aaron is a Java programmer who now works for Bloom Health developing a system that has a similar purpose to healthcare.gov. Currently, Aaron is trekking with his in-laws in Iceland.
Metro Blooms would like to give a big Thank You to this trio for their work. They will be continuing their work on the mobile app, so you’ll keep hearing about them!