Pallez credits alma mater OSU
We have all heard the saying to “Bloom where you are planted,” and the same is true for a girl whose career took root in Oklahoma.
Growing up in Metz, France, Laurence Pallez, had no idea that one day she would set foot in Oklahoma to work on her Master’s program. Pallez attended the University of Strasbourg in France to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry. Knowing she didn’t want to spend all her time in the lab, she ventured to New York City and worked as an au pair for a family of two children. In the evenings, Pallez attended night classes as part of the family’s requirements for having an au pair. This is where she was first exposed to horticulture.
Sparked by her interest in horticulture, Pallez and her dad studied different educational exchange programs between the University of Strasbourg and American colleges that had horticulture programs. After narrowing her choices down to four colleges, Oklahoma State University became Pallez’s new alma mater.
While at OSU, Pallez was active in departmental and college opportunities and did research on orchids, sunflowers and indoor plants under Dr. John Dole. She served as the Horticulture Club President for two years, was a part of the horticulture judging team and worked in a local nursery for two years. She was also a teaching assistant for Lou Anella in the Plant ID course.
“I loved the people here,” Pallez said. “Coming from France to New York City there was no culture shock whatsoever, I mean you know it is bigger, a different language, there’s a lot of things like that. But, coming from New York City to Oklahoma was a bit of a culture shock.”
After obtaining her master’s at OSU, she took a job with Color Spot Nurseries, Inc. based in San Antonio, Texas. She was their Availability and Inventory Manager for three years. One part of her job was to complete inventory three times a year. Another part was to provide constant feedback to the Sales Department on what was ready for sale
Currently, Pallez works for Ball Horticultural Company based in Chicago, Ill., as an Associate Product Manager. Ball Horticultural Company is a leading wholesale seed company that encompasses one part breeding and one part sales. Pallez is one of seven who serves as a liaison between the two. Her main responsibility is to work with breeders and help them determine what plants would be the most interesting for the growers, and secure trials with selected growers to confirm interest as well as feasibility of the crops ready to be introduced to the market She also spends time doing market research, pricing, and culture research to bring the best products to the growers.
Pallez credits OSU for helping her gain the base knowledge for her career.“You do get into horticulture because you have a passion for plants,” Pallez said.