Monday, April 29, 2019

Meet David Seward

Associate Professor - Horticulture

Where did you grow up and what was it like?  
I grew up in Richmond.  I’m 59 now and it was a different time then. My parents weren’t worried about where I was (even without cell phones) since they knew I’d be home when I got hungry. It was a simpler time then.

How long have you worked for Reynolds and have you always been on the Goochland campus?  
I worked as a Horticulture faculty member for four years back in the late 1990’s, and went back into industry for a few years. I came back to Reynolds in 2006 as the Horticulture Program Head and have been here since. I was always based at the Goochland campus, but the Horticulture Program was originally at the Parham Road campus, but that was at least 30 years ago.

How did you get interested in horticulture?  
I was a Biology major at ODU. My last year there I took a Greenhouse Management class and got hooked. Since I didn’t have a strong background in Horticulture I continued my education at Virginia Tech, and acquired my MS degree in Horticulture in 1985.

What are the most challenging and most
rewarding parts of your job?

Most challenging:  Dealing with the bureaucracy of a state agency like Reynolds (there’s a form for everything) and delivering a high quality experience for students within the budgetary constraints of late.
Most rewarding: I love the ability to help students with their career goals and bring my experiences to the classroom. I also love working with so many good people that are willing to help get things done.  

You are just wrapping up the 15th Annual Garden Fest.
Please tell us about this event.

I was involved from the beginning. It started out as a way to pull in the community and let people see our wonderful campus. It has changed over the years to become a signature event at the college. Every year we seem to draw more people to the Goochland campus. We just wrapped up another successful event last Saturday (April 27th) and the weather was amazing. The gardens were at their best. My motto has been “grow it and they will come”.  So far that has worked out well.

What is your favorite book or movie, and why?
The Big Chill. It’s a comedy-drama about baby boomers that are reunited after a friend’s tragedy and I think it is a very telling and humorous look at that age group. (Which I’m one of). 

What is your favorite activity outside of your work at Reynolds?
Gardening (of course), hiking and hanging at my pool. Summer used to be my least favorite season with the heat and droughts, but as a nine month contract employee at Reynolds my summers have improved greatly.

What do like most about Richmond?
Richmond today has become more of a “Foodie Experience”, and I do like all of the Microbreweries that have popped up. It has embraced the “farm to table” movement as well, and I am lucky to have been a part of that.  We have been teaching Sustainable Agriculture over 20 years. I also love all of the history in Richmond, making it a great place for “Staycations”.

If you won $100 Million in the Mega Millions lottery
what would you do with the money? 

I hate to say it but I would probably not be working full time. I would love to do more for our veterans and battered women in our area. For many veterans working in the soil and living sustainably is a new focus of theirs when they return from the military, and I would like to help them adjust to their new role in society. I have the facilities at home to do this and would expand on this by having housing available nearby for a full immersion experience in horticulture and food production.  
Women that are not feeling safe and need help (particularly those with small children) are a group that I think just really need someone they can count on. I would use the extra money to make sure they were housed and fed and had counseling to get them ready for an independent life.