Longtime Rough Bros. executive and greenhouse industry leader Albert "Al" Reilly passed away Thursday, October 17.
Reilly was a key figure in the greenhouse and garden center industry for more than three decades, leading Rough Bros. from being a small greenhouse structure repair company to the largest greenhouse manufacturer in North America. In addition to commercial greenhouses, under Reilly's leadership Rough Bros. also expanded into projects for schools and universities, retail garden centers, and large-scale public and private conservatories, completing such notable projects as the restoration of the United States Botanic Garden on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Other projects of note include the New York Botanical Garden, Longwood Gardens, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Additionally, he helped pioneer the development of movable greenhouse benches, under-bench heating systems, and double-poly greenhouses.
Prior to buying Rough Bros. in the late 1970s, Reilly was head football coach at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., where he is a Knox-Lombard Athletic Hall Of Fame 2013 inductee. He was the youngest NCAA head coach in the country at the time, and in his last year of coaching, Knox College went undefeated, winning the Midwest Conference championship and earning a top 10 Division III national ranking.
Reilly was active in industry organizations, including the American Academy of Florists and the Ohio Florists Association, and was a past president of the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association and World Presidents Association. He volunteered his time and efforts to numerous charities, including the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati. Reilly also served on the board of advisors for the Goering Business Center at the University of Cincinnati and the Xavier University Williams School of Business.
Reilly's son Richard was named president of Rough Bros. in 2004 and continues in the business today.
Reilly is survived by his wife Pam, daughter Sarah and son Richard.