About Us

G.R.O.W.E.R.S. Inc believes in a multi-path approach to providing horticultural education, employment opportunities and therapy for adults with developmental and physical disabilities.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Use our Contact Us page to tell us what we’re doing right or what we can improve on.


Scott Hickman: President
Mr. Hickman is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Environmental Horticulture. He was the Principal/Owner of American Hortscapes, a landscape design and build company for 18 years. He has been the Horticulture/Program Supervisor for Greenbrier, the Vocational Horticulture Program of Easter Seals Goodwill Industries in New Haven for the last 13 years. Mr. Hickman has served on the Board of the Edgerton Park Conservancy for 13 years. He has served on the Board of Wallingford Little League for the last 10 years.

Steven Abati: Vice President
Mr. Abati is a graduate of Harvard University with a B.A. in Economics. He holds an M.B.A. from The College of William and Mary. Mr. Abati has over 23 years of experience as a Senior Financial Executive in various industries including, Manufacturing, Banking, Construction, and Non-Profit. Mr. Abati is a Director of the Wallingford Education Foundation and is a Board member for Masonicare Home Health and Hospice.

Patrick Birney: Secretary
Mr. Birney is a graduated from the University of Dayton with a B.A., he earned his M.B.A. at Loyola University Chicago, his LL.M. in Bankruptcy at St. John’s University, and his J.D. from the University of New Hampshire.    While in law school, Mr. Birney was a law clerk to the Honorable Norman H. Stahl of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and was a teaching assistant in contracts and the Uniform Commercial Code.  Mr. Birney is a Partner with Robinson & Cole LLP and has been with the firm since 2008.  He is also an Adjunct Faculty member of Quinnipiac University School of Business Entrepreneurship and Small Business and Planning and Zoning Commissioner, Vice Chairman for The Town of Wallingford.

Gary Hultgren:

Mr. Hultgren has been CEO and Treasurer of McKesson Federal Credit Union since 1995. For the past five years he has served on Constitution State’s Supervisory Committee, the last year serving as Secretary. He has been President of the Bridgeport Chapter of the CT Credit Union Association for seven years and has served eight years on the CT Credit Union Association Charitable Foundation. He also was a CUPAC Trustee for three years. Former professional positions include three years in various positions with the Connecticut Credit Union Association, including Vice President of Member Services and Interim President. Gary was also a Senior Manager in the Financial Institution and Real Estate Industry Focus Groups for Big Eight auditing and consulting firm KPMG Peat Marwick. Gary has also worked for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Gary is a 1982 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Business and holds a Certified Public Accountant designation.

Nicholas Ruickoldt:

Mr. Ruickoldt joined the Russell Agency in 2007 and became a producer in August 2009. As a producer Mr. Ruickoldt functions as a personal line broker and commercial agent/broker. Mr. Ruickoldt provides risk management solutions for personal and commercial line clients. He is a licensed Property & Casualty Producer in the State of CT and is a member of the YIP’s of CT. He has his B.S. in Business Administration from Merrimack College. He is a sibling of a current client.

Dr. Andrew Wagner Ed.D.:

Dr Andrew Wagner is a licensed psychologist with over 30 years experience in human services.  His experience includes work in providing clinical services, clinical supervision and in human services administration.  Dr. Wagner worked as a school psychologist in Iowa and in a large institution for people with developmental disabilities in New York.  In Connecticut, Dr. Wagner worked for the Department of Developmental Services where he provided psychological services, clinical supervision and served as Director of Medicaid Operations for the Department.


Alberta Gibbs

Mrs. Gibbs is a resident of the Westville section of New Haven. Her daughter Cheryl has been a participant of the Greenbrier Program for more than 15 years. Mrs. Gibbs’ knowledge of the parent/participant relationship offers valuable insight into the expectations of the guardians for the program.

Jeremiah Coffey

Mr. Coffey is a Professor at Albertus Magnus.

Margie Devane

Mrs. Devane has lived near Edgerton Park for more than 50 years and has served on its Conservancy Board for 30 years as a board member, secretary, president, and currently serves as treasurer. Mrs. Devane runs a docent program in the Sarah T. Crosby Conservatory of Tropical Plants. Students from area schools come to this program to learn about greenhouses, tropical plants, and the importance of tropical rainforests in our ever-changing world.

Alan Eddy

Mr. Eddy has been a Horticultural Sales Consultant for 28 years. He has a B.S. in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Connecticut, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. Mr. Eddy is a fourth generation Connecticut professional horticulturalist. He is also a past president of Connecticut Greenhouse Growers Association.

Kay Hill

Mrs. Hill worked in the New Haven Public Schools for 35 years before retiring in 2007. During that time she was an ESL teacher, a curriculum and staff developer for the Bilingual and ESL Program, and, for the last fourteen years, the Supervisor of World Languages. She also directed the New Haven-Yale Saturday Seminars, the Yale-New Haven Summer High School, the Migratory Children’s Program, Advanced Placement, and student travel abroad, for the school district. She speaks Spanish and Portuguese and has a special interest in world cultures. She graduated from Yale College in 1972, having entered Yale in its first year of coeducation, and later completed a master’s degree at Southern Connecticut State University, and a Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. Her son Peter Morse, a client at Greenbrier, loves Edgerton Park. Mrs. Hill currently sits on the Board of Easter Seals/Goodwill Industries.

Marta Moret

Marta Elisa Moret is President of Urban Policy Strategies, LLC an association of African American and Latina research and policy women consultants who conduct community-based research and provide training and technical assistance in program design, evaluation, and policy assessment to government agencies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations. As the former Director of Programs for Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, she designed and implemented evaluations of Federal demonstration programs. While Deputy Commissioner for the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services she administered programs and designed evaluations in child care, welfare, and Medicaid. She worked with legislators, policy leaders and philanthropists to reorganize state and federally funded services and build theory-based, outcomes-driven systems of integrated, family-focused services. Ms. Moret holds a MPH from Yale University’s School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. She is a fellow of the Yale University Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy. She is a member of Hispanics in Philanthropy, the American Evaluation Association, American Association in Public Health, and Women’s Health Research at Yale.

Doug Ruickoldt

Mr. Ruickoldt is a conductor with Metro North Railroad since 1973. He is a graduate of West Haven High School. He is active in Youth sports, coaching soccer for his two sons. Mr. Ruickoldt is a parent of a current client.

Cathy Shanley

Ms. Shanley has worked with people with developmental disabilities in a variety of vocational opportunities supported by New Haven’s business community. Specifically while working at Easter Seals Goodwill Industries, she worked “side by side” with the people at Greenbrier Greenhouses at Edgerton Park. As she states, “Together we shared our passion, being our personal best and benefited through the experience of gardening.

Shaun Sullivan

Mr. Sullivan is an attorney and a neighborhood resident.

Jeff Whipple

Mr. Whipple has been an active participant in the Greenbrier program for over 10 years. He has a love of plants and has excelled in mentoring his peers in the horticultural field. Mr. Whipple offers a unique insight as to the expectations and needs of the program’s client base.

Lita Wright

Ms. Wright has been a member of the Edgerton Park Conservancy since 2001. She currently sits on the Executive Committee and is Chairperson for the Grounds Committee. She has served as President for two years and as Sunday in the Park Chairperson for 6 years.


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