Tom Etheridge
Tom began growing orchids roughly 35 years ago while growing up in Northwest Florida. His parents supported his hobby and, understanding the value of education above all else, bought him a membership in the AOS. They later built a tiny greenhouse for him where he grew Phalaenopsis, Vandas and Cattleya — genera that thrived in the hot, humid US Deep South and they never let his AOS membership lapse. He continued his orchid growing obsession through college and graduate school growing orchids on any available window, including those of several, fortunately, very understanding roommates. Finally he settled in Oregon where he and his wife, Luanne Rolly, built several greenhouses designed for cool-growing genera that thrive in the US Pacific Northwest. His passion is for odontoglossums, masdevallias, and draculas, which fill their current greenhouse.

Tom has been a member of the American Orchid Society since 1977, has been involved in AOS judging since 2000 and been an AOS accredited judge since 2007. Luanne and he spearheaded the establishment of two new judging sites in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, BC and Silverton, OR) to better serve growers in the region. He currently serves as Chair for the Oregon Site. He wrote the annual Special Awards and FCC articles for Orchids magazine for several years, currently serves on the Governance and Research Committees of the AOS, and chaired the AOS Nominating Committee for 2012.

On the local level, in addition to judging, Tom has served as Vice-President and Show Chair for the Mary’s Peak Orchid Society. He travels extensively to give talks on orchids and orchid culture, particularly in regard to cool-growing genera. Luanne and he regularly mount displays at orchid shows in Oregon and to date have received more than 80 AOS awards, the Dugger, Jesup, and Carpenter Special Awards of the AOS, and one AOS show trophy. Tom also serves on the board of Odontoglossum Alliance.

Tom holds a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago and works as a research scientist in the high-tech industry. He currently holds nine US patents with several more in process and has been appointed to visiting scholar positions at MIT and Rice University. He regularly combines business travel with opportunities to judge orchids and meet with orchid growers around the world.