Class of ‘79
El Nativo Growers, Inc., and Mariposa Horticultural Enterprises, Inc.
Terry Noriega started his own garage-based landscape construction and maintenance business soon after graduation from Cal Poly Pomona, but he wasn't in the garage for long. By 1986, he had relocated his expanding business and branched into the nursery business. This growing concern was soon able to furnish him with plants for his landscaping business, and its success soon led to Noriega forming a second company, El Nativo Growers Inc.
“The most important thing I learned at Cal Poly Pomona is how incredibly important and effective the ‘learn by doing' philosophy is at providing a quality education,” he says.
El Nativo Growers Inc., a wholesale nursery operation, now has three growing grounds and is developing a 65-acre facility in Ventura County. Noriega hopes his business will become the premier provider of high quality native and drought tolerant plants in Southern California. Mariposa, his award-winning landscape construction and maintenance company, employs more than 300 people and has an impressive client list, including the Norton Simon Museum, the University of Southern California, Knott's Berry Farm, UCLA and Pomona College. Mariposa is the back-to-back California Landscape Contractor's Association sweepstakes award winner for landscape construction at the City of Arcadia Police Station in 2004 and the Burbank Department of Water and Power Facility in 2005.
“We are driven to provide the hard-to-come-by native plant material that the majority of other nursery operations cannot provide, and it is a difficult area of the market to supply and satisfy,” says Noriega, describing his successful approach to business. “We are committed to developing and perfecting the techniques necessary to overcome the high mortality rate typically experienced with this plant material.”
Noriega is also active at Cal Poly Pomona and in the surrounding communities. He offers internships to university students and is one of the original donors to a scholarship program for outstanding incoming freshmen who are pursuing degrees in plant science. Most importantly, Noriega stays involved with current students, supporting the American Landscape Contractors student competition team with both funds and training. He has also served as director of the Irwindale Educational Foundation and the Irwindale Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Leah, have three daughters and live in Irwindale.