Protea USA was founded in 2009 by Rua Petty and Dennis Perry. Our mission is to develop a superior gene pool for Protea flowers and new generation of Protea fans. Rua and Dennis continue that tradition of quality today.
Our customers and partners benefit from nearly 100 years of our combined business and agricultural expertise in Protea flowers, field crops and livestock production. As southern California’s Protea Nursery Experts, Protea USA is dedicated to providing high-quality, cost-effective solutions to help growers produce and market these exotic flowers.
Dennis Perry is a fourth generation California native and grew up in a family wholesale nursery business providing vegetable starts to farms and ornamental plants to retail nurseries. He graduated in 1977 from Cal-Poly Pomona with a BS in Biology and went to work in the avocado industry of North San Diego County. Dennis worked in the packinghouse and in grove management, in both, San Diego County and Nipomo, San Luis Obispo County.
His first contact with Protea was in a Fruit Science class during a five-minute discussion within an alternate crops lesson. Seeds were bought with his father, Jim Perry, and research began on how to best grow them. In 1981 Jim and Dennis began Perry’s Panorama; he’s has been commercially growing Protea since.
With Perry’s Panorama he introduced clones and hybrids from all over the world to California growers and developed many others here in the nursery and field. Introductions include “Pink Ice” “Tango” and “Rose Mink.” It was through trade organizations that the foundation of today’s protea industry exists. Dennis was an active member from the beginning of the California Protea Association (CPA), is a Past President of the International Protea Association (IPA) and has served on IPA promotion and research committees.
Dennis lives in Ventura with his family. In addition to volunteering his time to Boy Scouts of America, Ventura Unified School District and Ventura Botanical Gardens, he also serves and maintains his memberships in California Farm Bureau, California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, International Plant Propagators and University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum, along with CPA and IPA.
A native of Denver, CO, Rua Petty’s agricultural experience began in the Rocky Mountains with his grandfather’s angus cattle ranch. Today, he and his wife Linda own RJT Ranch, a thriving Protea flower operation in Rainbow, CA. After purchasing land in North San Diego County in 1996, they permanently relocated in 2001.
Since that time he has served on the Board of Directors for the Rainbow Municipal Water District, the San Diego County Water Authority and of the Rainbow Land Use Planning Group. He is currently a member of the International Protea Association (IPA), a member of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, a member of the California Protea Association (CPA) and a member of the VFW Post 1924 in Fallbrook, CA.
Prior to Protea, Rua enjoyed a successful career in community association management – a profession that began when he became a board member of his residential homeowners’ association in 1980. Following the formation of Colorado Management and Associates (CMA), Inc. in Denver, CO, in 1983, he went on to become an owner, Chief Operating Officer and President of the company from 1986 to 1997. During that time, the firm became one of the leading association management companies in the state. Rua continues his ownership position in CMA today.
Rua attended Western State College in Gunnison, CO. He subsequently joined the Army and is a Vietnam Veteran.