Year after year, it has been Pennsylvania Business Central’s honor to celebrate the top 100 people in business and economic development who have learned through failures and successes how to develop both their organizations and communities.

To gain insight into how these industry leaders have learned through experience, we asked each one to name a mistake they have made in the past and how they have learned from it. How each selectee reacted to the mistakes in the past reveals how important real-life experience is to developing both the acumen and wherewithal to make it in business. It is our hope that after reading the profiles, you will realize that people are not defined by their mistakes nearly as much as by their ability to recover and learn from them.

To see how they would like to apply their expertise to their community, we asked each selectee what they believe the hidden potential of their community is and how they will help to realize it. Pennsylvania is made up of hard-working communities and we believe that the Commonwealth will continue to grow with the leadership exemplified in this edition.

Our editorial team once again had hundreds of nominations to select from to form this year’s list. Narrowing the total number of nominees down to 100 proved to be as difficult as ever.

Wehopethatthefinallistrepresents corporations and organizations large and small while also covering every region of our readership. Readers will see that whether you are a small tech company in Centre County or a paper manufacturer in Lewistown, there are always ways to excel in your field and help your community grow.

Now that this latest edition of Top 100 People is finalized, Pennsylvania Business Central is moving on to finalizing the list of Top 100 Organizations, which will be published in February.

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2017-01-27 / Top 100 People

J.D. Fleming

Owner

Fleming’s Christmas Tree Farms LLC

J.D. Fleming is a second generation Christmas tree farmer who, along with his wife Cindy, operates Fleming’s Christmas Tree Farms in Indiana County, Pa.

The business was started in 1945 by Arthur Roy Fleming. In 1976, J.D. and his three brothers became partners with their father in the business. In 1982, Roy and J.D. purchased the other partners share. In 2001, Roy sold his share of the business to his son, Randy. J.D. became sole owner in 2012 by buying out Randy. The farm has transitioned from being a wholesale operation to one of the top retail choose-and-cut farms in western Pennsylvania.

Fleming has been involved in many business-related organizations. He also held many leadership positions including: President of Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association, president of Penn State Extension of Indiana County, member of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Labor & Safety Committee and member of the Trees for Troops Day Committee.

When Fleming donates his time to community activities like the Trees for Troops day or the YMCA Turkey Trot, he makes sure to recruit local youths and let them assist in leadership roles.

“The hidden potential of Indiana County is the number of youth in the business sector. I believe that Indiana County young professional and business owners possess many leadership skills that can be utilized. We must encourage the youth to get involved in community activities by showing them the benefits and results of their involvement,” he said.

In his spare time, Fleming likes traveling, sports, outdoor activities, and spending time with his family. J.D. and Cindy have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.

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