Wally joined the U.S. Botanic Garden in 1989 as a gardener in the Exhibits and Displays team. During his 3 decades at the Garden, he has served in a multiple positions. For 12 years he was president of AFSCME Local 626 representing all AOC employees, and also served as work leader of the Collections team for 5 years before becoming Collections Supervisor in 2015. He currently oversees the team caring for the permanent collections at the Conservatory and the Production Facility. He has over 55 years' experience in the greenhouse business and the horticultural trade. His career began at age 12 when he worked for a large commercial operation on Long Island producing flowering plants for the trade.
He graduated from Salem College, West Virginia, in 1974 with a degree in Special Education, followed by a 5 year stint as a teacher in Parkersburg, West Virginia. In the late 70s, Wally moved back to the D.C. area to manage the family greenhouse business until 1989. Wally and his wife, Mary Ellen, have operated a hydroponic farm at their home that has been growing lettuce for 20 years in Loudoun County, Virginia. His hobbies include collecting American coins and stamps, especially stamps from the former Panama Canal Zone, as well as baseball memorabilia with an affinity for the New York and San Francisco Giants. Wally is a coach of the NOVA Cool Cats, an ice hockey team for children and adults with developmental disabilities.