People Who Strengthen CNGA & the Industry – 2020 Award Winners

Each year at the annual Industry Celebration, the Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association (CNGA) recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to CNGA and the industry. Also at the celebration, the Colorado Horticulture Research and Education Foundation (CHREF) awards scholarships to outstanding college students studying horticulture. The following individuals were presented awards in each category by CNGA Board President Kerri Dantino on Feb. 6.

Horizon Award: Acknowledges an individual who has been in the industry less than five years, exhibits the qualities and high standards exemplifying CNGA, and during that time has made a significant contribution to a CNGA firm.

Horizon Award Winner Corinne Bostrom, Arbor Valley Nursery

Corinne “Cori” Bostrom has been with Arbor Valley Nursery for almost two years and continues to be an integral part of maintaining customer relationships, solidifying processes and procedures in sales, and helping with marketing and messaging endeavors. In 2019, Cori stepped up as the lead in Arbor Valley’s AskCori video series, creating videos on a wide range of nursery and horticulture topics geared towards customers, their end customers and the general public. Cori frequents career fairs and recruiting events to spread the message of opportunity at Arbor Valley and in the industry. She recently joined the PlantTalk committee as an industry representative to help spread the word about the reliable and timely horticulture information produced by the resource.

Horizon Award Winner Kathleen McGuar, Plantivity

Kathleen McGuar has taken on every role at Plantivity with confidence, from sales to purchasing, invoicing and bookkeeping. She has really stepped forward with managing the loading of more than 300 semi trucks a year. Her ability to organize the demands on each semi load is a vital part of customers’, growers’ and Plantivity’s success. Kathleen since day one has always given it her best, taking on each new role with confidence and a “Get it Done” attitude.

Exemplary Service Award: Acknowledges an individual who is in the industry and employed by a CNGA Member firm. This individual, exhibits the qualities and high standards exemplifying CNGA, has made a significant contribution to a CNGA firm, and represents the best of the industry.

Exemplary Service Winner Tracey Tonning, Alameda Wholesale Nursery

Tracey Tonning exemplifies dedication to our industry with intelligence, humility, grace, and caring that is unrivaled. Tracey has experience way beyond her sales position, yet stays to help landscape designers, contractors and laborers get what they need to make their job shine. She is a humble warrior for our industry as we tackle the growth in our businesses and the lack of labor available to hire. She is an ear to listen to our concerns, and a teacher when we need advice for the perfect tree, shrub or perennial. She is a friend when it’s mid-June and you are swamped and need a cold bottle of water and a hug. Tracey is what is right about the green industry in Colorado. She deserves to be recognized for way more than making cookies (as she does every year as a fundraiser at the Industry Celebration). She needs to be honored by our peers for the amazing contributions she gives selflessly each day to all of us.

Hall of Fame Award: Presented to an individual who, throughout their career has demonstrated leadership and commitment, and made contributions for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

Hall of Fame Award Winner Ray Daugherty, Front Range Community College

Ray Daugherty has developed classes in plant materials and identification, soils, and greenhouse, nursery and garden center management that have pushed the professionalism and knowledge base of students, who then transfer that professionalism and knowledge to the Colorado horticulture industry. Ray was a leader in developing the Colorado Community College Systems transfer degree agreements with CSU. His selfless actions have connected students with jobs and scholarships and professionals with workers. He’s developed internship programs, served on the Colorado Certified Nursery Professional (CCNP) testing committee, and done everything in his power to serve the industry. Ray’s attention to detail while he was a propagator and an estate manager led to an accomplished teaching career.

Person of the Year: Recognizes an individual who in the last 12 months has made a positive impact on the regional horticulture industry through their involvement, actions or participation in the promotion of professionalism, creativity and involvement for the betterment of the industry.

Person of the Year Award Winner Dr. Ajay Menon, Denver Botanic Gardens

Dr. Ajay Menon was instrumental with the move of CSU’s Herbaceous Perennial and Ornamental Grass Garden, which was necessary as a result of the new football stadium construction. The move involved approximately 3,000 plants, each of which included proper identification to allow continuation of research on each plant. In addition, 19 trees were saved and relocated and a new irrigation system was installed. Dr. Menon also assisted in preserving the campus arboretum, a unique collection of trees that have stood on campus for 35 years. Along with the new Heritage Garden, the arboretum showcases Colorado’s agricultural legacy and the vast diversity of trees that grow well in Colorado’s climate.

2020 CHREF Scholarship Winners

This year’s CHREF Scholarship winners from CSU were: (left to right) Jackson Footit, Drew Wilcocks, Marcelle Condevaux, Hailey Parsons. Also awarded but not pictured were: Isabelle ter Kuile and Austin Berrelez.