Welcome Susan Stauber to CNGA Board of Directors

By Lyn Dean

Susan Stauber

Susan Stauber, sales representative at Ball Seed Company, came to Colorado with her parents at age 11. After high school she continued her education at University of Denver, where she received a degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and began a career in department store retail before eventually joining Ball.

Journey to Horticulture and Ball Seed

While Susan worked in corporate retail, she noted how the industry was changing. “Department stores were consolidating, and some were disappearing,” she says. “Many companies were moving to big cities in California, and I didn’t want to move there.” By the early 1990s, Susan was drawn to look for other options – her “next career.”
“I had always loved gardening, so I decided to try working at a retail garden store and was offered a seasonal position at Tagawa Gardens in the bedding plant department,” Susan shares. “Following that first year, Tagawa took me on year-round.” During her time at Tagawa, Susan’s love for plants and horticulture grew, leading her back to school. She earned a degree in landscape horticulture from CSU.

“While at Tagawa, I got to know my Ball rep, who knew I had gotten my horticulture degree and was looking for a more flexible work situation due to family demands.” Ball had a new program requiring remote assistance, which seemed like a good fit. “I started part-time and as the job grew, I began to work with customers. Eventually I ended up with my former rep’s job when he was promoted to regional business manager.”

Opportunities in the Industry

Susan has been with Ball for over 16 years and still has some long-term customers in her territory, which includes Colorado, New Mexico, and parts of Wyoming and Nebraska. Some are retiring and she sees new people coming in – some from outside the industry. “They bring new perspectives, and we can learn from them.”

“We need to continue to attract younger people to the green industry, to find ways to generate interest. This includes encouraging young people to garden. The joy of gardening is how I found my way into horticulture – my second career. The up-and-coming generations need to see horticulture as a viable career path.” Susan sees so many opportunities in the field including high tech options such as genome sequencing or plant pathology studies. People can choose to start their own business or work with existing businesses, or work with growers of all kinds and travel around the world.

Why Serve on the CNGA Board

“I have prospered in the industry and during my years at Ball, and I think I can bring a perspective from ‘the field.’” Susan sees serving on the board as a way to give thanks to members and member-customers. She sees the customer base changing and wants to channel their voices so CNGA can better serve all constituents.

“I really want to give back to the industry in service as thanks for what I have learned and how I have benefited personally and professionally. I look forward to hearing thoughts and perspectives from anyone and everyone, and I encourage people to reach out to me.”