People Who Strengthen CNGA and the Industry

Each year, CNGA recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to CNGA and the industry. The following awards are presented to individuals each year at the annual Industry Celebration:

Hall of Fame - This prestigious award is presented to an individual who, throughout their career, has demonstrated leadership and commitment resulting in overall improvements to the industry.

Person of the Year - This award 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.

Horizon - This 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.

Exemplary Service Award - Given to 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.

2018 Award Winners

Bridget Blomquist | Person of the Year Award
Bridget is a graduate of Colorado State University’s Horticulture Program. She currently works on the staff at the Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG), where she cares for the All-America Selections Garden and the Perennial Garden. She also serves on the Trial Garden Committee for CSU and is an enthusiastic supporter of our local growers and plant producers. Bridget is one of DBG’s shining Stars. Every project and organization she collaborates with is better because of the integrity she brings with her.


Daniel Corse | Horizon Award
Daniel is the Perennial Dept. Manager at Echter’s Nursery and Garden Center in Arvada, Colo. He is a self-starter and has earned the respect of his fellow workers by creating an efficient and customer friendly operation. He is an enthusiastic gardener and continues to self-educate himself in all aspects of horticulture. Daniel has set a high standard for himself and it brings great value to Echter’s to have an employee with such spirit and dedication to horticulture.  
Julie Echter | Horizon Award
As a third generation family member, Julie has been around the business (Echter’s Nursery & Garden Center, Arvada, Colo.) all her life. Being in charge of the Hard Goods Dept., she brings great energy and a fresh look to displays throughout the store, including a new look in signage and website development. She works hard in fostering customer relationships and recently created a public relations win for Echter’s by organizing a tree giveaway on Christmas Eve and managing TV coverage with 3 local stations.
Michael Schleining | Horizon Award
Mike is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Arbor Valley Nursery, Brighton, Colo. With an exceptional attitude and solid leadership skills, he has stepped into numerous roles within the company, community and industry, with a talent for helping, teaching, and leading those around him. He is the youngest person in the company’s history to become a Colorado Certified Nursery Professional. Mike's knowledge and willingness to help with any task have earned him the respect of teammates throughout the organization.
Brian Steele  | Horizon Award
Brian is the Potting Team Manager at Britton Nursery in Colorado Springs and leads the potting crew and soil mixing operations, tractor operations, special projects, facilities, equipment maintenance and repair and training new team members. He is a gifted leader and brings an atmosphere of camaraderie and fun everywhere he goes. He is a go-getter, very teachable and willing to learn anything that is thrown at him. Brian is a mover and shaker and brings a special level of energy to all aspects of his job. 
Melissa Streitmatter  | Horizon Award
Melissa has excelled as a member of the Production Crew at Fort Collins Nursery. In 2017 she curated and edited the entire plant catalog to integrate with The Perfect Plant database, working independently, accurately, and efficiently. In 2018, she quickly learned a variety of retail skills that make her a more versatile employee, earning year-round work in a position that is traditionally seasonal. Her personality, aptitude, care for coworkers and customers, and powerful work ethic make her a valuable asset to FCN. 

Kevin Williams | Horizon Award
Kevin is a horticulturist with the Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG). He has taken on several high profile projects including: installation of the Steppe Garden, renovation of the lilac collection, expansion of the dwarf and unusual conifer collection (including learning to graft conifers), and replanting of a naturalistic prairie along Josephine Street. Kevin has spearheaded multiple native plant collection trips focusing on selections of Juniperus horizontalis, and Salix humilis. He also heads up DBG’s intern program.


John Navant  | Exemplary Service Award
Since high school, John has worked in the horticulture industry. His service includes assistant nursery manager, nursery manager, head horticulturist, committee work, instructor, test proctor, tour guide and volunteer. He has written articles for the Denver Post and for CNGA's website and member magazine. He is currently the Head Horticulturist for Water World in Federal Heights, Colo. where under his guidance Water World is registered with the Rocky Mountain Audubon Society as a Gold Habitat Hero Site. 

Bobbi Sexton | Exemplary Service Award Bobbi is the Propagation Manager at Harding Nursery in Colorado Springs. She puts all of her effort into the tasks at hand and is always willing to help anyone in any way she can. She is currently propagating plants for the Plant Select program as well as for Harding Nursery. She has designed and constructed a geothermal heating system for her propagation greenhouse. Bobbi enjoys educating her staff and giving them encouragement to learn more about their jobs. She has been in horticulture since 1980 and has been a Colorado Certified Nursery Professional for over 20 years.


Tracey Tonning | Special Recognition
Year after year, Tracey has donated countless hours and time in making donations for the Colorado Horticulture Research & Education Foundation Silent Auction at the annual Industry Celebration. For more than ten years, Tracey has been providing home baked chocolate chip cookies that have become one of the most sought after and most competitive bid items. At this year's event, her cookies brought in $650! Over the years, her donations have raised more than $4,600. We thank Tracey Tonning from Alameda Wholesale Nursery (Englewood, Colo.) for being CNGA’s beloved cookie lady!

Previous Award Winners

Award winners are nominated by CNGA members. If you know someone worthy of an award consideration, please complete this form.