People Who Strengthen CNGA and the Industry

Nominations now being accepted for CNGA 2023 Awards. The deadline for award submittals is December 15th.
Please click here to submit your nomination.


Each year, CNGA recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to CNGA and the industry. Award winners are nominated by CNGA members. 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.

2022 Award Winners

Debi Borden-Miller, CCNP, Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association | Hall of Fame Award
Debi is a very positive person and has been a promoter of our industry for over 30 years. Her work experience includes over 30 years for Welby Gardens, and she is now on staff with CNGA. She has made numerous TV appearances on behalf of our industry, and teaches classes at the Denver Botanic Gardens as well as at CSU as part of the horticulture program there.

She is a past president of Colorado Greenhouse Growers, Past President of GreenCO, and has been on the ProGreen Expo board, the CNGA board, and is currently on the Colorado Garden & Home Show board. Debi truly exemplifies a volunteer spirit and goes above and beyond for her profession and the horticulture industry. Her boss Glenda adds: “We are truly lucky to have Debi on staff at CNGA, her depth of knowledge of the industry and the history of the people involved helps us every day.”  

David Salman, High Country Gardens (Posthumously) | Hall of Fame Award

The horticultural world lost a giant this past June (2022), and it seems only fitting that his impact continue to be honored. I worked closely with David for more than 10 years while at Plant Select, and was always in awe at his humility in addition to his incredible talents. He honestly was more interested in exploring new hillsides, canyons and grassy plains than he was in being the center of attention, but I do know that to be respected by his peers was deeply personal and appreciated.

David introduced dozens of new plant varieties, focusing on plants that were not only beautiful and adapted to our arid high-altitude gardens and landscapes, but also for their benefits to local wildlife and pollinators. He had an innate ability to notice that one individual plant in a field of hundreds that was different and special. He spent years breeding southwestern natives to bring out the best characteristics, and especially loved agastaches, penstemons and salvias. His latest (but unrealized) dream was to plant a native “seed orchard” where selections of native shrubs and trees would be lined out, and seed or cuttings could be harvested for regional growers to produce and bring to market. This award honors a lifetime of dedication to our regional horticulture in a way that few others have ever done.  

Jack Fetig, Fossil Creek Nursery | Person of the Year

Jack has led the Colorado Horticulture Research & Education Foundation (CHREF) board through significant challenges in 2022 as President. He spearheaded the efforts of CHREF to launch a campaign to raise over 1 million dollars to attract new students into horticulture and increase funding for scholarships and research.  He has been instrumental in corralling the new, lofty goals and ambitions of CHREF into a workable plan. He has also helped breathe new life into the CHREF Golf Committee to elevate that event to be a bigger/better event and fundraising arm for CHREF. Jack has shown excellent leadership this past year, in his quiet, gentle and calm manner, and worked hard to help CHREF realize it’s goal to recruit more students into horticulture for the future of our industry. 

Megan Brown, Alameda Wholesale Nursery | Horizon Award

Stan Brown, president of Alameda Wholesale Nursery, says of Megan: “When our perennial manager Ron Brown retired in 2019 it left a significant hole in our leadership at Alameda Wholesale Nursery. Megan stepped up to bat and hit a home run. Rather than doing things the way we have always done it Megan has looked at our opportunities with a fresh set of eyes and has been a tireless leader. She strengthened her education by being involved with Plant Select. She approaches each part of her life with a smile and a positive attitude.”  

  Emily Helmus, CCNP, CGG, Arbor Valley Nursery | Horizon Award  (no photo)

Emily works extremely hard at making sure the customers and Colorado landscapes get the right plant for the right spot. She genuinely cares about the future of our landscapes and the industry and pours her heart into this bright future every day. As the season has progressed, she has shown herself to be a great leader and teacher as well, which will bode well as she begins to train the next generation of great nursery people. 

Emily McAuley, CGG, Denver Botanic Gardens - Chatfield Farms| Horizon Award
Emily has taken over the production of plants in the Gardens Chatfield greenhouses for the Denver Botanic Gardens. In her time she has dived head first into Chatfield’s breeding programs and works closely with the Plant Select Program. Emily has been integral in organizing the Garden’s production schedules and improving processes. Emily is a bright and energetic employee. She has a passion for horticulture and is looking forward to working with the education department in connecting visitors with plants. 

Dan Gerace, Welby Gardens/Hardy Boy Plants | Exemplary Service Award
Dan has served on the CSU Annual and Perennial Trialing Committees and has grown or propagated entries since he arrived at Welby Gardens in 2010. He has helped organize industry tours for multiple organizations as well as school tours to familiarize young people with the industry. Dan has served the industry non-stop for most of his adult life, always without nearly any fanfare.  His quiet, constant and thoughtful presence can always be counted on to get the task at hand done.  

Ben Northcutt, Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association | Exemplary Service Award
Ben has worked at CNGA since 2014, and has experienced some significant health challenges in the past 2 years. Despite this, he continues as a full-time employee, and is endlessly optimistic, has a great attitude, and treats CNGA members and co-workers with love and respect. He is a tremendous co-worker and employee, and brings grace and light to the office. 


Diana Reavis, Eason Horticultural Resources | Exemplary Service Award
Diana is always willing to help CNGA whenever and however possible – at BBQs, at ProGreen Expo, planning a huge retirement celebration or brainstorming and advising on programs. Diana is always on call and always ready to support CNGA. She continues her efforts with commitments to the CSU Trial Garden Committee, CHREF Committee, Plant Select and she is currently the Western Region Director for the Perennial Plant Association.  

Previous Award Winners