Alum of the Month: Peggy Johnson, Garden Center Manager at Steve’s Ace Home & Garden, Dubuque Iowa

Peggy Johnson graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture with an emphasis in Public Garden Management, Education & Landscape Design in December 2013.  Peggy is from Preston, Iowa.

Peggy has been with Steve’s Ace for 4 years and have taken on several responsibilities over the years.  When she first started at Ace she was in the landscape department working with homeowners and landscapers.  Peggy seamlessly transitioned into managing the garden center where she oversees employee training to ensure products are cared for properly and staff is educated on basic plant knowledge.  She also unloads pottery, yard decor and plant shipments, and processes in materials to ensure quality and proper labeling.  Peggy works closely with landscape contractors and customers to educate them on plant materials they are choosing for their locations.  Once the garden center gets closed down they jump into Christmas trees and cut greens and this past season she found out she was really good at teaching porch pot classes.  During the winter months a small team including Peggy prepare their orders for the next season.
Being part of the Ace family they are crossed trained across the store to provide excellent customer service.  On that note she can assist in mixing paint, cutting keys, and fixing a toilet.

We asked Peggy what she likes most about her position.  Our Ace is very unique that we are a Hardware store, Baby Boutique, Floral Shop, and Garden Center.  I enjoy that I work in a very fast paced environment, and I am always learning and growing with the needs of our community.  Retail might not have been the direction I thought I would go, but I love being able to work with homeowners and help them achieve a beautiful landscape that meets their needs and wants.

Following is the advice Peggy offers to current students:  Your professors are ALWAYS right take the classes they recommend even if it doesn’t seem like your thing.  I am grateful Dr. Haynes introduced me to the Academy of Learning and Leadership courses to learn about growth mindset.  Keep an open mind on where you will be in 5-10 years and take as many classes that interest you as possible, as long as you love what you are doing you will always grow into the position and the person you were meant to be.  Always remember the department will always be your family; and the friends you make while in college will be friends for life.