Why Intern with Tagawa?
At Tagawa Greenhouse, we believe that future of our industry depends on the future generations. This is why we have hosted dozens of both domestic and international students over the past 30 years.
Our internship program gives students experience in all areas of the business and is perfect for those aspiring to become future business leaders, owners, horticulturalists/growers, or entrepreneurs in our field.
During our 6-month internship (January through June) students get a complete, hands-on overview of our entire business. This also includes a horticultural-focused portion where students work with the greenhouse production team to grow a crop (propagation, plugs, and finished) under the supervision of our production staff.
From humble beginnings to the Nation’s Leading Purveyor of Plants
Tagawa Greenhouse started in 1967 with Frank Tagawa and his 5 sons producing vegetable transplants for their truck farming operation. During the '70s through the early '90s, the family grew rose and carnations.
However as cut flower production moved offshore to Central and South America, bedding plant plugs became a major part of the business. Growing plugs and other young plants exclusively for Ball Seed, Tagawa Greenhouse continued to add greenhouse space at home in Brighton and Golden, Colorado and New Mexico as well.
What started as a vegetable farm now is a multi-facility operation with over 2.4 million square feet of greenhouse growing plugs, liners, prefinished, and finished bedding products for growers, garden centers, and retailers across the United States.
It's About Plants
It's About People
It's About Relationships
A Day-In-The-Life of a Tagawa Intern
We believe in order to understand and become prepared to manage teams in a greenhouse, an intern or future manager needs to work along side greenhouse teams, experience the same challenges, and lead by example. We expect our interns to work the same schedules as each of the departments they work with during their time with Tagawa.
The typical workday starts at 7:00AM.
Each department ends at different times depending on workload.
Although not every department works on Saturday and Sundays, there will be some weeks where Saturdays and Sundays are expected.
All housing is provided to interns in Brighton, CO while they are in the internship program free of charge.
You may be placed with a roommate of the same gender in the same housing unit.
Basic utilities and internet are provided free of charge to the intern during the internship program.
*Note: This is an agricultural position that meets the Agricultural Exemption under the FLSA and would receive overtime only if working more than 60 hours in a week. We pay interns for all hours worked and reimburse for mileage and arrange an reimburse for travel such as hotel room if traveling to New Mexico is required.
Six Month Rotations
The internship program lasts from January 5, 2023, through June 28, 2023. During the program you will rotate and work between departments and different facilities according to the below schedule.* The below is a tentative schedule, subject to changes.
1. Growing Plugs from Seeds & Vegetative Cuttings
Your journey at Tagawa begins where all of our plant products begin: Seeding or Sticking. At our North Facility in Brighton, we specialize in propagating from seed.
You will work with John and Lupe to run the seeding lines alongside Seeding Operators to move thousands of trays a day in and out of our Seeding area.
At our Foothills facility in Golden, we have both AutoStix and traditional hand sticking lines. Some of our top stickers can do over 1400 sticks per person per hour while still using a gentle touch to ensure each plant can become a rooted liner. This is only possible due to our standardized process and the hard work of our Sticking Team!
2. Growing with "No-Touch Production" 6 week rotations
We love interns because many of our Production Team were Horticulture Majors when they were in school too!
During one of the Operation/Production Rotations, you will be working side by side with our Production Team to see how these scientists give each plant in the greenhouse world-class care: even when it’s expected for them to produce millions of plants during our winter and spring seasons.
We challenge our production teams to take a “No-Touch” approach. This is how each facility watches over the entire greenhouse with less than a dozen people, and still maintain water and soil pH/EC, temperature, light, humidity, and chemical templates.
NOTE: Interns working in Production will not meet requirements to obtain Colorado certifications to apply chemicals (controlled growth regulators, pesticides, herbicides, etc.). You will however, work hands-on with moisture and quality management during this rotation, and see firsthand how teams react to different challenges.
While Production focuses on the environments where plants grow and providing them with light, water, and nutrition, there are so many more greenhouse jobs to be completed! Partial trays need to be transplanted to make a full order orplanted into larger containers for retail. Some require plant maintenance such as pruning/deadheading/pinching throughout all of our range operations. Not to mention all of the movement from one environment to another before being collated onto the right rack for the right truck to leave our warehouse team.
Behold the world of Greenhouse Operations!
For one of the two rotations you will work with the Operations team that have multiple departments to manage the items above.
From there, you will go down for 2 weeks to our TSW facility in Estancia, New Mexico to see operations work in a completely different way with similar products.
Finally you will spend 4-5 days working with our Warehouse Loading Crew.
Note: Managers are not only responsible for managing product, but also managing the teams, getting the work done, and promoting a positive work environment.
During these weeks you will be able to observe the supervision styles of 2 managers and up to 9 different supervisors. What kind of manager do you want to become?
4. Retail-Ready (set, go!)
Even after we send our product out the door, our jobs aren’t done yet!
For interns who are looking for a home in a finished product setting, look no further than our InColor Retail-Ready Teams!
• 2 Week Rotation Costco (short term Road Show)
• 2 Week Rotation Home Depot (big-box garden center)
For our Retail Team, 80-90% of our business happens in May, and there is no bigger weekend for us in Colorado than Mother’s Day Weekend.
Unless you’re living in the tropics, there is a definite seasonality to greenhouse and horticulture work. This means you have to make this time of the year count the most!
Travel with both of our InColor teams as they set stores, reset, and reset again! This team makes fast-paced marketing decisions and really showcases our products through their top notch merchandising skills.
5. Tagawa Gardens: 1 week Garden Center rotation
For 5 days, you will also have the chance to visit our sister company in Centennial, Colorado.
While both of the companies specialized in cut flowers/carnations back in the day, as Tagawa Greenhouse moved into young plants and plug production, Tagawa Rose Farm (“Tagawa Gardens”) became a full-fledged local garden center.
Since 1982 when they opened to the public, Tagawa Gardens has made themselves a place for the community to gather. From outreach and education programs to miniature fairy and gnome gardens, the Tagawa Gardens team is always there to help up and coming enthusiasts with all of their gardening and horticulture needs.
Behind the Scenes: Management, Administration and offices rotation - 1 hour, 1 day rotations
By this point in the internship, you should be familiar with all of the time and energy it takes to execute a plan. However, greenhouses require the coordination of all teams to make sure everything runs smoothly.
In June, you will meet with the different administration groups. This includes the variety selection and retail-ready administration requirements, both finished and prefinished marketing, distribution/logistics, account services, inventory, human resources, IT, accounting, facilities management, and maintenance.
Intern Project: Starting 6/27 you will also be given the opportunity to complete a project with our Colorado General Manager that uses the skills and observations you’ve acquired with us during the internship program.
We’re excited to meet you and hopefully you can join us for our 2023 Internship Program!
Here at Tagawa Greenhouse, we believe the future of our industry will be dependent on passing down our experience and excitement for plants to our future generations. Our Internship Program gives students a full understanding of how our business runs, and hopefully will help to inspire students to become the leaders of tomorrow. Internship Candidates are selected after submitting the form below and an interview with our Internship Committee, taking into consideration past experiences, an interest in horticulture, and the excitement to start a future in our industry.