Plant Diagnostician

Hiring Organization: Ball Horticultural Company
Employment type: Full-Time
Job Location: West Chicago, IL
Application Deadline: September 1, 2020

The plant disease diagnostician will be responsible for diagnosing plant diseases, insect pests, and abiotic problems on ornamental and vegetable plants, and providing support to all business units of Ball Horticultural Company. The diagnostician will manage routine virus testing, a service group comprising three assistant scientists. Both diagnostic and routine testing require responsive delivery of results and the thoughtful interpretations of those results. In addition, the diagnostician will assist in employee training, technical support, presenting at meetings, budgeting, and support of research projects.

Principle Responsibilities Include:

  • Evaluate plant samples using visual observation, microscopy, culture isolation, ELISA testing, PCR, and other diagnostic methods. Write diagnostic reports based on sample findings.
  • Build a diagnostic lab digital library of diseases.
  • Maintain and transfer cultures routinely or as needed.
  • Interact with business unit representatives to answer questions about sample diagnosis, pest/disease problems, and management recommendations.
  • Assist in creating training opportunities and provide field and greenhouse support as requested.
  • Participate in the evaluation of new diagnostic techniques and technologies.
  • Lead/assist with development of technical resources on various plant pests.
  • Lead/assist in research projects related to diagnostics as needed.
  • Manage routine virus testing program and staff.
  • Manage USDA APHIS PPQ permits.


Required Qualifications:

  • Minimum of MS degree in Plant Pathology or a related discipline with 5+ years’ post masters experience, PhD with experience preferred.
  • Working knowledge of diagnostic techniques including microscopy, culture isolation, ELISA, and PCR.
  • Experience with disease, insect, mite, and abiotic problem diagnosis.
  • Experience with Integrated Pest Management programs recommendation/development.
  • Work in ornamental horticulture (desired qualification)
  • Ability to work with diverse stakeholders and build relationships
  • Ability to focus and concentrate while performing detailed tasks for extended periods of time
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent self-motivation skills.
  • Willingness to learn.

Our promise to you:

Ball is a global leader in horticulture: we develop, produce, and sell plants around the world. Our vision is to color the world through our customers. We create excitement in the world of flowers and are the first choice for service. We deliver all the best and nothing else! To you, we deliver a work environment and a culture where building long-lasting relationships internally and externally is important. We believe that good communication, sharing ideas and collaborating on projects will set us up for success. We keep both our feet on the ground and are approachable.

In addition to this we provide a comprehensive Total Rewards package that includes:

  • Medical, dental, life and long-term disability insurance, paid parental leave
  • 401k/Profit Sharing Retirement Plan
  • Paid time off benefits including vacation and holidays
  • Tuition assistance
  • An onsite subsidized café overlooking 30 acres of renowned display gardens and
         restored natural areas
  • Employee Assistance Program and Positive Health programs