Phone: (847) 742-1790 Monday - Friday: 7:00am - 5:00pm Saturdays: 7:00am - 12:00pm

Research & Development Specialist 

Midwest Groundcovers – Virgil, IL

Full Time Year Round

To oversee and be responsible for researching, trialing, and developing new methods, recipes, and products for Midwest Groundcovers.  Troubleshoot production problems and develop solutions.  Be responsible for overseeing the development and maintenance of crop recipes and the trialing of new plants. 

Submit an Application

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Develop, Lead, and Carryout Production Trials 
    • Collaborate with the production team to solve problems and find solutions to production issues through trialing and research.  Share findings with the production team and train them on new methods, processes, products, etc.   
    • Experiment with how new and existing Plant Growth Regulators could be used to decrease labor and increase plant quality.  Make PGR recipes and application procedures from trial data findings.  
    • Research and evaluate fertilizers for improved plant nutrition, cost control, availability, postharvest performance, and/or supply chain reliability. 
    • Investigate how soil recipes could be modified to improve plant growth, decrease production time, decrease expenses, and/or improve supply chain reliability.  Collaborate with Midwest Trading’s soil scientist to make changes to soil recipes when needed. 
    • Continually investigate ways to increase crop yield and profitability by finding ways to decrease crop production time and loss.  
    • Collaborate with the propagation supervisor on finding solutions to difficult to propagate varieties. 
    • Serve as a member of the R&D/trialing committee to bring forth research initiatives and to help determine what research will be conducted by evaluating the potential benefits of the trials. 
    • Keep up to date with new products and technologies by reading trade journals, attending industry events, maintaining relationships with vendors, etc. 
    • Lead the development of a production/grower recipe book/manual to be used for standardized production. 


    Merry Christmas Holly® & Mini Christmas Holly™ (Ilex) project research & development and production  

    • Support & assist the Ilex project manager in the research and development of the Merry Christmas Holly® and Mini Christmas Holly™ crop recipes. 
    • Create and maintain recipes from data collected through MCH production trials.  Train the production team on the growing and production protocols.   
    • Document and record all Ilex activities such as crop timing, propagation, pruning, PGR, fertility, cultural conditions, and any other pertinent activities for future reference in Michigan & Virgil.  


    Plant Health 

    • Assist the plant health team with scouting for diseases, insects, fertility issues, and other issues causing production problems. 
    • Chemical applications as directed by the plant health manager. 
    • Participate in the biological pest control program.  Work with the plant health team on releasing biologicals, monitoring populations, and creating banker plants. 


    Trial, accession, and evaluation houses 

    • Collaborate with the Production and Product Managers and assist with the growing of trial and accession plants in the evaluation houses at the Virgil nursery.   
    • Give feedback on accessed plant varieties to the accession committee. 
    • Provide feedback to breeders, grower network partners, and plant development companies as requested. 
    • Develop grower recipes for all new plants added to the Midwest Groundcovers’ product line. 

Knowledge & Skills Required:

  • Ability, eagerness, and willingness to learn 
  • Have an eye for details: the minute, tedious, and obscure 
  • Strong analytical and communication skills  
  • Proficient and comfortable with Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.  Access is a plus. 
  • The ability to self-manage and work well independently 

Preferred Experience:

  • 2- or 4-year college degree in horticulture or other agriculture or science related field 
  • 1-2 years of general nursery or greenhouse experience 
  • Experience conducting scientific or production experiments and trials 
  • Ability to obtain State of Illinois and Michigan pesticide applicators licenses  

About Midwest

Join the Midwest team! We strive to attract and retain the best talent in our industry and consider our employees to be our most valuable asset. We offer full-time, full-time seasonal and part-time employment across many different types of positions and experience levels. Midwest has grown through dedication to customer service and we are continually seeking those who share that desire to join our team. Our past accomplishments and success in the Green Industry are a direct reflection of the quality of our employees – join us and help us to build the future!

Submit an Application

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Contact Info

Phone: (847) 742-1790
Fax: (847) 742-2655

Street Address

6N800 IL-25
St. Charles, IL 60174

Current Hours:

Monday - Friday: 7:00am - 5:00pm Saturdays: 7:00am - 12:00pm


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