Megan Bowman is part of GPNS 2024 Class of Forty Under 40 honorees
40 Under 40, Class of 2024

Megan Bowman


Ball Horticultural Company

Job Title

Director of research operations


What 3-4 professional and/or personal accomplishments are you most proud of?

  • I’m really proud of a few things I’ve accomplished in my career that have made a big impact. One of them is leading the development and rollout of a global tissue culture system, LIMS (laboratory information management system). It was a big project that required a lot of coordination and teamwork, but it’s made our operations so much smoother and more efficient.
  • Another accomplishment I am proud of was establishing a research portfolio management process at Ball. It might sound boring but it’s actually been a game-changer for how we prioritize projects and allocate resources. It’s helped us focus on the stuff that really matters and boosted our innovation.
  • And then there’s the construction and move into the Ball Helix Innovation Center in West Chicago, Illinois. That was a fantastic project to lead because it’s all about creating a space where creativity can flourish. It’s been awesome to see how it’s sparked new ideas and collaborations across the company. Overall, these accomplishments have been really rewarding and have helped shape the way we work at Ball.
  • Note: I’m currently transitioning to a new role at Ball and will become corporate patent and trademark lead for the company later this year.

What led you to work in the horticulture industry? 

  • My journey into the horticulture industry began during my time at UW-Madison, where I pursued a Ph.D. in plant breeding and plant genetics with Philipp Simon. Focusing on carrot root colors, I became fascinated by the processes that give plants their vibrant hues. It was an eye-opening experience that ignited my passion for plant biology and genetics.
  • During my studies, I also discovered the potential of technologies like DNA sequencing in revolutionizing plant breeding. This intersection of science and technology became a driving force in my career aspirations. I wanted to apply these innovative tools to create new breeding strategies for specialty crops.
  • When I joined Ball in 2018 as bioinformatics and data sciences lead, I knew it was the perfect fit. Joining Ball enabled me to combine my love for plant biology with cutting-edge breeding techniques. It’s been a fulfilling journey and I’m grateful for the opportunities that have led me to work in the horticulture industry.

What’s the best thing about your job? 

  • Company environment

Describe to a 6-year-old what you do in life?

  • I make sure everything is running smoothly so the Ball scientists can discover awesome things and color the world!


What are your favorite hobbies? 

  • Hiking with my dog Daisy
  • Playing flute
  • Kayaking

When you’re not working, what are two to three things we could find you doing?

  • Spending time with my kids and attending one of their theatre performances
  • Gardening
  • Reading with a comfy blanket and a cup of tea

Fun Facts

Do you have any unusual talents, or can you tell us something interesting about yourself that other people may be surprised to find out? 

  • I absolutely love music and play flute in an orchestra in the Chicago area.

One thing you can’t live without? 

  • Books!

What are you (un)secretly good at? 

  • I’ve been told I run a good meeting and keep people focused on the tasks at hand.

What are your top three bucket list items? 

  • Travel throughout Asia
  • Go to the Kew Gardens in the U.K.
  • Go to the Galapagos Islands

What’s your favorite plant variety and why? 

  • I love snapdragons, matthiolas and delpinium — beautiful and great cut flowers.

You’re buying a vacation package to anywhere in the world without a budget, where are you going?

  • New Zealand