Dreger’s Love for Gardens Grew into Business

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It’s always nice when you can find a way to make money doing something that you love.      

Cathy Dreger, secretary to the vice president for Student Affairs, and her husband are avid gardeners who grow a laundry list of produce including tomatoes, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, kohlrabi and figs.

“While living in Chattanooga, my son worked in several restaurants, and we connected with local chefs who were eager to get local produce,” she said. “At the time, no one else in the area was growing produce for restaurants, so we started our own small business.”

The Dregers grew arugula, dandelion and Asian salad greens, several types of basil and other food for the restaurants. Usually, they were paid for the produce, but sometimes the Dreger’s bartered for unusual items, such as a special type of fish.

“The chefs loved serving things that were picked that day, and it was a lot of fun for us to see an item on the menu that said ‘From Dreger Gardens,’” she said.
Recently, The Whistle had an opportunity to learn more about Dreger and her time at Georgia Tech. Here’s what we learned:

How long have you been at Tech, and how did you get to your current position?
I’ve been at Tech for about a year and a half. First, I was in the president’s office at the reception desk, which was a great introduction to the Institute. There, I met campus leaders, including Dr. Schafer, and when my predecessor retired, I was hired to take her place in Dr. Schafer’s office.

Tell us a few things about your job that others might not be aware of.       
My job is to do whatever I can to help Dr. Schafer accomplish what needs to get done. That means arranging travel, setting up meetings, processing incoming and outgoing mail, inputting employee timesheets and sick/vacation time, and managing his calendar. This year, it will also be my responsibility to update the flags hanging in the atrium of the Student Services building.

What are a few work-related accomplishments you are proud of?   
In a previous job, I was part of a team that planned and executed a two-week institute, which was attended by a number of delegates from overseas. It was my responsibility to see that they had all the information they needed to make their travel arrangements. To see them arrive on campus from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia and get to know them was very satisfying.

What do you enjoy most and least about your job?
By far, the best part of working in higher education is being around students. I really enjoy their energy and optimism. If I did the same work in a corporate setting, it wouldn’t be much fun. My least favorite aspect is having a long commute. I take MARTA, so I can read or take a nap.

What piece of technology could you not live without?
I’m not hooked on much — I just need my computer.

What are three things that everyone should do while working at Tech?
Attend a football game, visit the G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons and ride the trolley.

Where is the best place to grab lunch, and what do you order?
I usually bring lunch, which includes ingredients from my garden. But when I buy lunch, a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A is usually at the top of my list.



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    Amelia Pavlik
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    Fletcher Moore
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