Landscape Presenters

The value of Industry Insights for Landscape is rooted in its presenters. These professionals are experts in the areas they will be presenting about and have agreed to share their knowledge and expertise. Learn more about these individuals as you plan your schedule for participating in Industry Insights for Landscape.

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Alex Bach
MS Graduate Student | Kansas State University

Alex Bach’s interest in irrigation began three years ago when the Irrigation Association granted him a scholarship after he explained how much he enjoyed and had learned in the irrigation class at Kansas State University. The following year, he became an E3 winner, an opportunity where the IA paid for his trip to the annual Irrigation Show and Education Conference. His experience in Long Beach, California, that year was where he learned the career possibilities in the irrigation industry, propelling his interest in pursuing a master’s degree focused on irrigation. Earlier this year, the National Association of Landscape Professionals granted Bach the Hunter Industries Water Conservation/Irrigation Efficiency Scholarship, assuring his decision to pursue a career in the irrigation industry.

Webinar: Water Conservation Approaches in Turfgrass Systems

Kevin Battistoni
Midwest Sales Manager | Hunter Industries

Kevin Battistoni is the Midwest sales manager for Hunter Industries, based out of the Chicagoland area. Baptized in sprinkler water, this fourth-generation irrigator spent two decades in the family business rolling around in the dirt before trading his shovel in for a broom, working in the green industry supply chain. During his decade in distribution, he played all positions including store manager and outside sales with a focus on landscape lighting, drainage and water features. With over a decade of service at Hunter/FX, he experienced a rebirth with the world of connected devices entering the green industry. Now the self-titled “Software Salesman” has become a Wi-Fi controller evangelist and is on a mission to educate green industry professionals around the world.

Webinar: Wi-Fi: What You Need to Know to Look Like a Pro

Jim Borneman
Education Consultant | Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply

Jim Borneman is the founder of Ewing Education Services at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply. He attended Chico State College and has a degree in business management from St. Mary’s College of California. Borneman is a licensed Texas irrigator (LN 7979) and has held certifications as a designer, contractor and irrigation auditor with the Irrigation Association. He has focused his efforts at Ewing toward curriculum development with a greater emphasis on teaching, as opposed to the many administrative responsibilities associated with leading Ewing’s education department. 2020 marks his 46th year in the landscape industry. Throughout his career, Borneman has worked in a variety of sales and operations positions with manufacturers and distributors. Prior to coming to Ewing in 1994, he was the director of education for the IA. Industry education has been a focus and a passion for him since the late 1970s, and over the years he has trained tens of thousands of landscape professionals. Borneman has a passion for water conservation that is a natural part of his legacy as a fourth generation Californian.

Webinar: It Works on Paper: Reconciling Site Hydraulics

Matt Carli
Lead Designer | Moonlighting Landscape Lighting Systems

Originally from Beaufort, South Carolina, Matt Carli attended Lander University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. Upon graduation from college, he returned home to Beaufort but found there weren’t many opportunities in an economic downturn as a history major. He decided to return to the passion he has had since he was teenager of working in the green industry, helping run a successful landscape company for four years. In 2010, Carli joined Moonlighting Landscape Lighting Systems and relocated to Charleston as lead designer. Moonlighting was established in 1992, and he has been with the company for over 10 years. Moonlighting is a design/build outdoor lighting firm that specializes in the design, installation and maintenance of landscape lighting systems in the Charleston area. They have also completed designs and installations in the Bahamas, California, Florida, Texas, Maine and beyond. Carli holds the certified outdoor lighting designer designation through the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals, and Moonlighting is a previous recipient of the AOLP Award of Excellence for a commercial lighting project.

Webinar: Top Lighting Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Guy Collins
Director of Sales | Munro Companies

Guy Collins has over 16 years of experience in sales and sales leadership in the irrigation industry. Working with distributors, contractors and specifiers, Collins enjoys engaging on all kinds of irrigation projects, from golf courses and municipal applications to homeowner and agricultural installations. He is a graduate of Ohio State University, holds a Certificate in Advanced Strategic Negotiations from Pepperdine University, and is a certified product technician and product specialist. When he’s not supporting the Munro team or traveling the country to support Munro’s customers, you’ll find Collins spending time with his wife and three boys or casting into a river.

Webinar: Enhanced Water Conservation Through Pump Station Design

Mike Dorion
Speaker and Facilitator | Living Soil Solutions

Mike Dorion — aka “The Compost Kid” — found his interest in the industry through a gardening class put on by the Calgary Horticulture Society. Following this class, he continued gaining experience by earning a permaculture design certificate and a compost facility operators certificate. Dorion has also been involved in SPIN farming, greenhouse design, and mentoring in soil and soil microbiology. He is currently working in a soil food web advisor role with the Life in the Soil program put on by Elaine Ingham, and he sits on the board of the Calgary Permaculture Guild.

Webinar: Don’t Lose Your Shirt by Growing in Dirt

Wes Dyer
PhD Graduate Student | Kansas State University

Wes Dyer, PhD candidate, is studying horticulture and natural resources at Kansas State University. His research focuses on water conservation efforts in turfgrass systems. Approaches include utilizing various sensor technology, field research and lab analysis to share data for better irrigation decisions. Throughout his studies he gained interest in environmental soil physics, water conservation approaches and computer programming for data analysis. He received his bachelor’s at Mississippi State University and his master’s in agronomy at Texas A&M University, where his research focused on water quality issues. Having worked on golf courses and athletic fields and volunteered for six PGA Tour tournaments as agronomy staff, Dyer has a passion to connect research with industry application.

Webinar: Water Conservation Approaches in Turfgrass Systems

Steve Fornier
Engineering Consultant | Orival Inc.

Steve Fornier is a consultant specializing in engineered water management systems involving Orival filtration products, mechanical designs, hydraulic controls, treatments and pumping systems. He gained experience working for a small engineering firm designing irrigation systems for citrus groves before becoming sales manager for Orival, an international filtration manufacturer. He then moved on to John Deere Green Tech as district sales manager and the role of a product manager for filtration sales. He received an innovation award from John Deere for designing a specialized water recycling system. Thinking outside the box for developing unique solutions to customer problems is Fornier’s greatest strength.

Webinar: Enhanced Water Conservation Through Pump Station Design

Joseph Gallegos
President | Grey4Green

Joseph Gallegos is a leading expert in using alternative waters on landscapes. His presentations and research demonstrate that green, lush landscapes are needed to reduce urban heat island effect. Thus, greywater and other alternatives for water reuse are more about the positive environmental effects they enable than the water conservation. Gallegos is president of the Greywater Manufacturers Association, a leading organization assisting policymakers in designing greywater-friendly building codes. He is also president of Grey4Green, a greywater irrigation equipment manufacturer for homes and commercial applications.

Webinar: Greywater Options for All Jobs

Dennis Gegen, CLIA
Conservation Programs Coordinator | Nevada Water Authority

Dennis Gegen has worked in the Southern Nevada Water Authority Conservation Department for the past 20 years. He currently holds the position of conservation programs coordinator for the commercial, industrial and institutional sector of the SNWA. Gegen has been involved in the landscape and green industry in southern Nevada since 1995. He holds a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture and is a certified landscape irrigation auditor and certified arborist with International Society of Arboriculture.

Webinar: A Green Industry Partnership in Southern Nevada

Amir Haghverdi, PhD
Assistant Professor | University of California–Riverside

Amir Haghverdi, PhD, is an assistant CE professor in the environmental sciences department at the University of California, Riverside. His research focuses on developing and disseminating scientific knowledge, practical recommendations, and tools for sustainable urban and agricultural water resources management. His approaches include field research trials, laboratory analyses and computer modeling, with a goal of identifying opportunities for synergy between research and outreach activities. His current research themes include water conservation, autonomous landscape irrigation management, soil hydrology and precision farming. Haghverdi is also interested in applications of advanced data acquisition and mining techniques, including remote sensing, geographic information systems and global positioning system technologies, machine learning, and wireless sensors. He received his doctorate in biosystems engineering from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Webinar: Advancing Landscape Irrigation Management

Chapman Hancock
Senior Product Manager, Vacuum Excavation | Ditch Witch

Chapman Hancock has more than 10 years of experience in the construction industry and directional drilling industries. He has served in a variety of roles throughout the Ditch Witch organization, including serving as a downhole tooling engineer and product and market analyst. Currently the Ditch Witch vacuum excavation product manager, he works to identify the challenges and needs of vacuum excavation customers globally and provides industry solutions. Hancock received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University.

Webinar: Multiple Methods of Irrigation Installation

James R. Huston
Owner | J.R. Huston Consulting Inc.

James Huston has over 40 years of diverse business management experience and holds an MBA in finance. He is also a member of the American Society of Professional Estimators. He is a certified professional landscape estimator and is one of only two such CPLEs in the world. As a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, he held positions in finance and aviation supply inventory management and procurement. After his tour of duty with the Marines, he became a senior production control analyst for the electronics division of General Dynamics. Since 1987, he has been a management consultant to the green industry. Early in his career, he was in charge of the consulting division for Charles Vander Kooi and Associates Inc.; in 1989 he formed J.R. Huston Consulting. Huston has written seven books that deal specifically with the landscape, irrigation and tree care industries.

Webinar: Preparing for & Responding to a Down Economy  |  Green Industry Benchmarks & Critical Numbers

William Knowles, CLVLT
Owner | Northern Outdoor Lighting LLC

Bill Knowles is the owner of Northern Outdoor Lighting, based in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. He has been involved with outdoor lighting since 1994. He serves on the board of the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals and is a member of the Awards Committee. Knowles has been a member of AOLP for 15 years as well as a Certified Low Voltage Lighting Technician since the first exam was offered. He has built Northern Outdoor Lighting into one of the preeminent outdoor lighting design and installation firms in New England. Northern Outdoor Lighting has designed and installed numerous award-winning projects throughout the region.

Webinar: Advanced Lighting Controls

Brandon Kuehler
President and Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer | Light It Right

Since 2004, Brandon Kuehler has been the president of Light It Right and a certified outdoor lighting designer. Kuehler has been installing and designing low voltage architectural and landscape lighting systems for over two decades, starting his career in high school. Light It Right is the premier full-service lighting design company in Houston, Texas, and has won national and international design awards. In 2018, Kuehler was named one of the 40 under 40 Lighting Designers of North America, and he completed the International Landscape Lighting Institute intensive course. Currently, he serves as a mentor for the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professional’s newer members, as well as serving on two committees. When Kuehler is not designing or consulting on outdoor lighting, he enjoys spending time with his wife Callie, the vice president at Light It Right, and his 4-year-old daughter London and 2-year-old son Sebastian.

Webinar: Top Lighting Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Brant Kukuk
Product Manager, Compact Equipment | Ditch Witch

With almost 10 years of experience in various sectors of the construction industry, Brant Kukuk brings a versatile range of knowledge to the position of Ditch Witch compact equipment product manager. In this role, Kukuk oversees the growing compact equipment market for Ditch Witch, including stand-on skid steers and attachments, walk-behind trenchers, and various other equipment. He works to ensure that Ditch Witch can meet the quickly evolving needs of the construction, rental, landscape and hardscape industries, among others. Kukuk has previously led design and development of several compact equipment products and worked as an engineer at IC Bus of Oklahoma and Fluid Engineering Services in Oklahoma. Kukuk graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.

Webinar: Multiple Methods of Irrigation Installation

Kris Loomis, CID, CLIA, CLIA-D
Programs Specialist | Sonoma County Water Agency

Kris Loomis, CID, CLIA, CLIA-D, has over 25 years combined experience with landscape and agricultural irrigation, conservation and teaching landscape irrigation courses. She has worked in the landscape and agricultural irrigation business on the supply and design side. Loomis is also an adjunct instructor, teaching landscape irrigation and QWEL courses at two community colleges in California. She enjoys transforming complex terms into digestible information to help develop skills in students. She also works at a water wholesaler as a programs specialist in water use efficiency.

Webinar: An Innovative & Efficient Way to Collect PSI for Drip Audits

Jacob Lott
Irrigation Specialist | Land F/X

Jacob (Jake) Lott has more than 20 years of experience in the landscape and irrigation fields. He received his landscape architecture degree from Utah State University in 2010. Upon graduation, he became a regional enhancement manager for ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance in Southern California, where he spent five years overseeing and designing myriad project sites before joining the Land F/X team in late 2014. Since then, Lott has played a vital role in training, content creation and technical support for the software. He lives in Logan, Utah, with his wife and three children.

Webinars: CAD Basics: Learning How to Draft in AutoCAD – Beginner  |  Landscape Irrigation Design Within AutoCAD – Advanced

Jacob Mathre
Director of Franchise Operations | Conserva Irrigation

Jacob Mathre is the current director of franchise operations for Conserva Irrigation, living in Richmond, Virginia. With over 15 years’ experience in the irrigation industry, he has elevated from an install laborer to a foreman to a lead service technician to the operations manager for the founding Conserva Irrigation office and finally landing in his current role. This extensive and diverse background in all of the business operations has given Mathre the ability to understand not only the business functions but also the optimal efficiencies a technician can have if given adequate training and the proper tools. Outside of irrigation, he is a father of two beautiful girls, Annabella (3) and Nola (1). Mathre enjoys spending time with his girls and his wife, Savannah, taking in all of the outdoor wonders and parks in Virginia. Additionally, he uses the golf course as his sanctuary for stress relief to clear his mind and refresh.

Webinar: How to Build Scale Within Your Business

Greg Matthews, CLVLT
Owner | Luxury Illumination

Greg Matthews comes from a diverse background including being a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, professional photographer and A/V systems integration business owner. He has taken his knowledge and love for horticulture and combined it with his past experiences to refocus on outdoor lighting and audio installations and design. As the owner of Luxury Illumination, he strives to produce some of the best and most unique outdoor lighting installations available. Based out of West Palm Beach, Florida, with an additional location in Denver, Luxury Illumination has worked on projects across the nation. It is one of the few companies to be called a brand ambassador for the leading outdoor manufacturer Coastal Source. Matthews holds his CLVLT and is currently a teaching mentor and graduate of the International Landscape Lighting Institute.

Webinar: Advanced Lighting Controls

Joel Mayor, CLVLT
Owner | Texas Outdoor Lighting

Joel Mayor is the owner/designer at Texas Outdoor Lighting based in Austin, Texas. He and his wife, Beth, started this company in 2007 and solely focus on LED landscape and architectural lighting throughout the great state of Texas. You can see projects from Texas Outdoor Lighting at historic sites like The Alamo, big game ranches in western and southern Texas, large lakehouse estates along Lake Travis and Lake LBJ, and everywhere in between.

Webinar: Advanced Lighting Controls

Justin McDaniel
Senior Project Manager | Munro Companies

Since joining the Munro team in 1995, Justin McDaniel has worked with specifiers and distributors throughout the irrigation, mining, municipal and industrial industries. He has seen it all! His broad expertise is a perfect fit to manage pump station and custom product projects. McDaniel is an avid hunter and enjoys spending time in the great Colorado outdoors with his family.

Webinar: Enhanced Water Conservation Through Pump Station Design

Darrel McMaster
CEO |Sustainable Homes Inc.

Darrel McMaster is the CEO of Sustainable Homes Inc. and the past president of the Texas Rainwater Catchment Association. He is the builder of the largest number of homes that use rainwater as the sole source of water for the residence. Sustainable Homes builds homes that are designed and built to use the environment for all of the utility needs of the home on-site. McMaster will be having a realistic conversation about integrating rainwater into irrigation needs.

Webinar: Rainwater Harvesting: Your Only Water Source

Gail Mueller
Product and Quality Management Director | Munro Companies

Gail Mueller has been an important part of the Munro team since 1996. In her role as quality management director, Mueller establishes and maintains the process guidelines for manufacturing and operational functions to assure quality standards continue to be met. As product manager, she reviews and monitors product performance, component parts and support materials. She also oversees the Pump Smart Institute training program. When she’s not at Munro, Mueller enjoys golfing in Western Colorado and traveling throughout the United States.

Webinar: Enhanced Water Conservation Through Pump Station Design

Danny Peters
Applications Engineer | Yaskawa America Inc.

Danny Peters has over 26 years of experience in applying variable frequency drives to a variety of commercial and industrial applications. In this time, he managed a UL508 panel shop, developed and tested custom VFD software, and managed two large amusement ride projects for Disney. Over the last 15 years, Peters has focused his attention on water pump specific applications for VFDs using custom application software and conducting extensive field testing on a variety of water pumping applications, including vertical turbines, centrifugal pumps, submersible pumps, booster stations, vacuum pumps and tank fill applications.

Webinar: Enhanced Water Conservation Through Pump Station Design

D.J. Seeger
President | Seeger Water Corporation

D.J. Seeger is the president of Seeger Water Corporation, a landscape irrigation development and management company based in San Antonio, Texas. He grew up in the industry working for his dad’s irrigation company that was founded in 1987. After high school, he joined the company full time and assumed a role in administration; he also completed service work. Today, Seeger Water is the fastest growing irrigation company in south Texas, serving residential and commercial customers. Seeger is on the board of directors for the New Braunfels Irrigation Association and is an active voice in Texas legislation and TCEQ policy regarding water conservation and environmental sustainability.

Webinar: From Irrigation to Water Management

Michael Sestak
Owner | Sestak Lighting Design

Michael Sestak began his career in the culinary arts with a specialization in imaginative pastry creations. He studied at the San Francisco City College Culinary Arts Program and apprenticed in the acclaimed Fairmont Hotel while only 18 years old. Sestak moved to Sacramento in 1986 to serve as pastry chef for the new Hyatt Regency at Capital Park. Subsequently, he further developed his skills in the pastry art form at Mace’s, Biba’s and Ettore’s European Bakery. In 2000 his life-long fascination with light in its various forms compelled him to transition from pastry chef to the world of residential and commercial lighting design. After acquiring his California Contractors C-10 license and developing his technical knowledge base through courses sponsored by SMUD, PG&E, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals, he opened his Sacramento-based business, Sestak Lighting Design. He began serving high-profile clients in the Sacramento region who expressed a desire to make high-quality lighting a predominant feature in their homes and outdoor living spaces.

Webinar: Top Lighting Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Jeff Stone
Executive Director/CEO | Oregon Association of Nurseries

Jeff Stone is the executive director/CEO of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. During his 15-year tenure at the OAN, he has led his association to pack a big punch as a political force — leading landmark policies at the state level on land use, water infrastructure and immigration-related policies. Stone has a strong reputation as a consensus builder and solution-oriented advocate. This is critical as he leads the nursery and greenhouse industry, which is the largest sector in agriculture in Oregon and third largest in the country, with industry sales at almost a billion dollars per year. The nursery industry is predominantly a Willamette Valley-based industry and often leads the entirety of the ag community on matters of policy. Stone’s public sector experience includes serving eight years as the chief of staff to the Metro Council and prior to that worked for eight years for United States Senator Bob Packwood (R-Oregon).

Webinar: COVID-19: A Response From Landscape State Associations

Andy Thomas, CLVLT, COLD
Owner | Viewpoint Lighting

Andy Thomas is the owner and sole proprietor of Viewpoint Lighting, an award-winning landscape and architectural lighting design-build firm in the Sacramento region of California. Thomas has been a licensed landscape contractor in the state of California since January 2006, as well as a Certified Low Voltage Lighting Technician and Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer. He is the vice president of the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals, as well as current COLD committee co-chair and former CLVLT committee chair. He does not sleep, due to his roles as a dad of three, running a semi-profitable lighting business, maintaining the family household and volunteering at his kids’ schools.

Webinar: Advanced Lighting Controls

Ken Thomas
Co-Founder | Envisor Consulting

Ken Thomas started his first business, Landscape Techniques, fresh out of college with $1,000 and a pickup truck. He grew the company to $5 million before selling to TruGreen/LandCare in 1998. Thomas purchased Scapes Group Landscape which grew to $17 million and was ranked as one of the top 100 landscape companies in America. Scapes was acquired by ValleyCrest Landscape in 2007. Ken spent three years in leadership at ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance as the commercial sales leader for the southeastern United States. Thomas and his good friend and industry leader, Ben Gandy, started Envisor Consulting in 2011.

Webinar: Organizational Development: Bucking the Trend

Kurt K. Thompson, CGIA, CIC, CID, CIT, CLIA, CLWM
Director of Education | Irritech Training Inc.

Kurt K. Thompson, CGIA, CIC, CID, CIT, CLIA, CLWM, has been working as an irrigation contractor and in irrigation distribution and manufacturing since 1981. He is the owner of K. Thompson and Associates LLC, a professional development instruction and outdoor water use evaluation and planning company. He is also a principal in IrriTech Training, an online and in-person training provider. He is a nationally recognized author and collaborator of many certification and training manuals and programs, study guides, training courses and presentations. Additionally, Thompson is a certified site water planner, an NALP Trailblazer for irrigation and water management, an EPA WaterSense irrigation provider, and a member of educational councils and committees of national and state associations. He is the lead irrigation AP trainer for the Florida Water Star program and continues to be a lead instructor for the IA. Thompson is one of only a few people in the world to currently hold all nine of the IA’s landscape irrigation certifications.

Webinar: Using the Indicator Plant Method to Calculate Drip Emitter Requirements

Karen D. Weeks
Senior Vice President of People | Ordergroove
Independent Consultant

Karen D. Weeks is a strategic partner whose drive is to help companies build and scale their culture to meet their business goals and help people find their career passions. Her passion is around talent development, organizational effectiveness, individual career development and helping teams through change. Currently, Weeks is the senior vice president of people at Ordergroove and was named one of the 2020 Notable Women in Talent by Crain’s New York Business. She is also a career coach, speaker, advisor to start-up companies, the published author of Setting the Stage: A Guide to Preparing for Any Feedback Conversation and host of the podcast “Getting Off the Hamster Wheel.” She lives in New York City with her husband and furry babies.

Webinar: Retaining the Right People at the Right Time

Jim Wilson
Sales Engineer/Regional Drive Specialist | Yaskawa America Inc.

Jim Wilson was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 1979 with an associate’s in aviation electronics. This is where he learned pulse width modulation techniques that are used today in variable frequency drives. He began applying the first VFD designs in 1984, where he learned to understand the torque and speed requirements for any given machine along with the entire associated electrical and mechanical systems. He has been employed by Yaskawa America Inc. as a regional drives specialist and sales engineer since 1997. His responsibilities include managing all aspects of Yaskawa business in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

Webinar: Enhanced Water Conservation Through Pump Station Design

Chris Wright
Senior Marketing Manager | HydroPoint

Chris Wright is a seasoned irrigation professional who utilizes his extensive knowledge of irrigation efficiency to influence the proper design, implementation and maintenance of irrigation technologies to promote water management and conservation. His expertise in two-wire technology and associated devices, including soil moisture sensors and flow sensors, is invaluable in today's industry as landscape architects, municipalities and public agencies look for ways to reduce water use in the face of restrictions, regulations and mandates.

Webinar: Enhanced Water Conservation Through Pump Station Design