2017 Speaker List

Greg Ambrose
Hardscape Instructor
Fairlawn Consulting

Michael Andruczyk
Horticulture Agent – Chesapeake Virginia Cooperative Extension
Mike Andruczyk holds a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison – field of Horticulture with production and technology option; M.S. in Public Horticulture Administration from the University of Delaware – Longwood Graduate Program. He completed a one-year urban forestry internship at the Morris Arboretum and three summers as park attendant at the Boerner Botanical Garden. Mike began working at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in 1993, where he served as the Nursery/Greenhouse Supervisor, then Supervising Horticulturist, and finally as Curator of Plant Collections. He has been the Virginia Cooperative Extension Horticulture Agent for the City of Chesapeake, Virginia, since 2005.

Brie Arthur
Communicator and Consultant
Brie Arthur Communications, Growing a Greener World TV

Originally from southeastern Michigan, Brie Arthur studied Landscape Design and Horticulture at Purdue University. As a professional garden industry communicator Brie is leading the national suburban Foodscape movement; a model of community development that incorporates sustainable, local food production. She is a correspondent on the PBS television show Growing A Greener World. She collaborates with professionals across the US to build Foodscapes in elementary schools through the non- profit, Sustainable Heroes, and consults with landscape contractors to educate them on Foodscape design and sustainable land management.

Pam Beck
Garden Writer

Pam Beck is an award-winning garden writer, photographer and lecturer from Wake Forest, North Carolina. Since 1988 Pam’s articles and photos have been published in national and regional gardening magazines, newspapers, professional newsletters, and websites. She has taught landscaping for adult education classes; worked retail in garden centers; done design and install work; and, has been a garden scout and photo shoot stylist for Better Homes & Gardens. Pam is the co-author of Best Garden Plants for North Carolina published by Lone Pine, and is a frequent guest on WPTF’s “Weekend Gardener” and “The Tom Kearney” radio shows.

When not gardening on her own 2 acres, Pam is often traveling to speak before avid gardening audiences – such as this one.

Mike Brucato
Supervisor – Electric Transmission Forestry
Dominion Virginia Power

Mike received his BS – Forestry and Wildlife Management from Virginia Tech in 1977. He has spent 38 years in Utility Vegetation Management and has been an ISA Certified Arborist since 1998 and Utility Specialist since 2013.

Ruth Burch

Lee Butler
Extension Coordinator
North Carolina State University
Lee Butler works in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at N.C. State
University. He received a B.S. degree in Agronomy – Turfgrass Management and a M.S.
degree in Plant Pathology from N.C. State University. He currently manages the NC
State Turf Diagnostics Lab, which is housed within the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic
while remaining very active in fungicide efficacy trials. He also is a co-instructor for
Diseases of Turfgrass and Ornamentals, a course offered in the Agriculture Institute in
the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.


Marie Mims Butler
Virginia Zoo, retired
Marie Butler has a degree in landscape horticulture from North Carolina State University. She taught horticulture at the NC School for the Blind, designed landscapes in Virginia Beach, studied and taught Ikebana in Asia, participated in the Master Gardener Program for 24 years, and was deemed worthy to be the tigers’ personal gardener at the Virginia Zoological Park. Recently retired, she served as Landscape Coordinator at the Zoo for 19 years. Named “Horticulturist of the Year” by the Hampton Roads Nursery and Landscape Association, Marie has presented programs for the Virginia Flower and Garden Show, the Mid-Atlantic Horticultural Short Course for professional horticulturists, the Landscape Design School for the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, The Herbal Forum at Round Top, Texas, and training sessions for more than 8 counties of Master Gardeners. She is a member of the Association of Zoological Horticulture, the American Horticultural Society, the Royal Horticultural Society, and the Garden Writers Association.

Yolima Carr
Curator of Gardens & Grounds
Hermitage Museum & Gardens
Yolima Carr has a BS in Horticulture from Bogota Colombia, and a Technical degree in Public Gardens from Zaragoza Spain. She is currently the Curator of Gardens and Grounds at the Hermitage Museum and Gardens. The Hermitage is a 12- acre site on Lafayette River in Norfolk, featuring semiformal & formal gardens, woodlands, restored Wetlands, and rain gardens.

Robert Christian
VDACS Office of Pesticide Services

David Close

Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardener Specialist, Department of Horticulture Virginia Tech

Ellen Colodney
Wetland Plant, Inc.
Ellen J. Colodney, MD is President and CEO of Wetland Plants Inc. in Edenton, North Carolina. She was a practicing physician for many years before leaving the field pursue her true love, helping to restore the magnificent wetlands and waterways of the Southeast by propagating the native plants needed for ecological restoration and conservation projects.

Vincent Controne
Extension Urban Forester
Penn State University
Vincent Cotrone has been a regional extension urban forester and educator with Penn State University for the past 25 years. He is a graduate of the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and worked on his masters at Michigan State University. Vinnie began his career as an urban forester for the City of New York in the late 1980s and gained valuable experience in the field. As an extension educator, Mr. Cotrone has developed educational programs and presented throughout Pennsylvania on various topics ranging from tree species selection, planting and proper tree pruning practices to establishing shade tree commissions, green infrastructure, and riparian forest buffers. He has also presented at numerous national conferences National Arbor Day Foundation’s Partners in Community Forestry conferences and the Pennsylvania Urban Stormwater Conference. Mr. Cotrone has been a member of the International Society of Arboriculture since 1987 and an ISA certified arborist since 1993.

Andrea Davis
ANR-Horticulture Extension Agent, Virginia Beach
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Andrea Davis serves as the ANR – Horticulture Extension Agent in the city of Virginia Beach. Andrea graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Horticulture and a concentration in Landscape Contracting. She has also completed Masters work in the area of Plant Science and Pest Management through Virginia Tech. She has spent her horticulture career in the Tidewater region. Andrea has experience in retail and wholesale nursery sales, public grounds maintenance, landscape design, greenhouse production, and horticulture education. She is a licensed Commercial Pesticide Applicator, VFGA Certified Greenhouse Operator, and holds a VDOE Technical Professional Teaching License in Horticulture.

Eric Day
Manager Virginia Tech Insect ID Lab
Eric Day manages the Insect Identification Laboratory in the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech. He receives and identifies approximately 1700 insects per year, most of which arrive in summer.
In addition, Eric coordinators the exotic pest surveys with APHIS/PPQ and provides input to the NAPIS database. He is also a member of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association & the Entomological Society of America.

Jeff Derr
Professor of Weed Science
Virginia Tech – Hampton Roads Agricultural Research & Extension Center

Jack Erwin
Landscape Coordinator
City of Norfolk

Laurie Fox
Horticulture Associate
Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Agricultural Research & Extension Center
A native of Richmond, Va, Laurie Fox earned her B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from North Carolina State University. She holds a Ph.D. from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, in Horticulture with an emphasis on Phytoremediation. As Horticulture Associate for Virginia Tech – Hampton Roads AREC, she specializes in water quality and sustainable landscapes. Her current projects include the Buffer Zone Garden, Sustainable Garden, and Bayscape Garden, which can be viewed during today’s Guided Tours. Laurie is also an author and the publisher of Best Plants for Hampton Roads: A Landscape and Garden Companion. Copies of the book can be purchased from Foxy Lady Press, Inc., inside the Vendor Tent.

John Freeborn
Assistant State Master Gardener Coordinator
Virginia Tech

Susan French
City Arborist
City of Virginia Beach

Anton Goodwyn

Jason Heizer
Local Manager
Bartlett Tree Service
Jason Heizer is a Board Certified Master Arborist and Certified Tree Worker with the International Society of Arboriculture. During the past 18 years, Jason has served the arboricultural community as an adjunct professor at Virginia Western Community College, vice president of Trees Virginia, president of the Hampton Roads Tree Care Association, and is a current officer with the Virginia Beach Beautification Commission and board member with the Mid Atlantic International Society of Arboriculture.

Frank Hudik
Division of Utility & Railroad Safety
Virginia State Corporation Commission

Shereen Hughes
Virginia Coordinator, Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Program,
Assistant Director, Wetlands Watch
Shereen Hughes, Assistant Director of Wetlands Watch, Inc. and Virginia Coordinator for the
Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP) Certification Program, a bay-wide sustainable
landscape certification initiative. She holds a B.S. in Geology from James Madison University
and Certificate of Landscape Design from George Washington University. Prior experience
includes James City County planning commissioner and chair, 18+ years as a consulting
hydrogeologist, a landscape designer/small business owner, and environmental advocate. Her
professional experience enables her to contribute scientific, design, social marketing, small
business, and planning/policy perspectives. Currently, Ms. Hughes is working to educate,
engage and prepare private and public sector professionals from engineering, environmental,
design, landscaping and planning fields to use integrated, multi-benefit adaptation strategies
such as green infrastructure planning and practices to comply with current water quality and
stormwater regulations, reduce flooding, protect natural resources and increase resiliency to sea level rise.

Mark Jones
Owner & Mycologist
Sharondale Mushroom Farm
Mark Jones is the owner and mycologist at Sharondale Mushroom Farm in Cismont, Virginia. He grows mushrooms, mushroom spawn, and with his herbalist friends is creating a community farmacopeia of mushroom and plant products. Mark teaches mushroom cultivation through workshops and farm conferences. He currently collaborates with Virginia State University and Virginia Cooperative Extension to provide mushroom growing workshops throughout the state. Through his work, Mark encourages and empowers people to grow their own and eat more mushrooms.

Sherry Kern
ISA Certified Arborist
Tidewater Community College, Virginia Beach Master Gardener
Sherry Kern is a certified arborist, an adjunct instructor in Horticulture at Tidewater Community College, and a Virginia Beach Master Gardener & Tree Steward. She is active with the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.

Mike Likins
Plant Pathologist
Extension Agent, Chesterfield County Virginia Cooperative Extension

Dr. Robert Lyons
Professor Emeritus – Landscape Horticulture
University of Delaware
Dr. Robert Lyons is the former Director of the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture and currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Delaware. He received a B.A. in Biology from Rutgers University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Horticultural Science from the University of Minnesota. Previous positions include the J.C. Raulston Distinguished Faculty Chair and Directorship of the JC Raulston Arboretum at N.C. State University, and Professor of Horticulture and Co-Founder/Director of the Hahn Horticulture Garden at Virginia Tech. He is a Fellow in the American Society for Horticultural Science and has received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Minnesota and the Award of Merit from the American Public Gardens Association. Dr. Lyons has taught herbaceous plant materials for over 30 years and has been a photographer for over 35 years. He has exhibited nationally and received awards from the Garden Writers Association of America.

Kim Mack
Lab & Research Specialist, Horticulture Tidewater Community College

Herb Maher
Safety Specialist
City of Virginia Beach
Herb Maher is an Instructor-Trainer in the National Safety Council’s-Emergency Care Program which he has been instructing this program for forty-three years. Herb is a Life Member of the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad, Virginia Beach Lifesaving Association and Safety Officer of the Virginia Task Force-2, Urban Search & Rescue, FEMA team which he has been on numerous lifesaving deployments.

Mark Maslow
Southern Landscape Group
Mark is Owner and President of Southern Landscape Group, Inc. He received his B.S. degree in Horticulture – Landscape Design and a minor in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Tech. He has been directly involved in the landscape industry for over 17 years. Mark currently serves on the Board of Directors for Virginia Technical Institute and the Virginia Tech Department of Horticulture (Advisory Board). He is the Past President of the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association where he served for seven years. He was the recipient of the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises Award in 2009 and the Outstanding Recent Alumnus for Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2010. Mark is a NCMA certified retaining wall installer, certified pesticide applicator and Virginia Certified Horticulturist.

David McCall
Research Associate
Virginia Tech Dept. of Plant Pathology

Jeff McManus
Director of Landscape, Airport and Golf Services
University of Mississippi
Jeff McManus has a deep passion in cultivating the green industries greatest asset – its team members. In order to have a motivated staff willing to buy into a vision and work as a team, it is essential to grow “Weeders into Leaders.” His message rings true for any industry, supervisor, manager, leader or owner looking to GROW a high-performance and dedicated workforce. Jeff has designed a professional development plan for his Weeders called W.A.T.E.R. – a replicable training program that guides each workforce member toward understanding the power of their personal potential. Jeff holds Bachelor of Science in Landscape and Ornamental Horticulture from Auburn University and is a PGMS Certified Grounds Manager and Certified Arborist. He has spoken to a worked with Caterpillar Inc, the Biltmore Estates, Leadercast, PGMS and as well as worked with many universities in Leadership development.

John Moss
City of Virginia Beach

Joe Murray
Consulting Arborist & Educator
Tree Literacy, LLC
Joe’s educational background includes the completion of a Masters of Science in Plant Pathology from Virginia Tech, Masters in Teaching from the University of Richmond, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Radford University. Joe is an ISA certified arborist, certified utility arborist, and a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification instructor. Joe, a former college biology professor, is a trainer for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. When Joe is not busy managing his farm’s soil health, he morphs into a tree biology educator, traveling around the United States teaching and learning about trees and people.

Michael Nash

Adam Nichols

Brian O’Neil
Director of Horticulture
Norfolk Botanical Garden

Jim Orband
Senior Extension Agent Emeritus Retired,
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Jim retired as a Senior Extension Agent in York County, Virginia, after 34 years of service to Virginia Cooperative Extension. Jim has both a B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from Virginia Tech. He is an Advanced Virginia Certified Horticulturist #632. Jim is the 2008 recipient of the Virginia Tech Alumni Award of Excellence in Extension. In 2010, Jim was bestowed Senior Extension Agent Emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Jim is the horticultural guest of Hear Say “In the Garden with Jim Orband” (www.hearsay.org/). Hear Say is a live call-in one-hour radio program. It airs monthly and Jim has been the horticultural guest for 20+ consecutive years. Jim organized the Peninsula Master Gardener Training in 1982. He was the recipient of the Virginia Volunteer Administrator of the Year Award from the State Department of Volunteerism in 2002. He has been gardening since a young age and continues to enjoy it. Jim lives in Yorktown with his wife.

Charles Peacock
North Carolina State University
Charles H. Peacock is a Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specliast at NC State University where he teaches, provides oversight for the TurfFiles website and conducts research in the use of UAVs for monitoring nutrient and drought stress and disease presence on turf areas. He has extensive international experience focussing mainly on dealing with environmental issues in turfgrass management.

Aaron Phifer

Micah Raub
Program Coordinator
VDACS Office of Pesticide Services
Micah Raub serves as the Program Coordinator for the Worker Protection Standard program at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) in the Office of Pesticide Services (OPS). He also works with the Product Registration and Business Licensing programs. Mr. Raub began working for VDACS OPS in 2006 as a Pesticide Investigator in the North Richmond territory before moving into his current position in late 2007. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Gardner Webb University in North Carolina.

Barry B. Robinson
Barry has been growing plants for almost 50 years. He assisted with his family truck farm in the 70s; has worked beef and dairy cattle operations; done production and sales in several garden centers; managed greenhouse production for 3 Virginia Tech research groups; serve as a county Extension agent and is now a self-employed sustainable horticulture consultant. He has a BS in Horticulture and a MS Ed in Agriculture Education, both from Virginia Tech.

Stephanie Romelczyk
ANR Extension Agent, Westmoreland County
Virginia Cooperative Extension

Dr. Peter Schultz
Entomologist & Director
Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Agricultural Research & Extension Center
Dr. Peter Schultz received his B.S. in Entomology from University of California at Davis in 1968, M.S. in Biology from Midwestern State University in 1972, and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in Entomology in 1978. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as an entomology training instructor from 1969-1973. Dr. Schultz has worked at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Virginia Beach since 1973; first as a state nursery inspector and, since 1978, as the entomologist, and served as the Director of the Hampton Roads AREC since 1992.

Justin Shafer
Environmental Program Administrator
City of Norfolk

Clinton Shettle
Enforcement & Field Operations Supervisor
VDACS Office of Pesticide Services

Vincent Simeone
Horticulturist, Author
Vincent Simeone
Vincent has worked in the horticultural field for over 27 years. He received an AAS degree in ornamental horticulture from SUNY Farmingdale, Farmingdale, New York and a BS in ornamental horticulture from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA. While at Georgia, Vincent studied under well-known professors Dr. Michael Dirr and Dr. Allan Armitage. Vincent also obtained a Master Degree in Public Administration from C.W. Post- Long Island University in 2003. Vincent has specialized expertise in woody plant id, culture, use and selection of superior varieties. Vincent is an experienced lecturer, instructor and horticultural consultant. He has spoken to many groups nationwide and has appeared on several garden shows including Martha Stewart Living and HGTV.

Peggy Singlemann
Director of Horticulture
Maymont Foundation
Peggy M. Singlemann, Maymont Director of Horticulture, has designed, planted and maintained historic and specialty gardens at the 100-acre estate for over 30 years, and she has served as host of central Virginia’s monthly gardening show, ‘Virginia Home Grown”, on PBS WCVE/WHTJ since 2013. The gardens at Maymont include the formal Italian Garden, a Japanese Stroll Garden, Marie’s Butterfly Trail, Jack’s Vegetable Garden, The Nature Center native plant landscape, numerous borders, and an award­winning arboretum that encompasses the estate. Singlemann lectures throughout the mid-Atlantic region and has been published in local and national periodicals such as “American Nurseryman”, “Horticulture”, and “Virginia Gardener”. She is a Certified Horticulturist through the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture, a Certified Landscape Designer through the Virginia Society of Landscape Design. In 2016 Ms. Singlemann was recognized by the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association as Professional of the Year.

Scott Sjolander
Associate Educator
Penn State Extension in Crawford
Scott Sjolander has served as urban and community forestry educator with Penn State Extension in northwest 14 Pennsylvania counties since 1995. He has 30 years of field, administrative, supervisory, and education experience in arboriculture and urban forestry. Scott holds a BS in Forestry from the University of Missouri and an MBA from Penn State University, Erie. He is an International Society of Arboriculture Board Certified Master Arborist with Utility Specialty and is a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification instructor.

Janet Spencer
Extension Agent – Agriculture & Natural Resources – Isle of Wight
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Janet holds a B.S. Horticulture from Virginia Tech in 2000 and a M.S. Entomology, also from Virginia Tech in 2003. She worked as an IPM/Nursery Technician at Norfolk Botanical Gardens from 2004 – 2005. She joined Virginia Cooperative Extension in 2005 as an Area Extension Agent in Commercial Vegetable Production, and has served as Extension Agent/Unit Coordinator, Crop and Soil Science, since 2010.

JP Teig
Territory Manager

Megan Tierney
Horticulture Agent – Yorktown
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Megan holds a Master of Science in MGT -Leadership and Organization Effectiveness, a Bachelors of Science in Biology- Concentration in Horticulture. She has been a Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent for eight years – seven in the City of Hampton and one in Yorktown. She was the Parks Manager for the City of Hampton for four years, and a Lowe’s Live Nursery Specialist in Hampton for four years. She loves adventure, kayaking, sailing, and Nature!

Gary Umphlett
Virginia Beach Fire Department

Martha Walker
Community Viability Specialist
Virginia Cooperative Extension; Virginia Tech
Martha A. Walker is a Community Viability Specialist with Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) and a faculty member in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. In her role with Extension, Dr. Walker works throughout Virginia assessing community needs, facilitating community-based action plans, and identifying resources. Dr. Walker developed the VCE grassroots leadership program, Innovative Leadership: Building Community Connections, focusing on building leadership skills and knowledge. She teaches a facilitation course; co-teaches the Virginia Association of Counties’ County Supervisor Certification program; and facilitates strategic conversations and planning sessions with numerous local, state, and national groups. In 2015, Martha received the Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension {Individual Specialist). Dr. Walker has a Bachelor’s degree from Averett College, a Master of Science degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Old Dominion University.

Sheri White
Production Planner
White’s Nursery & Greenhouses, Inc
Sheri was raised on a homestead in rural Michigan. In 2012, she earned a Certificate in Permaculture Design from Cascadia Permaculture Institute and a BS in Agricultural Science from Oregon State University. She began working at White’s Nursery and Greenhouses, Inc, in 2012, in Plant Inventory, spent a year as the Rosarian at Norfolk Botanical Garden, and has been the Production Planner for White’s since 2014.

Rohan Williams
Compliance Manager
VDACS Office of Pesticide Services
Rohan has worked for VDACS for 12 years. He is currently the Compliance Manager for the Office of Pesticide Services. He holds a BA in Criminal Justice, and an AS in Social Science. Certification: Apprentice Termite Technician and Master Technician School -Clemson University, VA Certification category: 60, 7A, 7B, 7C, 1C, 7D, 8. He served with the Virginia State Police as a State Trooper from 1995 thru 2000. Prior to that he served in the US Navy, 1988 thru 1994, and is a Veteran of Desert Storm/Desert Shield

Cyndi Wyskiewicz
Horticulture Extension Agent – Portsmouth
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Cyndi Wyskiewicz Has been the Environmental Horticulture Agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension in the city of Portsmouth, VA since 2006. Cyndi has her Bachelor’s and Master of Science Degrees in Horticulture from the University of Connecticut. She has worked for the University of Connecticut – Cooperative Extension for 10 years before coming to VA. She is board member of the Virginia Horticultural Foundation and a member of the Herb Society of America. Her main interests are working with, talking and teaching about herbaceous plants, vegetables and herbs.