Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at the St. Charles Convention Center

2018 Speaker Bios

Matt Anderson

Certified Sports Field Manager (CSFM)

Originally from Michigan,  I earned my B.S and M.S in Crop and Soil Science from Michigan State University.  I have been a CSFM since 2012. My professional experience includes: consultant for the Athens Olympic Stadium for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Head Groundskeeper for the Lansing Lugnuts,  Assistant Turf Manager at Michigan State University, and the Campus Turf Manager at the University of Arizona.  I have served in leadership roles with the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, the Michigan and Arizona chapters of the STMA, the STMA Board of Directors.

Matt Bruns
Toro Company, Regional Sales Manager

Matt began his career in 1991, working at his family’s Toro Distributorship in Orlando.  In 1999, he returned to St. Louis upon joining The Toro Company and is the area Regional Sales Manager for Toro & Irritrol Residential/Commercial Irrigation Products.  Matt is an IA Regional Ambassador, has the IA’s CIC and CLIA Certifications, current EPA Water Sense Partner, and is a past Education Director for the St. Louis GIA.  Due to his industry knowledge and positive feedback from participants, Matt is a regular speaker at many events.



Associate Professor Gerardo Camilo, of Saint Louis University's biology department, shows off a microscope used to study different bees at his campus lab.

Dr. Gerardo Camilo

St. Louis University,  Associate Professor, Biology Department

Dr. Gerardo Camilo is native to Puerto Rico where he did his undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Puerto Rico.  He moved to Texas in 1986 to attend Texas A&M University where he worked with honeybees and fire ants.  In 1988 he moved to Texas Tech University to do doctoral work on the role of insects in food webs.   After receiving his Ph.D. in 1992, he accepted a position as a research scientist at the International Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies, back in his native Puerto Rico, where he continued work on tropical food webs.  In 1995, Dr. Camilo joined the faculty at Saint Louis University where he is currently professor of Biology, International Studies, and Bioinformatics & Computational Biology.  He is also a Conservation Fellow of the St. Louis Zoo.
His current work concentrates on the ecology of pollinators in urban environments, and on the evolution of bee-pollinated plants.





Vance Crowe
Bayer Crop Science, Director of Millennial Engagement

Vance Crowe is the Director of Millennial Engagement at Bayer in Saint Louis, Missouri. Vance is a former Communications Strategist for the World Bank Group, a returned U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in Kenya, a former communications coordinator at a National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate in Northern California and was a deckhand on an eco-tourism ship that traveled in the Western Hemisphere. Vance holds an undergraduate degree in communications from Marquette University and a Master's Degree in Cross-Cultural Negotiations from the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy.

Vance came to Monsanto in 2014 with limited knowledge or understanding of agriculture or biological sciences.  In this role, Vance has been empowered to seek out internal and external experts in the fields of biology, chemistry, genetics, evolutionary biology, weed management, crop sciences, agronomy and corporate culture.  He has toured farms ranging from row crops, vegetables, orchards, feed yards, hydroponics, and aquaponics.  Using these experiences and education, Vance has been invited to give talks around the world to more than 75,000 people in locations including New York City, London, San Francisco, Atlanta and farming communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.


John Daniels

USGA, Agronomist

John Daniels joined the Green Section in 2014 as an agronomist in the Central Region. He is currently based out of Dallas, Texas.

John’s interest in golf originated at the age of 13 when he began caddying at Algonquin Golf Club in St. Louis, Mo. A recipient of the Chick Evans Scholarship for Caddies, he attended the University of Missouri where he earned Bachelor of Science degrees in plant science and business administration. Following graduation, John was accepted into the graduate program in plant pathology at Purdue University where he studied under the direction of Dr. Richard Latin. His education at Purdue addressed all aspects of turf disease epidemiology and control and he gained experience in disease management of both cool-season and warm-season grasses. John’s thesis research focused on the persistence of fungicides on creeping bentgrass fairways.

Prior to joining the USGA, John was an assistant superintendent at Wheatley Hills Golf Club in East Williston, N.Y. He also worked at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and St. Louis Country Club in St. Louis, Mo., as an intern. In 2009 he was selected to participate in the USGA Green Section internship program.


Carol Davit
Missouri Prairie Foundation/Grow Native!, Executive Director

Carol Davit is the executive director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, a 51 year old prairie conservation nonprofit, named on March 10th, 2017 the Conservation Organization of the Year for 2016 by the Conservation Federation of Missouri. She has worked for 20 years in the conservation and environmental fields in communications,development, administration, and leadership capacities. She has worked for private, nonprofit conservation groups, including the Missouri Botanical Garden, and at the municipal and state government levels. Davit serves on the Missouri Monarch and Pollinator Conservation Steering Committee, the Conservation Federation of Missouri Grasslands Committee, OAKS (Missouri Outdoor Action Committee), and on MELAB - The Missouri Environmental Literacy Advisory Board. She has been the editor of field guides and written on a wide variety of natural history and conservation topics for the Missouri Prairie Journal, the Missouri Conservationist, and other publications.


Matt Elmore

Rutgers University, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist

Matt Elmore started in 2016 as an Assistant Extension Specialist in Weed Science at Rutgers University. His program at Rutgers focuses on novel strategies to control weeds with fewer pesticide inputs. Matt earned his B.S. in Turfgrass Science from Penn State University before moving south and earning an M.S. and Ph.D from the University of Tennessee in 2014 with a focus in turfgrass weed control. Prior to joining Rutgers, Matt was a Turfgrass Extension Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife in Dallas, TX from 2014 to 2016 where his research efforts explored new strategies to control problematic weeds and reduce irrigation inputs in turfgrass.


Ben Grossman
Great Rivers Greenway, Director of Greenway Operations

Ben and his team manage and coordinate the operation and maintenance of greenways throughout our region.  He has worked in the parks field for the past 18 years, has a background in forestry and natural resource management.  Ben is also an NRPA Certified Park and Recreation Professional and an ISA Certified Arborist/Municipal Specialist.



Hannah Mathers
Mathers Environmental Science Services, LLC, Independent Reseracher/ Consultant

Hannah Mathers is currently an independent horticultural researcher in nursery and landscape. From 2000-2014 she was a Professor at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.  Hannah is the recipient of several awards including meritorious service, distinguished contributions, and promotion of diversity. She is a recognized national speaker and writer and is best known for her research in bio-rational, conventional, and alternative weed control in nursery crops and landscapes.   She is also noted for her diagnostic expertise of herbicide damage including drift and woody plant cold stress physiology.


Josh McFarland,  CSFM

University of Missouri - Athletics,  Director of Sports Turf

Josh McPherson, CSFM is the Director of Sports Turf for the University of Missouri Athletic Department.  He manages both cool-season and warm-season grasses in the transition zone.  Mr. McPherson has been awarded the Toro Watson Graduate School Scholarship and the STMA Field of the Year for baseball and softball.


Jon Miller

Rain Bird, Corporation, Specifications Manager

Decoder based Two-Wire systems are becoming more commonplace in irrigation installations. Proper training and technical understanding of the products available ensure correct installations and the tools needed to maintain them. You will learn the basics of Two-Wire and how to go through the troubleshooting process.


Lee Miller
University of Missouri, Associate Professor

Pete Millier has been director of facilities, landscaping and the botanic garden since 2005. He grew up in Fresno, California, and graduated from San Joaquin High School in 1971 and from Fresno State University in 1977 with a degree in plant science. He managed a landscape company, worked as a nurseryman, a golf course manager and added a master’s degree in public administration while working as grounds superintendent at Fresno State.

Dr. Lee Miller is the extension turfgrass pathologist at the University of Missouri. Lee is the faculty lead for the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic, and coordinates both the Missouri IPM program and Pesticide Safety Education Program. Current research interests include characterization of Pythium species causing root diseases in creeping bentgrass in the Midwest, and integrated management practices for spring dead spot on bermudagrass and large patch of zoysia.


Peter Millier

Director of MU Landscaping Services and Mizzou Botanic Garden, University of Missouri-Columbia; Columbia, MO

Pete Millier has been director of facilities, landscaping and the botanic garden since 2005. He grew up in Fresno, California, and graduated from San Joaquin High School in 1971 and from Fresno State University in 1977 with a degree in plant science. He managed a landscape company, worked as a nurseryman, a golf course manager and added a master’s degree in public administration while working as grounds superintendent at Fresno State.


Bill Minford 

Sherwood's Forest, Landscape Designer

Staff Landscape Designer at Sherwood's Forest with 35 plus years in the industry.



Nathan Muenks, 

Habitat Management Coordinator, Wildlife Division - Missouri Department of Conservation; Jefferson City, MO

Nate Muenks serves as Habitat Management Coordinator for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Nate is responsible for coordinating the Department’s Comprehensive Conservation Strategy, which is a process that identifies Missouri conservation priorities to inform decision-making regarding the greatest opportunities for sustainable conservation of fish, forest and wildlife resources. A significant portion of Nate’s duties include efforts to identify and aid in the management of quality habitat systems throughout the state to ensure diverse landscapes for Missouri’s native flora and fauna. In addition to these duties, Nate also coordinates the Department’s terrestrial invasive species management efforts, working collaboratively with the Department’s aquatic invasive species coordinator, housed within the Fisheries Division. Prior to joining the Missouri Department of Conservation, Nate spent 9 years (2006–2014) with the Missouri Department of Transportation as a Sr. Environmental Specialist, where he specialized in streams and wetlands, including work with delineation, permitting, mitigation, restoration and monitoring. From 2011–2014, Nate served a dual capacity, retaining wetland and stream focus, while taking on additional duties as MoDOT’s statewide erosion and sediment control coordinator. In 2002, Nate earned a B.S. in Biology with an Emphasis in Wildlife from Missouri State University


Derek Nees
Brotcke Well & Pump, Geologist

Derek is a Registered Geologist in the State of Missouri and Illinois. He has over ten years experience in the geotechnical and environmental drilling industry. Derek also has experience performing hydrogeologic studies for new wells and developing well rehabilitation plans for municipalities and golf courses.


Kelly D. Norris
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Director of Horticulture and Education

Kelly D. Norris is an award-winning author and plantsman from Iowa and the director of horticulture and education at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, a newly revitalized public garden in Des Moines, Iowa.  Throughout his career, his work has been featured in The New York Times, Organic Gardening, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Garden Design and in numerous local and regional media appearances. At the Botanical Garden, Kelly is responsible for leading and directing a team of horticulturists and educators in all aspects of design, curation, programming, and garden management, after serving as the principal horticulture consultant to the $18 million renovation project completed in 2014.


Mike Rood
Pea Ridge Forest Tree Farm, President and Co-Owner

Mike Rood is president and co-owner of Pea Ridge Forest Tree Farm. A graduate from the University of Missouri Columbia with a degree in forest management, he parlayed that knowledge and the experience of going up on a christmas tree farm to incorporate nursery stock. He is a past president of the Landscape and Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis as well as the Hermann Tree Council. Mike is an active member of our green community with a passion for trees and desire to share that knowledge. He is a guest speaker, community leader, and consummate teacher to students and industry professionals alike. Mike has served on numerous committees and councils within our green industry to insure that Pea Ridge remains a leader in the industry.


Bill Ruppert
Bohn's Farm and Greenhouses, Sales Manager

William (Bill) Ruppert, since 1990, owns and manages the St. Louis office of National Nursery Products, a horticultural sales, marketing and consulting company representing wholesale growers of a wide variety of ornamental and environmental landscape plants. Bill is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with a B.S. in Agriculture with an emphasis in ornamental horticulture and landscape design. Upon graduation, he began his career at the University coordinating the landscape redevelopment and enhancement of the University of Missouri's Columbia campus which was a significant portion of (then) Chancellor Barbara S. Uehling's campus beautification initiative. Bill maintains active leadership association with variety of professional green industry boards, community service organizations and educational program advisory committees including Missouri Green Industry Alliance, Missouri Green Industry Conference, Mizzou Botanic Garden, MU Extension St. Louis County Council, Gateway


Derek Schrof

Derek has been active in the St. Louis area horticulture industry for over 20 years. He has spent his career as a sales representative for Ball Seed Co. providing service and products to area greenhouses. Derek holds a BS in Horticulture from the University of Illinois.  He is passionate about the power of plants.


Bill Spradley, President/Forester

Trees, Forests & Landscapes – Kirkwood, Missouri

Bill Spradley, owner of Trees, Forests & Landscapes, Inc. since 1990, is strongly dedicated to tree preservation and educating the public on proper plant selection for creating successful landscapes.  The Trees, Forests & Landscapes professional team of arborists is 100% ISA Certified.  Bill graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a B.S. degree in Forest Management in 1982.  Education and professionalism is a priority for Bill, as proven with time spent as a horticultural instructor at St. Louis Community College at Meramec since 1992 and providing ov 100 presentations about various subjects related to horticulture and arboriculture.  Bill is a member and past officer of several professional organizations, including International Society of Arboriculture, Tree Care Industry Association, Horticulture Co-op of St. Louis, Landscape and Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis Arborist Association, Gateway Professional Horticulturist Association and Missouri Botanical Garden.  Hobbies include touring fascinating gardens and growers of premium plants, hiking unique natural areas, listening to musicians at intimate venues, and relaxing by the lake after installing and caring for his family’s arboretum collections at a 136 acre farm located in Fredericktown, Missouri.

In December 2014, became Tree Risk Assessment Qualified. (TRAQ).

National Arboricultural Qualification sponsored and managed by the International Society of Arboriculture.

Received a proclamation for outstanding community service from State Representative Michael Gibbons for donating arboricultural care and materials to preserve Missouri’s largest Bur Oak (The McBaine Bur Oak). Traveled twice over 6 years with entire arborist team and equipment.

In 2011, Bill was awarded the distinguished ‘True Professionals of Arboriculture’ award for outstanding involvement in community service and public education of arboriculture by the International Society of Arboriculture.  An organization with more than 20,000 members worldwide with annually only seven being chosen.

Bill also received in 2012 the Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence with his daughter Kelcie for helping donate 50 trees and hazard tree pruning after an ice storm damage to William Woods University, Fulton, Missouri.  Along with helping getting the first Tree Campus USA at William Woods University with Kelcie’s leadership.


Laura Tetley

Maypop Coffee & Garden Shop, Webster Groves, Mo

Laura Tetley is general manager and co-creator of Maypop Coffee & Garden Shop in Webster Groves, Missouri. For the past eight years, she has worked in sustainability education and horticulture with a focus on perennial and multi-functional landscapes.



Paul Toenjes
SWT Design, Senior Associate, Project Manager, AICP

Paul began his professional career in academia teaching inner-city children at an elementary school in Louisville, KY. Concerned over the lack of green space and safe parks available to his students, he turned to the profession of  landscape architecture after discovering the many social and environmental impacts the profession has on our communities. During his time as both a studio and project manager with SWT Design, Paul has been integral in projects that address many contemporary planning and design challenges, from economic development and transportation, to green infrastructure, placemaking and sustainable site design.


James Van Valkenburg
Sherwood's Forest, Design/ Sales

James has been employed in sales at Sherwood's Forest for the past 20 years.  He is a certified arborist.  He has worked in the Green Industry since 1980.  He studied Horticulture at Meramec Community College.

Lynda Wightman

Hunter Industries, Industry Relations Manager

Lynda Wightman has worked for Hunter Industries (irrigation equipment manufacturer) since 1984. During the 34 years, she has held positions in sales, marketing, education and training. Lynda is currently Hunter’s Industry Relations’ Manager, assisting with the company’s worldwide specification PGMS, ASIC, STMA, NALP, ASLA, Irrigation Foundation, IA, NIAAA, NRPA, ASBA, MNLA, and many regional chapters of these associations. Lynda lives in Missoula, MT and enjoys teaching others about efficient irrigation practices.