Meet Our Team

Jack Richardson Ann Arbor MI Tree Care Expert

Jack Richardson

Jack is the owner of Guardian Tree Experts. Originally from Arlington, VA, he is a graduate of Trinity College (Hartford, CT) where he majored in history and played four years of baseball. He began his career in Northern Virginia with Bartlett Tree Experts, an international company recognized for its scientific approach to tree care and its firm commitment to safety and training. Jack moved to town in 2004 with his wife, Emily Wilson-Tobin, and started the company in 2008.

He is an ISA Certified Arborist, a TCIA Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP), and a four-time Michigan Tree Climbing Champion and competitor in the International Tree Climbing Championships (ITCC). He enjoys the challenges and variety that come with running a business successfully, but his favorite place to be is still high up in the trees working alongside the crew. Staying in touch with the trees helps him continue to learn, and it affords him the opportunity to share his experience and knowledge with the crew and watch them find enjoyment and take pride in their progression.


Kris Adler

Kris Adler

Kris began his career in arboriculture in 1995 with The Care of Trees in Chicago and has worked as a certified arborist in the Ann Arbor area since 2000. He has a B.S. and an M.S. in forestry from Michigan State University. In addition to his extensive training and experience, he is our area's only ISA Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA) and ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) arborist.

Kris is passionate about trees and their proper care. He spends the majority of his time working with our clients to help them manage their trees and properties successfully. When he's not diagnosing issues or making recommendations to our clients, he works with our staff in the field to increase their knowledge, experience, and efficiency.

Outside work, he spends most of his time with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys heading into the woods to recharge whenever possible, as well as more adventurous pursuits. In 2013, he made it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.


Garrett Brun

Garrett Brun

Garrett graduated from Michigan State University in 2005. After graduation, he worked for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a Civilian Conservation Corps crew leader and then as a park officer prior to joining Guardian.

An ISA Certified Arborist, he is one of our Arborist Representatives tasked with establishing relationships with our clients and making recommendations for their trees and properties. Prior to taking on this role, he was our Plant Health Care Manager.

He is our resident grill master here at Guardian, and you can often find him making fine meats and even finer vegetable platters for the staff after a long day of hard work. When not at work, Garrett enjoys downhill skiing, mountain biking, and spending time with his wife and son. He's got a great laugh if you get a chance to hear it.

 


Scott Van Sice

Scott Van Sice

Scott spends most of his work days on rope as a climber or with a wand fertilizing trees, but the real magic takes place outside of work hours. In addition to helping his wife run a yoga studio, Scott is a talented performing artist. He travels to festivals all over the country juggling fire, creating illusions, and entertaining people with unique, acrobatic acts.

Scott brings a collaborative, loving spirit to our company and his agility in the trees is impressive. He also makes most of our company outings and events way cooler.


Ben Tatara

Ben Tatara

Ben entered the arboriculture industry in 1998 and has worked in Maine, North Carolina, and Michigan making him one of our most experienced tree climbers. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and has a B.S. in Forestry from Michigan Tech where he graduated in 1998. Ben is our General Tree Work Manager and spends his day ensuring that our tree crews are set up for success. He prioritizes crew safety and works creatively and efficiently to achieve our tree work goals. Ben brings a plethora of valuable tree work experience and wisdom to our group, and his training skills are unparalleled.

Ben lives in the Dexter area and is a gifted musician. His guitar of choice is the Epiphone Casino which he plays for us on many of our company events. He also loves reading, and his favorite book is “Moby Dick”.


Matt Prince

Matt Prince

Matt grew up in the greater Ann Arbor area and graduated from Northern Michigan University with a B.S. in Earth Science and a minor in GIS. Matt's love for the outdoors flourished while in Marquette, and he took a ten month position working with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa after graduation. After this term came to a close, Matt moved back to Chelsea and reached out to us with an interest in becoming a climbing arborist.

Matt is an amazing climber and has won the Michigan Tree Climbing Competition in 2019 and has also placed multiple times. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and a TCIA Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP) and is currently serving Guardian as one of our crew leaders. In this role, he spends most of his time out in the field assisting and training our tree crews to stay safe, produce quality work on a consistent basis, and improve our overall skills.

His favorite activities are mountain biking, canoeing, and playing hockey. Matt lives in the Whitmore Lake area with his wife, Leigh.


Bethany Kemppainen

Bethany Kemppainen

Bethany is also a graduate of Michigan Tech where she finished with a B.S. in Applied Ecology & Environmental Studies. She is an ISA Certified Arborist and also has her Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. Bethany served as Plant Health Care Manager and on our general tree crew. She now spends most of her time as Guardian's COO (Chief Operating Officer) where she ensures that daily operations are running smoothly, our staff is cared for well, and that we manage upcoming challenges effectively.

She is passionate about education and training in the tree work industry. Bethany is the ISA Certification Liaison for the state of Michigan helping code continuing education credits. She also enjoys volunteering with ISA Michigan's Education Committee.

Bethany's favorite job is being a mom to her son and daughter. She loves hosting board game competitions, is an avid football fan, and enjoys hiking the Waterloo Recreation trails. Bethany lives in Chelsea.


Josh Gleason

Josh Gleason

Josh has worked in the green industry for over eleven years and is our Plant Health Care Manager. His vast knowledge of plant diseases and pests and his extensive field experience make him an amazing fit for the position. Josh holds a certificate from the Institute of Agriculture Technology at Michigan State University and is an ISA Certified Arborist. He has his Tree Risk Assessment Qualification and is also Oak Wilt Certified. Most of his days are spent managing our Plant Health Care workflow, scheduling, training, and recruiting, but he also makes time to get out and touch the trees.

Outside of work, Josh enjoys running marathons, playing racquetball, watching sports (MSU sports especially), and providing service to others. He has traveled extensively to help those in need. One such trip was spending a year with AmeriCorps and Habitat for Humanity where he helped to rebuild a city block in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, but he has also been to Haiti and Mexico. He and his wife, Crystal, recently welcomed a baby boy, and they reside in Ypsilanti with their dogs.


Keith Oberto

Keith Oberto

Keith, also an ISA Certified Arborist and graduate of Michigan Tech, is one of our lead Plant Health Care Technicians. He performs injections, sprays, root care and soil amendment work, and fertilizations as needed to preserve and improve the health of our clients' trees. He also helps train our newer Plant Health Care Technicians.

When not working, Keith spends most of his time with his family, and traveling around the state enjoying nature.


Tim Lawrence

Tim Lawrence

Tim is a second generation arborist with a B.S. in Forestry from Michigan Tech and more than fifteen years of experience in the tree care industry. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and a registered forester in the state of Michigan. Tim's primary responsibility is building and maintaining relationships with our clients and their trees, proposing and quoting work, and setting our crews up for success out in the field.

In his free time, Tim spends as much time as possible outdoors hiking, camping, fishing, sailing, skiing, and climbing. He also enjoys playing music and rehabilitating an old sailboat he bought recently.


Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Bill came to us after working at Davey for nine years. He graduated from the Davey Institute of Horticultural Science and their Advanced Arborist Climbing Program. Bill is also an ISA Certified Arborist and one of our top climbers. His care for safety, proper tree care, and professionalism helps us stay sharp every day. Bill is also great at helping his colleagues out and training newcomers in an inviting and effective manner. He is a frequent contributor to our weekly safety meetings, and we are always grateful for his input.

As if tree work wasn't enough of a daily workout, Bill is an amateur boxer and co-owns a gym in Detroit where he likes to workout as much as possible. He is currently taking a course to become a nationally certified sports trainer. He loves to spend time with his daughter when not working hard in the trees.


Craig Burton

Craig Burton

Craig has been in the tree care industry for over 38 years and helped his brother form and run Urban Foresters before joining Guardian after his brother retired. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and a Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP) who has climbed and worked in the trees, provided Plant Health Care treatments, run a crane, managed daily logistics and personnel, and met with clients to prepare plans for the care of their trees.

At Guardian, he now spends the majority of his time meeting with people to understand their needs, answer their questions, and propose work that will meet their goals and keep their trees healthy. His favorite part about his job is that he gets to work outside everyday and face new and exciting tree health problems. We and our clients benefit greatly from his diversity of skills and years of experience working here in Washtenaw County.

Craig's top priority in life is being a good dad for his four kids. At Guardian, he holds the record for going to the most high school and middle school kids sporting events ever. Craig always has a good dad joke for you at the office and constantly keeps everyone laughing. He lives in Dexter with his children and cats.


Guy Smith

Guy Smith

Guy has been interested in trees and other plants since his early years when he would take geranium cuttings from greenhouses and grow them and a variety of other plants. He followed this interest and earned a B.S. in Horticulture from Michigan State University.

After graduating from MSU, Guy spent time as a landscape designer and more recently as the Senior Horticulturist at Nichols Arboretum here in Ann Arbor. Guy's thirst for knowledge and willingness to share what he has learned are greatly appreciated by his colleagues and our clients. His education, experience, and knowledge about trees along with his sunny disposition make him an ideal fit for developing relationships with clients and making sound recommendations for their trees and properties.

Guy is always ready to ask you how you're doing, and he loves interacting with customers and their trees. A self-proclaimed "Lego Maniac," Guy also enjoys rustic camping, gardening, and being near Lake Michigan with the love of his life, Laurie, and their three adult children.


Jacob Kettler

Jacob Kettler

Jacob came to Guardian from Urban Foresters where he began working in the tree care industry. Having mastered much of the work associated with the ground, he quickly advanced his climbing skills and work in the trees. He is one of our crew leaders here at Guardian and you will often find him doing aerial work, training his fellow crew members, and leading the flow of the work. Jacob is consistently the first person at the office to start the day, and his team members greatly appreciate the hard work he puts in to set his team up for success.

Outside of work, Jacob likes to play golf, go fishing, and play video games. He once drove a NASCAR vehicle on a real NASCAR track which was a very memorable activity. Jacob lives in the Pinckney area with his girlfriend and pitbull puppy.


Juri Geidans

Juri Geidans

Juri is an avid outdoorsman with a keen understanding of nature and more than twenty years of experience in the tree care industry. He, too, is an ISA Certified Arborist and spends most of his time caring for trees as part of the Plant Health Care team or pruning trees and grinding stumps generated by our removal work.

Juri has a wealth of knowledge related to the outdoors and never turns down a chance to share his knowledge and experiences with us so we can learn more. He is especially amazing at fungi identification and is a self-proclaimed dog whisperer. Juri lives in Ann Arbor and enjoys hunting, fishing, paddling out on the water, and gardening...especially planting and caring for his flowers each year.

If you see someone wandering around your property while working, it's probably Juri looking for morels!


Katharine Chornyak

Katharine Chornyak

Katharine is our resident flower expert. She majored in Environmental Science and Studies. She started her own landscaping business but transitioned to our company after meeting Kris Adler who sparked her interest in arboriculture. She joined the team as a groundworker but has progressed quickly into becoming a tree climber and now serves as a crew leader. You will often find her up in the trees on job sites leading her team to complete the work safely and efficiently. Katharine has won the women's division at the Michigan Tree Climbing Competition in both 2019 and 2020.

Katharine has a beautiful singing voice and loves to play guitar as well. When she is not at work, Katharine loves to be with family, travel, go camping, and be outdoors. She lives in the Ypsilanti area with her husband and son.


Kevin Musolf

Kevin Musolf

Kevin has been in the tree care industry for thirteen years and has a wealth of experience climbing, identifying, planting and caring for trees. Prior to joining Guardian as a crew leader, he worked as a crew leader at Urban Foresters and at Lawrence Arborcare where he developed a strong focus on safety and a knack for training. He is a talented climber, a thoughtful arborist, and his positive attitude and energy make everyone want to work with him.

In his off time, he enjoys traveling, fishing, hunting, backpacking, and being outdoors in general. Kevin lives in the Pinckney area with his wife.


Kyle Mooney

Kyle Mooney

Kyle came to Guardian from Cardno where we worked as a Restoration Field Technician. Like Matt, he also worked for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa for two years. Kyle graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Environmental Science. He is one of our Plant Health Care arborists who spends his day in the field treating trees for disease, bacterial, insect or cultural problems.

Kyle has a wonderful sense of humor and is always making everyone at Guardian laugh. He is musically gifted and played tuba in the Michigan Marching Band (Go Blue). When not at work, he likes to play soccer, volleyball and float down the Huron River.


Mitch Cook

Mitch Cook

Mitch is a second-generation tree climber and has been involved in the tree care industry for years. His joined our team with the goal of becoming a great climber, and he is already making large strides towards this goal. You will often find him up in the trees during the day. Mitch is a TCIA climber specialist and also a TCIA chainsaw specialist. He always has a can-do attitude and is the first one to volunteer to help his fellow co-workers at a moment's notice.

In his spare time, Mitch loves to play drums in two hardcore punk bands and spend time with his family and girlfriend, Betty. He loves cooking and eating Mexican food and likes it spicy like his climbing.


Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor

Nick is one of our Plant Health Care wizards with fifteen years of experience in the green industry. Nick is a certified sawyer with the National Forestry Service, an avid tree climber, and is currently pursuing his ISA Certified Arborist credential. When not on our Plant Health Care team you will see Nick out on our tree crew, working on the ground and climbing trees.

With six kids, Nick and his wife lead a very busy life. However, when he does have free time, he enjoys hiking, backpacking, kayaking, camping, running and practically anything that gets him outside. He also takes time to volunteer with Team Rubicon, a disaster relief group that helps out wherever they are needed.


Rachel Burdt

Rachel Burdt

Rachel is one of our many ISA Certified Arborists. She graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Horticulture, and two minors: Entomology, and Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Originally focused on organic agriculture, her interest began to shift to arboriculture after working with her grandfather for a summer. A Board-Certified Master Arborist of almost sixty years, he taught her to love and respect trees in all their forms. She hopes to carry on his legacy of protecting trees and educating people about their importance in everyday life. She first joined Guardian as a Plant Health Care Technician, progressed to Assistant Plant Health Care Manager, and now serves as an Arborist Representative. She works closely with clients to maintain their beloved trees and offer advice on how to happily coexist with them. Rachel loves that each day is filled with a myriad of people and plants with whom she gets to form lasting relationships.

In her free time, Rachel loves to visit arboretums and state parks. She enjoys hiking, gardening, kayaking and cooking. She lives in Chelsea with her husband and rescue animals.

 


Shannon Miller

Shannon Miller

Shannon is the Office Manager here at Guardian, but everyone refers to her as the Office Queen. If you call our office, you will most likely hear her melodic voice on the phone. Shannon has extensive experience working in and managing the day to day routines of an office. She loves the arboriculture industry and enjoys learning something new everyday. She is hoping to become an ISA certified arborist one day.

Shannon grew up in the Michigan farmlands but spent eleven years in the mountains of Tennessee. She lives in Jerome, MI on a beautiful lake surrounded by trees where she enjoys fishing, kayaking and lots of time out on the water. She loves to cook and bake, and we often get to enjoy this hobby when she brings in delicious treats. If you eat her chocolate cake, you may die of happiness. Above all else, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, especially her froggy prince, Mark, her children, and four grandchildren.


Jonathon Combs

Jonathon Combs

Jonathon brings an interesting perspective to our company. He spent his collegiate years focusing on the smallest, most foundational unit of life in pursuit of his master's degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan and then transitioned to focusing on some of the largest, living collections of cells in the form of trees as an arborist.

He has enjoyed this transition from the microscope to the outdoors and appreciates the hands-on, fast pace of tree work. He has a diverse skill set and often steps in to help out wherever help is needed: climbing trees, running skids, fixing equipment, spraying trees, or driving our most challenging rigs.

Outside of work Jonathon likes to fish, read, run, and go to unique coffee shops with his son. He loves cake, ginkgo biloba trees, and ducks. Jonathon currently resides in the Ann Arbor area with his wife and son.


RJ Sharp

RJ Sharp

RJ developed a passion for plants while at Eastern Michigan University. He graduated with a bachelor's of science in Chemistry and Biology and a minor in Military Science and then spent four years in the United States Army. He left the military as a commissioned Lieutenant before joining our company. He is a great colleague and loves that the work is always exciting and each day is unique.

RJ lives in the Wyandotte area with his fiancé Jessica. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, woodworking, carpentry, and working out. RJ always has an awesome story to share and is full of funny movie quotes.


John Widman

John Widman

John grew up in Alaska, where he spent ten summers fighting wildfires with the Alaska State Forestry and the Chugachmiut Native Corporation. He lived in China for four years studying folk music, Mandarin Chinese, and a local Tai dialect; these pursuits contributed to John receiving a PhD in Ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2019.

John joined our team because he likes the puzzles and challenges that come with climbing and working with trees. He brings chainsaw and felling experience to the group and is currently spending more and more time up in the trees doing pruning, cabling, and removal work.

John lives in the Ann Arbor area with his wife and newborn son. In his free time, John likes to write and perform music and hike.

 


Elise Baker

Elise Baker

Elise joined Guardian as a summer intern in 2019 while finishing her bachelor's degree in Horticulture with a minor in Environmental Studies and Sustainability from Michigan State University. After graduating, she returned to our group to work as a full-time plant health care technician. She enjoys working outside, caring for trees, and coming together with people at work. Elise is a quick learner and strong contributor to our plant health care division.

Outside of work, Elise likes to play the piano, eat good sushi, and play with her cat.


Marlene Lemley

Marlene Lemley

Marlene joined Guardian after spending twenty-five years as the Office Manager at Brown Chiropractic Center in Adrian, Michigan. She has a lot of experience caring for clients and performing a wide array of office-related tasks. She works closely with Shannon to ensure that our operation runs smoothly each day and is a cheerful presence in our company.

Marlene is known as the resident Christmas enthusiast here at Guardian. She decorates with snowmen year-round and owns 11 Christmas trees! She makes amazing food and loves to cook from scratch which we appreciate greatly.

Marlene and her family live on Lake Leeann and enjoy spending their time kayaking, boating, and floating.


Tom Beyma

Tom Beyma

Tom came to Guardian after working at Cranbrook Educational Community. He has an associates degree in Landscape Horticulture from Oakland Community College. Tom has a love of plants and is a Michigan State University Certified Master Gardener. He often spends his time on our Plant Health Care team applying treatments to trees. Tom also spends time as a groundsperson on our tree crew.

Tom is musically gifted and plays latin and african percussion, he also loves listening to Bluegrass music. He enjoys visiting national parks and has been to twelve of them. Tom lives in Pontiac with his fiancee.


Sean Ryan

Sean Ryan

Sean came to Guardian because he loves trees and wanted to learn and work with these impressive organisms. Before joining Guardian, Sean worked as a GIS Field Technician for Davey Resource Group and also served in the Michigan Army National Guard for eight years. Sean graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Geography from Eastern Michigan University. He always comes to work with a positive attitude and contagious energy that makes everyone around him smile. Sean is quickly progressing his tree climbing abilities each day, and loves the mental and physical challenge that comes with being an arborist.

Sean has encouraged everyone at Guardian to embrace their chess skills and you can often find him playing a game with his colleagues, even after a long day in the trees. He loves yoga and hopes to become a certified yoga instructor someday. A few of Sean's other hobbies include playing frisbee, dancing, reading, and running. He lives in the Ypsilanti area.


Guillermo Barillas

Guillermo Barillas

Guillermo came to Guardian from Plantwise where he worked on restoring natural landscapes in southern Michigan. He also spent years in the conservation corps in both Montana and Idaho performing many different tasks in rural wilderness areas. Guillermo has a Bachelor's degree in Ecosystem Science and Restoration from the University of Montana. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and loves learning about trees.

Guillermo has a great sense of humor and always keeps his fellow Guardian team members laughing. When he is not at work Guillermo likes to rock climb, read, go cycling, and hunt for wildflowers and edible plants. He lives in the Ypsilanti area.


Carson Smith-Saunders

Carson Smith-Saunders

Carson came to Guardian after moving to Michigan. He previously worked for an arborist in Wisconsin. He graduated from Earlham College in 2019 with a degree in Peace and Global Studies. Carson loves working with his hands and has worked as a mechanic, welder, carpenter, and spent a year in Americorps. He decided to enter the field of arboriculture because of his love of trees and being outside all day. You can often find Carson on our general tree crew on the ground or in the air with a chainsaw.

Carson dreams of living on a farm one day, inspired by summers he spent with his family in Iowa. Outside of work, he likes to spend time with his partner and dog, work on cars, weld, and renovate his house. Carson lives in the Ypsilanti area with his wife, Ella.


Dan Goss

Dan Goss

Dan has worked in the arboriculture industry for eight years and recently came to Guardian, from J's Tree Trimming. He is an ISA Certified Arborist, and possesses TCIA's Tree Care Specialist, Chainsaw Specialist, and Chipper Specialist qualifications. Dan loves to climb trees and you can often find him doing aerial work out on our general tree work team. He continues to find and climb impressive large trees even on the weekends, just for fun. If you are looking for someone to tell you an interesting fact about a tree, Dan is your guy.

Dan enjoys classical music, wood milling, hunting and backpacking. He has a great sense of humor which all of us at Guardian thoroughly appreciate. Dan has a daughter and lives in the Gregory area.


Robert Wiszowaty

Robert Wiszowaty

Robert began his career in arboriculture ten years ago in California, around the Palo Alto and Portola Valley areas. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Horticulture & Urban Forestry. He joined the Guardian team after moving to Ann Arbor from the Bay Area. Robert is an ISA Certified Arborist, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified, a TCIA Certified Tree Safety Professional, and OSHA-10 Certified. He placed third in the Aerial Rescue event at the Michigan Tree Climbing Competition in 2021. As one of our crew leaders, you will often see Robert guiding his team through safe and efficient tree work throughout the day. He loves the complex physical problem solving that tree work presents on a daily basis.

Robert brings a positive energy to the Guardian Team, even when the work gets tough he is still smiling. When he is not hard at work Robert enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, and renovating his historic home. Robert lives with his wife in Depot Town in Ypsilanti, MI.


Brady Harrigan

Brady Harrigan

Brady joined our team because he loves physical work and the outdoors. He loves trees and hopes to become an ISA Certified Arborist one day. Brady attended Oakland Community College as well as the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan. He always gets to work early and he is very organized with great attention to detail. You will often find him on the ground with a chainsaw on our general tree crew. He is also really enjoying learning how to climb trees.

When he is not at work, Brady likes to play bagpipes, garden, and spend time outdoors with his dog and girlfriend. Every year he goes on a hunting trip with his brother. Once they were attacked by a grizzly bear! Thankfully they made it out without an issue. Brady lives in the Ypsilanti area.


Mike Moreno-Beals

Mike Moreno-Beals

Mike was born in Bogota, Colombia but grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors of Science degree in Physics. Mike entered the arboriculture industry approximately three years ago, and has been hooked ever since. He has a love of climbing trees and on a jobsite you will often see him high up in the canopy doing aerial work. He also enjoys being able to apply his physics knowledge to tree work and see complex concepts come to life. His quick wit and can-do attitude make Mike one of the most fun people to work on crew with!

Some of the hobbies Mike enjoys include rock climbing, fishing, hiking, camping, cooking and playing guitar. Mike lives with his girlfriend in Ann Arbor.

Jack is extremely knowledgeable, skilled, careful & thorough. — Karen M.