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 sales arborists 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 for the staff after a long day of hard work. When not at work, Garrett enjoys gaming, playing drums, 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 has been with Guardian for many years and still spends most of his time working in the trees and using the experience he has gained over the years to help our crews stay safe and work creatively.

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 has become an amazing climber and has placed second in the Michigan Tree Climbing Competition multiple times. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and a TCIA Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP) and is currently serving the organization as our General Tree Work Manager. 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 and walking his dog, Bane. 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. During her time at school, she had the opportunity to assist with research that required her to climb large sugar maples to prune out leaf samples. This experience helped to turn her interest more towards trees and the science involved in their care.

While working in town at the Great Lakes Zoological Society, she reached out to us to learn more about the possibility of becoming an arborist and joining our team. Bethany served as Plant Health Care Manager before she went on maternity leave to deliver her son. She is a talented ISA Certified Arborist and also has her Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. Bethany now spends most of her time in the office as Guardian's first Chief People Officer where she ensures that daily operations are running smoothly, our staff is cared for well, and that we manage upcoming challenges effectively.

She lives in Tecumseh with her husband, Jake, and son, Eli. When not spending time with her family, she loves watching football and walking her German Shorthaired Pointer hunting dog. She and Jake often host epic board game competitions which are rumored to go on for weeks.


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. 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 and cat.


Logan Weidman

Logan Weidman

Logan is a modern-day renaissance man. He can build a house, play the guitar he just built for you, repair his car, make your kids ask, “Where's Logan?”, and of course, climb and care for trees.

He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science and moves seamlessly between our general tree work and plant health care divisions. He has an excellent foundation in forest ecology and is quickly becoming a talented arborist.

Logan lives in town with his wife, Amanda, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in social work and psychology. When he's not tinkering on something interesting, he enjoys fishing, hiking, and being out in the woods. Oh yeah, and in case you were wondering, he drinks Dos Equis in his spare time.


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 assists the tree crews with ground work during the winter months.

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


Wyatt Deering

Wyatt Deering

Wyatt graduated in 2013 from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Plant Biology. He started off in the mechanical engineering program but switched his major after falling in love with plants, trees, and the outdoors during an elective class called "Spring Flora". Since graduating, Wyatt has combined his knowledge of plants and mechanics to make great strides in the green industry. Prior to joining Guardian, Wyatt ran his own landscaping business and tended the grounds at The Inn at St. John's in Plymouth.

In addition to helping us fix and maintain our equipment, he performs treatments as one of our plant health care technicians and assists our pruning, planting, and removal crews with ground work. We all benefit greatly from his energy, creativity, positive attitude, experience, and problem solving skills. Originally from Leelanau County, he now lives in Manchester with his girlfriend, Hali, and enjoys gardening, using and restoring power equipment, building with wood, starting his own tree farm/nursery, reading gardening books, and listening to The Grateful Dead, Lyle Lovett, and K. D. Lang while he tinkers in his garage on various projects.


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. He may hold a record for going to the most high school and middle school 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. Meow.


Eric Clos

Eric Clos

Eric is one of our most skilled climbers and crew leaders, and he enjoys the challenges that come with these roles. He was born and raised in Evart, MI where he participated in the local 4-H club as a kid and began working for a landscaping/tree company after high school. It was here that he realized that he was meant to be in the trees.

Eric attended Baker College, Grand Rapids Community College, and also served in the U.S. Navy before starting his own tree care company on the west side of the state. He met Jack in 2018 while volunteering at the annual MTCC (Michigan Tree Climbing Championship) and eventually decided to wrap up his own business and come work together with us.

Eric'­s experience climbing and working for himself has proved invaluable to our company and our clients, and his dedication to his craft is inspiring. In addition to being a great climbing arborist, he knows a lot about equipment and is often at the forefront of solving mechanical issues that arise from time to time. Eric is also a great teacher, and we are thrilled he decided to join our team.

When he isn't in a tree or holding a chainsaw, Eric enjoys fishing, hunting, cycling, skiing (he worked ski patrol at Caberfae Peaks for four winters), wandering the aisles of sporting goods stores, and being at home with his wife and two adventurous boys.


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 is now learning to climb and work in the trees. Hi is an integral and reliable member of our tree crew with a kind soul and a collaborative spirit.

Outside of work, Jake likes to play golf, go fishing, and play video games. He once drove a NASCAR car on a real NASCAR track which is pretty cool. Jacob lives in the Pinckney area with his girlfriend and new 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 bumping into Kris Adler who sparked an interest in arboriculture. She joined the team as a groundworker but has progressed quickly into a tree climber position. She reached the top of a 120' tall White pine on our annual company trip after only one month of employment proving she's got the guts to take on any tree. Her favorite trees are pines because of the amazing scent that they provide.

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 graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Horticulture and a minor in 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 works alongside Josh as Assistant Plant Health Care Manager but also works with the tree crew in winter and holds the title of Stump Grinding Queen.

In her free time, Rachel loves to visit arboretums and conservatories, hike, and thrift for educational plant books. She also loves to spend time with her spunky rescue cat, Nova, and as much as she enjoys being outdoors, they are often found together under a warm blanket on the couch. She lives in Ann Arbor, and loves hearing about fun events. If you have any, let her know!


Sarah Greene

Sarah Greene

Originally from Boston, Sarah moved to Kentucky at the age of sixteen where she developed a passion for nature. She graduated from Murray State University in Kentucky with a B.S. in Horticulture and has been an ISA Certified Arborist since 2007. To further her education, she went to Michigan State University where she graduated recently with a Master's degree in Forestry. She also holds a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ).

Her parents still live in Kentucky, and she visits them often where she enjoys taking their dogs out for long walks and hikes. Lovingly called 'Her Posse', they follow her wherever she goes. Sarah also loves finding local breweries and supporting local businesses.

Sarah's enthusiasm for trees, plants, and people helps make our company a special place. Her smile is contagious, and she often brings back interesting specimens from the field which help us improve our group'­s overall knowledge. In the spring and fall, you'll likely see her on our Plant Health Care team, but her versatility means you'll also see her out with the pruning and removal crews during the summer and winter.


Kristen Parker

Kristen Parker

Kristen is a graduate of Clark University in Worcester, MA and works together with Shannon in the office as an administrative assistant. She loves the ecological and environmental benefits trees provide, but most of all she enjoys their fruitful contributions to pies. She manages a lot of transactions and paperwork as we continue to grow and does it with exceptional accuracy. Kristen has a great sense of humor which helps to keep the office lively and fun.

Kristen lives in Ann Arbor with her husband, and she enjoys walking her two Boston Terrier/pug mixes (Mortimer and Montgomery), photography, horror movies, and the occasional beer festival.


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.

Generous with his time. Walked the entire property to listen to our concerns. — Karen W.