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Leadership & Staff

Powell Gardens employs a diverse staff to maintain, grow, promote and evolve the Gardens and the organizational vision and mission.

Tabitha Schmidt

Tabitha Schmidt joined Powell Gardens in the summer of 2016 as CEO and President. She has important goals for her work at the Gardens, including growing the organization in meaningful ways that invest in a long-term, sustainable future. She has extensive background in non-profits and educational institutions, having held such positions as the Director of Cultural Arts at the Jewish Community Center, Executive Director of the Museum of Texas Tech University, Director of the School for Continuing and Professional Studies at the Kansas City Art Institute, Associate Educator of Adult Learning/Manager of Tour Programs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Director of Instruction/Arts Partners Coordinator at Kansas City Young Audiences and Student Activities Coordinator/Adjunct Art and Art History Faculty at Maple Woods Community College. Tabitha earned a B.A. in Art from Baker University and an M.A. in Art History from UMKC.

Susan VonGretzinger is the Executive Assistant to the President-

Board of Directors

Dick Brown, Chair

Jay Longbottom, Vice Chair

Tom Isenberg, Treasurer

Beth Bader, Secretary

Nicholas K. Powell

Perry Atha

Beth Bader

Clay Barton

Lynne Brown

Kevin Childress

Courtney Earnest

Amy Eckhoff

George M. Guastello II

James (Jim) Houx

Tom Loveall

Mark McCasland

Larry McMullen

Anne Riker Powell

Wendy J. Powell

Emily J. Matteson

Emily Matteson joined Powell Gardens as COO after over 9 years at a fundraising firm in Lawrence, KS. A KU graduate, Emily calls Lawrence home with her two, 10-year-old boys, Memphis & Felix and partner of eight years, JT Mueller. P.Nut, the family’s ornery chihuahua, has been a member of the family since 2014. Raised in a small, farming community in south-central Kansas, Emily feels working for the Gardens helps get her back to her roots.

Susan Mertz

Director of Horticulture

Anthony Lovercamp, Senior Gardener, Grower, Production & Greenhouse

Brent Tucker, Horticulturist, Seasonal Events & Visitor Center Display Beds

Bryan Boccard, Senior Gardener, Kauffman Memorial Garden

David Breedlove, Designer, Garden Installations & Special Events

Donna Covell, Horticulturist, Production & Greenhouse

Duane Hoover, Horticulturist, Kauffman Memorial Garden

Eric Perrette, Horticulturist, Heartland Harvest Garden

Eric Wagner, Gardener, Heartland Harvest Garden

Gabe Perry, Horticulturist, Grounds & Natural Resources

Haley Drake, Lead Horticulturist, Heartland Harvest Garden

Iris Connolly, Gardener, Core Gardens

Janet Heter, Department Coordinator, Horticulture

Matt Hockaday, Senior Gardener, Core Gardens

McKenna Bowman, Gardener, Core Gardens

Travis Freeman, Lead Horticulturist, Core Gardens

Kristy Peterson
Director of Education, Interpretation & Outreach

Bobi Hallak, Volunteer Coordinator

Mark Sharp, Coordinator, K-12 and Family Programs

Emalie Wance, Coordinator, Education Department

Molly Kenney
Director of Development

Hali Mieser, Coordinator, Development Events

Sarah Raffurty, Coordinator, Development Services

Kalie Hudson
Director, Visitor Experience & Marketing

Dale Dolash, Custodial Supervisor

Dina Brumitt, Custodial Assistant

Hannah Kloster, Assistant Manager, Special Events

Erin Parish, Coordinator, Special Events

Roland Thibault, Visitor Services Representative

Ron Gartman, Custodial Assistant

Domanique Ramirez, Special Events Assistant

Wayne Nevils, Special Events Assistant


Dave Wilson, Maintenance Assistant

Mark DeBrot, Electrician

Troy Young, Supervisor, Maintenance

Tyler Young, Maintenance Assistant