Leadership & Staff

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

Senior Executives

Cody Jolliff, CEO
Donna Young, COO

Board of Directors

Amy Eckhoff, Vice-Chair
Justin White, Vice-Chair
Ellen Fairchild, Chair
Gary Barnes, Secretary
Scott Burnett
Kristopher Dabner
Mary O’Connor
Nicholas Powell
Ruthie Rinehart
Guy Swanson, Treasurer
Tom Isenberg
Susan Spencer
Doug Nelson


Rikki Hays Clawson, Director, Human Resources
Tacey Beard, Specialist, Administration

Campus Services

Debora Williams, Campus Superintendent
Christopher Heller, Lead, Campus Services
Heather Lawrence, Assistant, Campus Services
Nikol Talley, Assistant, Campus Services
Victoria Runyon, Assistant, Campus Services

Development & Communications

Amanda Tempel, Specialist, Development
Sharon Ramsey, Director of Development & Communication
Emma Robertson, Assistant Director, Development & Communication
Laina Burdette, Specialist, Marketing


Julie Wise, Coordinator, Education


Lyza Cooper, Gardener
Keith Kratz, Turf Technician
Christian Van Matre, Gardener, Visitor Center
Heather Clenin, Plant Records Registrar
Brent Tucker, Lead Horticulturist
Dakota Lepker, Senior Gardener, Production
Donna Covell, Lead Horticulturist
Naomi Chastain, Gardener
Ryan Joseph, Technician
Susan Mertz, Director, Horticulture
Zoe Aber, Senior Gardener
Matt Hockaday, Horticulturist
Chenoah Reeder, Gardener
Jadalyn Crozier, Gardener
Jasmine Blakely, Gardener
Eric Perrette, Lead Horticulturist
Philip Bishop, Assistant Director, Horticulture

Private Events

Paula Elledge, Manager, Private Events
Destiny Valluzzi, Coordinator, Private Events
Shelley May, Special Events Assistant
Wayne Nevils, Special Events Assistant

Property & Facilities

Mark DeBrot, Manager, Property & Facilities
Troy Young, Lead, Maintenance
Fletcher Carlile, Assistant, Property & Facilities
Dave Chastain, Assistant, Maintenance

Public Programs

Caitlin Eckard, Assistant Director, Public Programs and Visitor Experience
Kelli Votypka, Director, Public Programs & Visitor Experience


Bobby Cox
Dale Dolash
Dennis McVey
Wayne Nevils
Wayne Smith

Visitor Experience

Robyn Weber, Specialist, Visitor Experience
Heather Clenin, Coordinator, Retail
Rhonda Schulte, Visitor Experience
Roland Thibault, Visitor Experience
Gary Miller, Tram Driver
Don Prieve, Tram Driver
Steve Wance, Tram Driver
Ken Marcotte, Tram Driver
Elise Kratz, Specialist, Retail
Bethany Vermillion, Coordinator, Food & Beverage
A botanical garden is a living museum! Powell Gardens maintains several botanical collections for research, conservation, and visitor enjoyment. Learn more about Powell Gardens’ collections in our latest blog post (link in bio). 💐☀️🌷
After a long winter, Powell Gardens welcomes Painted Garden (April 27-June 16). 🎨 
Celebrate the joy and color spreading across the Gardens with inventive botanical displays, spring blooms, and works of art. Rooted in Kansas City’s art community with new work by Kate Clements and returning favorites by local artists, Powell Gardens invites you to imagine the garden as a gallery this spring. 
Admission linked in bio. #powellgardens #paintedgarden #garden #spring #art #artwork #localart #outdoorart
Painted Garden Featured Artist: @kate_clements 🎨 
Kate Clements constructs delicate and ornate large-scale paintings and installations comprised of kiln fused glass panels. Working with frit, a type of crushed glass, she sifts, scatters, and pushes the sugar-like substance on a kiln shelf to form dimensional drawings. The wafer-thin panels reference naturalistic designs and floral motifs that she uses to explore ideas of beauty, taste, and impermanence. 
Learn more at powellgardens.org/painted-garden (link in bio). #kateclements #powellgardens #paintedgardenkc #featuredartist #garden
Save the Date: Painted Garden (April 27-June 16) 🖼️🎨 🌿 
This spring, get ready to step into a living masterpiece at Powell Gardens' Painted Garden. Experience the beauty of art and nature as our Garden bursts to life with vibrant colors and imaginative installations. Mark your calendars and prepare to be inspired! 
Painted Garden info linked in bio. #powellgardens #paintedgarden #art #garden #botanicalgarden #outdoorart #spring

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