PLNA Board of Directors
The PLNA board has seven members elected at large by the membership. Board members may serve up to three three-year terms. There are no geographic, chapter or industry segment representation requirements. Board members are selected primarily on their experience and competence to govern PLNA effectively and bring specific skills that are needed by the Association in its governance.
Welcome to new Board member - Ted Ventre, Hively Landscapes
Andy Ernst - three-year term ending December 31, 2018
Andy Ernst is a partner and the vice president of Ernst Conservation Seeds, Meadville, Pennsylvania. Ernst Conservation Seeds is a family-owned business that produces native seeds and plants on 9,000 acres in northwest Pennsylvania, as well as many eastern ecotypes of native flowers and grasses particularly adapted to wetland restoration, meadow establishment, and bio-retention. Ernst Conservation Seeds is currently working on the development of warm season grasses for sustainable renewable biomass energy and, to this extent, has formed a new company, Ernst Biomass, to produce solid biomass fuel from warm season grasses in the form of pellets. Andy’s core responsibilities include overseeing plant research, crop production, safety, and Information Technology. Andy attended Delaware Valley College and is active in many professional and trade organizations. He is the president of the Union Township Planning Commission and in 2008 received the Master Farmer Award.
Paul Kimicata - three-year term ending December 31, 2018
Paul is president of Kimicata Brothers, Inc. He was born and raised in Pittsburgh and graduated in 1975 from Central Catholic High School. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Clarion College in 1979. He started working summers for his grandfather in his landscape maintenance business in 1972. Paul worked for US Steel in pollution control after college but returned to landscaping in 1980. He has grown the family company, Kimicata Brothers, from a landscape maintenance company to a multifaceted corporation over the past 30 years. Outside of his duties as president, Paul is active with his local Boy Scout troop, helping with their spring flower fund raiser, their spaghetti dinner fund raiser and the Boy Scout gardening merit badge. He is the membership chair for the South Side chapter of Business Referral Network. He has helped plan, install and maintain several neighborhood beautification projects.
Carrie Wiles - three-year term ending December 31, 2019
Carrie currently serves as the Marketing Manager at North Creek Nurseries, a propagation nursery specializing in growing starter plants for the wholesale trade and landscape market. While studying Ornamental Horticulture and Business/Marketing at The Pennsylvania State University, Carrie was the Research Assistant under Dr. David Beattie where she developed written and visual representations of semester contributions to the Penn State Center for Green Roof Research. Upon graduation Carrie transitioned into a yearlong appointment with the Continuing Education department at Longwood Gardens. She then served as Assistant Landscape Manager and Landscape Interpretation Specialist at The Delaware Center for Horticulture (TheDCH), a non-profit community resource organization dedicated to promoting knowledge and appreciation of gardening, horticulture, and conservation. In 2006 Carrie saw an opportunity to develop her creative side and partnered with a small organic potting soil start up as a freelance graphic artist. For the past 8 years Carrie has been responsible for the horticultural and ecological marketing efforts at North Creek Nurseries. Carrie currently serves on the Plant Selection Committee for the Rare Plant Auction and volunteers regularly for The DCH. In her free time, Carrie enjoys reading, vegetable gardening and spending time outdoors.
Hagan Hetz - three-year term ending December 31, 2017
Hagan Hetz is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Fairview Evergreen Nurseries, Inc., a family-owned wholesale grower in northwestern Pennsylvania serving the green industry since 1911. Hagan grew up in the family business, working on his father’s field crew during the summers of his high school and college years. After earning his MBA at Vanderbilt University in 2001, he returned home to become Fairview Evergreen’s VP of Sales and Marketing, continuing in that role until his election as the company’s CEO in January 2014. Hagan has served on PLNA’s Government Relations Committee since 2003 and is proud to have contributed to the significant legislative and regulatory victories the committee has helped to achieve on a wide range of issues important to PLNA members. He recognizes that Fairview Evergreen has benefited from PLNA’s efforts for many years and looks forward to helping give back to that effort by working with the association’s board of directors to find creative solutions to the new challenges facing its member businesses. Hagan and his wife Kelly are proud parents to three young children who love to go for long walks through the nursery.
Torrey Rose - three year term ending December 31, 2017
Torrey Rose is the President and majority share-holder in three separate companies including Holly Days Nursery, Inc. Holly Days was founded by Torrey in the early 90’s starting out as a home-grown seasonal cut Christmas Greens company. Over the years, the nursery was enlarged and the business expanded into landscape contracting in addition to the wholesale/retail nursery. Torrey attended Delaware Valley College with a focus in Agricultural Economics and is also a Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist (PCH). He feels that technology is paramount in business. He is a leader, decision maker, thinker and business-oriented person. He works side-by-side with his employees, generating positive interpersonal relations and long-term allegiances. Torrey looks forward to using his entrepreneurial skills to enhance the programs and membership benefits of PLNA.
Bill H. Wells, PCH, CLP - three-year term ending December 31, 2018
Bill Wells has been president of W.D. Wells & Associates for the past 20 years. W.D. Wells currently operates a wholesale and re-wholesale nursery and re-wholesale yard. A Penn State horticulture major, Bill is also a PCH and CLP, with more than 32 years in the industry. Bill has been involved in PLNA since 1983, when he started as Program Chair of the E-1 Chapter and later became Chapter Chair. Bill has continually served in many positions at PLNA, including Chairman of the Membership & Program committees, served on the Education and Nominating committees, and several Strategic Planning committees. Bill has served as ANLA senator from Pennsylvania. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of LANCO, a Wholesale Nursery Stock & Management Service Company. He has served on the board of the local YMCA, and as its chairman. An active motorcyclist, Bill enjoys on and off-road riding, SCUBA diving (certified instructor 1983) and time with his wife of 29 years and his adult children. Bill served as Chairman of the PLNA Board from 2015-2016.
Ted Ventre- three-year term ending December 31, 2019
Ted is owner and GM of Cabot Landscaping, LLC dba Hively Landscapes, a full service landscape contractor located in York county. Working in the industry since 2000, Ted started Cabot Landscaping, LLC in 2008 and grew the business organically until 2010 when he purchased Hively Landscapes (a PLNA member of 40 years) from the original owner. He continues to focus on organic growth by applying best practices from across various industries, to his business. "The PLNA provides a resource to learn about and share the best ideas for the success of our industry and this motivates my involvement in the PLNA.", says Ted. Active in the Rotary Club of York, Ted serves on the Preserve Planet Earth committee which is dedicated to the revitalization of the tree canopy of York city. Ted is incoming president (2017) of the York County Builders Association after serving on the board and various committees for the past 5 years. An avid trail runner, Ted enjoys spending time on his 30-acre farm and traveling with his wife and 12-year-old son.
Nominating Committee - Members at Large
The PLNA Nominating Committee nominates and interviews members to serve on the board of directors and Nominating Committee. The Nominating Commitee is made up of five members, three from the PLNA board and two elected by the members who are not on the board of directors.
Christopher Uhland, PCH- two year term ending December 31, 2017
Chris is the Chief Operations Officer at Harmony Hill Nursery, a grower in Downingtown serving landscape contractors, designers, wholesalers and garden centers. Chris graduated from Delaware Valley University in 2002 with a BS in Ornamental Horticulture and a double minor in Secondary Education and Environmental Science. In 2014, Chris obtained an Ag Business Master Certification from Virginia Tech/Farm Credit University. He currently serves on the PLNA Government Relations Committee and is also a Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist. Chris’ goal in serving on the nominating committee is to help build a stronger industry through a stronger association. He believes that by working together as one unit for the betterment of our industry we will all have greater success.
Brad Groff - two-year term ending December 31, 2018
Brad is the co-owner of River Valley Landscapes & Pools of Wrightsville, PA, which Brad and co-owner Doug Caldwell started during the spring break of their senior year at Delaware Valley College in 1991. River Valley has award-winning projects published nationally, regionally, and locally. Although Brad is proud of these accomplishments, he is most proud of developing a team and processes that allows him to help oversee a $4 million business and still be home by 5:00 pm. Brad served on the PLNA Board from 2014 - 2016. His knowledge and insight as to the Board's responsibilities will be an asset to this Committee.