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Staff & Stats

We’re comfortable being the Ecological Professionals behind the scenes but sometimes people want to know what our qualifications are. Click through our gallery and check out our what our employees have to offer!

Jonathan Koepke

President / Owner

Years of Experience in the Industry: 22
Years of Experience in Management: 17
Areas of Expertise: Stream Restoration, Erosion and Sediment Control, Business Management
Education: B.S. in History and Environmental Science from Northern Illinois University, M.A. in History and Geography from Northern Illinois University, MBA from Northern Illinois University
Certifications: CPESC, Prescribed Burn Boss, Herbicide Applicator, LEED-AP, Lake County SMC-DECI
Operates: Drip Torch to Excavator and everything in between
Best Project to Ask Me About: Northerly Island
Also Passionate About: All Things Star Wars, Deer Season, Indie Rock, Travel, Family, and Beer League Hockey

Melissa Wheeler

Vice President / Chaos Coordinator

Years of Experience in the Industry: 16
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 7
Areas of Expertise: Plant Identification, Purchasing, Chaos Management
Education: B.S. in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. MBA courses Gies College of Business, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Certifications: Notary
Operates: Trucks, Trailers, Cell Phones
Best Project to Ask Me About: Northerly Island
Also Passionate About: Traveling, Great Design, Dachshunds & Diet Coke

Susan (Susie) Rowley

Assistant Vice President / Ecological Consulting Director

Years of Experience in the Industry: 20
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 15
Areas of Expertise: Ecological Consulting
Education: B.S. in Environmental Studies with Honors from Illinois State University, Bloomington-Normal, IL.
Certifications: Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS), LEED AP, ISA Certified Arborist, Certified Wetland Specialist (CWS), Qualified Wetland Review Specialist (QWRS), IDNR Certified Prescribed Burn Manager
Operates: Clipboard, Small Equipment, Computers (but not very well)
Best Project to Ask Me About: Lockport Business Park / Heritage Crossings Business Park
Also Passionate About: Camping, Hiking, & Eating Others’ Culinary Masterpieces

Ryan Alltop

Field Operations Director & Corporate Safety Officer

Years of Experience in the Industry: 16
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 16
Areas of Expertise: Native Landscape Construction, Soil Erosion Sediment Control, Safety
Education: B.S. in Biology from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI
Certifications: CPESC, IL Pesticide Applicator, Certified Prescribed Burn Manager, DECI
Operates: Anything with 4 or more wheels or tracks
Best Project to Ask Me About: Silo Bend, Morton Arboretum, Kane County Solar
Also Passionate About: Hunting, Fishing & Family

Mark DeDina

Superintendent / Restoration Extraordinaire

Years of Experience in the Industry: 17
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 16
Areas of Expertise: Ecological Project Management, Prescribed Burning
Education: B.S. in Biology & Environmental Studies, Ripon College
Certifications: IL Pesticide Applicator, Certified Prescribed Burn Manager
Operates: All heavy equipment, but not indoor office equipment
Best Project to Ask Me About: Grande Reserve. NH 16?
Also Passionate About: Fancy Pigs, Fancy Pigeons, #Kishishippiliving

Samantha (Sam) DeDina

Ecological Restoration Superintendent

Industry Experience: 12 years
Crew Management Experience: 10 years
Areas of Expertise: Native landscape management, arboriculture, wetland consulting
Education: B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies, Northern Illinois University
Certifications: IDNR Prescribed Burn Manager, ISA Certified Arborist, Wetland Specialist
Operates: Tractors, drip torches, keyboards
Best Project to Ask Me About: Skare Park
Also Passionate About: Cut flowers, baked goods, and being a cool mom

Edward (Eddie) Clenney

Ecological Restoration Superintendent

Years of Experience in the Industry: 12
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 10
Areas of Expertise: Native landscape management, arboriculture, wetland consulting
Education: School of Hard Knocks
Certifications: IDNR Prescribed Burn Manager, IL Herbicide Applicator
Operates: Trucks, tractors, hand equipment, GPS units
Best Project to Ask Me About: Skare Park
Also Passionate About: Hunting, Fishing & Great Food

Jake Hynes

Ecological Restoration Superintendent

Years of Experience in the Industry: 14
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 10
Areas of Expertise: Large Scale Restoration, Invasive Plant Management, Tree Felling
Education: B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.
Certificates: Prescribed Burn Manager, Multiple Herbicide certifications, OSHA 30, USACE Quality Control Manager, CDL
Operates: Large Chainsaws, Small Chainsaws, and even Medium Chainsaws
Best Project to Ask Me About: Little Calumet
Also Passionate About: Baseball, Hiking, Breakfast

Brett Suhayda

Senior Estimator

Years of Experience in the Industry: 12
Years of Experience in Estimating: 9
Areas of Expertise: All Estimating
Education: B.A. in Biology, Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, M.S. in Plant & Soil Sciences, University of Massachusetts
Certifications: IL Herbicide Applicator
Operates: Drones, Kubota UTV, Hand Equipment
Best Project to Ask Me About: DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport
Also Passionate About: Debating, Dogs, Target Shooting, Coaching Soccer

Kirstie Glover

Office Administrator

Years of Experience in the Industry: 1
Years of Experience in Office Management: 7
Area of Expertise: Accounts Payable
Education: A.A and A.S. from Southwestern Illinois College
Certifications: QuickBooks
Operates: QuickBooks & Excel Extraordinaire
Also Passionate About: Spreadsheets, my chickens, and my family

Rory Scott

Payroll Specialist

Years of Experience in the Industry: 1
Years of Experience in Payroll: 9
Area of Expertise: HR/Payroll, IT
Education: ECC- AS - IT Cybersecurity
Certifications: Forklift
Operates: Construction Payroll, Quickbooks,
Also Passionate About: Video games, Fitness, Astrology

Robert (Robb) Van Herik

Senior Ecological Consultant

Years of Experience in the Industry: 9
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 8
Areas of Expertise: Wetland Delineation, Vegetation Monitoring, Habitat Assessment, GIS
Education: B.S. in Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies, Northern Illinois University
Certificates: Professional Wetland Scientist, Certified Wetland Specialist, ISA Certified Arborist & Tree Risk Assessment Qualified
Operates: Soil Auger, Quadrat, GPS
Best Project to Ask Me About: 88th RD Natural Resource Surveys & Covenant Living of Northbrook
Also Passionate About: Fishing, Kayaking, and Botanizing

Kara Smit Protz

Ecological Consultant

Years of Experience in the Industry: 8
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 5
Areas of Expertise: Plant Identification, Wetland Delineations, Ecosystem Ecology, Planning
Education: B.S. in Biology & minor in Environmental Studies from Calvin University, Grand Rapids, MI
Certificates: Certified Wetland Specialist, ISA Certified Arborist & Tree Risk Assessment Qualified, Wildland Firefighter
Operates: Dichotomous Key, Munsell Soil Color Charts, Hand Lense
Best Project to Ask Me About: River Road
Also Passionate About: National Parks, Sci-fi & Fantasy Books, Vegetarian Cooking, Making Lists

Jeff Hamilton

Junior Ecological Consultant

Years of Experience in the Industry: 11 years on and off
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 4
Area of Expertise: Plant Identification, Monitoring Protocols, Effective Restoration Practices
Education: A.S. University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point
Certifications: Herbicide operator, Class 2 firefighter, Chemical Immobilization of Animals.
Operates: The Pen, The Blade, The Getaway Vehicle
Best Project to Ask Me About: Munhall Glen
Also Passionate About: Wild Edibles, Sword Fighting, Dungeons & Dragons

Alyssa Bushman

Ecological Consulting Field Technician

Years of Experience in the Industry: 3
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 2
Area of Expertise: Herbicide and Chainsaw Safety, Invasive Plant Management
Education: B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from the Augustana College in Rock Island, IL
Certifications: Illinois Commercial Pesticide Operator, Class 2 Firefighter, CPR
Operates: Chainsaws, Herbicide Packs, Dell Desktop Computer
Best Project to Ask Me About: Lockport Business Park
Also Passionate About: Bats and Cats

Adam Sparks

Senior Ecological Restoration Foreman

Years of Experience in the Industry: 12
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 10
Areas of Expertise: Invasive Plant Management, Equipment Operation, Prescribed Burning
Education: A.S. in Computer Science
Certificates: Certified Prescribed Burn Manager, IL Herbicide Applicator
Operates: Tractors, Hand Equipment, Herbicide Backpack, Skid Loader
Best Project to Ask Me About: Northerly Island
Also Passionate About: Lo-Fi Hip Hop, Computer Programming, Walks in Nature

Rafael (Rafa) Hernandez

Ecological Construction Foreman

Years of Experience in the Industry: 23
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 9
Areas of Expertise: Plant Installation, Skid Steer Operation
Education: Hands on Experience
Certificates: CDL, First Aid & CPR
Operates: All Machines under 14,000 lbs
Best Project to Ask Me About: Northerly Island
Also Passionate About: Soccer, Fancy Things, The Finer Things

Abraham Harris

Ecological Restoration Foreman

Years of Experience in the Industry: 10
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 8
Areas of Expertise: Invasive Plant Management, Equipment Operation and Repair
Education: ENCAP School of Hard Knocks
Certificates: Herbicide Applicator in MANY States, CDL, First Aid & CPR
Operates: Skidsteers, Kubotas & Tractors
Best Project to Ask Me About: Any Out of State Jobs
Also Passionate About: Black Friday Shopping, Family

Eric Boewe

Ecological Restoration Foreman

Years of Experience in the Industry: 7
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 5
Areas of Expertise: Ecological Management, Tree Felling, Large Scale Management
Education: B.S. in Energy & Environmental Studies from Northern Illinois University
Certificates: Illinois Commercial Pesticide Applicator, Firefighter Type II, First Aid & CPR
Operates: Kubota, Tractor, Skid Loader, Chainsaw
Best Project to Ask Me About: Nippersink Creek
Also Passionate About: Puppies, Picnics, and Sunsets

Kyle Akins

Junior Ecological Restoration Foreman

Years of Experience in the Industry: 5
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 4
Area of expertise: Invasive species management
Education: University at Buffalo-Environmental Studies
Certifications: Illinois Commercial Pesticide Operator, CPR/First Aid, Wildland Firefighter
Operates: Skid Load Tractor, Mini Skid, Kubota, Chainsaw
Best Project to Ask Me About: Grunwald Farm Forest Preserve
Also Passionate About: Fly fishing & hiking

Hannah Whitham

Junior Ecological Restoration Foreman

Years of Experience in the Industry: 2
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 1
Area of Expertise: Ecological Management, Tree & Plant Identification, Tree Felling
Education: A.S. in Biological Science McHenry County College
Certifications: Wildland Firefighter, IL and IA Commercial Pesticide Applicator
Operates: Chainsaw, Tractor, Dingo, Kubota
Best Project to Ask Me About: Fabyan Forest Preserve
Also Passionate About: Breakfast, Dogs, Wild Edibles, Mushrooms

Jake Lauderdale

Junior Ecological Restoration Foreman

Years of Experience in the Industry: 3
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 1
Area of Expertise: Chainsaw, Ecological Management, Tree Identification
Education: B.A. in Biology and minor in Public Health from the Augustana College in Rock Island, IL
Certifications: Wildland Firefighter, Illinois Commercial Pesticide Applicator
Operates: Chainsaw, Herbicide Backpack
Best Project to Ask Me About: Apple River Canyon, Stockton
Also Passionate About: Music, Baseball, My Cat Kiko

Ben Hanley

Junior Ecological Restoration Foreman

Years of Experience in the Industry: 20
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 4
Area of Expertise: Tree Identification, Tree Removal, Chainsaw Operation
Education: B.A. in English-Literature, Language & Film from Northern Illinois University
Certifications: Illinois Commercial Pesticide Applicator, CPR/First Aid
Operates: All Chainsaws
Best Project to Ask Me About: Grande Reserve
Also Passionate About: Rock Music, Magic the Gathering, Star Wars

Steve LeMaire

Crew Leader

Years of Experience in the Industry: 12
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 37
Area of Expertise: Trees, Equipment Operation, Being Magnificent
Education: AS - Business Management
Certifications: CDL & pesticide certifications in so many states
Operates: various tractors and Implements, excavator, track skid loaders, dump trucks, chainsaws
Best Project to Ask Me About: Northerly Island
Also Passionate About: Family, the outdoors, fishing, hiking

Abby Evans

Crew Leader

Years of Experience in the Industry: 2
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 3
Area of Expertise: Chainsaw, Ecosystem Management, Plant Identification
Education: Pursuing a degree in Environmental Science
Certifications: Wildland Firefighter, Illinois Commercial Pesticide Applicator
Operates: Chainsaw, Kubota, Herbicide Backpack Sprayer
Best Project to Ask Me About: Kankakee Sands Preserve
Also Passionate About: Watercolor Art, Reading, Hiking

Edward (Ed) England

Crew Leader

Years of Experience in the Industry: 2
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 5
Area of Expertise: Teaching New Staff
Education: B.S. in Environmental Studies from Northern Illinois University
Certifications: Illinois Herbicide Applicator, Wildland Firefighter
Operates: Backpack Sprayers, Small Engines, Hand Tools
Best Project to Ask Me About: Kankakee Sands
Also Passionate About: Metal Music, Runescape, Scouts, BSA, Owasippe

Graham Clute

Crew Leader

Years of Experience in the Industry: 2
Years of Experience in Crew Management: 1
Area of Expertise: Chainsaw, Tree Identification, Restoration
Education: B.S. in Environmental Science
Certifications: Illinois Pesticide Applicator, CPR/First Aid
Operates: Chainsaw, Kubota
Best Project to Ask Me About: North Pond
Also Passionate About: Fishing, Hiking, Reading