Suburban Lawn & Garden
Kansas City, MO
Matt Stueck is the second-generation owner of Suburban Lawn & Garden, a multi-faceted green industry business located in the greater Kansas City area. His parents, Bill and Bo Stueck, began the company as small mowing business in 1950.
Today, Suburban operates 3 retail/wholesale garden centers, 2 production nurseries, a full-service lawn maintenance division and a yard-waste recycling center. Matt attended The American University in Washington, D.C. where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Secondary Education. Matt also serves on the advisory boards for the Johnson County Community College Horticultural Sciences Program and the Home and Garden Showplace division of True Value Hardware.
Matt has attended the WNLA Trade Show religiously since 1994.
Great Plains Nursery
Heather Byers is the owner and manager of Great Plains Nursery. She and her husband Brian, started the business 8 years ago in rural Nebraska. With a focus on native trees and shrubs, the business encompasses all aspect of nursery production, from propagation to finish material. Great Plains Nursery provides plant material to municipalities and conservation/mitigation projects throughout the region and recently added a habitat restoration division for landowners. Heather graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor’s degree of Science in Horticulture.
She is a Nebraska Certified Nursery Professional and has served as a past director on the Nebraska Nursery & Landscape Association. Heather currently serves on the Alumni Advisory Council for the UNL Department of Agronomy & Horticulture. She was recently awarded the President’s Citation Award from UNL’s Pi Alpha Xi chapter for her involvement with students and classes in the Horticulture Dept.
Other notable awards include the Johnny Appleseed Award by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and the Green Industry Award given by the NE Community Forestry Council. Next to planting trees, she enjoys exploring the outdoors with their 4 kids.
Virgil is a Landscape Designer for Country Landscapes Inc., a design/build firm working throughout the state of Iowa . He started in the Horticulture industry at the age of 14 pulling a lawn mower behind his bicycle. As the lawn service grew so did Virgil's hunger for information to further help his clients.
This lead him to Iowa State University where he studied Landscape Architecture for two years before making a switch over to the Horticulture program with a focus in Landscape Design. Including the part-time employment during college, he has been with Country Landscapes 15 years and has worn many hats to fill in where the need was greatest; nursery sales, landscape crew, crew foreman, carpenter, and design/sales.
Virgil's passion for landscaping is second only to his love of fishing.
Guadalupe "Lupe" Rios
Forrest Keeling Nursery
Lupe heads Forrest Keeling Nursery's propagation and container production of more than 750,000 plants annually. In addition to working with Forrest Keeling Nursery for more than 19 years, he serves in the Missouri National Guard and has served deployments in Kosovo (2005) and Afghanistan (2008, as part of the elite Missouri Agricultural Development Team).
Lupe has worked diligently with AmericanHort and visited numerous Senators and Representatives discussing immigration issues and the importance of the Hispanic labor force to our industry.
Lupe graduated Summa Cum Laude from Missouri Baptist University. He and his wife Jesse have two children, Julian and Ariel.
McHutchison Horticultural Distributors
Jessica Montgomery is a Sales Representative for McHutchison Horticultural Distributors, covering the lower Midwestern states including all of Missouri, and portions of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois and Arkansas. She has held this position since 2015. Previously, Jessica worked for Ball Horticultural Company in West Chicago, IL, as the Production Manager for the Ball Trial Gardens, as well trials and new variety selection of Ball Garden Mums.
Jessica graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO with a degree in Horticulture, where she also serves on the Advisory Committee for the Agriculture Department. She grew up in the industry. Her grandparents immigrated from the Netherlands in the 1950’s and chased the American Dream, opening Pleasant Valley in Iowa City, IA : a garden center, greenhouse, nursery, and later floral shop and golf course. Jessica’s parents continued the operation and taught Jessica the importance of earning a dollar, a hard days’ work, and how to grow plants early on in life. This upbringing now helps Jessica every day, connecting with her customers and understanding their needs. She’s most passionate about encouraging customers to try something new, and enjoys sharing their excitement when it is successful.
When Jessica is not working, she enjoys helping girlfriends shop at local garden centers for flowers in the spring, traveling with her fiancé Carter, and playing golf as often as she can.
Loma Vista Nursery
Lyndsi grew up in the nursery business, started by father, Mark Clear. She pursued a degree in Business with no intention of returning to work at the nursery, but in 2004 she began full-time career in the nursery business. Flash forward to 2018, Lyndsi is now Vice President of Loma Vista Nursery where she oversees all strategic and operational responsibility for 300-acres of container production, 500 acres of field production with sales predominately focused in the Midwest and mountain states.
Lyndsi prides herself in being an active and highly involved participant in the green industry. She is a 5 year member of Kansas Nursery and Landscape Association board--Board President 2016, member of AmericanHort Community Connector group, member of Johnson County Community College Horticulture Advisory Board, American Nursery Credit Association board member, an active member of Western Nursery and Landscape Association, and The Western Outstanding State Association Leader Awards 2018 recipient for State of KS. Lyndsi is concerned with both the present and future of the green industry, so she is dedicated to recruiting youth into the industry by attending college career fairs, presenting at horticulture clubs, offering internship programs at LVN, and hosting and sponsoring many other opportunities and activities for youths.
In her free time she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and husband, helping teach Sunday School, and reading any book she can get her hands on.
Benet first discovered his love of plants and the power of design from his family at Kinghorn Gardens, where he now works as the second generation. His double major in Environmental Studies and Landscape design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln furthered his passion for ecological design and native landscapes. He also found the power of community while serving as the president of Sustain UNL and being active in other University of Agriculture programs.
Benet currently works with Kinghorn Gardens designing and installing residential and commercial landscapes. He is working towards developing more business with and ecological and native impact.
Benet is excited to be a part of the Western and looks forward to cultivating a community of plant lovers in a new decade.
Hillermann Nursery & Florist
Scott Hillermann, is the Vice President of Hillermann Nursery & Florist in Washington, Missouri. Scott is a second-generation owner and is helping lead the family business into the next generation. Hillermann Nursery & Florist was established in April of 1951 by his Uncle Don and later joined by his dad Bernie in 1954.
Hillermann is a 1993 graduate of St. Francis Borgia Regional High School and attended East Central College where he studied Horticulture. Hillermann is married to Gail Hillermann and have three wonderful children, Nathaniel, Ethan, and Mya.
Hillermann has experience in all departments that Hillermann Nursery has to offer, but mainly focuses on Vice President duties that include being the Facility Manager, Safety Manager, and the Buyer of the blocks, stone, and bulk gravel and mulch for the Landscape Department.
Scott has been involved in the community for many years with the Washington Lion’s Club, St. Francis Borgia Parish, and coaching all three of his children in Youth Sports Softball and Baseball. Hillermann was also awarded the Outstanding Young Professional award by the Washington Chamber of Commerce in 2014. Scott joined as a Washington Chamber of Commerce Board Member in 2019.
Fun Fact: Scott’s Uncle Don was on the Western Board and President in 1984, his dad Bernie was on the board and was President in 1992, and his sister Sandi was on the board and President in 2013.