Staff

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Mandy Leifheit

Sales Manager

Mandy’s main focus at Pizzo Native Plant Nursery is to develop new customer connections in addition to providing excellent customer service to existing customers and vendors. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm of native plants and how to best execute successful and beautiful native plantings.  Mandy started her career in the Landscape Industry in 2001 as a Landscape Designer where she worked for both landscape contractors and growers. Mandy joined the Pizzo Nursery Team in 2015 and continues to strengthen her knowledge of horticultural and ecological applications of native plants and functional landscape systems.

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Haleigh Cummings

Sales Representative

Haleigh joined the Pizzo Native Plant Nursery Team in 2020. She grew up on a local farm and entered the horticulture industry in 2014. Haleigh has always enjoyed nature, gardening, & growing plants, which naturally lead to a Certificate in Horticulture from Kishwaukee College. Earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Northern Illinois University furthers her ability to share her interest and knowledge of plants with others.

Haleigh comes with experience and a strong background in green industry customer service. She enjoys working closely with all customers, developing resilient relationships through clear, consistent and reliable communication. Through all her pursuits she continues to expand her knowledge of horticulture and native plants.

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Kyle Banas

Nursery Manager

Kyle brings over 20 years of diverse greenhouse and nursery experience to the Pizzo Native Plant Nursery team. His main responsibilities include staffing, budgeting, business development and production scheduling. Kyle leads the Pizzo Native Plant Nursery team to shape and realize their mission and vision statements as well as foster a productive, engaging and passionate company culture

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Jan Sorensen

Inventory Coordinator

Jan joined the Pizzo Nursery team in 2017 and brings over 30 years of knowledge and expertise in native plant production and nursery management.  She is responsible for all crop inventory and availability management facilitating the link between production and sales. Jan also plays a pivotal role in assisting our Nursery Manager in the day to day management of nursery operations.

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David Marek

Grower

David is responsible for all crop health care and growing system maintenance. He brings 15 years of growing experience and plant knowledge, which he applies to crop management and shares with the rest of the team. David is responsible for the integrated pest management program and manages all crop input schedules.

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Susan Booker

Nursery Propagator

Susan has been in the green industry for over 12 years and has been with Pizzo since 2014.  From collecting to sowing, she considers herself “all things seed.” She spearheaded the nurseries Monarch Waystation Program, raises several Monarchs for educational purposes, then in the fall tags Monarchs out in the wild.  She keeps our social media up to date with her beautiful photographic images of the Prairie.

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Stephanie Pinkous

Production Coordinator

Stephanie is a founding staff member of Pizzo Nursery since 2009.  She has worked diligently over the years to bring the production numbers from 300,000 plants produced annually to over 1,200,000.   Stephanie coordinates production, trains seasonal staff, supervises transplanting, and implements changes that improve plant quality and nursery organization. Her positive attitude and focus on bringing out the best in people motivate seasonal staff to exceed and achieve production goals. 

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Victoria Leverton

Production Inventory

Victoria has assisted with leading the production crew in crop maintenance, transplanting, team training, and telling bad jokes.  She is system driven and offers insights on maintaining and improving operations yielding higher production outcomes and crop quality.  She maintains crop inventory from the time seedlings are transplanted to when they are ready to sell, supporting the sales team in serving customers and achieving sales goals.

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Russ Cerocke

Shipping Coordinator

Russ has over 8 years of experience in natural resource management and native woody plant production.  Russ joined the Pizzo Nursery team in 2019 and is responsible for shipping, fleet operations and order fulfillment. Russ also heads up many of the nursery construction projects.  He enjoys meeting and interacting with customers on deliveries and at industry events.