“I had just started out in the business when a woman about 80 walked out with a yardstick and complained her grass wasn’t cut a uniform 3.5 inches. She stuck it in the ground to show me. I explained that our mowers were set to that exact height and that the natural unevenness of the ground prevented a precise, carpeted look. She grudgingly nodded, and as she walked away, I shook my head. It had been a long hot day. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about how that was the market we should be after: the discerning client with high standards. And that’s how ArtisTree was born.”

- Joe Gonzalez
Founder and CEO, ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design


Our mission is to be the benchmark in landscape maintenance and design by earning the satisfaction of our customers and the pride of our employees.


A partnership with ArtisTree means you’ll have an entire cadre of experts – crew members, supervisors, foremen, account execs, general managers, office staff and our owners – all working together to preserve the beauty and well-being of your landscape. Our left hand knows what the right one is doing, a rarity in our industry. Meet your A-Team.

Joe Gonzalez

After a successful globetrotting career spanning from finance to fashion, Joe Gonzalez began a new life in 1990 and bought a small landscape company in Venice, FL. His laser focus on integrity, honesty and customer service has made ArtisTree a multi-million-dollar company serving luxury builders and community associations throughout Southwest Florida.

If you could attempt any other career, what would it be? Pilot

What brings you the most career satisfaction? The knowledge that my business supports so many people and their families. My passion is waking up every day feeling good about my business.

Frank Fistner

Frank Fistner is one of ArtisTree’s original employees and became a partner in the company in 2003. There’s not a community or development around that he isn’t familiar with, and his long-time knowledge of every aspect of the business (not to mention his amazing recall with names and numbers) makes him our top relationship-builder.

What one thing do you want to accomplish before you die? I would like to have grandchildren to spoil.

What amazing accomplishment did you achieve before age 10? I won a silver medal at the Junior Olympics for wrestling.

Sales & Marketing

Debra Morrow
Vice President of Marketing

Hailing from Texas, Debra Morrow brings ArtisTree more than 20 years of experience in brand development, advertising, creative direction, agency management, marketing and consulting for national and international clients.

What has been your proudest moment up until now? Being asked to give the commencement speech at Texas Wesleyan University

If you had a warning label, what would it say? Caution: May bubble over.

Sara Roberts
Director of Marketing & Public Relations

Kentucky native Sara Roberts has had a diverse career in merchandising, property management, small business development and communications. Since 2005 Sara has provided ArtisTree with expert marketing and public relations leadership, which has garnered ArtisTree national recognition for growth and industry standing.

If you could appear in any movie, what would it be? I would want Angelina Jolie's role in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

What is your favorite task? Planning a cocktail party menu then leisurely shopping for the necessary items in a gourmet grocery



Landscape Maintenance Division

Scott Acton
Lawn & Ornamental Director/New Business Development

Scott Acton oversees ArtisTree’s tri-county pest management and fertilization department and keeps everything running smoothly. More than 17 years experience in horticulture and personnel management prepared Scott for his role in ensuring our clients' landscapes are kept beautiful and healthy year round.

What is your favorite food? Meatloaf and mashed potatoes

What three words best describe a typical day at ArtisTree? Challenging- Educational- Rewarding

Tim White
Lawn & Ornamental Manager

Florida native Tim White tackles the responsibility of coordinating ArtisTree’s pest management and fertilization department with expertise from his decade of service in the landscape maintenance industry. Tim's love of anything outdoors (surfing, fishing and softball games with his girls ) has driven his years of success.

What is your favorite food? Steak and all the delicious sides.

My proudest moment: The birth of my two girls, ages nine and eleven, without a doubt.

Mike Casper
Operations Manager of Production

Ohio native Mike Casper oversees our maintenance and irrigation crews on a daily basis and comes to ArtisTree with more than 12 years of golf course management experience. Mike says the best part of his job is “being able to motivate and inspire his crew members to reach their potential and seeing projects done well and on time.”

Why did you choose this line of work? You can actually see the immediate results from all the work you put in after a long, hard day.

If you could attend any sporting event in the world, what would it be? The Masters

Paul Hurlock
Fleet Manager

Paul Hurlock relocated to Venice from Ontario, Canada, in late 2006 with one of his two daughters to enjoy the Florida lifestyle. For more than 25 years he was in the automotive fleet business with General Motors. Paul purchases ArtisTree's equipment and vehicles and manages our fleet maintenance.

What hidden talent do you have? I am a great cook.

What is the last book you read? Body of Death by Elizabeth George

Bill Gipp
Account Executive

Bill Gipp is a certified horticulturalist with more than two decades of experience in the local landscaping industry. Bill joined ArtisTree in 2005 from the Long Boat Key Club, where he was the resort's landscape superintendent. An industry veteran with exceptional problem-solving skills, he enjoys educating his clients on sustainable landscapes.

The best part of my job I like the fact that I'm in a position to help mold today's thinking by implementing the standards set by Florida's green industries.

I feel real career satisfaction when: I do a follow-up visit on a job well done.

Chad Keech
Account Executive

Chad Keech was born and raised in Sarasota which gives him a unique perspective on local landscape maintenance. With more than 13 years of experience in turf and ornamental care, Chad knows how to respond to any challenge or condition.

What hidden talent do you have? Art - I had a painting displayed in the Tallahassee Museum of Art at age 10.

If you had a warning label, what would it say? Warning: biohazard

Jeremy Lepper
Account Executive

Jeremy Lepper brings ArtisTree clients more than 12 years of experience in comprehensive estate maintenance. His love of the outdoors began growing up near his grandparents' farm, after which he worked for a specialty landscape company while earning a BGS degree from Indiana University and a certificate from the Kelley School of Business.

Best part of my job is: Combining the two environments of outdoors and decision-making.

My favorite task: Delegating work and seeing it through to completion. It's great being able to work outdoors and see the smiles on everyone's face after we complete the job.

Brant Prine
Account Executive

Brant Prine is a Florida native and Florida Southern College graduate with a degree in horticulture and design. After working in the accounting department for Publix, Brant heeded the call to be outdoors in nature. Brant has more than seven years of experience in the landscape industry and thrives on the opportunity that each day brings.

What hidden talent do I have? Growing up on a lake, I learned the art of calling gators! Dangerous, I know, but fun.

If you could attempt another career, what would it be? A meterologist. My nickname is Barometer Brant, because I love watching storms roll in and can usually tell when one is on its way.

Beau Walker
Account Executive

Beau Walker is a Florida State University graduate born and raised in Venice. His love of working outdoors brought him to ArtisTree in 2012. He enjoys finding the most beneficial outcome for his clients' landscape needs.

What amazing accomplishment did you achieve before age 10? I broke almost every major bone in my body with the exception of my spine and simultaneously knocked 10 years off my mother's life in the process.

What is your favorite food? My favorite food is a double cheeseburger with a glazed donut as the bun.

Todd Walters
Account Executive

After eight years in the U.S. Coast Guard, Todd Walters began his career in the local landscape industry. A New Hampshire native with more than eight years of landscape management experience, he knows all aspects of the business: irrigation, fertilization, operations and client relations. Todd enjoys the personal interaction he has with his customers most of all.

My proudest moment: The birth of my two children.

The best part of my job: All of it. I'm doing what I love.

Luis Garcia
Production Supervisor, Maintenance Division

Luis Garcia supervises ArtisTree’s maintenance crews in our northern territory. His keen organizational skills help him coordinate schedules to maximize efficiencies out in the field.

What's a favorite vacation? Visiting with family in Houston, TX

What is your favorite sound? The voice of Columbian singer, Shakira

Leonel Gomez
Irrigation Service Supervisor
Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester & Repairer

Over the last few years, Leonel Gomez has steadily worked his way up through our Irrigation Department with his problem-solving abilities and excellent communication skills.

Why is your job fun? I get to learn something new every day.

If you could attend any sporting event in the world, what would it be? World Cup soccer

Landscape Design Division

Kirk Brummett, RLA
Landscape Architect, LA#00001204

With more than 20 years in the green industry, Kirk Brummett brings master-planning expertise for both commercial and residential properties to ArtisTree. Kirk is a Florida-registered landscape architect and a graduate from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture.

Why is your job fun? I love to draw landscape plans, and the flexibility of working both inside and out makes my work fulfilling. Creating works of art never gets old.

What is your favorite sound? Horsepower!

Shawn Gulbrandsen, LICM
ISA Certified Arborist, No. FL-5397A

Shawn Gulbrandsen has worked in the Florida landscape and tree-care industry for more than 15 years. He enjoys the general diversity and day-to-day challenges of the horticultural business and is a master at understanding customer needs.

What is your favorite task? Listening to our customers and exceeding their expectations

What TV show could you watch over and over? SpongeBob SquarePants but not by choice

Clinton Lak, BSLA

Designer Clinton Lak brings more than 17 years experience in the green industry to ArtisTree and has an outstanding eye for colors and textures. He holds a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture and is inspired by new home sites where he can develop elaborate designs on open land.

What three words best describe a typical day at ArtisTree? Communicate- Adapt- Deliver

What would you like to accomplish before you die? I would like to achieve national recognition for a landscape project.

Joe Mantkowski, LICHT, LEED GA

Joe Mantkowski grew up in the green business. His lifetime of maintaining and growing landscape plants in Venice, FL, equips him with a realistic perspective on caring for plant life.

What hidden talent do you have? I can play the guitar.

If you had a warning label, what would it say? Warning: likes to laugh

Maria Muhlhahn, FCHP, FCEJ
ISA Certified Arborist, No. FL-6112A
Purchasing Manager

Maria Muhlhahn is a seasoned professional in the landscaping industry. Since 1989, she has worked in many different industry areas-- from purchasing to operations management. Her greatest satisfaction comes from being part of a company that strives to do the best for its clients and employees.

If you could star in any movie, what would it be? National Velvet

What is your nickname? How did you get it? My landscape crews have nicknamed me Mother Nature.

Chris Barber
Operations Manager

Florida native Chris Barber has worked his way up in ArtisTree from crew leader to production manager since 2003. His dedication to satisfying our clients with superior customer service has been a key to his success.

What is your favorite food? Lasagna

If you could attend any sporting event in the world, what would it be? NBA playoffs

Jennifer Lassen
CAD Technician/Project Coordinator

Nothing gets by on Jenni’s watch. As our CAD technician and project coordinator, she keeps everything moving in the right direction right up to the point of installation and beyond.

What is your favorite task? Organizing

In three words describe your average day at ArtisTree. Busy, busy, busy.

Tree Care Division




Pam Lasota
Director of Accounting & Administration

Pam Lasota joined ArtisTree in 2003 after relocating from Atlanta. She has dedicated her 30-year career to the horticultural industry while managing offices for landscape architects and maintenance companies. Pam holds an A.S. degree in ornamental horticulture.

If you could live in another time, when would it be? The 80s!

What is your favorite task? Repotting plants

Dawn Forest
Human Resources Generalist

Originally from Rhode Island, Dawn Forest has led human resource departments for major data communications and manufacturing companies for more than 17 years.

What is your favorite vacation? I love to cruise islands in the Caribbean.

Why is your job fun? HR is so diversified and you get to interact with all levels of the company.

Our administration team, past and present: Linda, Marilyn, Anita, Debbie and Lanora.

Sadly, we lost former ArtisTree employee Marilyn to a long and courageous struggle with cancer on Feb. 1, 2013. Marilyn warmed hearts with her laughter and could brighten any room with her smile. For that, she will always be a part of our ArtisTree family and remembered here on this page. We’ll miss you dearly, Marilyn.


  • Certified Best Management Practices
  • LEED Green Associate
  • Florida Registered Landscape Architect
  • Certified Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Installation
  • Certified DynaScapes CAD Designers
  • Florida Certified Horticulture Professionals
  • Landscape Industry Certified Horticultural Technician
  • Certified Pest Control Operator
  • Florida Green Industry Certified
  • Landscape Industry Certified Manager
  • Certified Irrigation Specialist
  • International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist
  • Certified Professional Mangrove Trimmer
  • Certified in Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester & Repairer


Clients should seek a "certified" professional for all projects to ensure they will be planned and executed by professionals with the highest level of knowledge attainable in the field. ArtisTree's certifications benefit our clients in the following ways:

  • To raise the standards of the profession
  • To encourage self-assessment by offering guidelines for achievement
  • To identify persons with acceptable knowledge of principles and practices of the profession
  • To award recognition to those who have demonstrated a high level of competence in the profession
  • To improve performance within the profession by encouraging participation in a continuing program of professional development


ArtisTree is a drug-free workplace and runs full, pre-employment background checks. We are also the only local company of our kind to conduct random drug-testing every quarter.

Each of our new hires in the field wears a green safety vest during closely supervised training. As a result of our low worker’s comp claims, ArtisTree has received national safety awards for several consecutive years.