This is a partial list of confirmed presenters. More will be added as we finalize our classes.
Don Armstrong, PE
Don is a National Engineer for Oldcastle Architectural Products Group and provides technical support for the design and construction of segmental retaining walls. He regularly presents to the engineering community design philosophy, methodologies, and current best practices for designing and installing segmental retaining walls. He is a graduate of Montana State University, a Professional Engineer licensed in multiple states and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He serves on the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) Technical Committee and was heavily involved in the development of the NCMA Design Manuals and Best Practices documents.
Philip J. Bahler is a hardscaper, landscape designer, tool inventor, speaker, and educator. He is the proud owner of Paver Tool Innovators, a hardscape tool store where his tool designs are featured.
In 1985 Phil started a hardscaping business with his brothers and called it Bahler Brothers. He found the need to invent tools to make his job easier, to increase quality and production efficiencies and to save his body from the grueling task of hardscaping. He and his brothers grew the business to 30 employees with 4 fulltime sales team designers and 12 installation crews. In 2006, Pave Tool was launched to offer hardscapers Phil’s complete tool line.
Phil is an active member of the ICPI, NCMA. His tools and knowledge have been featured in several magazines including Hardscape Magazine and Landscape Contractor Magazine.
To date, Phil has created over 45 Made in America quality tools and is launching another 5 products this year. His motto, “Take the “Hard” out of Hardscaping.”
Justin Baker has been with the NJDOL Division of Public Safety and Occupational Safety and Health for 17 years. He began his career at NJDOL as a Safety Compliance Officer with the PEOSH program performing public sector enforcement inspections. He later worked as an Industrial Hygienist in the OSHA On-Site Consultation Program helping private sector employers comply with OSHA regulations and keeping their employees safe. Justin now manages a group of 16 Occupational Safety and Health professionals providing Consultation and Training services to both public and private sector employers.
Matt Basara is the Corporate Videographer for EP Henry. Prior to joining the company, he spent over 10 years running his own business, where he became an expert in video production and digital media through his work with regional, national, and international brands. Matt brings a wealth of knowledge and fresh perspectives on creative and technical approaches to our business.
Randy Bianchi joined the Techniseal team in September of 2020 servicing the New England market. Prior to that, he ran a hardscape cleaning & restoration and re-sanding business for 10 years in MA & CT. Bianchi has completed over 800 hardscape restoration jobs over the last decade since beginning in the industry. He is well versed in the technical aspects of the entire Techniseal line as well as the technical details of all things hardscape maintenance and restoration.
Jessica joined the Techniseal team in January of 2022 after 20 years of service in the hardscaping and masonry industry at the supply yard level. As Regional Sales Manager, she covers eastern PA, NJ, DE and Long Island and works to connect with all levels of the distribution chain from the manufacturer to the contractor. With an extensive knowledge of the Techniseal line, and strong background in the pricing, design and installation of hardscaping projects, her focus is on helping contractors and dealers expand their businesses.
Ross Causey is President of Garden Square Landscaping Inc. of Kennett Square, PA, and has been installing interlocking paving stones since 1987. A longtime member and contributor to the ICPI, Ross co-authored the Advanced Residential Paver Technician curriculum and has served on the Construction, Marketing, and Education subcommittees. He has taught various ICPI courses from California to New Jersey and at the School of Advanced Segmental Paving.
In 2017, he founded the Contractor Education Network, a global private group of over 3,000 members that provides a networking forum to help solve everyday business challenges. The Hardscape Contractors Alliance group was started in 2022 and is specifically intended for hardscapers and landscapers.
Mike Carey joined the Marmiro Stones family six years ago focusing on growing new markets supplying marble and travertine to the hardscape community throughout the US. In addition, Mike has spent the prior 12 years in the concrete manufacturing industry servicing distributors, contractors and landscape architects along the east coast. As a MIA and AIA instructor his prime focus has always been to educate the community while selling, managing teams, installation and business development. Mike’s passion for natural stone has lead him to dedicate his time to educate the industry on best installation practices, new methods, fabricate natural stone on site and connecting professionals within our industry.
Joe Ciszek is the Product Specialist for decking, railing and other outdoor accents at Barrette Outdoor Living. He plays a role in new product development and is responsible for the continued education customers and internal staff. The feedback he gets in the field helps mold existing and future products at Barrette.
Craig J Clark joined The Dunn Group in 2002. He is Vice President and commercial lines Producer in the agency’s Royersford, PA office. Craig specializes in advocacy for and building insurance programs for green industry professionals (lawn & landscape, nurseries, garden centers, arborists). His professional achievements include 3 years of service to the PLNA on their membership & education committees, 7 years of service to the NALP as Chairman of the Safety & Risk Management Committee, 6 years of service on the NALP Education Advisory Council, 3 years of advisory service to OSHA’s head, Dr. Michael, and 15 consecutive years of service to Penn State University’s Horticultural class as guest speaker.
Don Clayton is Vice President of Allan Block Corporation has been dedicated to the hardscape industry for over 20 years. He has worked directly with contractors to train them on proper SRW installation techniques, estimating tools, and ways to improve their business. He’s also worked with Engineers, Architects and Building Officials to educate them on proper SRW design approaches to ensure that every project is a success.
Rachel Cronin is a digital marketing specialist with years of experience in the building products category and the overall landscape industry. Rachel holds a degree from The University of Akron in Marketing Management and has a certificate in Project Management. By working at a building products specific marketing agency, BLD Marketing, Rachel is ahead of industry trends and best marketing practices. Her main responsibilities include building and executing fully integrated marketing plans and specific campaign planning for a brand or product, using a mix of traditional and digital marketing tactics.
Outside of the agency, Rachel works with small businesses on website development, social media, and a mix of traditional and digital marketing efforts through her business Cronin Connections. She also is the marketing manager for the Cronin Companies which includes C&R Landscape Development- a contracting company, and RCI Supply – the largest certified EP Henry distributor in Pittsburgh.
Paul Cureton is the Manager, Paver Design Services for Oldcastle APG. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois. Prior to coming to work for Oldcastle he was a consulting civil engineer for 20 years focusing on stormwater management and sustainability. Paul has extensive experience designing permeable pavements with over 2 million square feet of projects designed, permitted, and constructed as the engineer of record. Paul has also assisted in the design of over 18M square feet of permeable paver projects since joining Oldcastle.
Mike Dalbey is President of Fleet Safety Consultants Inc. and has over 20 Years of experience in Motor Carrier Regulations, Safe Driver training, and Accident Reconstruction. The company was started in 1999 to help educate and train small businesses that are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Mike has consulted with companies such as Haines & Kibblehouse, Land-Tech Enterprises and ARS Group, to name a few. He has been a speaker and consultant with EP Henry since 2008 and has been a speaker for the PNLA in coordination with Penn State University. Mike is a retired police officer and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer in Pennsylvania, where he helped establish Motor Carrier Enforcement Units in Montgomery and Bucks counties.
Kevin Earley is a LEED Green Associate and licensed Professional Geologist with a M.S. in Engineering Geology from Drexel University. As Director of Commercial Hardscapes for Oldcastle APG, he provides hardscaping technical sales support to all APG operations. Kevin is one of the contributing Principal Authors of the ASCE’s Permeable Pavement Manual and is active with the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, chairing various committees over the past 10 years and currently chairs ICPI’s Foundation Program Committee. He is a member of three ASCE Standards Committees related to interlocking concrete pavement design and is a voting member of ASTM where he is involved in unit concrete paver standards. Mr. Earley has over 25 years’ experience related to concrete products used for commercial applications.
Antonio Fernandez is the Hardscapes Sales Manager for North America. Antonio has more than 15 years of experience in the Hardscapes industry, with an unbreakable commitment to growing the market by educating the design and contractor communities. Whether working as manufacturer our distributor sales representative always eager to expand his knowledge so he can share it with others. He has worked in the full spectrum of hardscapes and masonry products as well as setting materials and treatment products such as cleaners and sealers.
Jim has been a proactive member of the Green Industry for over 20 years with extensive experience in design, sales and installation of hardscape, softscape and low voltage landscape lighting systems. As part of the Tru team for over 5 years he has been a key member and has been involved in all aspects of the business. Jim has a key focus on education, helping contractors grow their outdoor living business with the addition of low voltage landscape lighting to their portfolio of product offerings.
Bill Gardocki is the former owner of Interstate Landscape Co., Inc. in Londonderry NH. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with degrees in Education and Horticulture. He is a past president of the New Hampshire Landscape Association, The Greater Derry Chamber of Commerce, and the Londonderry Friends of Music. Bill has over 45 years’ experience as an installer of hardscape. He is an ICPI and NCMA Certification Instructor and has been a featured speaker at many shows including Hardscape North America, MAHTS, and the Northeast Hardscape Expo.
Jeremy George is the owner and president of Next Level Hardscaping, a company that specializes in all aspects of hardscaping. While Next level has been in business for 18 year, Jeremy has 22 years’ experience in the industry since graduating from Williamson Trade School in 2000. He is known for his attention to detail and helping his clients turn their vision into a reality. Jeremy has a passion for this industry and enjoys helping others perfect their own talents. His goal is to make the Hardscaping industry a desirable need for clients, while a financially rewarding one for the installers themselves.
Sarah Griffith and her husband Kevin work together to operate Scaped Outdoors – a Pennsylvania-based hardscape and excavation company. Sarah focuses on all of the business sides of Scaped Outdoors.
She spent the first seven years of her career teaching business education at State College Area School District. Her specialty areas are marketing and social media. She also has served as the Dean of Students for the district during her time working for State College. In addition to teaching, Sarah also has 10 years of experience working in social media marketing and direct sales.
Her undergraduate degree is from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she majored in business, computer, and information technology education (K-12 cert). Her master’s studies were at Penn State University where she focused on educational leadership.
Sarah and her husband have three small children and love running the business together as a couple.
Jeff Hesser is a landscape lighting designer, installer, and educator with 32+ years of experience in the industry. He’s well known for his passion, energy, and expertise. A former contractor, Jeff has worked hands-on with hundreds of landscape professionals helping them launch their landscape lighting businesses.
Jarod Hynson started Earth, Turf, & Wood in the spring of 2000. Getting his start with a lawn care company in his teens, his experience spans 35 years in the green industry. His underlying passion is to create well-thought-out outdoor living environments that help create memories for families and friends. Jarod was raised in Central New Jersey, pursued Human Resource Management at Messiah College, and resides in Mohnton, PA. He enjoys spending time with his wife Kristy and their two young daughters and son. In his spare time, he enjoys just being outdoors, whether vacationing in the Adirondacks or playing with his kids.
Chad Julius is Vice President at Allan Block Corporation and has been dedicated to their training program for over 20 years. He is a licensed professional engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering. Over the years, he has worked directly with architects, engineers, and contractors to train them on proper SRW installation techniques, estimating tools, and ways to improve their business.
With nearly 40 years in the hardscape industry Nick offers extensive knowledge to our community. Nick’s experience began with a degree at a masonry vocational trade school into two years at Schromber Concrete. His hands on experience started in the early 80’s with EP Henry and led to starting a hardscape business in 1990, Lobascio Concrete Pavers. Nick’s hardscape business evolved from concrete pavers, SRW construction to marble and travertine installations. With his wide scope of hardscape construction experience and passion he is dedicated to educating our community to make our industry stronger.
Nick’s vision of the industry needs has guided him to start a cleaning and sealing business. He has fine-tuned the do’s and don’ts within this realm and gives great support to our community.
Andrew Ludewig is the Digital Creative Manager for EP Henry and a photographer for a small business he created over 12 years ago. He is a graduate of the Art Institute of Philadelphia, with a degree is Graphic Design and has almost 20 years of marketing experience. His skillset includes social media, SEO, graphic design, photo manipulation, photography, and IT.
Jeremy is the owner of Willow Gates Landscaping, which he co-founded in 2005. He has over 15 years of experience in the hardscape industry, and over 20 years in the landscape industry. His responsibilities include project design, product specification, estimating, and sales. Jeremy launched Dust Killer Tools in 2018, a silica dust collection system for hardscapers. He resides in eastern PA with his wife Rosene & 6 children. Jeremy is involved with the industry as an ICPI and NCMA instructor, becoming an authorized ICPI instructor in 2016 and NCMA SRW instructor in 2018. He is an instructor for ICPI’s Concrete Paver Installer, Residential Specialist, and PICP Specialist courses as well as NCMA’s SRW Basic Installer course. He has a passion for educating other contractors and introducing the trade to high school students. Jeremy is a frequent guest contributor to Hardscape Magazine.
Jeff Miller is the masonry division sales representative for EP Henry, a division of Oldcastle APG, servicing PA, DE, MD and VA distributors and masonry contractors. Prior to joining the EP Henry Sales Team in 2015, Miller owned and operated a commercial masonry contracting business in southeast PA, covering the tri-state area. With nearly four decades of masonry experience in a variety of disciplines, Miller has since provided masonry education through accredited courses and seminars to architects, contractors and distributors; an extension of his career at EP Henry. Miller touts himself as a “Tradesman” above all other titles, which prior to being a sales rep was primarily responsible for running day-to-day field operations.
“My emphasis on masonry education is to provide practical and simple installation instruction while making your customer happy – and making money doing it”.
Daniel Moreland, LEED GA, CDT, CCPR is a member of the ICPI-NCMA Technical and Certification Sub-Committees as well as serving as Chairman for the ICPI-NCMA Commercial Technical Promotion Advisory Committee. As an ICPI instructor, he has taught certified paving contractor courses in six states including at Hardscape North America. Recently he was selected as a judge for the 2022 Northeastern Hardscape Expo Paver Installer Competition in Hartford, CT. Dan has also hosted hundreds of AIA hardscapes CE courses across the Northeast US over the past 15 years. He currently is a Belgard Architectural Representative for Oldcastle APG, a company he has worked at for over 20 years.
Owner and Principal Designer for Ledden Palimeno Design, an International award winning Design-Build firm specializing in fine outdoor living, exhibits and events. Joe’s passion and design philosophy is to create functional and usable outdoor spaces that capture the desires and tastes of the client and blend them seamlessly into the surrounding environment and architecture of the house and property. As a consultant for the Green Industry, Joe is a speaker at many workshops and conferences across the Country on Design-Build and Marketing. Joe is a multiple Best in Show award winner at the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show and for his first appearance at the Singapore Garden Festival in 2012, Joe received Best in Show and Gold. Joe is a Trailblazer for the NALP-(National Association of Landscape Professionals) and serves as chairman of the board for FEWA-(Federation of Employers and Workers of America) and is a member of ASLA-(American Society of Landscape Architects), and PHS-(Pennsylvania Horticultural Society).
Bob Phillips is president of Phillips Contracting, Inc. After attending Pennsylvania College of Technology for building construction, Bob worked in residential building for a few years before starting his hardscaping company.
His certifications are the certified concrete paver installer (ICPI), permeable interlocking concrete pavement specialist (PICP) and segmental retaining wall installation (NCMA). He continues his education through workshops and seminars to keep his ICPI certifications up to date.
In 2017 Bob started Hardscape Contractors of America LLC, a private group of hardscapers helping other hardscapers by sharing their work, questions, knowledge, and offering suggestions to support members. Since that time, it has grown to over 18,000 members and going strong.
Joe Raboine oversees the Belgard Residential Program. He collaborates with both sales and marketing to ensure that contractors and dealers are receiving best-in-class service, products, and experiences. He hosts webinars and podcasts, and presents at industry events on design trends, product innovations, and industry best practices. Joe also oversees the Belgard Design Studio team and received an Innovation Award for developing the concept.
Joe started his career as a contractor over 25 years ago. He is credited with inventing the prefabricated components of the Elements Collection through his company, Harmony Outdoor Living, Inc., which was acquired by Oldcastle® in 2013.
Doug Rose is the Paver Sales Manager for Pine Hall Brick. He started his career working as a hardscape installer in the late 1980’s and quickly moved up to management, handling estimating, bidding and operations. From there he moved to the manufacturing side and worked in Customer Service and Sales for EP Henry. The next stop for Doug was a move to direct distribution, working as sales manager at a clay brick, stone & landscape supply center. Doug is a multi-level ICPI-Certified Installer and has been an active participant on the Brick Industry Association’s Landscape and Paving Council since 2004.
Gary Ross is a Speaker, Trainer, Coach, Author, and the Founder of Allies in Leadership. He has over 36 years of sales and leadership experience. Gary holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Palm Beach Atlantic University and earned his certificate of Supervisory Development from the University of Notre Dame. Gary is an Executive Director with the John Maxwell Team and recognized as a Certified Sales Professional by completing the Sales Professional Program at Florida State University
Jesús Salinas nació en la Ciudad de México y emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1995 a la edad de 12 años. Fue a la universidad aquí, donde estudió arquitectura y arquitectura de jardinería. Jesús comenzó a trabajar en la industria de hardscaping en 1999. Trabajó para dos empresas de jardinería durante 13 años, trabajó siete como gerente de un vivero y ocho como representante de ventas para un fabricante de adoquines de concreto. En 2020 fundó su empresa llamada AJS Solutions LLC, que se especializa en diseños 3D, hardscaping y jardinería.
Jesus Salinas was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the United States in 1995 at the age of 12. He went to college here, studying architecture and landscape architecture. Jesus started working in the hardscape industry in 1999. He worked for two landscaping companies for 13 years, worked seven as manager of a Nursery, and eight as a sales rep for a concrete paver manufacturer. In 2020 he started his company called AJS Solutions LLC, which specializes in 3D designs, hardscaping and landscaping.
Owner of Sheller Outdoor Living in Kansas City, MO.
For over 20 years Craig has served the Construction and Hardscape industry as an Installer, Distributor, Manufacturer Rep and Educator.
Craig has a passion for improving the industry through coaching others on best practices, operating efficiencies and attention to detail. As the industry has changed over the years he continues to research new installation methods, new tools and equipment, as well as new products.
In the off season Craig enjoys traveling to other markets to teach ICPI courses and Present Hands On Training for Hardscape Installation.
Bart Shippee, P.E., is a geotechnical engineer with over 30 years of experience in civil engineering, land development, and construction management. Bart has specialized in retaining wall design, ground improvement techniques, foundation design, and subsurface investigations. Over his career, Bart has designed and inspected millions of square feet of retaining wall installations.
Lainie Sleppin is the Northeast Regional Sales Director for MoistureShield. She is a National Board Member of the North American Deck and Rail Industry Association and has been in the deck manufacturing industry for over two decades. The majority of her experience has been working in the channel with major distributor partners and lumber dealers. Lainie’s expertise in decking has presented her with the opportunity to be a resource for those in the business, creating value through sales and marketing strategies. In addition, she has been a featured speaker at industry events, was named to 2020 HBS Top Women in Hardware and Building Supply, as well as being certified by NADRA’s Deck Evaluation Safety Course.
Tom Smith entered the world of fish and water features by selling fish out of his garage. By 1991, his unforeseen success led him to establish Garden State Koi, now one of America’s leading suppliers and contractors for features and ponds.
With over 25 years’ experience in water features, Tom is an expert in design and installation, maintenance, renovations & redo’s – and of course the fish.
In addition to his wildly successful business, Tom and his wife Nancy have been married for 32 years and have three amazing daughters. The Smiths are a deep-rooted sports family, and they are very active in college basketball and field hockey. Tom and Nancy love to travel and are regularly adventuring out for skiing, hiking, sightseeing, and sunrise strolls.
Mi nombre es Valentín Sosa, todos me llaman Val. Nací y crecí en un pequeño pueblo en el estado de Oaxaca, México y soy el hijo del medio de cinco. Inmigré a los EE. UU. a la edad de 20 años, donde perseguí mi vocación trabajando en muchos trabajos diferentes. Estuve administrando diferentes empresas hasta que me di cuenta de que quería administrar la mía. Gracias a mis hermanos, quienes me introdujeron en el mundo de la hardscaping y landscaping en 2001, esta industria ha sido mi fuente de ingresos desde entonces.
My name is Valentin Sosa, everyone calls me Val. I was born and raised in a small town in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico and am the middle child of five. I immigrated to the US at the age of 20, where I pursued my calling by working in many different jobs. I was managing different companies until I realized that I wanted to manage my own. Thanks to my brothers, who introduced me to the world of hardscaping and landscaping in 2001, this industry and has been my source of income ever since.
Ryan Stucki is a design engineer at Verti-Crete, LLC, a Utah-based manufacturer of forming systems for precast concrete fences and walls. In addition to designing new precast products, he regularly hosts video trainings for engineers and sales teams, including analysis software for big block walls using NCMA design criteria. Ryan holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Brigham Young University and has played a role in the design of many residential and large-scale commercial walls in the U.S. and internationally.
Tom Tomaro has nearly 30 years in the hardscape industry, taking advantage of knowledge acquired from his father, himself a stone and brick mason of 40 years. With the help of his wife and business partner Barb, his company, Diamond Landscaping, Inc has evolved into a full-service, award-winning company in the Pittsburgh region. Tom has been an ICPI Authorized Instructor for the past 18 years and is also a Certified NCMA . He also holds Certifications from the School for Advanced Segmental Paving and is a Co-Instructor. Tom holds a Degree in Finance/Quantitative Business Analysis from Robert Morris University.
Ryan Toscano is the Northeast Regional Hardscape Sales Representative covering Virginia to Canada for Mirage Granito Ceramico, an Italian company that specializes in manufacturing porcelain pavers. Since joining Mirage in December of 2019, his focus is on growing the porcelain pavers market and working with contractors, dealers, and architects. Prior to that, he worked for Belgard for eight years as a sales representative and is well versed in the hardscape industry.
Michael Tous, Grass Masters, Inc.
Michael es vicepresidente y copropietario de Grass Masters, Inc., una empresa de mantenimiento de césped y construcción de diseño de paisajismo de servicio completo ubicada en Lumberton, NJ. Tiene más de 30 años de experiencia en la industria de la construcción. Michael es un instructor certificado por ICPI y habla inglés y español con fluidez. Mike ha sido un partidario de MAHTS desde hace mucho tiempo, dedicando su tiempo y experiencia, impartiendo cursos para sus compañeros de la industria. Mike tiene certificaciones ICPI y NCMA y, a lo largo de los años, ha dirigido una variedad de habilidades de capacitación práctica tanto en inglés como en español.
Michael is Vice President and co-owner of Grass Masters, Inc., a full-service hardscaping design build and lawn maintenance-company located in Lumberton, New Jersey. He has over 30 years of experience in the hardscape industry. Michael is an ICPI certified instructor and is fluent in both English and Spanish. Mike has been a longtime supporter of MAHTS, dedicating his time and expertise, instructing courses for his industry peers. Mike holds both ICPI and NCMA certifications and over the years has led a variety of Hands-on training skills in both the English and Spanish languages.
Marcus has been a full-time consultant and speaker for the past 21 years. In that time he is traveled coast-to-coast consulting for Green Industry companies, focused on estimating, job costing, project management, administrative and production systems, and employee training. Marcus also facilitates strategic planning retreats.
Marcus was President of a $7M high-end residential landscape construction company and Project Manager for a $23M landscape construction company.
Marcus has been a speaker for many national and state trade associations. He is past president of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association and is a member of the ANLA Horticultural Standards Committee.
Harrison Woytko has over 15 years of experience as an installer of hardscape with Boulder Landscape, LLC, a landscape & hardscape design/build company located in Berwick, PA. They provide commercial & residential maintenance, along with a primary focus on the residential landscape & hardscape design/build market. Boulder is a family owned & operated business with a reputation for providing custom landscape/hardscape solutions and high levels of customer service. Harrison continues to be responsible for all day-to-day operations of the company and can be found in the field on most days, actively involved in all phases of their hardscape projects. He is a CCPI (which includes a) a residential specialist designation. Prior to Boulder Landscape, Harrison was an engineer in the manufacturing and oil field sectors. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware. Harrison is a member of both the ICPI & NCMA and serves on the Hardscapes Construction & Segmental Pavement Technical Subcommittees for ICPI.