The Habitat team combines unparalleled expertise in horticulture, botany, design and construction.

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David Brenner

Founding Principal & Lead Living Wall Designer

Working at the intersection of botany, architecture, interior design and urbanism, David has applied his passion for plants to a growing list of innovative projects, building a broad variety of modern, human-centric spaces with abundant plant life at their heart.

David is a pioneer in the field of vertical gardens. He holds a degree in Environmental Horticulture Sciences from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo. He credits his time spent studying at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, with setting him on the path to living wall design. It was at Kew that he came to appreciate the beauty of epiphytic plants – those which have naturally evolved to grow vertically on trees.

David sees his work as an integral part of a public shift in consciousness towards a renewed desire for closeness with nature and an appreciation of the restorative effect of plants, especially in urban environments. For David, designing living walls affords the chance not only to promote awareness of native and endangered plant species but also to have a direct impact on quality of life.

Hh team photos mickey Mickey Mangan

Director of Design

Bio

Joining Habitat Horticulture in 2011, Mickey brings a keen sense of the construction process, formal design training, a professional attitude and a lifelong obsession with plants to Habitat Horticulture. His devotion and meticulous manner is crucial in ensuring all design documents design documents and details are fine tuned before handing them off to our installation team. No matter the scale of the project, Mickey constantly is pushing the envelope and recreating our idea of a “living wall” by shifting form and geometry to blur the lines between architecture and living canvas. Mickey has worked on most of our major and more complex projects including SFMOMA,, Salesforce, 45 Lansing, Tesla, Facebook and the California Academy of Sciences. Mickey is a proud graduate of the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo landscape architecture program.

Emil Emil Meek

Director of Maintenance

Bio

As Director of Maintenance, Emil oversees our maintenance teams throughout the United States. His focus is on keeping our living walls and botanic installations thriving and our client's happy. Emil also ensures that the maintenance crew is able to work safely and efficiently. With over 15 years of Landscape Management experience, Emil is well versed in the complexities of his role - performing each task with poise and a positive attitude. Prior to joining Habitat Horticulture, Emil owned and operated a Landscape Construction company in Seattle and later went on to become Maintenance Manager for Fox Landscaping in the Bay Area.

Collin Collin Spencer

Senior Project Manager

Bio

Collin joined Habitat Horticulture in 2017. His previous roles included Construction Estimator for a high-end stone mason and Site Supervisor for Americorps where he led crews on residential construction projects.
Collin is able to see the big picture while also focusing on the details, ensuring that all projects are executed smoothly and within budget.

Hh employees kim Kim Sibbernsen

Estimator

Bio

Kim keeps the wheels in motion at Habitat Horticulture using her seamless coordination skills to work with Contractors, Architects, Sub-Contractors and Owners, ensuring all insurance and workers compensation documentation is up to date and compliant. Her attention to detail can be attributed to her experience working as Office Manager for Osborne Partners Capital Management.

Maria2 Maria Grimm

Project Manager

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Maria, Associate AIA, LEED AP BD+C, joined Habitat Horticulture as Project Manager after working for 12 years in high performance design at a design engineering firm in San Francisco. Maria previously led the high-performance design effort on dozens of large projects in a wide range of building sectors. Maria is an expert in daylight design and analysis but also focused on other aspects of building performance such as energy, thermal comfort, and water efficiency. Maria’s transition to the Habitat Horticulture team was a natural fit given her passion for healthy buildings and enhancing the built environment.

Maria has a Bachelor of Science in architectural studies from the University of Illinois and received her Master of Architecture with a focus in climatic-responsive architecture from Arizona State University.

Favorite Habitat Horticulture installation:
I especially like two, SFMOMA, because it’s huge and it’s fun to walk around and see different views of it. Second, The Foundry, because it’s super visible and alerts the senses.

Favorite plant species:
I learned to love orchids as I rescued many from my former office during the pandemic. On the succulent side, I enjoy watching agave go through its bloom cycle. In fact, I have a mini nursery of agave thriving in my front yard.

Hh team photos donna %281 of 1%29 Donna Shibata

Designer

Bio

Donna works with our trusted nurseries and growers to source only the best plants for our living walls and botanical installations. She is meticulous, organized and uncompromising, and combines that with a broad knowledge of plant species as well as a deep love for everything to do with gardening and greenery. Donna holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Yale School of Management, a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School, and a Bachelor’s of Art from the University of California, Los Angeles. She’s previously served as the Director of Finance and Administration for several nonprofit independent schools in San Francisco, and she is a board member of the Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association, the Community Garden Coordinator with a community garden in the Mission, and a Collections and Garden Volunteer with the University of California, Santa Cruz Arboretum.

Meg2 Meg Vollema

Head of Plant Procurement

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Fermin2 Fermin Rodriguez

Project Foreman

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Derek2 Derek Wasylyshen

Design Engineer

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Derek has been a design engineer at Habitat Horticulture for just under a year, which he describes as “some of the best months of my professional career!”

Derek earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental design with a concentration in architecture from the University of Manitoba. He also has a master’s degree in building technology from the Technical University of Delft in The Netherlands.

A hint of his future with Habitat Horticulture came with Team Netherlands during the Solar Decathlon Europe Competition in 2020. Contributing to both the architecture and engineering teams, he was appointed as a building services and sustainability engineer with sole responsibility of design, structure, function, operation, and integration of the PCM Active Living Wall, which contributed to winning eight awards.
Favorite Habitat Horticulture Installation:
Beverly Hills Residence. While the living wall is quite beautiful on its own, the architecture, structure, and overall environment establishes a unified, unique, and harmonious identity. As this living wall stands atop a saltwater pond filled with a variety of different species, I believe that any integration of our systems that not only includes other means of nature but are specifically designed for them are amongst our most successful projects. In addition, this project includes some unfavorable and unique conditions for a living wall application which required a complete team effort. As a result, this project further illustrates what can be achieved from the individuals that make up the Habitat Horticulture team from all departments.

Favorite Plant Species:
The Spider Plant. As I have personally been involved in various R+D projects that directly involve this plant, it is both a robust and performative houseplant with a unique aesthetic. Aside from its associated biophilic effects, the plant is capable of consuming levels of CO2, harmful airborne particulate matter, harmful volatile organic matter, it produces higher levels of oxygen then most, and if enough of them are grouped together in a confined space, it has the capability of mitigating relative humidity and comfort conditions.

Fernando2 Fernando Chavez

Construction Manager

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Christina2 Christina Ellis

Head of Marketing & Communications

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Christina has more than 15 years of marketing and public relations experience. Christina has brand and agency experience overseeing multiple marketing channels: PR; media relations; digital, radio, television, and outdoor advertising; social media campaigns; and sports and entertainment franchise sponsorships; and experiential activations.

Christina earned her bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing from San Jose State University. She is a California native, having recently moved back to Northern California from Denver. Christina also speaks conversational Vietnamese.

Favorite Habitat Horticulture Installation:
The Foundry III in San Francisco. A multi-sensory experience, and it’s unexpected. Once you enter the lobby, its grand scale and fragrant aroma stop you in your tracks.

Karyn2 Karyn Holsten

Maintenance Technician

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Karyn in a maintenance technician for Habitat Horticulture. Karyn graduated from the University of Southern Utah with a bachelor’s degree in biology, including a concentration in biological sciences. Her extensive experience in Greenhouses has helped hone her living wall maintenance skills, making sure each plant gets the care it deserves.

Justin2 Justin Williams

Maintenance Technician

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Justin has been working in horticulture for the past six years, and with Habitat Horticulture since 2021. Holding a degree in Environmental Horticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Volunteering his time at Cal Poly's Plant Conservatory, Justin is a true lover of the weird and wacky world of plants. Justin's horticultural knowledge ha been a great asset to our maintenance team.

Favorite Habitat Horticulture installation:
Waldorf Astoria is my favorite installation since it has so many vibrant, contrasting colors as well as a good variety of plant textures.

Favorite plant species:
I am drawn to orchids in the genus Stanhopea for their amazing, scented flowers or Bulbophyllum for their bizarre flower characteristics.

Miguel2 Miguel Garcia

Product Assembler

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Jose2 Jose Da Ara

Vertical Garden Installer

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Jordan2 Jordan Forbes

Maintenance Manager

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Jordan has been with Habitat Horticulture for over five years and in the plant industry for 15 years starting with Kawahara Nursery in 2007. He manages our maintenance team in the South Bay and helps keep some of our most high profile sites looking their best.

What's your favorite Habitat Horticulture installation and why?
I like the small, simple installations like Palo Alto Network building 2 and 6329 Grand Oak because they are small enough to finish detailing and an excellent solid plant design allows minimal replacements.

What's your favorite plant species and why?
I'm a big fan of bromeliads because they offer many great colors and patterns and can be grown indoors or outdoors.

Devonte2 Devonte Fortson

Warehouse Assistant

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Hh employees lucia Lucía Lamm

Architect

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Lucía plays a vital role in our design process, helping to determine how we incorporate our living walls into the buildings and spaces they form a part of. That can mean working an installation into an existing building or helping to place it seamlessly into plans for a new construction. Her detailed 3D renders and architectural drawings give our clients the chance to see how our installations will transform their space, and later they guide our installation team as they build. Lucia holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. For her, the most inspiring spaces are those that evoke emotion by melding the built environment and the natural world. With her experience in large-scale commercial projects and residential buildings, she has an acute understanding of proportion and a keen spatial intelligence. She is also a true plant lover, creating botanical illustrations and artwork in her spare time.

Mitch2 Mitchell Miller

Maintenance Manager

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Mitch applies his decade-long passion for horticulture, design, and interpersonal communication in his daily work as maintenance manager, managing a team of six dedicated horticulturists and using his artistic skills to keep the integrity of his designs blooming.

Mitch graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, He studied abroad in Panama, focusing his independent research on leaf cutter ants. Mitch also worked for two years at Pitt’s greenhouse where he was integrally involved in high profile plant research projects.

Mitch enjoys volunteering while traveling -- from WWOOF-ing in South Africa to planting trees in a reforestation community in India. He’s a visual artist and an athlete. Mitch’s favorite activity is open-water swimming, and he also leads kayaking tours in the SF Bay with City Kayak. Additionally, Mitch is a performer and work as a dancer, professional roller skater, hoop artist, and fire performer with multiple circus companies around the Bay Area.

Favorite Habitat Horticulture Installation:
Foundry because of its scale and the fact that I have been caring for it for 4 years. I love the way it makes you feel small when you walk into that lobby. The Philodendron 'Congo' are also massive and I think it is cool to see a plant that large on a living wall.

Favorite Plant Species:
Kalanchoe beharensis aka the 'felt bush'. I like them because they are hardy and grow every tall. They are also fuzzy and have a lot of character...they look very sculptural.

Karriane2 Karianne Rydberg

IPM & Plant Health Manager

Bio

As an integrated pest management program manager and maintenance technician since 2020, Karianne runs Habitat Horticulture’s Integrated Pest Management Program, implementing strategies such as biological control and pest monitoring to provide long-term pest and disease prevention. Previously, Karianne was a plant science lab technician at an indoor, vertical farming company that used aeroponics to grow herbs and leafy greens.

Karianne graduated from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and environmental plant sciences, including a concentration in plant protection. There, she was a greenhouse manager and lead student succulent grower for the horticulture department, which fostered her interest in ornamental horticulture.

For the past 12 years, Karianne has volunteered as a tropical landscaper for the Ventura County Fairgrounds, where she’s been awarded best original design, best use of water, best construction, and best in division.

Sarah2 Sarah Nemer

Regional Maintenance Manager

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Kieran2 Kieran Scandrett

Head of Sales

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A green wall industry professional combining skills, passion, and purpose to create unique, beautiful, and sustainable living and working environments, Kieran has been with Habitat Horticulture for three years. Previously, he was the founder and CEO of a company in the food technology industry which was designing smart, indoor food-growing appliances.

A Salinas, California native, Kieran earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and management with a concentration in entrepreneurship from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

Favorite Habitat Horticulture Installation:
I'm partial to Orange Ave. My home is such an extremely special place to me and I dream of one day creating my own intimate, dramatic, relaxing, and totally immersive jungle-like plant experience such as we did for the homeowners at Orange Ave.

Favorite Plant Species:
Lilies and sunflowers, because they are my girlfriends.

Vanessa website2 Vanessa Zendejas

Maintenance Technician

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Manny2 Manuel De'Ara

Installer

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Kathleen2 Kathleen Johnson

Administrative Assistant

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Matt greenhouse Matthew Fernandez

Greenhouse Manager & Head Grower

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Jose rafael2 Rafael Dominguez

Buyer

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Rafael is in charge of purchasing all of our building materials – a very important responsibility when we have multiple projects going at once, each with their own specific needs in terms of construction, and all demanding the highest quality and attention to detail. By handling the buying side of things, he makes sure our installations run efficiently. He is also tasked with working with suppliers, creating partnerships that mean we have access to the materials we need when we need them, and that we get only the best materials for the highest quality final product. Rafael has over 20 years of experience in purchasing. He is also an avid ballroom dancer, taking part in competitions around the world.

Phil1 Phil Greenberg

Senior Horticultural Technician & QC Manager

Bio

As horticultural technician, Phil is tasked with keeping our plants happy and healthy. His expertise is utilized on a daily basis whether it’s troubleshooting an existing living wall system or overseeing a new installation to make sure that all growing parameters are met and the system is functioning at peak performance. Phil has a deep understanding of plant nutrition and works closely with our design team to formulate a nutrient program for each of our living walls. We can feel confident knowing he’s making sure the plants continue to thrive long after their initial installation. Before moving to the Bay Area, Phil worked in greenhouse production in San Diego County growing hydroponic vegetables.

Hh employees4 Mateo Aguilar

Systems Designer

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As Systems Designer, Mateo helps layout and design our living wall and irrigation systems. He is also responsible for producing producing detailed CAD construction and shop drawings and is paramount in the transition from design to installation.

Mateo studied Industrial Design in Mexico City where he then specialized in recycled plastic composites for sustainable construction for 8 years and developed among other products materials for vertical garden companies. Mateo also obtained is Masters Degree in Advanced Sustainable Design at Edinburgh University in Scotland. His material and sustainable design expertise has helped Habitat Horticulture refine our products so they are not only the most efficient, but are the most sustainable meeting even the most stringent green building requirements set my the Living Building Challenge.

Mateo lives in San Francisco blocks away from Ocean Beach where he likes to surf in his free time.

Rueben2 Reuben Neugass

Fabricator

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Rueben is key to the work we do in our Berkeley fabrication center, a 5,000 square foot space in which he leads the fabrication team, ensuring we maintain the highest levels of craftsmanship as well as innovation. We take great pride in our ability to create custom installations that are unlike anything else, and to continuously improve on what we do, and Rueben is key to all of that, working with prototyping and testing new ideas, and then seeing through the fabrication process so that it’s faithful to our designs and optimized for its mission. Rueben previously worked as Fabricator for Museum Exhibits at the Oakland Museum of California, as well as at the Guggenheim Art Museum.

Steven Steven Childs

Maintenance Manager

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Susan2 Susan Copetta

HR Manager

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Romeo2 Romeo Brenner

Chief Happiness Officer

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Board of Advisors

Mattritter2 Matt Ritter, PhD

Distinguished Professor | Biological Sciences Department | Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

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Dr. Matt Ritter is a botany professor in the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California, where he studies California’s native plants, horticultural plants, and trees in the urban forest. He’s the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, and many scientific articles. He is a leader in the California botanical community, editor of the Madrono, the Journal of the California Botanical Society, statewide board member of California Native Plant Society, and the Wildlands Conservancy. He also wrote the funniest and best-selling guide to California’s urban forest, A Californian’s Guide to the Trees among Us (Heyday, 2011). He won the Cal Poly’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the International Society of Arboriculture Award for Excellence in Education.

Michael raviv2 Michael Raviv

Professor | Dept. of Environmental Horticulture | Newe Ya'ar Research Center, Israel

Bio

Prof. Michael Raviv is one of the world’s leading experts in hydroponic and soilless growing media. As part of the Agricultural Research Organization, Ministry of Agriculture, Israel Newe Ya’ar Research Center since 1979, his work focuses on plant production in various soilless media, which led him to initiate (together with Prof. J.H. Lieth, UC Davis), the book: Soilless Culture – Theory and Practice. (2008, Elsevier).

Since 1993 Prof. Raviv’s focus is on Organic Agriculture. His main interest is in composting, different uses of composts and especially their use as suppressive agents against soil-borne diseases. From 1995 till 2014 Prof. Raviv taught the only academic course on Organic Agriculture in Israel, in the Hebrew University, Faculty of Agriculture, Rehovot. Over the years he published 99 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 14 chapters in books, 23 articles in professional magazines in English and 59 articles in professional magazines in Hebrew. In addition he edited or co-edited 7 books.

Michael’s expertise in soilless media has helped Habitat Horticulture refine our vertical growing systems, from our proprietary Growtex® growing media to devising a nutrient recipe that is optimum for long term growth.

Image Ken Robertson

Real Estate Advisor | Commercial Real Estate Consultant

Bio

Ken Robertson has worked in the real estate industry for over 25 years, executing billions of dollars in transaction volume on behalf of institutional and private investors.

Ken focuses on placemaking, re-positioning strategy, and marketing with keen insight into key value drivers for real estate operators and investment managers.

Ken was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and grew up in south Orange County. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Long Beach, and his MBA from the University of Southern California.

Today, Ken splits his time between coastal real estate investing and consulting, providing advisory services to real estate investors at the intersection of happier people and great places.

Join the Habitat Team

We are always on the lookout for enthusiastic, plant-centric people who would like to help make our cities a little greener. If you’re interested in joining our team, please send your resume to hello@habitathorticulture.com.