The Ruppert Nurseries Team
The Ruppert Nurseries team brings many years of combined industry expertise to every task they undertake with the goal of ensuring that we are employing the best practices and the most up-to-date knowledge in the industry. The company employs team members with expertise in urban forestry, agriculture, landscape contracting and entomology. Additionally, several team members have Certified Professional Horticulturist (CPH) and Certified Arborist certifications.
Craig Ruppert, CEO
As the company’s founder and chief executive, Craig has been instrumental in developing the company’s mission, culture and values. His experience and involvement with outside board memberships in other industries has allowed him to bring innovative ideas and management approaches to Ruppert Nurseries. He has been with Ruppert since its inception in 1976.
Sophie Felts, President
As the company’s founder and chief executive, Craig has been instrumental in developing the company’s mission, culture and values. His experience and involvement with outside board memberships in other industries has allowed him to bring innovative ideas and management approaches to Ruppert Nurseries. Craig’s current responsibilities include strategic planning, financial management and personnel development. He has been with Ruppert since its inception in 1976. Craig and his wife Patty have 4 grown children and are grandparents to 8 grandchildren. An avid runner, it is not unusual to see Craig many mornings running the roads of the nursery.
Kelly Lewis, General Manager
Kelly’s responsibilities include oversight of the day to day operations and long term planning activities for Ruppert Nurseries. With a particular emphasis on team building and personnel growth and development. Kelly started with Ruppert Nurseries in 1994. He is a Certified Professional Horticulturalist and has a Texas A&M Certificate of applied business management. Kelly is married with a college age son and three labs at home and will often have his black lab Cole in the truck while at the farm. He is an avid hunter and fisherman and experimental amateur at-home chef.
Ronda Roemmelt Sneider, Mid Atlantic Sales Rep.
She is responsible for maintaining customer relations, sales and marketing initiatives in the Mid-Atlantic. Ronda has been with Ruppert since 2013 and has a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science from Pennsylvania State University with a minor in Horticulture. Ronda is a Certified Professional Horticulturalist and an ISA Certified Arborist. When not at Ruppert Nurseries, Ronda can usually be found on the sidelines watching her kids play their various sports. In her remaining “free time” she enjoys spending time on the water boating and paddle boarding. A cook with enough skills to be dangerous, she and her husband Adam, enjoy pairing food and wine, entertaining friends and traveling.
Jim Davenport, New England Sales Representative
Jim has been involved with the landscape industry for over 25 years and has over 20 years of experience specifically in nursery sales. He has been servicing clients in the New England market for over 15 years and with Ruppert Nurseries since 2008. He holds a bachelors degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Temple University and BS in Accounting from Clarion University of PA. Jim resides in Elkton, MD with his wife Gretchen, daughter AnnMarie and dog Murphy. Jim enjoys spending time with his family and friends, golf and gardening. He especially loves to watch his daughter play lacrosse and is an avid Philadelphia sports enthusiast.
Ashley Miles, Administrate Production Assistant
Ashley has been with Ruppert since 2013 and she has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Ashley is a Certified Professional Horticulturalist with a professional background in Urban Forestry and Organic Farming. As the Admin Production Assistant, Ashley assists with inventory management and sales reporting, in addition to social media and marketing. In her free time, Ashley enjoys tending to her wildflower, herb and vegetable gardens as well as spending time with her animals and family.
Nick Graves, Nursery Maintenance Manager
Nick oversees production and farm maintenance at Ruppert Nurseries. He has been with Ruppert since 2006 and has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Landscape Horticulture with a minor in Agricultural Business and Entomology. Nick is also a Certified Professional Horticulturist. An avid Washington Capitals fan and woodworker, Nick can often be found creating some pretty amazing custom furniture pieces in his woodshop.
Alex Solano, Farm Production Supervisor
Alex has been with Ruppert Nurseries since 2005. Alex is a skilled machine operator, especially when it comes to tree spades! Over his many years with Ruppert, Alex has worked his way up from being a Crewman to a Farm Production Supervisor. Alex leads our digging crew and often assists with loading. Alex is fluent is both Spanish and English. When Alex is not at work, he enjoys relaxing and spending time with his family and his two boys.
Wilfredys Hernandez Cruz, Farm Production Supervisor
Wilfredys has been with Ruppert Nurseries since 2002. Wilfredys started as a Crewman and has worked his way up to being a Farm Production Supervisor. Wilfredys is often one of the first people to welcome you when you arrive to pick-up your trees. He is fluent in both English and Spanish. Wilfredys leads our loading crew and he is also skilled at pruning our trees. When he is not at work, Wilfredys likes to spend time with his family.
James Guernieri- Head Grower
In James’ role as the Grower, he is responsible for liner planting, pruning, irrigation, turf maintenance, and managing our cover crops which are planted throughout the farm. James says the favorite parts of his job are the variety each day provides as well as his time he gets to spend working with the nursery K-9 crew. James is a graduate of Salisbury University with a degree in Environmental Science with minors in Biology and Sustainable Agriculture. In his spare time, James likes to spend time with his friends and family and enjoys outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing.
Andrew Janosek- Grower
Andrew, better known as AJ, is one of our growers and has been with Ruppert Nurseries since 2021. His main responsibilities consist on tree moving, spraying, IPM, and irrigation. He is also the safety representative for the company’s safety program. AJ has been part of the green industry for most of his life and has work in golf course management and other local tree farms. AJ is an avid musician and spends most of his free time playing the banjo for several local bands. He also has two goats and a dog to take care of at home.
Casey Custodio, Controller
Casey is responsible for all things related to finances and accounting. Casey has been with Ruppert since 2016. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness Management and Rural Development with a minor in Environmental Economics from West Virginia University. Casey is also the safety representative for the company’s safety program. A recent new homeowner, Casey enjoys spending her free time with her friends and family, as well as her two crazy dogs Roxanne and Gunner.
Kelly Garcia, In-House Sales and Administration
Kelly has been with Ruppert since 2022 and is responsible for in-house sales. She helps our local customers with orders, tagging trips and pictures. Kelly is originally from Mexico and fluent in Spanish, which allows her to facilitate communication between our Latinx crew and the rest of the team. She has previous experience with marketing and photography in the agricultural business. In her spare time, she likes to be outdoors and stay active. You can often find her bouldering at the local gym, practicing yoga at the park, or hanging out with her pups Pepper and Jack.
Tyler Anderson, Tree Moving Senior Supervisor
In his role as senior supervisor, Tyler leads up a team which specializes in on-site large tree transplanting and installation. Tyler has experience in craning, boxing and transplanting big trees. Tyler started with Ruppert Nurseries in 2012 and has worked his way up from crewman to Senior Supervisor. He started his secondary education in fire science where he traveled the country participating in numerous course and lectures in this discipline before changing his field of study to Arboriculture where he countries to study today. Tyler is an ISA Certified Arborist. Tyler and his wife Becky recently bought a new home in Clear Spring, MD. Tyler is an avid backcountry hunter and conservationist.
Howie Burrill – Operations Manager, Tree Moving Division
In his role as operations manager, Howie oversees the day to day production, staffing and scheduling needs of the tree moving division. Howie comes to Ruppert Nurseries with a wealth of knowledge in moving large trees. Prior to Ruppert Nurseries, Howie owned his own landscape business for many years and even dabbled a bit in the mortgage business. He is a former LCA board member and chaired the CLT program when it came to MD. Howie is a father to two grown children, a son and a daughter. He enjoys spending time on the water. We affectionately refer to Howie as our resident Pessimist as he enjoys playing the frequent role of devil’s advocate.
Shelly Mingone – Office Manager/Bookkeeper
Shelly has been an accounts payable manager for 22 years and worked in accounting for four years before starting a Ruppert nurseries. Her current role as office manager / bookkeeper includes accounts payable, accounts receivables, and making sure we have everything we need to keep our office running smoothly. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and my new role as grandmother to my first grandson.
Ronnie Wright- Shop Manager
Ronnie has been the fleet/shop manager at Ruppert nurseries since 2010. In his role, he is responsible for the repair and maintenance of all our equipment and vehicles. He is also responsible for buying and selling fleet items. Ingenuity is one of our Ruppert values; as such, Ronnie’s favorite part of his job is fabricating new or modifying old pieces of equipment to suit our current needs. When not at work, Ronnie enjoys spending time with his family. Ronnie especially enjoys his role as grandfather. He has 4 grandchildren; 1 granddaughter and 3 grandsons.
Nate Petrohilos – Resident Mechanic
Nate’s position as resident mechanic consists on maintaining, fabricating, and repairing company vehicles and equipment. He is our in-house problem solver for anything mechanical and has been with Ruppert Nurseries since 2020. Nate started learning about cars and machines as a hobby that rapidly developed into a career. While not at work, Nate enjoys tinkering with cars and spending time with his family.