Frances Brandon, President, served in a management capacity and as a special projects administrator overseeing multimillion dollar statewide projects during her 30 years of service with the State of California. She is a certified facilitator and mediator, and has earned multiple certificates in Management and Horticulture. She is a Master Gardener certified by that organization to train “Sustainable Landscaping” and “Edible Landscaping” to members and the general public. Ms. Brandon holds a business license for landscape design and consulting and has become an historian of large public parks and gardens in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and South America.

Dan Koellen, Vice President, is a veteran of more than 25 years in the high technology and semiconductor industries.  Dan is an active angel investor in the Sacramento region where he has mentored and invested in several startup companies.  Dan is a board member of The Hacker Lab, a director and secretary of Eppie’s Wellness Foundation, a past chair of the Sacramento Angels, and a former board member and chair of the McClellan Technology Incubator.  Dan is also the Chair of the Board of Visitors for the Astronomy Department and an advisor to the Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics program; both at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Most importantly, in his free time, Dan is an avid gardener.

Dick Pryor, Treasurer, worked for the California Department of Transportation as an Office Manager responsible for the preparation of plans and specifications for landscape designs and erosion control of major highway projects. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University. Mr. Pryor has actively served on various local and state professional boards and is a past president of the California Council of Landscape Architects.

Deborah Thomas-Smith, J.D., Secretary, whose work includes Insurance Claim consultation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Connecticut College and a Juris Doctorate in Law from the American College of Law.  She has also taught Political Science at the college level and has a strong interest in building a botanical garden that educates children and youth.

Ms. Smith is certified in landscape design, conflict management and mediation, and writes grant proposals. She has also worked in the insurance industry managing commercial liability civil litigation, including construction defect and environmental claims includes consultation on community garden design and implementing sustainable practices.

Ron Allison, Founding Director, and past president of the Board for 6 years, is a landscape architect specializing in custom residential landscape design. During his tenure with California’s Department of State Parks and Recreation and Department of Transportation, his work included interpretive and master planning for historical state parks and landscape design. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly, Pomona. Mr. Allison has served on the Sierra Chapter Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the California Landscape Contractors Association, and is a past member of the Environmental Council of Sacramento and a past affiliate member of the Building Industry Association of Northern California.

Michael McKechnie, Director,  is a Transitional Management Executive and previously served as Executive Director of the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society for 11 years.

Before working at San Francisco’s Botanical Garden Society, Michael had a long career developing programs that involve professionals and the public working together.  Trained as a City Planner with an interest in historic preservation and with an undergraduate degree in history, Michael has had considerable experience working with architects, engineers, educators, and designers to remake and interpret public places of historical significance.

Michael holds a BA from DePauw University, a Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University, and an MBA from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH.

Nancy Wise-Hutton, Director and Web Site Manager, co-founded NetWorks Events, an event romotion and fundraising business. She has vast experience in media communication, event coordination and advertising, and has been a guest lecturer on visual design for Ashland University and the University of Akron. She has won multiple honors in media communications and advertising and served as Assistant Director of the Porterville Chamber of Commerce and co-chaired their successful bid to be named All America City.

Roger Taylor, DDS, Director is co-founder/director/vice chairman of the board for the American River Bank, American River Bankshares, and American River Bankshares Foundation. He is also director of Community Vision Inc. in El Dorado Hills. Dr. Taylor graduated from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry and founded the Orchard Dental Group in Fair Oaks, CA, from which he is now retired.


ASLA Liaison

Dalton LaVoie, Liaison to American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), brings considerable experience in the development of large private & public sector projects. Dalton is LEED AP credentialed.

He  has professional experience on a broad range of public and private sector projects including streetscapes, park master plans and renovations, recreational facilities, transportation planning documents, transportation enhancements, public infrastructure facilities, bridges, healthcare facilities, master planned communities, waterfront planning and design, mixed-use developments and environmental impact analysis.