Board of Directors

About us

The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance seeks to inform, encourage, and support its members so that they can become highly successful professionals, better-engaged leaders, and more effective advocates.

Board of Directors

Mari Medrano Mejia (President)

Human Resources Director, CoCal Landscape (Denver, CO)
cocal.com

Mari is a first generation American whose career in the landscape industry started in 1998 when she took a summer job working on a field crew in CoCal’s Renovation Department. She loved working in the field, and as the owner's daughter found herself becoming an advocate for the crews, recognizing how hard the work was. Her life’s passion has always been her culture, and supporting the advancement of Latinos in the United States. She credits CoCal with providing an opportunity to continue pursuing her interests in immigration policy and she has developed significant expertise in the H-2B visa program for seasonal foreign workers that is so important to the landscape industry. "It’s so fulfilling to know that I am helping CoCal source much needed labor, and helping the H-2B workers and their families. I also believe in the mission of NHLA. I see Latinos in our industry as a power to be reckoned with, not just the lower end of the totem pole, but increasingly the managers, administrators, and owners that will drive this industry forward. The NHLA respects our culture and values, and works to increase our competencies as leaders and professionals. The NHLA also gives us a voice in Washington and across the country." Mari was named a 2017 Fellow of the Latino Leadership Institute.


Tim Martinez (President-elect)

Executive Vice President, LandCare LLC (San Diego, CA)
landcare.com

Tim was born and raised in Arizona and has worked his entire professional career in the green industry. His journey began in the golf industry where he spent 20 years working through various roles in maintenance and golf course management operations. The past 9 years have been on the commercial landscape side of the business where he supports the Western Division at LandCare. “I was introduced to the NHLA in 2018 and upon learning that two key goals of the mission statement were drawing Hispanics in greater numbers into the community of industry leaders and facilitating greater professionalism and transferrable business success among Hispanics in the industry, I knew that I humbly wanted to serve in whatever capacity I could.” Tim attributes much of his success to his adopting a servant leader role supporting the Hispanic workforce that makes this industry run. “If there is something I can do to give back, by helping others develop both personally and professionally, that is a passion that is deeply important to me. Using the NHLA as the instrument with which to accomplish these initiatives will benefit the industry in general.” Tim has demonstrated his commitment to NHLA by recently hosting four Train the Trainer in Spanish programs in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and San Diego where more than 60 Hispanic team members were inspired to grow as industry professionals and leaders.


bmPam-BerriosPam Berrios (Past President)

President, Pam Berrios Training & Consulting (pamberrios.com)
President, Alexandria Landscapes (alexandrialandscapes.com)

For the past 22 years, Pam has been the owner / operator of a successful full service landscaping company in Northern Virginia. During the past 7 years she has served as a Director, Secretary, Treasurer, President Elect and now President of the NHLA. “Landscaping allows you the opportunity to perform a makeover on nature. I love to realize the potential of client sites” says Pam who has the same passion for bringing out the best in
people. She loves helping others and has helped many start or grow their own successful businesses. She is a Bilingual Certified Trainer and Motivational Speaker and has traveled all over the country as an instructor of the acclaimed Train the Trainer Program en Español. Pam notes, “Employees are the engine that makes a company run and move forward, investing in them is investing in growth." Pam is a leader that is always willing to go the extra mile to realize people’s full potential. She is a role model in her community, a hard worker and a philanthropist. She participates in many volunteer projects throughout the year, and supports many causes she believes in, such as the work of the NHLA. Pam is 100% committed to the continued growth of the NHLA. She welcomes new members wholeheartedly and encourages them to participate in all events and collective efforts.


Iván Giraldo (Secretary)

President, Clean Scapes Landscaping (Austin, TX) cleanscapes.net

A 28-year veteran of the landscape Industry, Ivan founded Clean Scapes in 2005 and has since guided its growth, developing it into Central Texas’ premier commercial construction and maintenance landscape company. "I'm proud of my roots, but I have also learned a great deal from fully engaging American society," noted Ivan who believes it important that Hispanics in the industry not separate themselves from others, but rather take greater advantage of industry knowledge in every aspect of the business. "I like that the NHLA is dedicated to helping Hispanics become more knowledgeable and successful in the landscape industry and that it works closely with other industry associations to advance our collective interests." Ivan's passion includes promoting education in all forms, and sharing his business acumen and experience to help others succeed. This includes serving in a prison ministries program that teaches entrepreneurship skills to inmates so they can develop a plan for starting a business once they are released. "Through this program we help them understand what they need to consider, and learn, in order to be successful." Ivan has also made several trips to the Congo, as part of a team that teaches entrepreneurial skills to locals, as a way of improving the quality of life for themselves, their families and their villages. Ivan's work, professionally and personally, is guided by the values of fairness, honesty, hard work, and financial accountability." Ivan was recognized by the international accounting firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young) with an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award in the Service category in Central Texas.


 

Domenic ChiarellaDomenic Chiarella (Treasurer)

President, 7 of 7 Best Business & Life Strategies (Southbury, CT)
7of7best.com

Domenic’s entrepreneurial experience started when he joined a partnership in 1986, but his understanding that hard worked was a key to success, was ingrained early in life by his immigrant grandparents and strong Italian family. By 1996, his organization had grown from annual revenues of $750,000 to $15,000,000, and employed "more than 150 of the best men and women in the industry; more than 90% of whom were Hispanic and held positions at all levels from worker to foreman to supervisor to management." So, Domenic is well verse on what it takes to grow a top 5% company and help everyone advance and succeed. "Having grown up in an immigrant family gives me an appreciation for what other immigrants experience. My passion and goals are to help small business owners achieve the American Dream by sharing with them tools that can immediately improve their business and life."


Raúl Berrios (Director)

Principal Rulyscapes, Inc. (Centreville, VA)
rulyscapes.com

Raul founded Rulyscapes seven years ago after 25 years as a successful entrepreneur. His prior business ventures included a retail shop, a catering company, and an international trade business that was active in the U.S., in his native Bolivia, and in other South American countries. Raul is most proud of Rulyscapes which he claims is the perfect marriage of his skills as an entrepreneur and marketer with his passion for nature and the environment. “There’s such variety in the residential and commercial work that we do and so many functions to oversee that the days go by quickly. Life’s too short to not do what you love and that’s what we stress at Rulyscapes. We love the work we do and our goal is that our customers always love the results.”


Rafael_DiazRuben Díaz (Director)

Vice President, Diaz Group, LLC (Chicago, IL)
diazgroupllc.com

Ruben Diaz Jr has been part of the green industry since he was seven years old. For more than 20 years, he has cherished every moment that he has been able to work with his family. After completing his horticultural studies, Ruben, along with his older brother and father, founded Diaz Group LLC in the spring of 2007. Ruben has been the Vice president and businesses developer of the company ever since, helping guide its growth and developing the company into one of the leaders in snow removal and landscape maintenance in the Chicago metropolitan area. He is extremely proud of his Mexican heritage which he credits for instilling a strong family orientation along with the value of hard work and tenacity. Ruben also fully embraces the American value of attaining personal growth and achievement through working smart and continuously improving. He notes that both have been key to growing and improving his business. “My biggest passion is building people from the ground up and connecting business throughout the country and in Mexico to our company. We believe in the power of the community to create a better industry by helping other Hispanic companies succeed, and he welcomes opportunities for collaboration with industry peers. Ruben believes that Hispanics in the industry need to collaborate much more in order to grow and become more successful, and he sees engagement through the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance as an excellent way for Hispanics to do so.


Josh Denison (Director)

Vice President, Operations & HR, Denison Landscaping Inc (Fort Washington, MD)
denisonlandscaping.com

Josh is a native of Maryland and has grown up in a family landscaping business that was started by his father when Josh was 8 years old. "There was never a question about what career I'd pursue," reflected Josh, who added, "Becoming involved with the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance was just as easy a decision." Josh is one of the industry's leading proponents for the H-2B visa program which grants temporary visas to foreign workers to perform seasonal non-agricultural work, and he first gained an appreciation for the work of the NHLA through his time advocating for the H-2B program on Capitol Hill. "I not only joined, I became a Director and have enjoyed getting to know the other Board members and working with them to grow the NHLA. Everything the NHLA has done, it has realized at a very high level. This is true of its advocacy work, service projects, and trainings. Most recently, we sent two employees to Train the Trainer and the result exceeded all expectations." Josh believes that going forward the most successful companies in the landscape industry will be those that best embrace Hispanics, and encourage and support their professionalism and advancement, "NHLA membership helps Denison Landscaping do that."



Alex Romo (Director)

Owner, Green and Clean Landscaping (Greensboro, NC) gclandscaping.us

“It is an honor to have been elected to serve on the NHLA Board of Directors,” said Alex Romo. “I believe than my young and growing company shares many ideals in common with the NHLA and its mission statement. My employees and I have benefitted from NHLA programs, and if elected I would look forward to helping the NHLA help other Hispanic landscape professionals and member companies achieve greater professionalism and business success. I am particularly passionate about creating classes to help Hispanic landscape professionals become certified irrigation system installers and licensed landscape contractors, and obtain other professional licenses and certifications. We can certainly accomplish more if we learn from each other and the NHLA is making that possible.”


Ray Rueda (Director)

Director, Nature's Dream Landscape, Inc. (Pinecrest, FL) naturesdreamlandscape.com

Ray Rueda graduated from Industrial Engineering in his native Colombia and moved to South Florida in 1989 with his wife Victoria, who is an architect with a Masters in Landscape Architecture. Ray started his first company in 1990 from home with a desk and a computer, and grew it into a business with 50 employees and annual sales exceeding $16 million. In 2003, Ray and Victoria founded Nature's Dream Landscape, Inc. and in 2005 they established Nature's Dream Nursery, Inc. In 2016, they sold most of the nursery operations to focus on growing their landscape design/build and maintenance services operations. Ray has a background in finance, management, marketing, accounting, business and process automation, landscape installation/ maintenance and plant development/care. “We’ve been NHLA members for a few years and have been impressed with the association’s growth and achievements,” noted Ray, adding “As a Director, I look forward to working on educational and networking programs to bring our growing membership closer together and help our members become better informed and more successful.”


Mark Schmidt, PhD (Director)

Associate Director, Stakeholder Relations and Stewardship, Deere & Company (Moline, IL)
deere.com

 

 

 


Wilmer Ventura (Director)

Operations Manager, Atlanta West Branch, Yellowstone Landscape (Smyrna, GA) yellowstonelandscape.com

Originally from El Salvador, Wilmer credits his success to a strong work ethic, “That’s the way my father was.  He set the example.”  Today, Wilmer is the Operations Manager of a successful Yellowstone branch in suburban Atlanta.  “Back home I worked on a farm, and here I started on a crew; always eager to learn.  Every time I mastered a job, the company would ask me to take the next step.”  Wilmer’s commitment to excellence and his people skills have contributed to an impressive track record of client retention, sales growth, and improved profitability. Prior to his recent promotion to Operations Manager, Wilmer distinguished himself as a top producer of Enhancement Sales for the company.  He has also long been an effective trainer and trusted leader of branch’s employees, including the H-2B workers, “I’ve been working with the Hispanic workforce for so long that I know what their issues are, where they’re coming from, and what they’re looking for.  The NHLA shares my passion for helping Hispanics at every level become more successful.  As a Director, Wilmer's priority is to help the NHLA continue to grow as a learning and sharing community.  There is so much that we can do for each other, there is so much that we can learn from one another.”


bm5Ralph-EguesRalph Egües, Jr. (Executive Director)

Principal and Consultant, Cruz Fox LLC. (South Miami, FL)
cruzfox.com

Board support and member services are provided under contract through Cruz Fox, LLC.Prior to forming Cruz Fox in 2003, Ralph Egües served in executive management positions with a number of public and privately held companies, gaining a broad range of domestic and international management experience in operations, marketing, finance, consulting, regulatory compliance, training and human resources, and community and government relations. The firm provides organizational analysis and development services to client companies, educational institutions, and associations, as well as association management services.