Our Team

Our team draws on different perspectives, expertise, and backstories to deliver designs that truly transform. Much like a well-planned garden-scape, we think diversity just makes everything more interesting. We are designers, technicians, and horticulturists, but most importantly, we are all gardeners.

Rick Sisson

Actual Job: Owner, Sales, Customer Relations

Fantasy Job: Head gardener at Palace Versailles in Versailles, France

Favorite Tool: Avant Gardener visor

Personality: Typical Libra, balancing act is between self and others

Backstory: Passion for horticulture started in the 7th grade when I put together two planters for my mom on Mother’s Day. At the time of high school graduation I had numerous annual and perennial beds, a rose garden, containers, and hanging baskets in my family’s yard. Graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in Environmental Science. The decision to start Avant Gardener came about while traveling to Colorado for Christmas with my family in December 2004.

When I’m not working, you will find me: At the gym or piddling round in my yard.

Catchphrase: “Just make it happen!”

What I love about my job: Watching the growth, both personally and professionally, of all my team members.

Unknown Talent: I can play a mean game of basketball

Favorite Word: “What up, G?”

Phil Schintzius

Actual Job: Controller

Fantasy Job: Actor, movie star

Favorite Tool: My car

Personality: Jovial, joker

Backstory: Moved to Atlanta in 1988 fresh out of the military and began working as a part-time bookkeeper with a company in the construction industry. I was with my previous company for 21 years. I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers, helping manage records, and analyzing projects to ensure growth and success.

When I’m not working, you will find me: Working out, playing volleyball, tennis, and traveling.

Catchphrase: “Front desk angel!”

What I love about my job: Numbers! Numbers! Numbers! Compiling financial data to present to the team in order to make logical business decisions and allow everyone to work smarter not harder!

Unknown Talent: Handyman

Favorite Word: “Mother-Father!”

Jay Streck

Actual Job: Landscape Enhancement

Fantasy Job: Formula One driver

Favorite Tool: My mouth

Personality: Helpful, goofy

Backstory: 2 1/2 years into an engineering degree at Virginia Tech, I decided to take a horticulture class about indoor plants. After an amazing discussion with one of my professors – and after meeting the legions of incredible people at VT who love and enjoy horticulture – I knew this was the field for me. In the many years I’ve worked in this business, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from the best landscapers and landscape suppliers in the industry. That’s an experience that keeps growing strong here at Avant Gardener.

When I’m not working, you will find me: Somewhere at an event with my kids.

Catchphrase: “I’ll just sit on the cooler!!!”

What I love about my job: Being part of a great and creative team

Unknown Talent: Being annoying, but yet so lovable

Favorite Word: “Son of a Gun”

Neri Martinez

Actual Job: Landscape Installation Manager

Fantasy Job: Secret Service agent

Favorite Tool: Footwork

Personality: Outgoing, witty

Backstory: Originally from San Diego CA, I moved to Atlanta in 2010. I’m a full-time father, and I’ve been lucky in work too; fortunate enough to work hand in hand with awesome, passionate people that help me grow as a person in every way.

When I’m not working, you will find me: Being a full-time daddy!

Catchphrase: “If you’re not first, you’re last.”

What I love about my job: The opportunity to learn from my peers

Unknown Talent: Athletics

Favorite Word: “Joga Bonito”

Shaun Hann

Actual Job: Grounds Manager

Fantasy Job: Sketch comedy writer

Favorite Tool: Socket wrench

Personality: Funny, fun, and outgoing

Backstory: was a projectionist for 6 years before I got into landscaping – a natural change since I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and loved challenging myself with new and exciting vocations.

When I’m not working, you will find me: Hanging out with friends and family, having fun.

Catchphrase: “Oh my goodness gracious”

What I love about my job: I am never doing the same thing every day. It constantly changes.

Unknown Talent: Great card player

Favorite Word: “Crispy”

Rachel Miles

Actual Job: Flower Maintenance Manager

Fantasy Job: Run my own agriculture farm

Favorite Tool: Hand pruner

Personality: Quiet person but when you get to know me, loud and outgoing

Backstory: When I was 18, I read a book about horticulture that inspired me – so much so that I became an herbalist. It also spurred me to pursue some agriculture internships, which led me to West Georgia Tech in 2014 to pursue a degree in horticulture. Five years later, I started working for Avant Gardner to put my hard-earned skills to work.

When I’m not working, you will find me: At the gym, camping in the woods, or in my veggie garden at home.

What I love about my job: Seeing the progress of the flower beds I tend to from start to finish. I also treat my work as an art piece.

Unknown Talent: Play the piano and guitar

Favorite Word: “Blooming and amazing”