Administrative and Finance
Keith Kaiser – Executive Director
Keith spent the past 27 years at Fellows Riverside Gardens, a 12-acre public display garden in Youngstown, Ohio. Prior to that, he worked at Kingwood Center Gardens and Cleveland Botanical Garden. He holds a bachelor of science degree in ornamental horticulture from The Ohio State University. He participates in the American Public Gardens Association, recently serving as chair for the Small Gardens Section and host of the Small Gardens Professional Development Symposium.
Tim Kapela – Finance Director
Tim comes to the Garden with over 30 years of financial experience and enjoys gardening and the outdoors making the Garden a natural fit for him. He is responsible for all of the Garden’s financial activities along with human resource responsibilities. He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Duquesne University and masters from Robert Morris University.
Debra Kindler – Accounting Manager
Debra is responsible for the accounting and human resource functions of the Garden. She has worked with startups, well-established corporations, and successful nonprofits, most recently Outreach Teen & Family Services and The Center for Theater Arts. She is a graduate of Chatham College holding a BA degree with honors in Business Administration and is a Phipps Master Gardener.
Beth Exton – Development Director
As Development Director, Beth works with the many friends and supporters of the Garden to achieve the mission of the organization. Beth brings fundraising experience from a variety of nonprofit organizations, including higher education, health care and social service organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in nonprofit management from Robert Morris University.
Kevin Fernando – Marketing Manager
Kevin graduated from the University of Pittsburgh where he studied architectural studies and art history. He has worked throughout Pittsburgh’s arts communities in the fields of marketing and development, and has a deep interest in connecting built and natural environments in creative and responsible ways. Kevin works as the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s Marketing Associate, helping to share the Garden as a resource for everyone to enjoy.
Jean Magazzu – Membership Manager
Jean has more than 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector in the areas of office management, fundraising and development with Allegheny Valley School, Outreach Teen & Family Services and Variety – The Children’s Charity. She has a BS in biology from Northern Arizona University.
Sarada Sangameswaran – Youth Programs Coordinator
Sarada has a Masters Degree in Biology (Ecology) and has worked at nature centers and botanic gardens, helping people discover nature through hands-on programs. She is committed to educating the public on the importance of preserving biodiversity and open space for future generations.
Brittany Andrews – Educational Programs Apprentice / Public Allies AmeriCorps Apprentice
Brittany is pursuing her B.S. in Natural Sciences with a concentration in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics at the University of Pittsburgh. She is working to build the educational programs and outreach for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden through a 10 month AmeriCorps program as a Pittsburgh Public Ally.
Event and Guest Relations
Colleen Chorney – Events and Guest Relations Director
Colleen Chorney is the newest member of management team. As a 25 year professional in the hospitality industry, she established her passion for events early on in her career while working in private city clubs. Her most recent roles as Director of Catering with the CulinArt Group at Carnegie Mellon and prior to as Event Sales Manager with Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Colleen played an integral role in noteworthy engagements such as the G-20 Summit, Jamie Oliver press Conference with One Young World, and Let’s Move Pittsburgh Conference.
Horticulture and Facilities
Susan Beck Myers – Horticulture and Facilities Director
Susan comes to the Garden with a passion for sustainability and conservation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degrees in ecology and education. Susan was curator of plant collections at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden before accepting additional responsibility as a director. She continues to document the Garden’s living plant collections.
AJ Ewing – Senior Horticulturist
AJ received his bachelors in botany and ecology from Juniata College, and his masters in landscape design and development from Chatham University. His interests are in ecological aesthetics and how to engage the public by interpreting the narrative landscape. He is helping grow the garden so his family and future generations can enjoy it.
Loreen Iezzi – Horticulturalist
Loreen graduated from Bidwell Training Center in Horticulture Technology. She recently worked as a personal gardener before joining the garden as a seasonal horticulturist. She joins us with a great desire to see the garden develop and grow.
Chris Massimino – Horticulturist
Chris graduated with a bachelors in ethnobotany from Frostburg State University in Maryland, the only school in the United States with such a major. He brings a unique interdisciplinary approach to botany and natural resource management. His interests include forestry, conservation, invasive species management, and preservation of medicinal perennials native to Appalachia.
Emily Sachs — Horticulturist
Prior to obtaining a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Chatham University, Emily earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She is a lifelong lover of the outdoors and is passionate about creating beauty with plants.