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meet our team

Our team is made up of  dedicated professionals committed to delivering on the AmericanHort Mission.

Leadership Team

AmericanHort Staff Member Ken Fisher

Ken Fisher

President & Chief Executive Officer

Phone: 614.487.1117
AmericanHort Staff Member Craig Regelbrugge

Craig Regelbrugge

Senior Vice President Public Policy & Government Relations

Phone: 202.789.8111
AmericanHort Staff Member Mary Beth Cowardin

Mary Beth Cowardin

Vice President Membership & Strategic Engagement

Phone: 614.884.1138
AmericanHort Staff Member Karen Limbert

Karen Limbert, CPA

Vice President & Controller

Phone: 614.884.1151

Advocacy

Works to represent the industry with policy makers, government officials, and partner organizations to ensure the green industry’s voice is represented in public policy, government affairs and industry research work. The team administers the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), AmericanHort’s education foundation.

AmericanHort Staff Member Craig Regelbrugge

Craig Regelbrugge

Senior Vice President Public Policy & Government Relations

Phone: 202.789.8111
AmericanHort Staff Member Tal Coley

Tal Coley

Director of Government Affairs

Phone: 202.789.8112

AmericanHort Staff Member Jennifer Gray

Jennifer Gray

Research Programs Administrator

Phone: 614.884.1155

Michael Martin Headshot

Michael Martin

Science, Research, & Regulation Programs Director

Educational Programming

Collaborates with industry members, academics, and experts to provide high-quality educational programming that meets members’ needs across all industry segments.

AmericanHort Staff Member Meagan Nace

Meagan Nace

Program Development Specialist

Phone: 614.884.1140

Events

Works with strategic business partners in managing Cultivate and other association events by handling booth sales, event planning, housing, and registration contracts, as well as managing and developing sponsorship relationships.

AmericanHort Favicon

Cindy Lee

Exhibit and Sponsorship Sales Manager

Phone: 614.884.1145

Membership & Strategic Engagement

Manages member communications, association and event marketing, Connect newsletters, social media, website, and more.

AmericanHort Staff Member Mary Beth Cowardin

Mary Beth Cowardin

Vice President Membership & Strategic Engagement

Phone: 614.884.1138
AmericanHort Staff Member Katie Gustafson

Katie Gustafson

Marketing Communications Specialist

Phone: 614.884.1154

AmericanHort Staff Member Nicolas Leas

Nicolas Leas

Digital Web Manager

Phone: 614.884.1139

AmericanHort Staff Member Celina Young

Celina Young

Marketing Communications Specialist

Phone: 614.884.1209

Operational Support

Maintains our member database, financial reporting, budgeting, and accounting, as well as handles accounts receivable and accounts payable, and routine administrative tasks.

AmericanHort Staff Member Karen Limbert

Karen Limbert, CPA

Vice President & Controller

Phone: 614.884.1151

AmericanHort Staff Member Amanda Holton

Amanda Holton

Information Specialist

Phone: 614.884.1153

AmericanHort Staff Member Carol Baker

Carol Baker

Office Administrator & Executive Assistant

Phone: 614.884.1203

If you would like to reach out to any of our team members, click here to email us

AmericanHort Staff Member Ken Fisher

KEN FISHER

President & Chief Executive Officer

Prior to joining AmericanHort in May 2016 as AmericanHort President and CEO, Ken spent 20 years in senior management positions leading industrial and consumer products companies including Managing Director of a Lone Star Funds portfolio company, a leading private equity firm; President and CEO of Elmer’s Products, an international consumer products company; Vice President of Poet-Ethanol Products, LLC the largest marketer of ethanol in North America; Senior Vice President of The Coleman Company, a global outdoor consumer products company; and various senior leadership positions within Koch Industries, Inc., a large multinational corporation.

Ken holds an MBA from the W. Frank Barton School of Business and a BS in Chemistry from Wichita State University.

AmericanHort Staff Member Craig Regelbrugge

CRAIG J. REGELBRUGGE

Senior Vice President Public Policy & Government Relations

Craig Regelbrugge serves as senior vice president at AmericanHort, where he leads the staff team responsible for public policy, industry advocacy, and research programs. He serves in national leadership positions representing the horticulture industry on matters relating to the labor force, immigration reform, plant health and production, and trade. With over 30 years of service as an association professional representing horticulture, Craig is well-known in Washington and across the country, within the horticulture industry itself, and among policymakers and regulators. 

Craig received his undergraduate degree in horticulture from Virginia Tech, and he worked in the retail nursery industry and served as a county horticultural extension agent in Virginia before joining the American Nursery & Landscape Association in December 1989. 

He is a frequent presenter, author, and spokesperson on topics relating to the workforce and immigration, production, trade, and environmental issues impacting farmers and small businesses in and serving the horticulture industry. Craig is an avid traveler, naturalist, and gardener of vegetables, berries, and…oysters! 

AmericanHort Staff Member Mary Beth Cowardin

MARY BETH COWARDIN

Vice President Membership & Strategic Engagement

Mary Beth Cowardin leads the AmericanHort marketing and communications team to help build the organization’s brand, engage current members in the organization’s work and expand the association’s membership base.

The majority of Mary Beth’s professional career has been spent working in consumer brand marketing roles. With over 25 years of experience and a track record for growing leading brands, she knows the power of a brand and the importance of a brand fulfilling its promise to the consumer. Prior to joining AmericanHort Mary Beth was the executive director of a non-profit organization, LeadershipUA, whose mission is to identify, educate and inspire emerging leaders to become involved in their community. Mary Beth has experience as director of marketing for the Marzetti® brand of produce dressings, dips, croutons and other grocery products. She was also director of marketing at Elmer’s Products, Inc. where she led the marketing efforts for the flagship Elmer’s® stationery glue business, as well as lead marketing for the Krazy Glue® brand. She led efforts to resume both Elmer’s and Krazy Glue consumer advertising after more than a decade of the brand being in the dark. Experienced at working on seasonal business, Mary Beth started her consumer brand marketing career at S.C. Johnson & Sons, Inc. where she worked on the OFF!® brand of personal repellents and the fantastik® brand of all-purpose cleaners.

Mary Beth worked for nearly a decade with The Ohio Department of Agriculture where as chief of the Division of Markets, she led the team that promoted Ohio made food and agricultural products across the U.S. and worldwide through the OHIO PROUD® grassroots marketing program and various international trade services.

Mary Beth is a two-time graduate of The Ohio State University holding both a Bachelor of Arts in French and finance, and an MBA in marketing and international business. Mary Beth is an avid sports enthusiast, she plays tennis and cycles. She is co-chair of a grassroots peloton, Girls with Gears, that has raised over $1MM to fund cancer research during their eleven seasons participating in Pelotonia. She lives in Columbus with her husband Gregg and their pups, Klio and Luna. She’s a proud stepmom of 3 adult children.

AmericanHort Staff Member Karen Limbert

KAREN LIMBERT, CPA

Vice President & Controller

Karen Limbert is vice president and controller for AmericanHort, joining the team in 2016. Her main duties are financial reporting, budgeting, accounting, HR activities, and IT. Karen loves solving problems and helping others do the same. She has a knack for improving and streamlining processes and is a self-proclaimed Excel geek—she knows her way around a spreadsheet!

Prior to coming to AmericanHort Karen held controller and treasurer rolls for more than 10 years with financial services firms working in the areas of insurance, retirement planning, and collections, as well as for nonprofit organizations. Karen enjoys working in such a beautiful industry and enjoys interacting with our members. Karen holds her MBA and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Dayton and is a Dayton Flyers fan.

A native of Columbus, Karen lives in Hilliard with her husband Andy and three sons, Charlie, Max, and Ollie. She spends a lot of time at her boys’ school attending sporting events and boy scout activities. She and her family love to swim, boat, fish, catch and release toads and anything else that gets the crew outside and dirty.

AmericanHort Staff Member Tal Coley

TAL COLEY

Director of Government Affairs

Tal Coley is the director of government affairs for AmericanHort out of Washington, D.C., where he conducts outreach on industry objectives and external affairs initiatives. He joined AmericanHort in July of 2017 and has been involved with the organization’s advocacy efforts through a variety of programs to include the Impact Washington Summit legislative conference, state association partnerships, and policy.

Prior to AmericanHort, Tal led congressional outreach efforts for Concerned Veterans for America. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force, where he served as a Russian Cryptologic Linguist at Ft. Meade, Md.

He holds a Master’s Degree in International Administration from the University of Miami along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of North Florida. He is also a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

A native of Jacksonville, Fl, Coley currently resides in Crofton, Md, with his wife, Victoria, and their two children.

AmericanHort Staff Member Jennifer Gray

JENNIFER GRAY

Research Programs Administrator

Jennifer Gray leads all organizational activities of the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), AmericanHort’s research and scholarship foundation, as research programs administrator. In this role, she assesses and manages the research needs and provides strategic leadership to HRI and AmericanHort for HRI’s multi-faceted research program. In addition to leading the HRI Board of Trustees, Jennifer oversees communication, outreach, and fundraising activities for HRI.

Prior to joining AmericanHort in 2013, Jennifer worked for the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association in multiple management roles, including Executive Director. She is passionate about horticulture and thrives on helping the industry grow.

In addition to her HRI duties, Jennifer serves as the liaison to the AmericanHort nursery community connectors, where she assists in building programs and connections for nursery growers. As part of the Industry Advocacy & Research Team, she works with AmericanHort Lighthouse Program Partners. Jennifer also leads AmericanHort’s efforts to beautify Cultivate through the planning and creation of display gardens.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Jennifer graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in English and is an award-winning magazine designer and publisher and an internationally published author. Jennifer and her family enjoy a busy life based in Central Ohio.

Michael Martin Headshot

MICHAEL MARTIN

Horticultural Research Institute
Science, Research, and Regulatory Programs Director

Michael Martin serves as science, research, and regulatory programs director at AmericanHort. 

Michael received his Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and a Master’s of Agricultural Education from Clemson University. He received his Doctorate in Horticulture from the University of Georgia. He has owned a native plant nursery, worked as a horticultural laboratory technician, and most recently worked in horticultural lighting sales and consulting.  

He has led numerous seminars and workshops on topics related to native plants in the landscape, native plant production, and plant propagation. Michael is a native plant enthusiast, with a deep-seated love for all things Amsonia. He and his wife Renee live in Athens, GA. 

AmericanHort Staff Member Meagan Nace

MEAGAN NACE

Program Development Specialist

Meagan Nace joined the AmericanHort education team in 2017 after 10+ years of working in horticulture research as a biologist at Scotts Miracle Gro where she collaborated with cross-functional teams in developing new products and innovative solutions for consumers for the Miracle-Gro® and Ortho® brands.

At AmericanHort, Meagan works to find creative and innovative solutions to delivering industry best practices through educational programming. She is responsible for the program development, implementation, and evaluation of educational programs and activities that meet the identified needs of members. This also includes building relationships with association members, managed partners, industry media, various vendors, member communities, volunteers, speakers and other event guests, industry research and academic communities and related organizations. She works closely with our exhibits and sponsorship sales team to develop business opportunities for both AmericanHort and sponsor companies. Meagan also serves a staff liaison with the Interior plantscape and Garden Retail Community Connector groups.

Meagan graduated with a bachelor’s in science degree in Agricultural Education from the Ohio State University. She resides 45 minutes north-west of Columbus with her husband and four children on her family’s third generation farm. In her spare time, you can find her chasing children, horses, and dogs, gardening, baling hay, and giving rides to and from the fields.

AmericanHort Staff Member Sherry Johnson

SHERRY L. JOHNSON, CEM, CMP

Vice President – Knowledge & Business Advancement

Sherry Johnson, CEM, CMP is Vice President of Knowledge & Business Advancement for AmericanHort, the national association for the green industry where she has worked in various roles for more than a decade. Today she leads the team responsible for the execution of events from Cultivate, the industry’s premier trade show and conference that attracts more than 10,000 attendees from across the globe and generates millions of dollars in revenue, to smaller more intimate events, to this year’s online virtual events. Sherry has extensive event planning experience, holding several certifications, including her Certified Event Management (CEM) certification from the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), and her Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) credentials from the Convention Industry Council.

Sherry values interactions with others. She is known for her collaboration and relationship building skills and is very successful at negotiating sponsorships for AmericanHort programs, as well as managing relationships with critical business partners such as the City of Columbus, Experience Columbus, and the Greater Columbus Convention Center, to name a few. Sherry is both an innovative forward thinker and a result driven organizer of the details. Her work has taken her all over the world to visit international garden centers as she serves on the International Garden Center Association (IGCA) board of directors. She also serves on the IAEE mid-south region board.

Sherry enjoys baking, gardening, and volunteering. She helps coach baseball, and coordinates school fundraisers to support extra-curricular activities like cheerleading and football. She is a graduate of Ohio University and lives in South Vienna, Ohio with her husband and son.

AmericanHort Staff Member Katie Gustafson

KATIE GUSTAFSON​

Marketing Communications Specialist

Katie Gustafson joined the AmericanHort team in June 2018 as a marketing communication specialist with primary responsibilities for content creation and graphic design of association publications like Connect, and our email marketing campaigns. She also leads marketing efforts for our educational webinars and events such as the DIG Conference, Finished Plant Conference, and Landscape Operations Tour to name a few. A #plantmom, Katie knew from a young age she wanted to be a part of the green industry and loves that her job at AmericanHort allows her to meet members from across the globe and from all segments of the industry.

Katie is a proud alumna of Iowa State University and prior to joining our team, Katie worked in a summer sales and marketing role at Midwest Groundcovers, as well as having played a pivotal role in her family business diversification efforts in launching Bear Grains, a specialty grain supplier to local bakeries, restaurants, and distilleries. Katie enjoys travelling and has studied abroad in Australia and Scotland.

Being community minded, Katie is a certified Columbus Tourism Ambassador and member of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) and the Perennial Plant Association (PPA). When not taking care of one of her nearly 100 houseplants, you might find her nose in a book, or spending time with her family and friends.

AmericanHort Staff Member Nicolas Leas

NICOLAS LEAS

Digital Web Manager

Nick Leas is the digital web manager for AmericanHort, joining the team in late 2019. He is responsible for the development and maintenance work on all the AmericanHort digital web assets and ensuring the information our members need is easy to find online. Prior to joining AmericanHort, Nick worked in several roles building his web development, web design, user interface and experience knowledge, as well as managing online content and promotions, all allowing him to be successful in digitally marketing small businesses. Working at iHeart Radio, Locallogy, and USA Booster Shop have all shaped Nick’s entrepreneurial spirit by working in a variety of industries and with different business owners; it also influenced his desire to do meaningful work with a team that has like-minded goals.

Nick was born in Belgium and lived in Switzerland for more than a decade before his family moved to Dublin, OH in 1996. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in International Relations/Diplomacy and French. Nick is an avid CrossFit athlete, and a bourbon connoisseur. He and his fiancé Ashley are the be married in May 2021 and are proud foster parents of two dogs through the local Pilot Dog program that raises seeing eye dogs for the blind, with the first puppy they raised, Oliver, now part of the Columbus Police therapy dog unit.

AmericanHort Staff Member Celina Young

CELINA YOUNG

Marketing Communications Specialist

Celina Young has been a Marketing Communications Specialist with AmericanHort since May 2019. Her primarily responsibilities include planning and executing marketing and communications materials for Cultivate, as well as other events like the Retail Tour. Celina also manages AmericanHort’s social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, in addition to overseeing the association’s trade media agreements and editorial calendar.

An Iowa native, Celina grew up in agriculture, participating in 4-H and FFA, as well as working on two local dairy farms. This passion led her to Iowa State University, where she graduated in 2017 with a double major in Agricultural Business and Public Service & Administration in Agriculture. Celina is a proud member of several regional and national organizations, including the Ohio Farm Bureau, Agriculture Future of America Alliance, National Agri-Marketing Association, and Iowa State University Curtiss League.

In her spare time, Celina enjoys traveling, photography, working outside with her plants, reading, and game nights with friends.

AmericanHort Staff Member Amanda Holton

AMANDA HOLTON

Information Specialist

Amanda Holton joined AmericanHort in 2017 as our information specialist. Her duties include database maintenance, event registration, customer service, membership reporting and helping with membership onboarding and renewal processes, as well as various other administrative tasks. She is affectionately known as “The Queen of our YM database and excel guru”. Amanda enjoys all aspects of her job, particularly time spent mining data for information that helps us better serve our membership. She likes learning about our industry and getting to know our members better.

A native of Grandview Heights, OH, Amanda has her Bachelor of Arts in early childhood education and a minor in psychology from Muskingum University. Prior to joining our team, she was assistant director for the Goddard School of Reynoldsburg, a leader in the childcare franchise segment. Sparked by her love for sewing and crafting, she once worked at Joann’s, and she is a master of the Cricut®, the popular computer-controlled cutting machine for home crafters. When she is not cooking in her Instant Pot®, or playing with her three cats, Peanut, Buzz, and Kimchi, you might find Amanda and her daughter Emma camping in their pop-up camper in a state park in Ohio or Michigan.

AmericanHort Staff Member Carol Baker

CAROL BAKER

Office Administrator & Executive Assistant

Carol Baker is the office administrator and executive assistant for AmericanHort and likely one of the friendly voices you hear when you call our office. She started with the organization when it was the Ohio Florist Association (OFA) and has been part of the team for more than a decade. She manages the administrative office at Cultivate and enjoys interacting with our industry members. Carol has held previous administration and finance roles in a variety of businesses including legal services, construction, and manufacturing sectors. She grew up in rural northeast Ohio and moved to Columbus after high school. She enjoys growing indoor plants, traveling, ballroom dancing and pet sitting. Carol’s biggest thrill has been to be part of a formula 4 racing pit crew and riding an aerobatic plane and sky diving.