Speakers

John Ball

John is Professor of Forestry and Extension Forestry Specialist for South Dakota State University where he conducts courses in arboriculture and urban forestry as well as emergency medical technician and rock climbing courses.  John also serves as the campus arborist.  John has made countless appearances at the ISU Shade Tree Short Course, and remains one of our all-time most popular presenters.


Leslie Berckes

Leslie earned an M.A. in Public Policy, with an emphasis on environmental policy, and a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Northern Iowa. Leslie has a diverse background in environmental and conservation issues, having worked on programs dedicated to reducing solid waste, improving energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable building practices. Leslie directs all Trees Forever programs, and founded the Growing Futures program in 2018, which launched from her home base of Des Moines. She supervises the entire program staff across Iowa and Illinois.


Adam Berland

Adam is an Associate Professor of Geography at Ball State University. He uses emerging technologies to monitor changing patterns in the geographic distribution of urban trees. Adam holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Minnesota.


Dr. Kim D. Coder

Dr. Kim D. Coder — Professor of Tree Biology and Health Care, & University Hill Fellow for Distinguished Public Service and Outreach, at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, USA. Degrees from Iowa State University in forestry, tree biology, and forest ecology. Elected world President of the International Society of Arboriculture, and served as President of the Southern Chapter of ISA, the international Arboriculture Research & Education Academy (AREA), and the Georgia Urban Forest Council.  First person to receive four of ISA’s world awards – the Shigo, Harris, Lilly, and Merit awards. Granted the Arbor Day Foundation’s highest
award — the J. Sterling Morton award.


Robert J. Laverne

Robert is the Manager of Education and Training for the Davey Tree Expert Company. He helps the employees of Davey Tree obtain the training they need to advance their careers and to better assist our clients. He also teaches Urban Forestry at Michigan Technological University. R.J. received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Michigan, his forestry degree is from Michigan Technological University, and he earned a master’s degree in remote sensing from the University of Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. in urban studies and public affairs at Cleveland State University. R.J. is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and is a Registered Consulting Arborist through ASCA where he also serves on the Board of Directors. He is an instructor for the ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification course and for the ASCA Tree and Plant Appraiser Qualification course. When he is not caring for trees he’s trying to covert wood into furniture.


Lara Roman

Lara is a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Philadelphia Field Station. She studies the temporal dynamics of urban forests, including tree mortality and growth, canopy cover change, historical development of urban forests, species composition change, and citizen science monitoring. She has led or coauthored over 40 publications, including both academic journal articles and research summaries for professional arboriculture magazines. Her studies take a participatory research approach, collaborating with practitioners for study design and implementation. She received a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelors in Biology and Masters of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research has been funded by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, the TREE Fund, the Garden Club of America,


Stephanie Salasek

With energy and humor, Stephanie Salasek is all about measurable outcomes. She challenges her audiences to see it’s not practice that makes perfect, but practice that makes permanent. Her work focuses on emotional intelligence, presentation/professional presence, and customer service. With nearly 30 years of job experience in education, private industry, and health care, Stephanie understands that ideas and thoughts need to become plans and action for all her clients.
Stephanie is a native Iowan who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in speech for secondary education and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Iowa State University. Now she consults full time with her company Look Up Communications and serves both profit and non-profit businesses and organizations.


Kim Shearer

Kim is the tree and shrub breeder and manager of new plant development at Morton Arboretum (Lisle, IL).  As manager, Kim works directly with the Ornamental Growers Association of Northern Illinois and manages woody plant introductions for Chicagoland Grows.  Kim holds a B.S. degree in horticulture science from North Carolina State University and M.S. degree in horticulture science from Oregon State University.


Glen Stanosz

Glen is the Emeritus Professor of Tree and Forest Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist, is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified, and a practicing plant health consultant.  Glen studies the biology and management of tree diseases caused by fungi, and he has taught students in horticulture, landscape architecture, and professionals in forestry and the green industry.


Grant Thompson

Grant is an Assistant Professor in the ISU Department of Horticulture specializing in sustainable landscape management with specific focus on improving soil health and plant establishment in constructed environments. He earned dual bachelors’ degrees from ISU in horticulture and landscape architecture. He then went on to earn M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in horticulture from Cornell University while conducting research in urban ecology and biodiversity and ecosystem function. Before graduate school Grant practiced design and landscape architecture in central Iowa for about 5 years.


Dennis Todey

Dennis is the Director of the Midwest Climate Hub in Ames. He is a native Iowan with his BS and PhD from Iowa State in Meteorology and Agricultural Meteorology. He has spent two stints in South Dakota, first completing his MS at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and most recently as Associate Professor and State Climatologist for South Dakota at South Dakota State University. He is well known regionally as a speaker and media source on various climate issues and is the former president of the American Association of State Climatologists.


Dr. Todd P. West

Dr. Todd P. West is currently a Professor at North Dakota State University (NDSU) and director of the NDSU Woody Plant Improvement Program. The NDSU Woody Plant Improvement Program focuses on the development of new woody cultivars suited for USDA hardiness zone 3 and 4. This program has released 60 ornamental woody plants to the nursery industry many of which have been shown to be the hardiest selections of their type in the commercial nursery industry.