Our staff is comprised of professionally trained, well rounded, employees who share our company goals and philosophy. We hold degrees in Landscape Architecture, Horticulture, Biology, and Grounds Management. Our collaborative team approach to projects allows us to draw from the strengths of our diverse backgrounds to deliver innovative solutions.
We strive to empower and uplift those who work on our team through ongoing training and education.
LIZA LIGHTFOOT – PRESIDENT & LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT (WI LISC. #203)
Liza brings over three decades in the green industry direct to your doorstep. Raised internationally, Liza’s focus is on sustainable landscapes blending responsible living with broad aesthetic influence. From English Formal to Japanese Gardens and everything in between, Liza designs with the influence of the surrounding landscape and buildings, with an unparalleled knowledge of site-appropriate plants. No matter your style or budget, Liza will be an ambassador to your new outdoor living space.
BECKY KIELSTRUP – GENERAL MANAGER & HORTICULTURALIST
Becky has been in the industry for more than 25 years thus bringing to us a vast knowledge of landscape maintenance. She has an extreme passion for plants and turf and treats everyone’s as if it were her own. Customers love Becky’s conversational approach to determining their needs and dreams. From turf-grasses to native prairies, let Becky help sculpt a comfortable outdoor space for you!
DAN SCHMITT – LANDSCAPE MANAGER & LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT (WI LISC. #693)
Dan holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His professional interests include innovative stormwater management and outdoor children’s spaces. Dan’s academic background is bolstered by years of on-the-ground experience, as far away as Honduras and as close as Miller Park.
TIM STENZEL – LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT (WI LISC. #696, IL LISC. #157001482)
Tim has a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY. After graduate school Tim spent several years working in and around Chicago and the North Shore communities. He is a registered Landscape Architect and enjoys working on projects of all scales and budgets. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, traveling and spending time with his wife and two boys (ideally while hiking or traveling).
TONY SLUSSER – LANDSCAPE DESIGNER
Tony has a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture with a certificate in Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During college he worked as an intern at the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, where he enjoyed learning the fundamentals of garden design, plant communities and aesthetic pruning. He enjoys producing designs which incorporate edible and pollinator friendly plantings wherever appropriate while meeting the maintenance and aesthetic desires of his clients. During his free time he likes to experiment with cooking and to help friends and family with their gardening.
ANGIE SWAN – MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR & SALES
Angie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture
and Crop & Soil Science from UW-Platteville. She has been in maintenance for over 15 years, Angie especially enjoys designing four season annual displays and bringing properties back to their former beauty. In her spare time, Angie loves gardening at her own home while teaching her son about growing veggies, camping with friends and spending time with her family (including her black lab).
MICHAEL GILBERT – NURSERY TECHNICIAN
Michael received his Bachelor of Science Natural Resources degree in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He spent four summers working at the UW Arboretum Longenecker Gardens. In the academic year 2010-2011, while his wife was teaching in Florence, he became familiar with Renaissance gardens and volunteered at the “Giardino Torrigiani”, the largest privately owned garden in Europe situated within city boundaries. At this time he was able to indulge another of his interests: the tomato’s journey from the New to the Old World by studying Italian Still Life paintings from seventeeth through early nineteenth century. In his free time he enjoys playing tennis and volunteers with his wife for Angel’s Wish, a non-profit animal rescue organization.
THOMAS SKRZYPEK – NURSERY TECHNICIAN
REBECCA KUBEHL – OFFICE ASSISTANT
JOANNA FENNER – YARD FOREMAN
NATHAN SMITH – LANDSCAPE FOREMAN
RYAN NASS – MAINTENANCE LEAD FOREMAN
Avant is very proud to be a dog-friendly office. On any given day, you may have the pleasure of meeting: Riley, Nora, Juniper, Odin, Cleo, Pippa or Dracena