Barry Schneider, President
Barry is a partner in one of the most successful landscape architecture and construction firms in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. His long interest in landscaping began during his childhood in Easton, PA, when he discovered a talent for growing plants. While studying landscape design and contracting in Florida, Barry started his own residential design/build landscape company. Wanting more challenges and excitement, Barry relocated to Atlanta to join one of the largest commercial landscaping companies in the Southeast. While there, Barry was given the opportunity to move to the Washington, DC area and head a start-up design/build residential branch. Barry grew this operation into a successful and profitable organization.
In 2002, armed with 25 years of experience which included his collective wisdom from his first solo venture and years with some of the biggest landscape contractors in the country, Barry knew he was ready to go out on his own again. Partnering with Howard Cohen, Registered Landscape Architect, they founded Surrounds. “Our goal at Surrounds,” Barry says, “is to turn all of our clients into raving fans.” Barry oversees the business end of Surrounds but still keeps in touch with his landscaping roots by regularly visiting the various job sites to ensure the work is completed with the high-quality standard that is the Surrounds signature.
Barry has three daughters and is an avid sailor and snowboarder.
Howard Cohen, Vice President, Professional Landscape Architect (PLA)
In 2002, Howard joined forces with Barry to co-found Surrounds. Howard says he came into his career somewhat by accident, but it was the best thing that ever happened to him. He grew up in the Baltimore suburbs and thought he would like to be an architect. Halfway through college, he concluded that although he loved the idea of architecture and buildings, his true calling was landscape architecture. As a child, he grew cacti, tended a vegetable garden, pruned plants for people, and had a pretty good ability to draw. “I was a landscaper,” he said, “but I just didn’t realize it.” Howard graduated with honors in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia and returned to Baltimore. He met Barry at a Landscape Contractors Association (LCA) meeting and took the opportunity to show off his portfolio of drawings. Barry hired Howard on the spot and the two have been working together ever since.
Kevin O’Connor, Sales Manager
Kevin O’Connor, our sales manager, earned his degree in horticulture and landscape design at Virginia Tech. He began his career in 1993 with an ambitious goal: to start his own business. But he knew he would have to spend a few years learning a few things before he could do that.
For his first job out of college, Kevin took a position as a crew supervisor with Scapes, a large commercial landscaping company—where, as it happened, Barry Schneider was the branch manager.
After 18 months there he was offered a management position with Wheats, a residential landscaping company. He decided to pursue the opportunity to advance his career and broaden his industry experience.
Over the next two years, Kevin had learned enough to set off on his own. He teamed up with a buddy from his previous employer and in 1996 started his own residential landscaping company with a focus on high quality horticulturally correct services.
Kevin eventually bought out his partner and continued to grow the business steadily. Twenty years later, he was approached with an offer to sell his business. He decided to accept the offer and pursue other avenues.
After enjoying an extended period of “me” time and a lot of golf, he hit the job market again and was quickly offered the opportunity to start the outdoor living division for a large business-to-business sales company while procuring the exclusive rights to an innovative louvered roof product line.
This is where Barry Schneider re-enters the story.
The two would run into each other from time to time at trade shows and they’d talk. One day, Kevin received a message on LinkedIn—an invitation from Barry to have lunch. Kevin accepts thinking he’s going to pitch Barry on his flagship product line, but Barry ends up pitching him (and selling him) on Surrounds.
Kevin now presides over all company sales and provides sales guidance to Surrounds landscape architects as well as the sales of contracts for the Garden Management division.
Chad Talton, Professional Landscape Architect (PLA)
It was a great day for Surrounds when Chad became part of the team. After a few meetings, it was evident that Chad had the ability and high style to create the award-winning quality outdoor environments that is the Surrounds signature. Since joining Surrounds in the Fall of 2006, Chad has quickly built a reputation for himself with his artistic skills that enable him to transfer a client’s dream into reality. From the drafting table to field supervision, Chad maintains a focus on the integrity and details of design in order to fulfill the singular vision of Surrounds environments. Chad is a Registered Professional Landscape Architect in both Virginia and Maryland.
Corey Dyer, Assistant Landscape Architect
Corey Dyer has always been driven by curiosity and a passionate interest in the outdoors. As a young man he enjoyed camping and hiking, in part because he was fascinated by the way natural environments develop. “Why does this tree grow here but not there? What makes this all work together?” He says there is a “why” to everything and he is intent on discovering it. This inquisitive sensibility about natural environments evolved into a desire to understand the way designed environments are arranged and put together to achieve a natural effect.
After completing his degree in landscape architecture at The Ohio State University, Corey took a position with Larosa Landscape, a Milwaukee landscape design-build firm. There, he says he learned a lot about how native perennials are adapted to the soil and growing season in the upper Midwest. He also found that residential landscape design suited him well because it encouraged creativity, and the interaction with clients was more personal. After two years, he decided to return East so he could experience working in a different climate zone. A colleague who had worked at Surrounds urged him to apply there and made an introduction for him.
In his role as an assistant landscape architect, Corey works primarily with senior architect Howard Cohen. He attends client meetings, drafts design concepts, develops planting plans, and assists with materials selections and pricing. He likes the environment at Surrounds because he feels he is part of a true team effort. Even though people are at different levels of experience and expertise, there is a lot of camaraderie. There is an easy give and take when bouncing ideas around that he says makes coming to work each day something he looks forward to.
When not creating planting plans or drafting design ideas Corey loves opening a vegan cookbook and trying something new. He loves cooking and sharing food with others. He indulges a good habit of swimming laps at the YMCA on weekday mornings. And his passion for hiking and camping endures. He has pitched his tent in many national forests including sites in the Florida Keys, Michigan’s upper peninsula, the battlefield at Gettysburg.
Aaron Goetz, Assistant Landscape Architect
Aaron received his landscape architecture degree from West Virginia University. Graduating in the class of 2009, he shared misfortune with many who entered the job market in the middle of the Great Recession and attendant housing market crash. Despite that, in his first several years out of school, he secured positions at a prominent landscape design firm and then a design build firm. But companies were struggling in the sluggish economy. The job opportunities came and went.
Being practical to his core, Aaron pushed the pause button on his dream and took jobs that were outside of his chosen field. He returned to school to train as a physical therapist and later worked at a clinic in Woodbridge. And yet, his burning desire to find a place in the landscape design industry never waned. He kept up his portfolio and maintained his design skills. When Surrounds called him for an interview he was ready.
Speaking of his position at Surrounds, Aarons says “I realize this is what I am meant to do. It feels great to be using my degree to do something that I’m good at. And it’s been great to find a company that was really up front with me, that wants me to succeed and go as far as I can.”
For inspiration Aaron immerses himself in a dizzying variety of interests including music, outdoors sports and literature. He is a huge fan of Jack Kerouac for his free spirited ability to go with creative impulse. He is active outdoors in all seasons hiking, biking, climbing, snowboarding, and surfing. He plays multiple instruments and has a mind-bendingly diverse music collection. He says that all of these activities and interests eventually find a way into his work as a designer.
Matt Stowell, Assistant Landscape Architect
Matt Stowell began his career with Kimley-Horn, a multi-disciplinary firm in Baltimore. There, Matt served as a production manager in the newly formed landscape architecture group led by the well-known landscape architect Scott Scarfone. A few years later, he moved to LSG Landscape Architecture where he managed commercial and municipal projects from design through construction.
Matt says that Surrounds came to mind when he thought of moving into the residential design-build realm. He felt that the scale of commercial projects didn’t leave him space to add a personal touch. “With big complex office building renovations, public parks, multi-family housing, and mixed use projects, there just isn’t enough time or budget to create a design that both satisfies client interests and the design quality I was searching for.” He finds that the process of design build facilitates collaboration among all the participants. The team approach makes it possible to refine ideas and turn them into buildable designs that will make people happy. That team spirit and focus on client happiness is what sold him on Surrounds.
Matt received the B.A. in landscape architecture from Penn State in 2017. He is half way through to becoming a licensed Professional Landscape Architect (PLA) having passed two of the four exams. In addition, he has completed project management training through Professional Services Management Journal (PSMJ) and is an American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) member.
Outside of work he is a huge fan of live music. He follows the band Phish around the country as well as the Grateful Dead. (He was raised by Dead Heads). He also is a fisherman, mountain biker, and a home gardener.
Garden Management Associates
Thomas Strange, Operations Manager
Growing up in a rural part of the eastern shore of Maryland, Thomas was introduced to horticulture at an early age. He spent his summers working on tree and shrub farms where he learned how to care for plants from propagation to maturity. Using his base in horticulture and education in business management, Thomas went to work for a nationally recognized home builder. He started as an assistant supervisor and continued upward to become the Mid-Atlantic regional manager. He oversaw employees in the landscape maintenance and design-build departments producing a volume of $11M per year. In time, however, the mass production approach to landscaping, although very well done, began to feel less exciting to him.
Thomas admits that he and others at his company used to scour the Surrounds website for ideas when they installed a new property. When he saw there was a department head position open, he leapt. He says, “What drew me to Surrounds was the calibre of work they are known for. You are working with top architects and maintaining award winning projects. It’s the best of the best.”
In his spare time, Thomas likes to be out in nature–preferably on water canoeing, kayaking, or sailing.
Chris Marshall, Garden Management Dept Manager
Chris Marshall holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Christopher Newport University in Newport News. He earned the Master of Science in Agronomy from Virginia Tech with a specialization in sports turf and golf course management.
Chris began his career in the green industry as an undergraduate at CNU where he worked summers in the grounds keeping department on the golf course maintenance crew. Upon graduation, he took his first position as an account manager for a commercial landscaping company, then moved on to a production manager role at a well-known Northern Virginia residential landscaping firm. Four years later, he started a lawn care company. He built a customer base of 350 properties in Maryland and Northern Virginia. Eight years into it, he received an offer to sell his company. So, he started looking around for what he might do next. He successfully pursued a job opportunity at Surrounds, sold his company, and joined our team.
Chris was attracted to Surrounds in part because he saw their willingness to invest in the right people with the right background and support them on their professional path. One of his long term objectives for his role at Surrounds is to contribute to building a good company culture where all work together from their strengths and share expertise and knowledge to benefit the clients.
Outside of work, Chris says he used to love playing golf. But that changed when the twins were born. Now he loves playing with his twins.
Edward Irvin, Irrigation & Lighting Specialist
Irvin ( he goes by his last name) has worked on machinery since he was a teenager. He is one of those gifted types who can pretty much troubleshoot and fix anything. “If it is mechanical or electrical, he says, it pretty much makes sense to me.”
He got his initial training in automotive mechanics at Job Corps at the Department of Labor and spent six years of his professional life as an automotive mechanic. Since then, he has invested in continuing education in multiple trades. He says that he collects certifications like some people collect trading cards. In the process he has broadened his skill set by learning on the job, taking positions as a carpenter, welder, auto body repair tech, and PLC technician (wiring and programming of logic controllers on industrial machinery).
Before joining Surrounds, Irvin worked for two years at a large commercial landscape company as an irrigation technician. He couldn’t get used to the impersonal feeling he got from working in a corporate environment at a large company. Surrounds is the opposite of that for him. The first person he met was the company president who took a genuine interest in him during the interview. He took the job.
Joe Giglio, Production Manager
Joe Giglio is the Garden Management department production manager. He oversees the operations of the maintenance and enhancement crews. In his daily briefing, he reviews tasks, confirms job locations, and advises personnel of client requests and special work orders. He makes sure that the crews have the right tools and materials they need before they set out for the day. Joe is a VNLA (Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association) certified horticulturist and certified IPM (integrated pest management) applicator.
Gardening and landscaping have always been a passionate hobby for Joe. Although he spent considerable time in the manufacturing and construction sectors, his desire to make his living outdoors eventually won out. He built his professional profile in the Charlottesville area gaining experience in both residential and commercial landscaping. Before coming to Surrounds Joe was Head Gardener & Job Manager for J.W. Townsend, a premier high-end firm in Charlottesville. Joe is a perfectionist. “I live to make people happy”, he says, “and I love working with my hands. It makes me feel good about myself”.
When he isn’t working, Joe loves spending time traveling, hiking, kayaking, and camping with his family and miniature Schnauzer Skye.
Molly Haney, Garden Manager
Molly Haney brings 30 years of experience and a wealth of applied knowledge to her role at Surrounds. When she was a child, she began learning from her mother who was an estate gardener. Her mom brought her to work during summer and assigned her small tasks to complete each day. At age13, Molly was put in charge of the rose garden. That’s where it started for her.
So far, the career highlight for Molly is the 11 years she served as head gardener of Bellevue Estate in Western Albemarle County Virginia. Overseeing this one of a kind 15 acre property, also known as Wavertree Hall, Molly was responsible for the care of a variety of formal gardens including a 2 acre French parterre garden. In addition to the formal gardens, the property possessed beautiful wooded and naturalized areas where Molly reintroduced native plants and wildflowers, and protected a wide variety of centuries old hardwood and coniferous trees.
She brings her sense of being a guardian of the land to the landscapes she manages at Surrounds. She knows from experience as an estate manager that taking a natural approach to garden care is more labor intensive, but also that it works. And she finds that most people are open to trying it once she’s explained the natural way of plant cycles and the particular kind of care needed for longevity and sustainable beauty.
John McLeod, Garden Manager
In addition to 19 years of experience in commercial and residential landscaping, John brings a wealth of horticultural expertise to his role as a garden manager. His educational background features a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Clemson University and many “trainer” level professional certifications including certified arborist (International Society of Arboriculture) and certified horticulturist (Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association). While at Clemson, he gained experience in specialty garden design and maintenance at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens.
Having spent many years at a corporate commercial landscaping company, John found what he was looking for at Surrounds: a smaller company where he could get to know all his coworkers. He especially appreciates getting back into residential landscaping: “The clients are just passionate about what we do. Whereas with commercial property, the owners didn’t have the appreciation — it wasn’t personal.” He maintains regular communication with his clients to answer their questions and ensure they are happy with the care they are receiving. He regularly walks properties to make sure all tasks have been completed and nothing missed. And he looks for opportunities to improve each property.
John lives in Sterling with his wife who home schools his son and also serves as a tutor for an English language program called VIP Kids. John loves hiking and backpacking. He often brings his son with him to his favorite local spots Balls Bluff and Bear’s Den. He looks forward to the day his son will be old enough to go on a more ambitious backpacking trip.
Landscape Construction Associates
Francisco Arana, Production Manager
Francisco grew up in Northern Virginia. Upon graduating High School, Francisco started working for a foundation repair contractor and worked there for 11 years before joining the Surrounds Team. With his previous employer, Francisco started as a laborer, worked in different departments of the business, and ultimately became the Production Manager in 2012. Francisco believes the idea that you can never settle, and should constantly look for ways to improve yourself and the team you are leading. It would be this mentality that landed Francisco at Surrounds where he leads and assists our Job Managers and Construction Crews on their daily and upcoming projects. Francisco truly loves working with homeowners and focusing on the high level of customer service they deserve. In his free time, Francisco enjoys traveling and attending concerts and is an avid Washington Capitals fan.
Andrew Childs, Job Manager
During his 2nd semester at Penn State, Andrew took a History of Architecture course that stirred his interest in landscaping. He was inspired by the different design styles and environments that designers have created throughout history. Andrew himself wanted to be a part of history. However, rather than draw the idea, he wanted to be able to dig in and actually build it. Andrew recalls, “I knew I didn’t want to be indoors sitting at a desk.” He graduated from Penn State in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Contracting, with a focus on the design/build aspect of the industry. He then began his career at Surrounds as a foreman-in-training and is now a Job Manager. Andrew is a Certified Landscape Technician (CLT). Andrew enjoys the challenge of getting the grading just right when laying patio surfaces, especially around pools. It is a tricky process of digging, layering, leveling, and setting pavers that must be perfectly installed throughout each step. He says his schooling gave him the necessary foundation in theory and industry standards. Yet, through the experience of doing the work season after season, he has gained the ability to troubleshoot and solve problems in real-time. Outside of work, Andrew enjoys spending time with his girlfriend in their newly purchased home.
Brian Rehak, Job Manager
Brian started out with Surrounds as a construction technician in 2018. A year later, after completing Surrounds’ rigorous management training program, he was promoted to job manager with the construction team. His first jobs were small in scope but he quickly graduated to managing projects with six-figure budgets and four to six months of construction time.
At the outset of each project, Brian meets with the landscape architect to make sure he understands the vision they are trying to achieve, then communicates that vision to his crew and takes responsibility for its fulfillment. His objective is to make the process roll out as smoothly and predictably as possible so he arrives at a successful project with a happy customer at the end.
Prior to arriving at Surrounds, Brian had been a field supervisor with a foundation repair company. The construction knowledge and skills he acquired there over a ten year period were readily transferable to running a landscape construction crew. He says the difference between these two worlds is vast. Nobody gets excited about having to fix their foundation. But the work he does for Surrounds customers brings a level of aesthetic pleasure and gratification unlike any other job he’s done: “It’s amazing to see a big muddy mess be turned into a beautiful environment that the people are going to enjoy for the rest of their lives. It’s something where you go, Wow, guys, look what we did!”
David Mazur, Job Manager
David Mazur brings nearly thirty years of experience in the landscape industry to his role at Surrounds.
His entry into landscaping wasn’t exactly planned but, in retrospect it seems his vocation was part of some master plan that was revealed to him shortly after he graduated Virginia Tech with a degree in Sociology. He took that degree and moved to Nantucket Island. At the time, he says there were five types of jobs available to those who were not independently wealthy: tending bar, waiting tables, building houses, painting houses—or landscaping. David chose landscaping. He started out tending estate sized gardens in the French and English style which he describes as “amazing, award winning, tour bus stop gardens.” Each year, he would learn as much as he could, then move up to the next skills level. He eventually took a position with Sconset Gardener where he served as a project manager.
When his wife ‘to be’ received a job offer she couldn’t refuse, they moved to McLean, Virginia. The move turned out very well for David, too. He found his dream job at the Washington DC office of Zen Associates, a high profile design firm, that had just finished building the Peace Garden at the United Nations in New York. He ran the DC office for 18 of his 20 years there. When the firm announced closure of the DC wing, David sought a company that was doing interesting design work and sizable projects. That led him to Surrounds.
David is happiest when he’s working on anything artistic, and particularly loves the aesthetic detail that goes into stone work. His ultimate goal is to ensure his clients are completely satisfied, and that their new space brings them a sense of peace and joy.
David enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, two dogs, one cat (Mr. Meow), and fifteen koi fish (he built his own koi pond) at their home in Fairfax. He enjoys international travel and “watching his family have fun and enjoy life!”
Administrative Support Staff
Louanne Sigler, Office Manager
When asked about her attitude towards work and professionalism, Louanne does not hesitate to credit her dad as being her most important influence. She recalls, “All of my business aspirations came from him. He did not have a college degree and he was very successful. Just watching how he prepared for a sales meeting gave me the idea of the kind of professional person I wanted to be.” Louanne is a graduate of Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia and a Delta Sigma Phi. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. Louanne spent ten years working as a production coordinator in different industries. Her position at Surrounds draws upon her business background. Here she is assists with finance, accounting, and human resources. Looking back over her career she says, “I realize how much I care about the companies I work for. It is really important to enjoy who you work with. I think that makes a huge difference.” In her free time, Louanne enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. She especially enjoys cooking and baking for her friends and family.
Mike Flickinger, Controller
Mike graduated from the University of South Carolina where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Management. Before joining Surrounds, Mike worked in contract accounting in the rent & royalty department of a global food service management company. He also served a year in AmeriCorps as the volunteer coordinator at Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Montgomery County. Mike sees accounting as a process of reconstructing data to make it easy for a client or employer to understand and make use of that information. Mike spends much of his time outdoors. Some of his favorite activities are hiking, playing with his dog, and golfing. He has also developed an interest in woodworking and building. In fact, one of the reasons he joined Surrounds is because he liked the idea of working for a business that is actively engaged in creating, building, and enhancing the environment.