Core Purpose: To serve and encourage property owners by creating and protecting landscape beauty and order.
1) Spirit of Encouragement
2) In All Things Professionalism
3) Dedication to Plant Health Knowledge
4) Everyone an "Owner"
Core Vision: To be the best run Residential Landscape Management firm in Manhattan
Brand Promise: Provide Landscape Management services with knowledgeable & professional staff, quality products, timely service, and encouraging communication—all at a fair and competitive price that yields tremendous value to our clients.
Randy James | Support Staff
Founder and President Randy James grew up just west of Lawrence, KS on 140 acres. Finding his way through the Flint Hills to Manhattan, he met wife Robyn at Kansas State University while pursuing his B.S. in Horticulture. After graduation, he took his first full time job at American Tree Care on Long Island, NY as a practicing arborist. Kansas wooed him back (yeah, there's a lot more trees in Kansas!) where he worked as Vice President of Landscape Management at Hermes Landscaping in Lenexa from 1988 until 1997 when he founded Growing Concerns. During that time, he and Robyn increased their family by three girls and numerous furry friends, but eventually returned to Manhattan in 1999. Randy fortified his position as the brains of the operation by earning his M.S. from KSU in Plant Pathology and ultimately publishing research in the International Journal of Arboriculture. He continues to enjoy identifying diseases and doing research, but works just enough in the field to keep the microscope from sticking permanently to his face. When not in the lab or up a tree, Randy likes to read non-fiction, play with the other James canine, Josie, or create reasons to be outside.
Susan Schnieders | Support Staff
Susan Schnieders (shneeeeders) has been in Client Care for Growing Concerns since 2004. Born in Lynn, MA, Susan grew up in Shawnee, KS and earned her B.A. in English from Kansas University. She married husband Pat in 1991, starting their family that same year (“honey, guess what?”) with their first son, Patrick. Two more boys followed, Nick and Daniel, as well as dogs, a cat, and three pet rats, although she would prefer goats and horses. Ending up in Manhattan, KS by providence (actually by a long-deceased Nova) in 2000, she worked 3 years in the insurance field before the James’ graciously ignored the KU/K-State rivalry to add her to the staff. Building relationships with clients and working with friends is her favorite part of the job. When not facilitating the lines of communication between the staff and clients, Susan enjoys gardening, canning, cooking, and having pun (pun intended).
Robyn James | Support Staff
Robyn James has logged more hours at Growing Concerns than anyone (except Randy) as the Office Manager since its beginning in 1997. Born a California girl, she traded beach sand for Great Bend, KS soil at an early age . After surviving both climate and culture shock, she attended Kansas State University, meeting Randy and earning not only her degree in Family and Consumer Economics, but her MRS. when she and Randy tied the knot in 1986. She eventually left a banking career (but not her love of 70's & 80's music) to become a multi-tasking extraordinaire, simultaneously managing the company's books, raising three now grown daughters (Katie, Kara, Kylie), and maintaining a mini Noah's ark of horses, cats, dogs, and 4H foster goats. Robyn loves working with everyone else's money, but off the job she enjoys horseback riding, dogfriend Frankie, online games (Spider Solitaire's a favorite!), and reading good books.
Andrew Swarts | Account Manager
Andrew Swarts started with Growing Concerns as a plant health technician in the fall of 2007 and has since taken over responsibilities as an Account Manager. Born in New Amsterdam, NY, he grew up in Junction City, KS with two brothers and four sisters. A true entrepreneur, Andrew started mowing and trimming lawns when he was ten, continuing to do so even while working as a car detailer and supervising a floor-maintenance crew at Fort Riley. He eventually earned his business degree from K-State in General Management and Entrepreneurship (say that 3 times fast!). He enjoys working outdoors and seeing how proper lawn and plant health care makes all the difference in having a beautiful yard. When not battling weeds (his natural enemy), Andrew likes to fish, camp, bowl, play not-so-great golf (his evaluation), and watch K-State and Buffalo Bills football.
Scott Cronin | Account Manager
Scott Cronin wins the prize for "longest (maybe wrongest) distance traveled" to end up with us in 2012. Born in Honolulu, (yes, Hawaii), the security of being landlocked proved far too attractive and he left the flowery islands for the Flint Hills, landing in Dwight, KS where he grew up. Scott graduated from Council Grove High School and earned honors at K-State while obtaining a BA in Political Science with a secondary major in International Studies. Always the hard worker (and he’s not that old), for the last 20 years he’s done everything from paperboy to page to painter – sometimes simultaneously! Now an Account Manager, his favorite part of the job is the appreciation of a satisfied client. While not using his skills for GC, he likes to fish and play golf, horseshoes, and guitar (but not usually at the same time).
Justin Brock joined the Growing Concerns team in 2014 after completing an impressive education at KSU, where he earned his B.S. in Agriculture (major in Horticulture, minor in Business, specializing in Landscape Management) and a master's degree in Horticulture (Woody Ornamentals). Growing up on a farm near Hunter, KS (2013 population: a crowded 57) ranks Justin as probably our most rurally-raised team member, but he's certainly well-traveled. In the summer of 2014, he completed an approximate 7,762 mile trip (that's just one way) from Manhattan to Nepal for a 7 week stay. While he has a wide variety of interests (fishing, hunting, cooking, piano, and old hymns sung in 4-part harmony), this bass/tenor singing arborist loves tree care on and off the job, as proven by the fact that his current pet is a Shantung Maple. Thankfully, its bark doesn't seem to bother the neighbors!