Meet The Team
Our Countryside team consists of some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the green industry. Our loyal staff has been providing outstanding customer service since 1960. Our passionate and dedicated staff strives to provide you with both the accurate advice and quality plants that will make your garden a success. Our main purpose is to beautify your home inside and out.
A twenty-five year veteran of the industry, Johanne Pieterse (JP) began his career working with his family’s cut rose greenhouse in Amstelveen. At the young age of 26, he purchased and managed his own expansive greenhouse operation which produced 10 million stems annually. In 2012, JP came to the U.S. to manage an 8-acre orchid facility producing 1.8 million Phalaenopsis orchids yearly. His successful career continued when he became the General Manager of a 85-acre facility at Colorpoint, the sixth largest commercial greenhouse operation in the United States. JP comes from strong family roots. He credits his parents for his success as they were most influential in demonstrating the value of hard work, respect for people, and the blessings of quality family time. Quite active in various industry associations, JP subscribes to an open style of communication, enjoys setting clear goals, and believes in a whole-team approach to create quality, successful projects.
Like JP, Brent planted roots early in the industry, at the tender age of 15 as an employee of a big box garden center. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and holds a degree in Horticulture. Brent began his career as an assistant grower at Sawyer Nursery. This quickly led to head grower positions with several leading companies including Costa Color, the second largest greenhouse growing in the U.S., and Four Star Greenhouse in Carleton, Michigan, home to the famed Proven Winner brand of annuals, perennials, and Color Choice shrubs. Brent is busy father of two teenage boys who love a variety of sports. When time permits, he enjoys his love of the outdoors with fishing and beekeeping. As a professional grower, he is excited to bring more home-grown plants to the Countryside line of products and help modernize some of the facilities at countryside and Garden Valley, Countryside’s growing facility in Woodstock.
Grace Karoluk has been a Landscape Designer with Countryside since 1999. Grace graduated with a Masters Degree in Plant Physiology from the Warminsko- Mazurski University in Poland and also holds a Landscape Design Degree from Triton College. Grace has gained knowledge about different aspects of landscaping holding various positions such as Plant Heath Specialist at Architerra in Vernon Hills, Maintenance Supervisor at Acres Group, Wauconda, and Nursery Sale Representative with Dundee Landscape Garden Center in Carpentersville. As the Landscape Manager at Countryside, Grace uses her understanding of plants, how they interact with each other and the environment along with her passion for working with people, to create unique outdoor living spaces. Grace oversees our Landscape Designers and Installation Crews with her expertise in project management, and installation of natural stone and pavers patios, retaining walls and walkways. Grace lives in Crystal Lake with her husband and their two dogs. Their daughter is pursuing her Masters degree at UIC while working and living in Chicago.
Karen “KC” Campney is an Illinois Certified Nursery Professional (ICN Pro) in both Woody and Perennial Plants. She has worked at Countryside since 1988 providing our customers with expert advice on design and care of trees and shrubs for their landscape. “The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the photos that customers bring in from their yards and gardens, showing what Countryside has helped them to create,” said KC. Her favorite part of gardening is watching the development of small plants to maturity. “There is nothing like seeing the flower or fruit that comes from a seed or a tree as it grows.” Karen is an avid fan of Garfield, the Cat, and boasts a large collection of Garfield memorabilia. She and her husband enjoy attending toy shows to add to their huge collection of antique and modern toys and toy farm implements.
Marcy Cronin has been the ‘voice’ of Countryside for more than 22 years. Using her communication and marketing skills, she works with managers and staff to promote Countryside’s gorgeous plants and gardening products to our customers. Marcy enjoys meeting new people and through our memberships with local Chambers of Commerce, she is also able to promote Countryside to the community. When not at Countryside, Marcy enjoys time with her husband, three daughters and several pets. She earned her Catechist Certification through the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2006 and has been teaching Catechism classes ever since. Marcy serves on the board for Wauconda School District 118 Band Boosters and volunteers on the Arts & Environment Committee at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Wauconda.
Growing up at Countryside as a little girl, I started pulling wagons and folding boxes for customers to carry out their plants. I’ve been a cashier, did sales and displays, and at holidays I worked lighting Christmas trees and helped with Christmas installations. So you can say I have done a little of everything. Growing up in the industry has given me the experience I needed for my current position as purchasing manager. I love traveling to all the industry trade shows to see the new, exciting products for the coming year. As purchasing manger, I need to keep up with current trends. Most importantly I monitor the inventory levels and keep our shelves stocked with new and exciting products for our customers to enjoy. I have recently become a new mommy so in my free time I enjoy spending time with my son Nico. To feel the love of a child and watch them do everything for the first time is the most precious thing that has ever happened to me. My entire outlook on life has changed thanks to my little guy.
Barb Kindinger holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Kansas State University and has been a Landscape Designer of Countryside for over 40 years. She mixes a passion for design with a love of plants to help create and install for her clients everything from front foundation plantings to patios and water features. Barb is a member in good standing with the Landscape Design Association (LDA) and the Midwest Ecological Landscape Association (MELA). When not in her own garden, Barb enjoys biking and traveling with her family.
Since 2007, Kerri Arthur has been the Garden Center Manager for Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery & Garden Center. She enjoys being a part of the buying team for both the Garden Center and the Christmas Shop. Kerri started her retail career as a teenager working near her home at the Lake Cook Farm Supply in Des Plaines. The store, along with gardening supplies, was known for selling Kids Osh-Kosh clothes and Lee jeans for adults. Kerri worked with her mother and sister in the clothing department. Kerri then worked for Lord & Taylor Department Store for years until she resumed working with her family again, this time in Lake Forest. Container gardening is Kerri’s favorite part of gardening. “I love creating plant arrangements in beautiful pottery,” she said. When not gardening, Kerri enjoys golfing and spending time with her husband and family. Kerri has a passion for animals and rescue organizations.
Michael Fedoran, Greenhouse Manager, has been with Countryside since 2003 creating some of the most beautiful planters you have ever seen. Michael enjoys working outdoors, with both vegetable and flower gardens. He has earned his Associates Degree in landscape design and shows his passion with every container he plants. “I start many of my plants for my home garden from seed or from cuttings from the previous year.” Michael stays active bicycling and hiking and enjoys watching sports! Born in Chicago, he is a die-hard Cubs and Bears fan. Step into his ‘office’ (the greenhouse potting bench) in spring and you are sure to hear the baseball game over the radio! Looking for Michael to create your custom planters or have an annual or vegetable question feel free to email him at [email protected].