Team

Kip McConnell
Director

Since graduating from Auburn University's Ornamental Horticulture program in 1984, Kip McConnell has built a career in the horticulture industry, gathering experience in a range of areas including botanical garden management, retail merchandising, landscape design and installation, and nursery supply sales.

Kevin Northrop
Director of Operations

Robert (Buddy) E. Lee
Director of Plant Innovations

Buddy is an internationally known plant breeder and the creator of Encore Azalea®. He is one of the most respected plant breeders and horticulturalists in North America, with over 30 years’ experience in nursery management, breeding, propagation and new plant development. Buddy is past president of The Azalea Society of America, past president of the Louisiana Nurseryman’s Association Region III, and he is an active member of the International Plant Propagators Society and the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association.

Jerry Pittman
New Plant Development

Jerry's specialties include new plant breeding and selection, propagation and production, and breeder's rights and plant patent work. A graduate of Wofford College, who did horticulture post-graduate work at Auburn, Jerry has worked for more than 25 years at Flowerwood Nursery before joining the new plant development team at PDSI. 

Janet Sluis
Sunset Program Director

Janet is the curator of the Sunset Western Garden Collection®. Born into the sixth generation of a Dutch seed family, plants are in her DNA; at the age of six she was hybridizing ranunculus and growing kale in her garden. After studying Marketing, Horticulture and Agricultural Business, she spent twenty years in production and product development for wholesale plant nurseries in California. When she is not traveling in search of new plants, you can find her battling slugs in her Berkeley test garden.

Jack O'Donnell
Brand Business Development Specialist

Jack O’Donnell got his degree in horticulture and crop science and had spent the past 22 years in various fields within the industry. He currently serves as the Brand Development Specialist for Plant Development Services, the introducers of Encore® Azaleas, the Southern Living® Plant Collection, and the new Sunset Western Garden Collection®. Over the course of his career, Jack has been able to travel the country searching for new plants and serving as an industry resource for retailers, growers, designers, and consumers.  

Jennifer Kincaid
Royalty/Accounts

Lora Barnhill
Tags/POP Ordering, Liner Sales Coordinator

Aimee Coker
Public Relations, Garden Placements, Events

Since 1997, Aimee Coker has dedicated her powerful logistics and public relations skills to promoting and marketing Encore Azalea, the Southern Living Plant Collection and the Sunset Western Garden Collection. Aimee graduated from the College of Charleston and the Wedgeworth Leadership Institute for Agricultural and Natural Resources. She has served on the marketing and educational committees of the FNGLA and the educational committee of the SCNLA, and is a 15-year member of the GWA. Under Aimee’s supervision, PDSI’s plants find their way to botanical gardens across the country for viewing by consumers, and she personally ensures PDSI’s plant brands are top-of-mind for the powerful plant ambassadors including Garden Writers, Bloggers, Landscape Architects, Landscape Designers, Garden Clubs, and Master Gardeners.

Corrina S. Murray
Director of Marketing

Corrina has worked closely with PDSI for ten years, leading a design/marketing team in the development of marketing and retail support for PDSI’s brands. She contributes key experience gained in a decade of work in the marketing, design and publishing industries.