MEET OUR FANTASTIC PEOPLE
Jim and Cathy Piala
President and Vice President
Jim & Cathy Piala first opened the doors at Piala’s Nursery & Gardenshop, Inc. in April of 1978. Prior to opening the business, Jim had received a BS degree from Loyola University in Chicago, along with a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. During high school and college Jim worked for multiple nurseries and garden shops in Illinois. After a stint with the Army’s 8th Special Forces in Central America and leaving the Army as a Captain, Jim worked for four and a half years at a consulting firm, and then worked in Environmental Studies with Wisconsin Electric. Jim and Cathy wanted to share their mutual enjoyment of the outdoors and a desire to enhance the environment.
Construction General Manager, Landscape Designer
Quinn prepared himself for working in the design/build part of Piala’s Nursery by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the Ohio State University, one of the most rigorous in the country. While in school, Quinn frequently flew home on weekends to work with his clients. Since he graduated in 2004, Quinn has won multiple awards in 2005 and 2006. Quinn is very capable in all aspects of landscape architecture, from locating a home or business to best advantage on a property and establishing a proper grading plan, to selecting and installing trees, shrubs, evergreens and flowers, when the building is completed.
Amanda has been with Piala’s since 2004, when she began her internship as a designer. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Landscape Architecture, she joined the design team full time and has helped the company grow. Her passion for the visual arts and the outdoors are her inspiration, and her career has allowed her to pursue both. When she is not designing, Amanda enjoys traveling, outdoor sports, kayaking, fishing, all aspects of design, extreme Wisconsin Badger pride, and enjoying time with friends and family.
Landscape Designer & Construction Manager
Paul joined Piala’s Design Build team in December 2012. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Landscape Architecture, Paul moved to Colorado’s Vail Valley for 5 years to pursue a career in landscape architecture with an award winning firm that concentrates on custom residential landscape design. Paul is excited to join the Piala’s team and get back to his Wisconsin roots. When he’s not designing spectacular outdoor spaces, Paul enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, biking, skiing and traveling.
Dr. Tom Honeyager has been affiliated with Piala’s Nursery for nearly 20 years. He holds his Masters in Botany, as well as his PhD in Biogeography, both from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Tom has been an avid gardener all his life and his interests and personal gardening pursuits range from ornamental to edible. Always changing and evolving, his own horticultural experiments have been referred to as a ‘garden on wheels’.
Marcelino has been with Piala’s Nursery for over fifteen years and has become our specialized hardscapes artist. He is one of the Landscape Crew Foremen, and is often in charge of detailed retaining wall, patio, and other customized block and stonework projects. Marcelino owns a home in Waukesha, where he lives with his wife and six children.
Miguel began working at Piala’s Nursery over 30 years ago. He worked his way up to Landscape Crew Foreman and has managed work ranging from planting a single tree to completing extensive landscape projects. Over the years, he has worked at thousands of homes and businesses from Madison, WI to Lake Michigan, Port Washington, WI to Lombard, IL. Since coming to Piala’s Nursery, Miguel has married, has two beautiful children, a home, and rental properties in Waukesha.
Leo has been with Piala’s Nursery well over 20 years. He is a Landscape Crew Foreman working mainly around the nursery. He is in charge of delivery and planting of trees and other plants, which are not necessarily part of landscape projects. Since coming to Piala’s Nursery, Leo has married, has two great children (one of them, Lucy, has recently earned a college scholarship!) and has a home in Waukesha.
Gama has been with Piala’s Nursery for nearly ten years, and has worked his way up to the position of Landscape Foreman. He lives in Waukesha with his wife and two children. Gama leads a variety of projects, including both hard and softscape construction.
Assistant Retail Manager
Debby joined our team in 2013, bringing with her a lifelong love of plants and many years of experience in the green industry. Not only does Debby love working in the greenhouse, she grows plants at her own home (indoors and outdoors!), and loves to read plant books in her free time. She enjoys sharing her vast knowledge of everything that sprouts, flowers, and grows.
Landscape Design Assistant
Zach joined our design team in 2014 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Virginia Tech. Zach has traveled extensively, and enjoys urban design. He is involved with community planning projects in the greater Milwaukee area, and loves playing Ultimate Frisbee in his free time.
Accounting & Bookkeeping
Nancy became a member of Piala’s administrative support staff in fall of 2010. She graduated from the University of Missouri–St. Louis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and an emphasis in Management Information Systems. During her career, Nancy has focused on helping small businesses and nonprofits utilize technology to run their business offices more effectively and efficiently. At Piala’s she works closely with Cathy to ensure that all aspects of the business are in order. Her attention to detail and problem solving skills have made her a valuable member of the team.
Landscape Production Coordinator
Kimberly joined our team in 2014. She brought with her over 10 years of experience and a BS Degree in Horticulture with a minor in business. Kimberly has worked for many nurseries from Kansas City to Peoria, to Detroit and Omaha before moving to Wisconsin. Her love of nature started young with many fond memories of selling plants and produce at the local farmer’s market. When Kimberly is not busy at work, she enjoys baking, quilling, macro photography, and enjoying the outdoors with family and friends.
Assistant Construction Manager
Luke joined our team in 2013, and has over twenty years of experience in the landscape industry. His passion lies in seeing projects on paper come to fruition in the field. When not helping to create beautiful landscapes, he enjoys coaching youth athletics and spending time with his wife and children. Luke holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and plans to further his education in the near future.