YOUR ABLA TEAM

A Culture Built on Collaboration

At ABLA, we bring everything we have to every project. It’s easy for us to be passionate about what we do because we believe in what we do. Our work is meaningful, and it impacts people’s lives—from the infrastructure of a masterplanned community to the layout of a playground. For us, there is no project too big or too small. This is what we live and breathe, and we are inspired by it all.

Meet your Team

Andy Baron

President - ASLA, LEED AP

As founder of ABLA, Andy brings more than 25 years of experience to the art of Planning and Landscape Architecture. Andy’s design standards innovate the way we experience the world around us and ABLA inspired spaces are grounded in the cultural nuances, community character, and surrounding natural environment. His experience, from local grass-root projects to large scale developments gives him a balanced understanding of design, planning, and execution. Whether it’s a sports complex, luxury resort, sprawling master planned community, or a community garden in his hometown - Andy has mastered an ability to distill the true essence of living into spaces that impact our lives positively. His ability to communicate project complexities through design concepts, speaking engagements, and critical board room decisions, makes him a natural leader and adviser. Andy believes that exceptional design and its integration are products of passion and team collaboration. His craft is displayed throughout ABLA’s diverse portfolio of projects including commercial developments, campuses, park planning, resorts, healthcare, master planned communities, multi-family complexes, and city sponsored projects.

Thomas Durant

Vice President - RLA, LEED AP

Tom’s experience in the landscape architecture industry spans more than 22 years and covers a broad range of project design and management. At ABLA, his focus is primarily on master-planned communities, project management, business development, and client relations in the Vice President role. As an LEED Accredited Professional, Tom has the unique ability to process complex ideas into workable solutions, providing an important component to our Quality Assurance Program and the ABLA experience. He has a keen understanding of natural processes and the ability to respond to challenges in innovative and creative ways. Tom’s analytical approach to his work broadens the collaborative perspective of our team and makes him a natural leader of ABLA’s mission to create inspiring spaces that impact lives. Tom enjoys spending time camping in Northern Arizona, riding at the Imperial Sand Dunes, gardening, and playing with his two rescued Boxer pups.

Brian Rogers

Vice President - RLA

Hailing from the Texas Tech University Landscape Architecture Program; Brian has experience working across the southwest from California to Texas, as well as having served on the Parks & Recreation Board for the City of Plano (Texas). These credentials make Brian an ideal leader at ABLA and a great advocate for the trailblazing stewardship that best serve clients and communities. His strategic approach to design has been two-fold over the past 18 years: creative artistry backed by industry experience and fundamental analysis. This effective blueprint of assessing project feasibility and constraints in the initial stages of design has yielded award-winning communities such as Meridiana and Cane Island in Texas. Partnering with Brian means expert direct project management, design development, and site planning. As a true powerhouse who loves sharing his passion for design and creating inspiring spaces, Brian’s canvas can be seen throughout a diverse portfolio of large-scale master planned and multifamily communities, hospitality destinations, commercial developments, institutional centers, and upscale residential neighborhoods.

Chris Szabo

Principal - RLA

Chris leads the design, management, documentation and construction efforts for several landscape architecture and planning projects. Chris’ underlying focus is to provide the utmost satisfaction to the Client by way of ensuring projects are not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional as well.

With 20 years of passion and continued perseverance in the landscape architecture industry, Chris’ work includes the design and implementation of ecologically and socially inspiring spaces across a range of project sizes including top-selling master-planned communities, mixed-use developments, municipal parks, association parks, recreation trails, and streetscapes.

Chris is passionate about design solutions that are responsive to site constraints, drawing on his technical experience as well as communication with the project team to develop an impactful and lasting landscape project.

Chris’ personal drive and motivation makes it challenging for him to step away from his passion of landscape architecture. When he does get away, he enjoys an active lifestyle including spending time with his wife, playing with his rescued Stafford pup, attending concerts, mountain biking, hiking and vacationing in Summit County, Colorado.

Alex Fish

Associate

Alex was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona and is one of the bright cornerstones of ABLA. He holds the multi-faceted position of Senior Planner, where he coordinates and reviews site plans and designs to ensure compliance with design specifications and standards, city zoning ordinances, and site regulations. Alex is a perfectionist of stewardship, and coordinates a review of design recommendations, as well as prepares concept, design, cost analysis, bidding, award, and installation plans with optimal care. He regularly works with clients and consultants to take projects from the conceptual planning/PAD stage, all the way through construction document approval, and into construction. Alex’s watchful eye of communities done right, comes from his joy of nature and the outdoors. He enjoys hunting and spending family time with his two daughters.

Lauren Colone

Project Manager I

Lauren is a native Michigander from Hartland, Michigan but escape the cold for the Valley of the Sun. She attended Arizona State University and received her Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture and Minor in Urban Planning. Lauren is excited about the endless opportunities within landscape architecture and enjoy being able to make a positive impact on the world around her. She believes daily life can be improved through landscape design’s ability to create the environmental awareness for community growth and health. Lauren looks forward to becoming a license landscape architect as well as continuing her education within a Master of Landscape Architecture program. Outside of work, Lauren loves staying active by exploring the uniqueness of each city along the west coast, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying her chihuahua, Honey.

Jim Beckman

Studio Manager

Jim has extensive experience on master planned communities and private estates in both the Phoenix and Las Vegas metro areas. His resume also includes parks, streetscapes, major entry monuments, gated entries into parcels, and water features. Throughout Jim’s 23 years of experience within various capacities of landscape architecture, he has developed a passion for project management and brings that flame of expertise to the planning side of ABLA. Jim is originally from Omaha, Nebraska but has made Phoenix, Arizona his home. He spends his free time taking advantage of the desert climate with activities such as competitive mountain biking.

Veronica Luna

Project Manager I

Veronica is one of bright lights shinning from the star of Texas. She was born in Laredo, TX but was raised on the Mexican side of the border in Nuevo Laredo. As a Texas A&M University alumna with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree and Minor in Park and Natural Resource Management, Veronica is passionate about creating the perfect spaces where memories happen through inspiring environmental design that foster the joy and happiness communities grow by. Overall, her career goal is to become a licensed landscape architect and she’s determined to complete every challenge along the way. Outside of work, Veronica loves traveling and exploring new areas across the world as well as going back to the places that fulfill her personally and spiritually. With a motto of “There is always a bright side!”, you understand why.

Mark Panza

Senior Project Manager - RLA

Mark is an Arizonian to the core. He was born in Arizona and has spent his entire life living in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Growing up in the valley has given Mark an opportunity to grow his appreciation for desert plant life and the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Impacting lives through inspiring spaces right in your own backyard, has been fulfilling for him. Mark graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture, and his professional experience has navigated him from single and multi-family design to commercial design for various firms throughout the valley. Outside of the office, he enjoys hiking, golfing, and fishing.

Jason Malpass

Landscape Architect III

Jason is originally from Olympia, Washington and moved to Arizona in 1994 to study architectural design at Arizona State University. He graduated from technical college with a focus in computer-aided design (CAD). Throughout his career, Jason has held various positions within the construction and design industry. With the extensive experience gained, Jason has carved out a niche for landscape architecture including a diversity of projects from master planned communities to commercial properties throughout Arizona. ABLA is ecstatic to have him as a valuable member of the team. Outside of work, Jason enjoys driving his jeep through various parts of the Sonoran Desert, spending time with friends, and watching movies.

Catherine Ruggiero

Project Manager II

Catherine is a graduate from Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University. She believes that inclusive design is the key to functional and beautiful spaces within communities. Her passion towards residential design stemmed from her time at ASU learning and innovating with neighborhood participatory design. Catherine is enjoying every experience the industry is offering her as she progresses towards LARE accreditation. When out of the office, Catherine loves to ride horses, camping, and sketching the Arizona landscape.
Paula Wheeler

Paula Wheeler

Planner III

Before finding her true calling in landscape architecture, Paula worked as a 4th/5th grade teacher for five years where her classroom door opened right to the playground. Influenced by this daily view of how the design of outdoor spaces had such a strong impact on the human experience, she pondered ideas of designing better outdoor spaces and returned to Arizona State University to pursue Landscape Architecture. While working on her master’s degree, she researched innovative communication tools and their application for landscape architecture where she received multiple awards such as Design Excellence, Master’s Student Honor Award, and an Excellence Award from the Arizona State chapter of ASLA for the collaborative project in New Zealand “Whakaora – Daylighting the Waitangi Stream”. Her work utilizes video, animation, and virtual reality in conjunction with industry-standard tools to communicate design intent while using educational psychology strategies and the art of storytelling to inspire bold design. As one of the nationally recognized 2017 University Olmsted Scholars, Paula plans to become a leader in how landscape architects can leverage innovative communication tools to engage and involve people in the design process.
Outside of work, Paula continues to practice her storytelling as the game master of several table-top roleplaying games, as well as miniature painting, watercolors, and a passion for 3d design and printing.
Jessika Byrn

Jessika Byrn

Landscape Architect II

Jessika is an Arizona native who graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelors in Landscape Architect and minors in both Urban Planning and Sustainability. Through the love of the game ‘The Sims’, Jessika found her passion for creating places and spaces for people and the desire to transform our built and natural world. Jessika has aspirations to become a double threat by becoming both a licensed landscape architect and licensed architect, with the goal of being able to create all around beautifully designed environments. Outside of the work life, Jessika enjoys trying new plants in her garden as well as playing video games with her husband.
Brent Mackie ABLA Studio

Brent Mackie

Landscape Architect II

A Southern California native, Brent moved to Arizona to pursue his degree at Arizona State University, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Design. This discipline encouraged his mission to design with the intent of blending natural and city landscapes to form one cohesive environment. Brent’s background in various design disciplines guides him to create beautiful landscapes with an emphasis on attention to detail. Brent hopes to achieve the status of a licensed landscape architect in the next few years. In his free time, Brent enjoys snow sports, the outdoors, and tuning in to the next big game.
William Jenkins ABLA

William Jenkins

Landscape Architect I

Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Will has come across a healthy blend of scenery. Although he didn’t get to experience true nature very often, he developed an early appreciation for the environment and everything in it. Growing up, he was routinely found in his basement’s workshop, working with woods and metals. And, through camping in the Wisconsin woods and exploring Illinois, he achieved the highest rank attainable within Boy Scouts of America; Eagle Scout. After discovering the landscape architecture program at ASU, he found a way to combine his love for nature and building things, finding it a perfect fit. In his free time, Will enjoys spending time with friends and shooting pool.

Kimberly Rodriguez

Landscape Architect III

Kimberly is an Arizona State University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. She believes that the details within our nature reflect who we are. Kimberly seeks to elevate the importance of connections and detail in design because it’s what makes a project whole. Inspiration is found in the details just like when we discover it in nature’s vast character. Her drive to impact lives through design can be witnessed along every milestone into becoming a registered landscape architect. Outside of work, Kimberly enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and hiking the trails around the Sonoran Desert.

Sandra Friedlander

Controller

As ABLA’s accounting manager, Sandra offers impressive attention to detail, sharp investigation skills, and a love of all things math. She graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and has dedicated her professional career solely to working with Planners and Landscape Architects because she thrives off their creativity. Outside of work, she loves spending time with her family, reading, camping with her husband and daughter, and playing softball.

Selena Arandia

Planner III

Selena is an artistic savant originally from San Diego, California with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Northern Arizona University. For the past twelve years, she has been experiencing the desert beauty of Arizona and is super excited about the opportunities in planning and landscape design from plant diversity to discovering ways to build a better environment. With vast knowledge in interior design and special skills in hand and digital drawing, Selena believes exterior design will complement her interior design knowledge very well and looks forward to the adventures of creating inspiring spaces at ABLA. Outside of work, Selena likes to draw, hang out with friends and family, read a variety of books (especially fiction), and play video games.
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Chloe Mattingly

Landscape Architect I

Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Chloe has always loved spending time outdoors, hiking, camping and riding dirt bikes. Growing up with artists and the construction business in her family made landscape architecture the perfect blend of the two lifestyles. She picked up the baton and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS in Landscape Architecture, and a certificate in Urban Forestry. During her time at UK, she found her passion for sustainability and design, and strives to use her degree to create innovative and sustainable practices to fight the current climate crisis. In her free time she creates multi-media art, playing with her dog, Lily, and spending time with her 3 younger sisters.

Evan Meade

Project Manager I

Evan is a graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. He is originally from Stockbridge, Michigan. Studying landscape architecture allowed him to imagine a better world and look deeper into the surroundings around him. Inspired by the human scale and how it relates to core concepts of a project to make it meaningful. He fell in love with the idea of designing and or revolutionizing communities with a simple pen and paper. Evan looks forward to becoming a licensed landscape architect in the years to come. Outside of work, Evan enjoys being outside and spending time with his German Shepherd, Cabo.
Erika Fallorin

Erika Fallorin

Office Administrator

Erika is a Jack of all trades, hailing from the Emerald Isle of Alaska. Growing up around the ocean and mountains of Kodiak Island, she naturally has a love for the outdoors. Erika has traded the frigid winters for the Arizona heat, bringing her background in real estate and medical coding to the table. Her warm and friendly personality helps create a cohesive community at any workplace. She is known to make anyone smile! Erika has plenty to offer among this diverse and talented collection of landscape architectural professionals. When she’s not reaching new mountain peaks, you can find her in a dance studio or working on her next DIY project.
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Patrick Debroy

Landscape Architect II

Originally from Payson, Arizona, Patrick spent his formative years in Guatemala where he developed a deep appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Patrick's passion for creating spaces that highlight the natural beauty of the environment led him to earn a bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University. Outside of work, Patrick enjoys traveling to new places and spending quality time with his loved ones. With his unique perspective and love for nature, Patrick brings invaluable technique and passion to our team at ABLA.
James Bareiss Headshot

James Bareiss

Landscape Architect II

James is a graduate from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Design. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, James first noticed his passion for landscape design in an unlikely place: the world of fish tanks and aquascaping. He found that when he took the time to cultivate a beautiful and diverse ecosystem of plants, his fish seemed happier and healthier. Through his work today, he strives to do the same thing for communities with an interdisciplinary design approach that considers varying scopes of design from industrial design to landscape architecture to city planning. When he’s not working on design projects or admiring his fish, James enjoys playing the piano, karaoke, and brewery hopping.
Daniel Cortes-Rivas

Daniel Cortes-Rivas

Landscape Architect I

Coming from San Diego, CA, Daniel began his journey studying and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture at NewSchool of Architecture and Design. Realizing his passion for Biophilia hypothesis and urban design during his time studying architecture, he had developed a fascination for Landscape design. The aspect of creating new ecologies and improving land use and is now pursuing his passion in landscape architecture, as he embraces the new challenges within the field to keep improving and develop in his new career.

During his time off work, Daniel loves to create 3d environments and rendering animations. Most of the time he spends it with his loved one and his two cats, Leo and Lincoln. Other activities include going Go-Kart racing, biking, exploring trendy spots, discovering new coffee shops, long walks and traveling.

Joanna Hanson

Landscape Architect I

Joanna comes to ABLA with a diverse background of experience. She holds degrees in Interior Design,
Culinary Arts, and Nutrition (Food and Nutrition Management). What seem like unrelated areas of
education, they hold one unifying factor, their combination of creativity and logic. She was a professor
of Nutritional Science at the Art Institute of Phoenix for several years before deciding to return once
again to the classroom as a student, this time pursuing a Master of Landscape Architecture from Arizona
State University, where she received multiple program awards. The decision to move to landscape
architecture came after discovering that there was a profession that combined her love of gardening
with her artistic design and creative passions. She firmly believes in the importance of one’s
environment – both interior and exterior and that each can, and should, be an extension of the other.
When not in the office, she enjoys traveling, working in her garden, playing with her 3 dogs, tending to
her 5 chickens, and spending quality time with her husband and 2 children.