(515) 795-3216 info@iowaarboretum.org

Arboretum Staff

They say it takes a village, and our village is full of amazing people who use their gifts and ability to help keep our Iowa Arboretum a place for everyone to enjoy! Scroll down and meet the team.

Mark Schneider – Executive Director

Mark became the Executive Director of the Iowa Arboretum in the fall of 2011, after working for 32 years at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Virginia.  One of his accomplishments there was to work with his staff to develop the zoo into a botanical garden. He also focused on creating educational garden spaces, establishing environmental conservation projects and starting garden programs for people with special needs.

He earned an undergraduate degree in horticulture from the University of Delaware and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development from George Washington University. He also has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk.

Mark lives in Ames with his wife Phyllis.  They have two children.

Contact Mark:



David McKinney – Curator of Collections and Grounds

David graduated from Colorado State University with two undergraduate degrees in horticulture and a master’s. His work history includes coordinating demonstration gardens with CSU, working with Colorado Extension, and being a horticulture specialist with the Denver Zoo. He has been working in this industry for over ten years and is a very active member of the Perennial Plant Association, AmericanHort, and various other groups.

David joined the Iowa Arboretum and Gardens in 2022.

Contact David:


Kevin Lantz – Horticulturalist

Kevin has spent the past 40 years with the Iowa Arboretum working as a horticulturist, taking care of the grounds, and overseeing weddings. He graduated from Iowa Lakes Community College with an AAS degree in Horticulture. He grew up in Pomeroy but now resides in Boone. His family continues to be big supporters of the Iowa Arboretum and spend as much time as they can volunteering. In his down time, Kevin enjoys going fishing, nature, and traveling.

Contact Kevin:


Heather Bass – Office Manager

In 2001, Heather began working at the Iowa Arboretum as a horticulture specialist, managing the greenhouse and performing grounds work. Before joining the Arboretum, she graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Horticulture and worked at a few different locations before settling down at the Arboretum. Several years ago, Heather decided to make a change by transitioning to office manager. She now manages everything indoors including memberships, office work, and the volunteers. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys at their home in Ames.

Contact Heather:


Sally Good – Bookkeeper

Sally graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Business Administration and a specialization in Accounting.  She has worked in many areas of the banking industry during her career.  She continues to perform accounting services for nonprofit organizations and businesses in the area.  Sally is an active member of Community United Methodist church and is a board member of the Ogden Community Scholarship Foundation.  Sally and her husband, Chuck, live in Ogden.

Contact Sally:


Joshua Benda-Marketing 

Joshua, a dynamic addition to the Arboretum since April 2023, brings a diverse background as a content creator. After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 2019, he has worked in waste management, real estate, and collaborated with Iowa nonprofit Prarie River. Joshua also owned his own company, Benda Productions, and served as head of marketing for a Marshalltown start-up. Outside of work, he enjoys quality time with family, his puppy Kodah Alexander Hamilton Benda (aka @akodahgram on Instagram), writing, and flying his drone. Joshua’s goal at the Arboretum is to blend tradition with digital technology, highlighting Iowa’s natural beauty for all to see.
Currently, Joshua lives in Nevada, IA.


Contact Joshua: