Brian Yantorno - General Manager and Owner
Brian’s first job at the greenhouse was filling trays with soil each day after school when he was just six years old. His grandpa (Pops) would stay close by to make sure he was doing the job right and clean up behind him so that he wouldn’t get in trouble with his dad. Growing up he did a lot of different jobs from filling soil, moving plants, small facility maintenance work and making truck deliveries with his ‘Pops’. Brian graduated from Regis University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He has worked here full time since college and has done just about every job there is to do along the way. After graduating from college he ran our shipping and transportation. From there he moved on to young plant sales, but found it was hard to be on the road all the time with two kids at home under the age of three. He found his niche doing Production & Purchasing and soon became the Operations Manager. For a time, he was also our Head Grower. Today, he is our General Manager and like the four generations before him, his focus remains on growing Powerful plants and treating the customers and employees like family.
Frank Yantorno - Owner
Frank Yantorno has been the face of Center Greenhouse for over 35 years. He and his cousin Paul took over the Greenhouse operations from their fathers (Frank and Carl, and their Uncle Pete) in 1978 and took our business from cut flower farming into bedding plant production. Over the years, Frank has served on numerous industry boards and was inducted into the CNGA Hall of Fame in 2011. Frank has always had a contagious energy and passion for our industry and like the generations before him, keeping the customer happy has always been a main goal. Frank passed the torch of the leadership of Center Greenhouse onto his son, Brian, in July of 2013. Frank still serves on our Board of Directors alongside our CFO, Dean Waterman and his sons Ken and Brian. He is now finding time to have coffee in the morning with some of his comrades and also enjoying a game of golf each Wednesday. The torch has been passed on to the 5th generation of the Yantorno family to continue growing on our Centennial Farm.
Dean Waterman - Chief Financial Officer
Dean has worked at Center Greenhouse for 21 years. As our CFO, he serves on the Board of Directors alongside Frank, Brian and Kenny. Following high school, Dean was an accounting supervisor for Midland Federal Savings & Loan in Downtown Denver. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in accounting, Dean spent seven years managing bowling centers for Fairlanes Inc. He then ventured into the horticulture industry managing a tree and sod farm, and serving as President of Nurseries Inc., a subsidiary of Randall & Blake. In 1994, he started working for Center at the retail garden center in the nursery area selling trees and shrubs. When Frank and Paul got wind that he had a background in accounting, they asked him to move over to the wholesale division. It was at this point that he started doing accounting for us, managing the office and entering production. In 2004, he went back to school (while continuing to work full time here) and studied for his MBA in Finance. Dean graduated from Regis University exactly two years later in 2006 with his MBA in Finance. He likes the upbeat, positive environment here at Center and enjoys being able to support the team. Dean has been married for 37 years and has two children and three grandchildren. He enjoys hiking, and golfing with his wife Chris and bowling with his buddies.
Diana Shull - Head Grower
Diana started her horticultural career in high school working for the Arlington Heights Forestry Department during the summers. From there she moved over to the Village of Wheeling Grounds Department and then managed a retail nursery in Normal, Illinois. She went to Illinois State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture in 1998. After graduating, she moved to Minneapolis and started at Wagner Greenhouses as the Sowing Manager and Seed Purchaser. While in Minneapolis, Diana earned her Master's Degree in Production from Metropolitan State College in 2003. In 2004, she moved back to Illinois and worked for Ball for 10 years, most recently as the Certification Greenhouse Manager. She became the Head Grower at Center Greenhouse in June of 2014. Her favorite part of this job is that she can make a positive impact on the quality of the material we grow. “My failures and successes are evident immediately. I enjoy problem solving and working as a team. Center has a great team with open minds to change and we are always looking for ways to improve our cost position, efficiency, and quality!” She has been part of the Horticulture industry for 25 years now and says that “My favorite part of this industry is the people. Rarely do you find people who put their heart and soul into their work and enjoy it every day!” Diana’s hobbies include, gardening (imagine that!), hiking, and golfing with her spouse, spending time with friends and family, and she loves to play with her pups (a Pug and a Great Dane).
Charlotte Rose - Young-Plant Program Manager
Charlotte is a Denver native and spent the first half of her career in Information Technology. While working and raising a family she attended C.S.U. and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Horticulture in 2004. Since graduating from C.S.U. she has worked for Benary, an international plant breeding company as a product support specialist, AeroGrow International, a consumer oriented aeroponic appliance manufacturer as their live plants product manager, Fafard/Syngenta as a field research leader, and Garden Centers of Colorado as Executive Director. Charlotte said she is thrilled to be a part of the Center Greenhouse Team and feels it is the perfect fit for her personally as well as professionally. She particularly enjoys working with independent garden centers and helping landscapers with creative display ideas. Charlotte has three adult children and shares her Wheat Ridge home with her husband, her German Shepherd Xeni and Xeni’s cat Gracie.
Jenny Payton - Sales / Customer Service
Jenny grew up in Colorado and went to Colorado Christian University. She graduated in 2009 with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and immediately began teaching. In 2010 she moved to Texas to help plant a church and lived there for five years. After having her daughter Ellie in July of 2014, Jenny and her husband Aaron decided they wanted to be closer to the rest of their family and moved back home this past May. Jenny has literally grown up around the Center Greenhouse family as her Dad, Dean is our CFO and has worked here since 1994. When he mentioned to her that we were looking for sales/ customer service help, she jumped at the chance to join the team and just started in September. Jenny says that she loves the relaxed, fun environment we have here in the office. Jenny has been married for 3 years and loves spending her free time playing with daughter Ellie and hanging out with her family.
Darrell Lombardi - Shipping & Receiving Manager
Darrell has been with Center Greenhouse since 1985! During his first five years he was a driver and did facility maintenance. Since then, he has been the Dock Foreman, Maintenance and Shipping Manager. He keeps everything moving for us and ensures that our building is in tip top shape. Prior to starting here, he was on active duty with the Marine Reserves for 6 months after having left his job of 11 years as a Journeyman and Boiler Maker. Darrell is a Vietnam Veteran and also has two Associates Degrees from Red Rocks College; an Electrical Degree and a Building Maintenance Degree. When asked about his favorite part of working here, Darrell chuckled and said “I enjoy all aspects of my job. I suppose if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been here this long!” One of Darrell’s favorite pastimes is reading books about U.S. History and Biographies. He has 2 daughters and 4 grandkids whom he adores and enjoys spending time with. He has been married for 34 years.
Tiffany Lawonn - Operations Manager
Tiffany started working for Center Greenhouse in August of 2006. She had previously worked in banking for nine years and was ready to make a career change. “I essentially traded in one green industry for another” Tiffany jokes. “This one is much prettier though.” Tiffany handles the ordering of our URC (Un-rooted cuttings) and inputs and manages all production into our computer program e-picas. Without her, we wouldn’t know what to grow or when to start growing it. She likes being able to walk out into the greenhouse in the Spring and be surrounded by the beauty of all the flowers. “It definitely makes the stress of ordering and entering the production for it worthwhile.” She enjoys picking out her favorite new flower growing in the greenhouse each year and designing her container gardens for home around it. Tiffany became a mom this past year and loves spending her free time with her son Owen, her husband Noah and the rest of her family hanging out together.
Sharon Sikora - Inventory Control
Heather DiCroce - Production & Inventory Specialist
Heather is a Colorado native. She grew up in the Arvada area, attended Pomona High School and then went to Front Range Community College where she received her Associates Degree in Business Administration. Prior to joining the Center team, Heather worked as a paralegal for tax attorneys for 7 years. She has also worked in the oil and gas industry. She began her new career in the greenhouse industry with us in March of 2015 as our Production and Inventory Specialist. After surviving her first Spring, Heather said, “ I like working here for the pretty change of scenery and the fact that the office is a fast paced and a fun work environment. People get my jokes here without me having to explain them... that's huge!” Heather is currently attending CSU Global for her Bachelor of Science degree. Her favorite thing to do is hang out with her ‘mini me’, daughter Lexy.
Jimmy Creason - Online Shipping Manager
Jimmy has a long history in running Shipping and Receiving departments. He started his career with Guys Floor Service back in 1996 as their Hardwood Shipping Manager. In 1999, he moved on to Continental Divide Fence and worked for 14 years as their Shipping/Receiving and Yard Manager. He joined Center in August of 2013 as our Shipping Supervisor at our East Facility where we grow and ship plants for the High Country Gardens program. Jimmy’s favorite things about working here are the people he works with and being around plants. He grew up helping his Grandma garden in their yard and always enjoyed going to visit family at the farm his Grandma grew up on in Welby, not far from the greenhouse. “I’ve always enjoyed gardening and being at the family farm growing up. The smell of dirt and plants is comforting to me. I love the sense of nostalgia that I get being here.” Jimmy is an avid Nascar and any kind of racing fan. He loves his 1977 El Camino and going to local car shows with it. He also likes growing and enjoying vegetables from his own garden.