AME Team

Jeff Schwartz, Founder and President

The AME Way developed from how Jeff Schwartz was raised. His work ethic, attention to detail, and his belief in always giving back, began at a very early age and those tenets have always guided his personal and professional life. Jeff is a lifelong Montgomery County resident who grew up in Silver Spring and attended Springbrook High School. His love of the outdoors began early with lawnmowing jobs, hikes at Billy Goat Trail, family camping trips, skiing adventures and more. He earned his degrees in Environmental Science from the State University of New York and Johns Hopkins. In 2002, Jeff founded Ashton Manor Environmental and began putting his knowledge and passion to very good use. 

Jeff likes to find solutions that address personal, community and business needs all at once. His sister’s ongoing battle with cancer led to AME’s involvement with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. The company has been the top local chapter fundraiser since 1995, raising more than $125,000. AME has also connected with Jemicy, a school specializing in supporting students with learning disabilities, including Jeff’s son. The company has hosted Jemicy students to teach them about environmental sustainability and recently hired their first Jemicy graduate.

Jeff is also a proud supporter, and board member of the Literacy Council of Montgomery County and has helped more than 10 percent of the AME workforce complete the LCMC’s curriculum, giving them English-language skills that benefit them for life.

Outside of work, he is a dedicated ski patroller, along with his two dogs, as well as an avid cyclist. He lives in a restored 1700’s Farm House (passionately restored several years ago) with his two children, horses, lamb, goats, cows, and two dogs in Brookeville, Maryland.

Eric DuBois, Vice President

Eric has known the Ashton area his entire life. In fact, he grew up just three miles from AME’s corporate office and worked part-time as a teenager for a Brookeville-based landscape company. That was the beginning of his 40 years of landscape industry experience.

Eric has been the VP of AME for nearly 15 years and offers design/build expertise in both commercial and residential landscape construction. His responsibilities include business development and client relations, operations management, personnel development, and quality control.

Eric is a Certified Landscape Technician and is USACE Quality Management Certified. He has been a member of the Baltimore-area Vistage Key Executive Group for more than five years.

The DuBois are a sports and lacrosse family — their oldest son coordinates the lacrosse leagues and programs for Howard County Rec & Parks.

Eric is also a vehicle restoration enthusiast and participates in various shows and Nostalgia drag racing events. Eric lives in Woodbine with his wife and sons.

Daniel Bramell, Estimator

Daniel’s role at AME includes project estimation and business development for new and existing clients. He has has been in the industry for more than 15 years and offers extensive experience in contract negotiation and project management for commercial, government, and municipal clients. Daniel has always been passionate about the environment and enjoys both camping and hiking. One of his personal goals is to visit every national park in the country.

John Cole, Estimator

John brings 30 years of industry knowledge and experience to the AME team. Specializing in estimating and managing large intricate projects, John works closely with architects, developers and general contractors from the design phase through project closeout. He has a broad range of technical and tactical experience with commercial landscape, wetland mitigation, irrigation, and vertical on-structure construction. John enjoys gardening and tennis in his spare time and resides in Union County, NJ with his wife, Sylvia.

Beatriz, Estimator

Beatriz Firpo, Estimator

Beatriz brings over 30 years of experience in landscape installation and maintenance, environmental research and restoration, and green infrastructures. In addition, she has a master’s and Ph.D. in environmental restoration, soils, waste management, and mining. Beatriz is a certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional.

She is originally from Brazil and speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and English. Beatriz loves to be among animals, create art projects, and travel whenever she is not at work.

Rob Petersen, Estimator & Landscape Design

Rob graduated with a bachelor’s degree in plant science and landscape development from SUNY Cobleskill and has worked in the landscape industry for 23 years. He has experience in landscape installation & maintenance, residential & commercial design/ estimating, irrigation and tree work. When not at work, he enjoys hiking, kayaking and with family and friends.

Shannon, Estimator & Business Developer

Shannon Herbst, Estimator & Business Developer

Shannon brings 35 years in the green industry. Her role at AME is estimating and sales with a focus on business development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Management. In addition, she has been an ISA Certified Arborist for over 10 years and holds her pesticide license in Pennsylvania.

Shannon loves the outdoors and all sports. You will find her skiing in the winter and spending time at Rehoboth Beach, DE, in the summer. Shannon has 3 children who all play lacrosse.

Jim Krug, Senior Project Manager

Jim is responsible for all aspects of production, personnel and safety for the company. He has 29 years of project management and supervisory experience and maintains several credentials, including a 30-hr OSHA Certificate, along with certificates for Traffic Management, Trenching and Shoring, and Sediment & Erosion Control. Jim enjoys spending his free time with his family and grandsons — and also breeding reptiles!

Ben Statler, Project Manager

Ben is responsible for the pesticide and herbicide program at AME and is a certified pesticide applicator in Maryland and Virginia. He brings 25 years of landscape experience to the company. When not working, Ben enjoys fishing, hiking, and kayaking. In addition, Ben and his wife are in the process of renovating a 75-year-old house in Annapolis.

Steve Pritchard, Project Manager

Steve is a United States Coast Guard veteran with nearly 30 years of supervisory and project management experience in the installation of large-scale commercial and residential landscapes/hardscapes. He is also a Certified Professional Horticulturalist and Certified Landscape Technician with Sediment and Erosion Control and 10-hr OSHA certificates. Outside of work, Steve enjoys anything outdoors, especially camping and sitting around the campfire with friends and family.

Refugio Vera, Project Manager

Refugio was one of our first employees and has been with AME for 19 years. He has been a Project Manager since 2018 and is a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional and 30-hr OSHA Certified. When not working, Refugio enjoys time with his wife, his dog and his bass guitar.

Matt Riley, Project Manager

Matt started in the landscape industry with a job at the US Capitol grounds. His 11 years in the business have given him extensive experience in residential and commercial landscape and a particular interest in hardscapes and landscape construction. When not at work, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and dog.

Scott Pullen, Project Manager

Scott has 16 years of landscape industry experience ranging from design/build to environmental construction to landscape management. He is USACE Quality Management Certified, Green/Yellow Card Certified, OSHA 10, OSHA 30, First AID, and soon to be ISA Certified. Scott holds an undergraduate degree from Ohio State and a Master of Landscape Architecture from SUNY ESF. Running, fishing, camping, walking the dog, and home projects fill his schedule outside of work.

Steve Gilmore, Purchaser

Steve has worked in the landscape industry for 22 years. His duties at AME include purchasing, inventory management, and yard management. When not at work, Steve enjoys competitive bass fishing and Ravens football.

Sara Bache, Project Coordinator

Sara’s responsibilities include supporting the production, estimating, and purchasing departments, managing contract volume, and overseeing the coordination of monthly invoicing. When not at work, Sara likes to hike, visit local outdoor bootcamps, and go on vacation anywhere it’s sunny and warm.

Mark Kaercher, Controller

Mark brings more than 30 years of corporate accounting experience in construction, IT and landscape industries to AME. He earned his accounting degree at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. When not at work, Mark can be found playing golf, skiing and always enjoying music.

Sara Siegle, Accounting Manager

Sara was born and raised in Baltimore City and graduated from the University of Baltimore with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Her primary responsibilities at AME include payroll, A/R invoices, and certified payroll reports. When Sara is not working, she enjoys photography, cross-stitching, and costume making.

Elaine Parsons, AP Specialist

Elaine graduated from Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC. Her primary responsibilities at AME include routing A/P invoices, monthly reconciliation of vendor statements and credit cards, and assisting with A/R invoices. When not at work, she enjoys hiking, hot yoga, and spending time with her husband and children.

Laura Makepeace, HR Specialist

Laura is originally from Colombia, South America and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Externado University. She also has a master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain. Her responsibilities include assisting our Hispanic workforce, onboarding, employee relations, developing programs, performance management, and other HR-related roles. When Laura is not working, she enjoys making jewelry, knitting, painting and macrame — and hiking with her husband and dog.

Ibis Cortez, Office Administrator

Ibis is originally from Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from the University of Maryland University College with a bachelor’s degree in Business. She brings more than ten years of customer service and administrative experience to AME. Her primary responsibility is running the office’s administrative procedures and supporting HR. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Gavin Young, Facility/Fleet Manager

Gavin’s focus is the overall management and safety of the company’s fleet and equipment. He has worked in the trucking industry for more than 25 years and has experience in business management, time sensitive delivery systems, and production facility management.

Manuel Luis, Master Mechanic

Manuel has been working in the fleet and equipment repair sector for more than 15 years. He can maintain and fix just about any piece of equipment. He works directly with the Fleet Manager on a daily basis to keep all AME trucks and equipment operating safely.

Alex, Mechanic

Alex Pimentel, Mechanic

Alex assists in maintaining AME’s fleet and equipment to ensure proper working order and safety. Before joining AME, Alex worked as a printing press operator. When not at work, he enjoys reading, stargazing, being outdoors, and sifting through crates at record stores.

The AME Way


Make every experience stand out for your helpfulness. Create the “WOW” factor that results in long-term customer relationships.